Stop off en-route to Europe?

Let’s face it, from Christchurch we are pretty much exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from most places in Europe, and 12,000 miles away, give or take. It will take anything from 27-35 hours to get from Christchurch to London.

It can be a rather daunting prospect if you’ve not flown long-haul before, or aren’t keen to pay business class prices for a decent sleep, so stopping off on the way is a viable option for most of our clients. There are many factors to consider when choosing a stopover, and often travellers have a loyalty via their frequent flyer scheme to a particular airline or airline alliance, or would like to use their points to try for an upgrade, but here’s some things to consider:

1. Are you wanting to break the journey roughly half-way for just a 1 or 2 nights rest and perhaps a little sightseeing? If so, here’s the current approximate travel times from Christchurch, sometimes direct, and sometimes via Auckland or Aussie to some of the most popular stopover destinations and then from each stopover point onto London, with just the fastest airline combinations quoted.

  • Singapore (10hrs 40mins / 14hrs 10mins) – Singapore Airlines
  • Guangzhou (12 hours / 12 hrs 25 mins) – China Southern Airlines
  • Bangkok (16hrs 5mins / 15hrs 55 mins) – Qantas & Emirates
  • Kuala Lumpur (11 hrs 10mins/ 13hrs 10 mins) – Malaysian Airlines (*from Auckland)
  • Hong Kong (14hrs 15mins / 12 hrs 45mins) – Air NZ / Cathay Pacific
  • Shanghai (15hrs 15mins / 12hrs 40 mins) – Air NZ/Virgin Atlantic
  • Tokyo (14hrs  /12 hrs 25mins) – Air NZ/Virgin Atlantic
  • Los Angeles (15hrs 15mins / 10hrs 30mins) – Air NZ/United
  • San Francisco (14hrs 45mins / 10hrs 15mins) – Air NZ/United
  • Vancouver (16hrs 40mins / 9hrs 10 mins) – Air NZ / Air Canada
  • Houston (17hrs 15mins /  9hrs 15mins) – Air NZ / United
  • Chicago (18hrs 35mins / 8hrs 5mins) – Air NZ / United
  • New York (18hrs 40mins/ 7hrs 5mins) Air NZ /United

2. Perhaps you’d like to check out the big-spending Emirates and see what all the fuss is about?

  • Dubai (19 hrs 55 mins / 7hrs 30mins) – Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi (21 hrs 40mins / 7hrs 25mins) – Air NZ & Etihad
  • Qatar (17hrs 20mins / 7hrs 15mins) – Qatar (*from Auckland)

3. Would you just like to sleep in an airport hotel inside the terminal and have your bags checked through? If so, we can recommend the very convenient transit hotels inside each of the terminals at Singapore’s Changi Airport – you can book a single or twin/double room in 6 hour blocks. Dubai and Tokyo also have hotels inside the terminal building, while the others all have conveniently located hotels nearby.

4. Maybe you’ve tried some/all of the above and are looking for less obvious stopover options – how about considering the following..

  • Las Vegas (20hrs 15mins/9hrs 55mins) with Air NZ / Virgin Atlantic
  • Dallas (24hrs 10mins / 8hrs 55mins) – via Sydney with Qantas & American Airlines or British Airways.
  • Seoul (15hrs 5 mins/ 12 hrs 25mins) – Korean Airlines
  • Johannesburg (19hrs 40mins / 10hrs 55mins) with Qantas & British Airways.

There are plenty of other options as well (think Boston, Miami, Bali, Osaka etc) and the flight times of day and seat availability will of course be factors in your decision as well, so let us work out the best combination of stopovers for your Europe holiday!