My 20-hour journey to Perth began at the time I would normally be getting ready to go to bed. I set off for Dubai on a flight at 9:45pm from Gatwick, which in all honesty I was dreading as I’ve never flown long-haul by myself before. Fortunately, it turned out to be less painful than I was expecting and I even managed to get some sleep on the plane, so adjusting to an upside-down time zone has been a lot easier than I expected.
I travelled with Emirates, mainly because it was the cheapest option available at the time of booking, but I must say I couldn’t fault them as an airline. They were excellent. A long-haul flight is probably never going to be the height of comfort (unless you’re flying business class or first class maybe?) but the Emirates cabin crew were all lovely and super-efficient.
I checked in online 48 hours beforehand and printed my boarding pass at home so all I had to do was drop off my suitcase. Being a natural worrier, I did panic at various points throughout my journey that my suitcase wasn’t going to make it all the way to Perth, mainly because the lady on the check-in desk at Gatwick had said to me: “Are you just travelling to Dubai?” and I was like “No! Perth!!”.
Getting through security was fine, apart from the usual having to separate all liquids under 100ml into a plastic bag, get out my laptop, two cameras and phone. I got through quite quickly and enjoyed having a look around the duty free shop (I treated myself to a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Nuit Blanche). I also bought a couple of last minute bits for my journey such as a bottle of water and some mints.
There was an awesome stall selling Skinnydip London products, such as cool phone cases and make up bags, but I was very restrained and didn’t buy anything.
I already had a seat allocated for both legs of my journey but there was the option of changing them when I checked in online. I decided to stick with my allotted one for the first flight from Gatwick to Dubai, but I chose a different one for the second flight from Dubai to Perth as they had sat me at the back of the plane. In a non-reclining seat. Right next to the toilet. Essentially the WORST seat on the whole aeroplane.
On both flights, I had an aisle seat, which suited me mainly because I hate the idea of having to ask other people to stand up so I can get past. I knew I’d sit there dreading the moment I’d inevitably have to wake someone up. The downside to these seats was when I was sleeping, my knees stuck out into the aisle (I can never sleep sitting upright), so every time a member of the cabin crew with the trolley came past, they would knock me and I’d wake up. But I would choose these seats again for convenience in terms of getting up and about.
How to pass the time on a 20-hour journey
I was tired when I got on the plane but not tired enough to sleep (if that makes sense!), so I decided to watch the Ghost in the Shell on the inflight entertainment system. It was probably not the best idea to watch something I’d never seen before, as I felt like I wasn’t following the storyline and I ended up dozing off half way through the film.
On the flight from Dubai to Perth I watched Wonder Woman, which I have seen before so I was able to enjoy rewatching it and it helped pass the time. Then I watched Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 ; I’d already seen the film and it’s possibly my favourite film of 2017 (so far…). As I still had so many hours to go and I was beginning to feel more awake, I watched Ghost in the Shell again. It was actually a brilliant film so I was glad I did! Finally, I decided to watch a bit of Spider-Man: Homecoming for the second time. I didn’t get to finish the film as there was less than two hours until I arrived in Perth.
Stopover in Dubai
I had a two hour 45-minute stopover in Dubai but in reality it felt a lot shorter, mainly because the shuttle bus took forever to ferry us from the plane to the airport terminal (I swear it did two laps of the airport). On the plus side I did get an extra glimpse of the Dubai skyline, including the Burj Khalifa (I’d already seen it through the aeroplane window). I would love to properly visit Dubai at some point.
Once I got through airport security, I had a brief wander around the shops. I didn’t buy anything but I decided to check out the Turkish delight on offer as I’m planning to buy some on my return journey. I will be returning home in December and we always have Turkish delight at Christmas, but I only have a one and a half hour stopover then so I need to plan ahead!
I also bought a Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, which was probably ridiculously expensive (I have no idea of the exchange rate for the UAE dirham) but it was so good!
I made sure I knew where my departure gate was and had a walk up and down the length of the airport, making the most of the opportunity to stretch my legs before boarding my flight to Perth.
An epic journey!
I was lucky with my journey as flying through the night time (UK time) meant I was roughly in the right time zone when I arrived in Australia. However, I did find the second flight from Dubai to Perth (10 hours!) dragged so much more than the seven-hour flight from Gatwick to Dubai. Since I’ve been in Australia, I have been a lot less tired than I was expecting. But I still can’t get my head around the fact that there are different time zones within Australia – when I fly to Melbourne in just over three weeks’ time, it will be three hours ahead, so I will have to adjust again – fun times!
Have you got any tips on flying long-haul, what to do and what not to do? I’d love to hear in the comments!