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Above: James' final leg, from Dubai to Sydney
24 hours ago, BBC Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May set off from London-Heathrow Airport with a final destination of Sydney, Australia. They flew on separate planes through different layover airports, and their arrival times were to be within thirty minutes of each other despite the incredibly huge distance traveled. The trip evolved into a Top Gear Live challenge, with the usual jokes and competitive spirit of a regular Top Gear challenge, except that it all occurred over Twitter.
Well, now that the guys have completed their #RacetoSydney journey and are on the ground Down Under, it's time to name the winner.
Airlines / Sydney Travel / SYD / Australia Travel / Top Gear / Jeremy Clarkson / James May / Celeb Travel / Singapore Airlines / Emirates / A380 / → All Tags
UPDATE: The race has concluded, nearly 24 hours after it began. Check out who won, and how some twists made it a real nail-biter.
The sun has set for tonight in London, but it's already a bright new day over in Sydney. The miles and time zones between the two world capitals are many, and right now they're the focus of a new, live Top Gear race, as presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May challenge each other to be the first to zip across the globe and touch down at Sydney's Kingsford-Smith International Airport.
Both are traveling on commercial flightsJeremy's onboard Singapore Airlines SQ321 to Singapore and James is on Emirates EK6 to Dubaiand both on Airbus A380s for all legs. They're also due to share their travels on Twitter thanks to the magic of in-flight wifi, but only Jeremy seems to have gotten the hang of using the network onboard his flight, which is currently chasing James' flight across Germany.
But is this race really for BBC's Top Gear? All signs point to yes, as Jeremy notes that it is a "Top Gear race," and the video of their announcing it (posted below), was uploaded to a "Top Gear Live" channel. There's a hashtag, of course: #RacetoSydney.
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What a difference a year makes! Last January, we profiled the longest and shortest regularly scheduled commercial flights, with Singapore Airlines taking the cake for traveling from Singapore to Newark in 19 hours. SIA has since ceased these flights, making room for a new top dog.
As of November 23rd 2013, Qantas flight 7 now claims the title for longest flight, hauling passengers from Sydney to Dallas aboard a Boeing 747-400. From block to block, the flight takes about 15 hours, 25 minutes to fly from down under to the Lone Star State. The total distance traveled spans 8,578 miles, edging out the second longest flight by a mere 139 miles.
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It's always sunny in Australia, or at least right now it is, during the Southern Summer. Oz is one of those destinations that can take a little more planning and a little more money to make happen, but it's worth it the moment you set foot on Aussie soil. All this week we'll be sharing our best tips for taking that leap for a first-time trip Down Under.
14 hours, 20 minutes is the average flight time for a nonstop between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Sydney. By the time you're onboard, all the stressful packing is behind you, you've already applied for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) a while ago, and it's time to fully focus on adventures ahead.
Still, the long distance over the Pacific between continents is a destination all its own. If you're flying in Economy Class, it's a challenge to get comfortable for even a moment, let alone enjoy the flight, but these tips will definitely help:
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Singapore Airlines is consistently ranked tops for luxury when it comes to their planes, service, and even their airport lounges. After this summer's announcement of a major update for seats in all cabins, it was only a matter of time until the carrier announced plans to similarly freshen up the environment of the lounges.
SIA unveiled the new concept for their airport oases at Sydney International. Tucked behind a customized batik screen and designed by ONG&ONG, the SilverKris lounge is modeled to convey a sense of "home away from home" with living room, kitchen, and dining room areas.
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Spending a little quiet time in an airport lounge is a perk only a fraction of travelers enjoy from time to time. Even then, it's even rarer to find a lounge with the big three: complimentary food, booze, and comfy chairs. That's why we highlight Qantas' Sydney lounge, and its new adventure in fine wine tasting.
Australians think their wines are among the tastiest and oenophiles around the world are increasingly agreeing, so it makes sense that the Red Roo is giving the opportunity to sample some of the best bottles from their own land. The airline's Business Class Lounge in Sydney now features a vending machine that dispenses sips (and also full pours) of Aussie reds and whites.
Celeb Travel / Angelina Jolie / Qantas / Business Class Travel / Australia Travel / SYD / BNE / Brisbane Travel / → All Tags
If any type of gossip magazine is your guilty pleasure, you know that Angelina Jolie and her kids have been hanging out in Australia. The star has traveled to Oz not just to escape the harsh American winter, but because she's directing Unbroken, her new movie, down under.
