Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flight times to Vancouver

Did you know that it takes about the same amount of time to fly from London directly to Toronto than it does to fly from London directly to Vancouver?

I know.

It doesn't look that way!

Map showing Vancouver, Toronto and London

On a map Vancouver looks like it's twice as far away from Europe than Toronto is, but it isn't when you take into consideration the curvature of the Earth.

Flights from London to Vancouver don't fly directly west over the Atlantic, as if you were drawing a straight line west out of London. They arc north up and over the Arctic (har har), over Greenland, Baffin Island, Nunavut before descending over northern Saskatchewan, Alberta, eventually ending in BC.

While it still looks like a further distance on a regular map, if you traced this route on a globe, it would make more sense. It's that Arctic route which explains why flying directly from Europe to Vancouver makes more sense than flying with a stopover in Eastern Canada.

London to Toronto = 8 hours
London to Vancouver = 9.5 hours
Toronto to Vancouver = 4 hours
London to Vancouver via Toronto = 12 hours

As for people flying into Vancouver from other destinations, Tourism Vancouver has created a fantasic PDF illustrating the average flight times from around the world:

http://www.tourismvancouver.com/pdf/map_flying_times.pdf

5 comments:

Rachel said...

What an interesting post!! It took me 14 hours to get here from Auckland, NZ.(LAX on Qantas and then Alaskan to Vancouver).

Robyn said...

Thanks! :)

I decided to write this post after reading about a guy on TripAdvisor who had booked a flight from London to Vancouver via Toronto.

Vancouver to Auckland is only 14 hours? Hmmm, that's closer than I initially thought. :)

Sue said...

This may not be the place to leave this post - but having flown the route Robyn describes many times (London to Vancouver) I advise all to take a daytime flight.....the scenery is awesome beyond belief!

Iceland - fantastic views over Rekjavik and the Icelandic interior - the coast (hundreds of glaciers dripping down the sides of the mountains) and interior of Greenland (interior is snow, snow, snow), Iceberg alley - fab views of icebergs (you can imagine how big these icebergs are from 39000 feet)....over Baffin Bay - Ive seen Iceflows breaking up and then a couple of weeks later - rubble ice.

Then hours of lakes, mountains etc over northern Canada - only 'rewarded' with intermittent signs of human habitation with the occasional straight line of a road, and finally the Rockies and Coast mountains before the descent into Vancouver which heads out towards Vancouver Island and crosses the coast over the fjords and inlets north of the Sunshine Coast - the 'entertainment' on the flight doesn't stand a chance against this scenery - the daylight flight to Vancouver from London in clear conditions is an absolute joy!

Robyn said...

Sue - what a fabulous description!

I've flown that route four times in my life, although I was a teenager at the time. I vividly remember the Arctic - especially the ice flows and glaciers over Baffin Island and Greenland.

I also remember my first sight of Ireland (or what I was pretty sure was Ireland) before arriving in the UK and spiraling down over London.

But you're right, on a clear day the geography when flying into Vancouver is quite a sight!

Dreamer said...

How you can see I just started reading your blog... from the 1st blog posted to the last one.... I'm thinking to move to Vancouver so I started my investigation... even though I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN CANADA.

This is great post. My bf lives in Europe and I live in NYC, moving to Vancouver made us think about the thousands of hours flying for him to Vancouver... This is GREAT to know.
Thank You!