Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is it possible to hop to Australia on short flights?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 04 June 2013
Q. Is it possible to fly to Australia using only short flights (nothing over about three or four hours)? And would it be cheaper or more expensive than a "normal" flight?
A. Thanks to the flourishing low-cost airlines, it is now straightforward to go back to the olden days when it took a dozen hops to reach Australia.
Start with a flight via Istanbul to Dubai, which splits the normal seven-hour non-stop into two four-hour hops - on Turkish Airlines or Pegasus.
From Dubai, take a bus 10 miles up the road to Sharjah, which is the "budget" airport for this part of the UAE. Air Arabia has plenty of departures to Mumbai (formerly Bombay). You can then either fly to Kolkata, or switch to a train for the trip across India. Then hop to Bangkok and Singapore (the latter segment possibly also by rail), and onwards to Bali. From here, Australia - in the shape of its northernmost capital, Darwin - is only two-and-a-half hours away, with onward connections to any big city in this vast nation.
That's probably around nine flights. At an average of £100 each, you would end up spending rather more than the £700 that will get you to Australia with just one stop.
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