The best way from Buenos Aires to Darwin is apparently via south Australia. Qantas flight QF14 “approached Australia from the south on Wednesday night, crossing the Great Australian Bight to then fly over the Red Centre to Darwin.” Traveller.com reports:
“The longest commercial flight in Qantas’ history landed in Darwin on Wednesday night after a route that took it from Buenos Aires over the coast of Antarctica on a near-18 hour long haul.
The repatriation flight was the return leg of a charter flight that carried Argentina’s rugby team home from Brisbane to Buenos Aires on Sunday after the 2021 Rugby Championship. The Department of Foreign Affairs were notified about the flight and worked with Qantas to use the returning plane to bring home Australians.
Flight QF14 took off from Buenos Aires at 12.44pm local time, 19 minutes behind schedule, but landed in Darwin five minutes early after a journey that took 17 hours, 25 minutes.”
Captain Alex Passerini, Qantas’s chief technical pilot, said, “We’ll end up flying over the continent at around 73 or 74 south latitude, depending on the winds,” he said. “Hopefully the cloud cover will be kind to us and we can give our passengers a view.”
By comparison, in the north, 74 degrees north latitude crosses Novaya Zemlya in Siberia, here from Wikipedia:
In response to Belarus’s state-sponsored air piracy, a bold move by the European Union, like, say, blocking Belarus’s connection to the SWIFT payments system in EU countries, would be shocking. But it appears even the EU’s tepid recommendation that airlines avoid Belarusian airspace has been effective. And Bloomberg estimates air transit fees are the source of $60-70 million a year for Belarus.
The Covid AVDaily newsletter reacts to the UK’s “green list” of countries approved for travel without the requirement for travelers to quarantine on their return. They’re unimpressed.
They note that “it includes a number of remote islands such as South Georgia, as well as countries that are right now not welcoming tourists (e.g. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore).”
Then there is talk of passengers facing immigration queues of up to seven hours. The newsletter opines that “Governments like the UK are sending signals that they’d rather people didn’t travel. One of the most revealing parts of Friday’s announcement was when … Paul Lincoln from the UK Border Force (talked) about significant border delays. Lincoln said that each officer would be taking up to ten minutes to check every passenger … listening to him talk the message seemed to be ‘these are the consequences of you choosing to travel.’
Nobody needs that. So we’ve routed ourselves through Amsterdam Schiphol for our July visit to Finland.
We’ve taken our first flight in fourteen months from our home in Georgia, USA. Much as they might appreciate our business, not a lot of places want Americans right now, and judging from the airport, with cause. Certain of us won’t acquit ourselves well when we arrive.
A return to the airport reminds you that a benefit of largely quarantining inside your own enclosed small space is that you make your own rules. Even as we could hear others around our apartment partying this past year, people whose approach to quarantine apparently involved about twenty close friends, we kept a closed regime.
The first thing that’s plain in the airport is that some people are just going to be ornery and you just can’t stop them. ATL bustled along fairly close to normal, lots of amenities, shops open and some people, damn them, are clearly just not going to respect distance, with no mask in sight and an undercurrent of belligerence, just as we’ve seen in American politics through the entire pandemic. After a year of only seeing that behavior on TV, it’s disappointing to see it live.
But we thank the welcoming people of Belize for having us. They accepted our vaccination cards and welcomed us with smiles. It’s lovely here. Cheers.
My monthly travel column, about southwest Africa is live now at 3QuarksDaily. Read it at 3QD now, and I’ll put it up here on CSW in a few days. It’s a consideration of dodgy and disastrous colonialism in Southwest Africa, with a little flying adventure on the side.