Friday, July 17, 2015

Planning Your Flight – Timing is Everything

I live in Hawaii and travel frequently to Thailand and other Asian countries.  I can choose from five different airlines all departing within 2 hours of each other.  The difference is – 4 of them arrive at around midnight and one arrives at 4 PM.  Trust me – arriving in Bangkok at 4 PM as opposed to midnight is a huge difference.

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Japan, United, and Northwest Airlines all depart an hour or two later and go through Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan.  Korea Airlines goes through Seoul.  All arrive at about midnight and then it takes another 2 hours to get through immigration and luggage.

I am not picking on these airlines – it is just that their arrival times are very inconvenient.  Only one airline arrives at a decent hour – and only 2 days per week.

China Airlines has two flights per week that arrive while the sun is still out and I can plan to have dinner shortly after arrival.  How do they do it?

First – from Hawaii – these flights are on Thursday and Sunday.  They used to offer it on Tuesday also – but it was recently changed.

Second – China Airlines flies through Tao Yuan Airport (formerly Chiang Kai Shek Airport) and only has a 1 hour and ten minute layover.  This is opposed to the other airlines that have 4-6 hour waits.  There is nothing worse than a layover longer than the flight time of your second leg.

A little earlier take off time and a much shorter layover equates to about an 8-hour difference in arrival time.  For me – it is close to perfection – just enough time to have a couple cigarettes and board the next leg.

Don’t forget to check the departure and arrival time for your return flight.  Again – from the Thailand to Honolulu flights most of the flight depart at about 8 in the morning and arrive in Hawaii at about 6 in the morning (same day – dateline adjustment).  But – one airline has a big difference – and to me it is a huge negative.  The Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Honolulu departs at 1 in the morning.  For me – this is a terrible departure time and the arrival time is about the same as the other 4 airlines – only difference is the long layover in Seoul.

So, check and double check flight arrival and departure times – both coming and going.  Also, check flights on different days of the week – you may be able to find a better flight.

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