A pleasurable plane ride to Oz

If you had 24+ hours to spend on a flight, what would you do?

According to the Google search I completed just now, the quickest flight from where I live, in Montreal, Canada, to the site of the Australian Open, in Melbourne, Australia, lasts 24:43.

So let’s run with that figure, shall we?

So it takes over 24 hours to fly to Melbourne; you have about 95 days to debate whether the flight would be worth the trip. The decision, ultimately, is this: is it worth it to spend over a day cramped in a moving box a few thousands of feet up in the air to spend a few days—depending on the package you choose—in Melbourne to watch excellent tennis.

I say it is and not just because of my love for the sport. I’ll rely on some well-tested methods to make my case.

Twenty-four hours is a mighty long time, but the first thing you have to know is that you will not be awake or functional for the 24-hour flight. There’s no way: the average person will doze off for some time. It has to be inevitable, even for a renowned non-sleeper like myself, so let’s say that we’re down to 20 hours awake.

In the 20 hours, let’s say that the average person will spend another two to three hours completely nonfunctional from feeling numb. We’re down to 17 hours now.

Yes, 17 hours is still a mighty long time, I know, but I actually see it as a positive. You’re isolated and by yourself; maybe you’re even sitting in the middle seat and therefore, you don’t feel quite comfortable.

In which case, see this time spent as time for yourself. If you’re a student, this is the time when you start that mighty calculus math project you’ve been putting off. Oh but only do so if 1) calculus happens to be your passion, or 2) your calculus project packs lightly. Otherwise, tread lightly.

If not a student, maybe you’re an avid reader and think, “Gee, reading should be fun. I can forget about this plane and visit the wonderful universe of Game of Thrones.”

In which case, you’re in luck because 17 hours is a mighty long time to read. If you’re the average reader, you probably read about 250 to 300 words per minute, but let’s say it’s 350 because we said you were an avid reader. (See for yourself how quickly you read.) 

Bear with us for a minute here because we’re turning to math, but if you’re just about to embark on the GoT journey, a journey of about 1,770,000 words, and that there are 1,020 minutes on your journey to Melbourne, you could read up to 357,000 words, or about a fifth of the book.

But let’s say that you can’t quite read the entire time, only half. And the other half of the time, you decide to see just how faithful the GoT show is compared to the books. If we settle on that balance of half and half, that means about eight hours worth of streaming on your laptop or your tablet. 

Yet, if every HBO episode is roughly an hour each, you would be much better cutting through on the reading time by two hours. That way, you can finish the show’s first season. Of course, this is all your choice to make.

See, who said 24 hours was a long time?


Tennis & Travels is a new column that applauds the readers who do decide to combine business with pleasure. Because life is short, and you should travel and play tennis—maybe even do both at once.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

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