Despite her busy schedule, she has been finding times to take her brood of six out for little Aussie field trips, feeding the paparazzi with images of fun in the southern summer. While we're not paps, we did happen to sit next to the celeb on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Brisbane this last weekend.
Angie, flying commercial?! Yeah, if we hadn't of seen it with our own eyes, we wouldn't have believed it either. Jolie actually boarded a regular flight and sat with the common people, albeit up in the front. One of these 'commoners' just happened to this Jaunted Contributor.
Here's my account of sitting next to one of the biggest celebrities on the planet:
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Did y’all cowpokes know there’s a newly crowned “World’s Longest Nonstop Flight?” With the retirement of Singapore Airlines flight 21/22, an unnaturally long 18hr 50min nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark, comes the new champion of distance: Qantas Airlines 7's 15h 25min nonstop from Sydney, Australia to Dallas, Texas.
It doesn’t take a math genius to realize that the flying time difference between the newcomer and the old-timer is a dramatic 3hr 25min. You could watch “Titanic” from start to finish in that exact time (the movie is literally 3 hr 25 min long). However, we certainly don’t want to make light of a 15-hour flight.
Let us not forget that while Singapore’s flights were longer, they were also running a completely business class cabin with no economy option. For Qantas, a few hundred passengers on the new longest flight will be spending their 15+ hours sitting upright in economy, chewing Xanax to make the pain go away. Just kiddingEconomy in one of Qantas’ 747-400ERs really isn’t all that bad (though we’d still suggest spending a little extra for Premium Economy like we did).
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The king is dead, long live the king!
Just before dawn across the world at Singapore-Changi Airport, an Airbus A340-500 touched down and taxied to its gate. The passengers filed off, followed by the flight crew, and there was no fanfare for this last arrival of the longest flight in the world.
At nearly 18 hours and 9,500 miles, Singapore Airlines' SQ 21/22 between Newark and Singapore was a monster of a nonstop which only accommodated 100 travelers in all-Business Class comfort. All good things must come to an end, however, and Singapore dropped the route in order to trade in the old, gas-guzzling, four-engine A345s for some shiny and efficient A350s to come.
It's a smart move, but a sad one regardless. Singapore 21/22 will live on through the stories of those who flew it, and we're proud to add our hour-by-hour account to the aviation history books.
Moving on, another flight route must now ascend to the throne and claim the title of "longest flight in the world." For that, look no further than Texas.
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We've all been there. We're excited to kickstart our international journey, so we head out for the airport with ample time to get our boarding passes, clear security and indulge in some shopping. It's a perfect plan, until we get to the counter and are reminded that international check-in opens up 3 hours before the departure time. Now, we're stuck in the departures hall of our favorite (or least favorite) airport with nothing to do for an hour -- the ultimate backfire. Perhaps you've experienced this firsthand or seen it on the Amazing Race. It happens. All. The. Time. And it is not fun.
Well, Qantas has solved that issue with its newest trial of All Day Check-In, which allows passengers to collect boarding passes for their international flight at any time during the day of departure instead of the usual 3 hours prior.
Surfing Travel / Australia Travel / Beach Travel / Sydney Travel / SYD / Surfing / Qantas / Australian Open of Surfing / → All Tags
There's no doubt Australia is one of the best places on the planet to "catch a wave," which is why it makes complete sense to host one of the world's largest surfing competitions on an Aussie beach. Plan ahead, because, this upcoming February, Manly Beach will become the epicenter of hanging ten when it hosts the Australian Open of Surfing.
This second annual event features competitions between top international pro surfers and skaters, A-list band performances, and a host of summer activities. With just 160 days until the festival kicks off, it's time to start the travel brainstorming.
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Now that we've already shared a detailed peek at what it's like to fly up front in the cushy seats of Virgin Australia's Business Class, it's about time to show you what economy has to offer on Australia's newest full-service airline.
The flight: Sydney to Brisbane, Australia.
Since our seat was towards the back of the economy section, we boarded from the back stairs which resulted in a speedy boarding and ultimately got us in the air quicker. A primped cabin crew, outfitted in their red skirt suits with purple scarves, warmly greeted every passenger as they headed for their seats. Just like in business class, these seats are covered in soft leather and have headrests that feature random pops of purple, red or light grey to keep the cabin interesting. Of course the major difference comes in seat size and legroom.