Polar Route

When you hop onto Air Canada flight 15, get ready for a long, non-stop flight.  This flight will take you from Toronto to Hong Kong in 15hrs 15mins, for a total distance of 7,810 miles.  It is ranked (tied for) 16th among the longest (in regards to distance) non-stop flights in the world.  The equipment that is used, is a Boeing 777-200LR.  If you think this is an insanely long time to be on an airplane, try doing it with a 3 year old (my daughter) like we did.

Photos were taken with my wifes Sony P&S.  I think you can actually see it (just at the tip of the wing) in the reflection of the window.

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I have been on long flights before (New York to Japan), so an hour or so longer was no big deal, or so i thought.  A fifteen hour flight is not easy with a 3 year old, especially when she spends most of her time on your lap!  At one time, I had to hole myself up in the head with her for 45 minutes in order for her to stop crying.  You would think that after 15 minutes, someone would be coming through the door to see why I was not coming out, but no one did.

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By the time you reach the 14th hour, you just want to get the heck out of that airplane!  It is even worse if you have not slept a wink.  When we arrived at HK Disneyland, I zonked out for a few hours.

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One of the most unique aspects of this flight, is that it is a polar route.  This means that the flight crosses over the arctic or “polar” regions and comes very close to the North Pole itself.  If you want to get a more visual sense of the flight, please watch this video:

Once clear of the polar region, the flight enters Russia, then Mongolia, then China to ultimately land in Hong Kong at Chek Lap Kok airport.

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A long the way, if you look out the window, you will see a whole lot of nothing.  Though, it is scenery that you will most likely never come face to face with and scenery that you will not want to come face to face with.

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A bit of advice for when you take these long-haul flights: 1) get up frequently and take a walk 2) don’t constantly look at the flight progression map.  It will make the flight longer.

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Being an aviation nut, this flight never ceases to amaze me.  Thirty, forty years ago, doing this route in a twin engine aircraft would be thought as a suicide mission, not to mention unauthorized by the FAA.  We have certainly come along way.

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Thanks for looking.

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