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The Flights That Let You Celebrate New Year’s Twice

Thanks to long-haul flight schedules and help from the international date line, some travelers are able to celebrate New Year's twice.

A United 777-300ER emerges from the clouds as it arrives from a test flight. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

The International Date Line (IDL) creates an interesting opportunity for a unique twist to our travel plans. For those who do not overfly the Pacific often, it is quite an experience as it is the closest to time travel we can get for now.

Time Zone Magic

The reference point for time telling is the UTC – Coordinated Universal Time. This is a successor to the GMT or Greenwich Mean Time. In essence, the farther from Greenwich, United Kingdom, the bigger the time difference.

On the other side of the globe, 180 longitude degrees apart, two different stances meet. On the western side of the Pacific, on the Asian side, the sun rises up to 12 hours earlier than in Greenwich. On the eastern side of the Pacific, the day that already started in Greenwich has not even started yet, meaning that it is evening the day before. This Asian side of the Pacific might be just a few time zones apart from the East Coast in the United States, but the date has to be different, approximately one calendar day.

World time zones map (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Gain It or Lose It

Flying west is often preferred by long-distance travelers. Flying from Europe to the U.S. allows the passenger to leave in the morning and arrive in the very early afternoon, even though the flight was just shy of 10 hours. Traveling this way essentially “gains” the person some time.

Of course, this gain is equally easy to lose. Flying back to Europe will see us leaving in the afternoon, but arriving often in the early afternoon the day after, making our travel effectively longer than the actual flight duration.

Use It To Your Advantage

Who would not like to experience an exciting event twice? With New Year’s Eve coming in a few days, there is an interesting proposition to party not once but twice. Looking at the table down below you can get quite a few ideas. The flights have a scheduled departure time after midnight so that you can toast the New Year with your welcome drink.

Operating Airline Flight # Departure Airport Arrival Airport Local Scheduled Dep. Time (1/1/24) Local Scheduled Arr. Time (12/31/23)
Cathay Pacific 880 HKG LAX 0:15 20:55
Cathay Pacific 872 HKG SFO 0:55 21:00
ANA 106 HND LAX 0:50 17:50
United 200 GUM HNL 7:35 18:50
Cathay Pacific 888 HKG YVR 1:00 20:30

Soon after arrival, you can be just in time to go to a New Year’s celebration party at your destination.

One of the most ideal options for a back-to-back celebration is United flight 200. This flight is scheduled to depart Guam at 7:35 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2024, before arriving in Honolulu at 6:50 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2023 local time. There are other options, too, most of which are from Asia to the west coast of North America.

Filip Kopeć

Author

  • Filip Kopeć

    A passionate aviation enthusiast that started off his career as an aerospace engineer, but found his true calling on the commercial side of the airline business. Now as a finance guy among avgeeks and an avgeek among finance guys, he has experience working in the Revenue Divisions of three airlines. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, but admittedly sometimes is more about the journey than the destination.

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