Trip report: Flying from Perth to Los Angeles upside down!

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Trip report: Perth to Los Angeles and back “the wrong way”, and no jet lag. Just did it – no jet lag and no sleepless nights.

Debate rages over the best way to travel to avoid the dreaded jet lag and insomnia in Seattle. And for travelers from Perth, Western Australia, that debate takes a turn when it comes to flights to the United States.

Logic would dictate that a traveler would travel via Sydney or Melbourne to a US west coast gateway such as Los Angeles and then on to your final destination, perhaps New York. The downside is that it may involve two stops.

So how about flying west via the Middle East or maybe north via Singapore or Hong Kong?

Yes it’s longer via the Middle East – but flying from Perth to Los Angeles last week, as far as no sleep issues en route, in LA or on my return, and no jet lag, this was the best long term trip I have ever done anything like it.

On this trip report, I flew business class and of course that makes a difference, especially if it’s Qatar Airways Qsuite with its sliding door for complete privacy.

My flight, QR901, was pushed back a few minutes past its scheduled departure time of 11pm, but arrived 30 minutes early and the seatbelt sign never came on for the cruise portion of the flight. I got six good hours of sleep, that was a good start for me. After takeoff, I simply opted for a cheese plate before heading in and had a continental breakfast two hours from Doha.

The QSuite

Doha airport was quiet when I arrived, but less than an hour later flights were arriving from all over the world.

The next leg was QR739, which left late due to favorable winds which would have made our Atlantic crossing and arrival in LA too early for our time slot. This flight was on an Airbus A350 which has a composite structure so the pressurization cabin altitude is 2000m, lower than the 3000m on the Boeing 777 which operates the Perth-Doha leg. This lower cabin altitude reduces the impact of jet lag while the A350’s non-corroding composite structure allows for increased humidity.

The flight departed at 8:37 a.m. and headed north over Iraq and Baghdad before veering west toward Turkey. Then came a change of course to the north to cross Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden and Norway.

Baghdad

Another light continental breakfast was in order as I thought I would save my appetite for a sumptuous lunch of classic Arabic meze and chicken roulade with spinach and smoked turkey stuffing later in the flight.

arabic meze

The next landing was Greenland, then Canada before crossing the United States in Montana and following Salt Lake City and Las Vegas before descending to Los Angeles.

Hoover Dam

Again I was able to sleep and racked up five extra hours between breakfast and a late lunch.

Now for the litmus test – how would I sleep? I arrived at my hotel, the Long Beach Marriott, at 5:30 p.m. and ordered a light salad for dinner and sparkling water. I wanted to stay awake for LA time, so I kept watching the fascinating series The Movies That Made Us on Netflix.

To my surprise, there was no insomnia in LA, and it took me eight hours to wake up refreshed and ready for the first meetings.

Over the next few days, the routine continued with a good night’s sleep of at least six hours. How good is it?

My last day was hectic, so I was looking forward to relaxing on the flight home.

Flight QR740 departed a few minutes late for the 3 p.m. return trip to Doha but arrived almost 30 minutes early at 7.43 p.m.

Leaving LAX

On this sector I chose to have a full meal which started with a starter of a selection of charcuterie followed by Atlantic salmon and a cheese platter.

Cheese board

The flight path was northeast across the US into Canada, south of Greenland and Iceland crossing the UK at Glasgow before heading into Poland with Romania crossing the lower corner of the Black Sea to Turkey and Iraq.

Above the Black Sea

I had a six hour layover in Doha, so I showered, freshened up and did a few hours of work.

The last flight, QR900, was 20 minutes late to depart due to a large number of people requiring boarding assistance, but arrived 20 minutes early. Again, silky smooth all the way.

What a spectacular departure from Doha with the city a gem.

I opted for a light snack of nachos and guacamole with Charles Heidsieck Champagne and witnessed another beautiful sunrise over the Arabian Gulf. Time for more sleep and picked up another five hours to add to the six on the previous sector. Then it was breakfast and I went light with continental.

Arrival in Perth was seamless and despite arriving just behind a full Emirates flight, I cleared immigration and customs within 20 minutes.

While LA via Doha may be a stretch for some, cities on the US East Coast are around four hours away and you avoid a dreaded US domestic flight – always a good idea.

The ultimate test of this marathon was the days following my return. Again, a good night’s sleep like I’ve never flown around the world and back.

Verdict of the trip report? A big boost!

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