I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently either flying between the UK and Australia, or helping other people to do the trip. I thought it would be worthwhile putting together a quick guide on the myriad different ways you can complete the journey and how I rate each option. For simplicity, I’ve focused on routes which only need one stopover, and also only looked at London to Sydney [the results for Melbourne would be pretty similar].
The first thing that may come as a surprise is that there are (at least) 20 different places that fit that description! Before launching into the best places to stopover, a note on how the rating has been compiled:
- All 20 options have been rated against 8 different criteria, with the maximum possible score being 30 points.
- Single Ticket: 3 points if you can buy a single ticket at a reasonable price (<£1k for Economy) to cover the whole journey, otherwise 0 points.
- Price: a bit of a subjective one, but over time I’ve got a good feel for which stopover points are the cheapest. $ = 3pts, $$ = 2pts and $ = 1pt.
- Airline Quality: a rating out of 5, reflecting a combination of choice of different airlines and the airlines themselves (e.g. Cathay, Singapore Airlines get 5, China Southern gets 2).
- Airport Quality: a rating out of 5, reflecting a number of things like transfer experience, airport facilities, lounge quality, and security.
- Travel Time (Flying): amount of time in the air, with <22hrs giving 3 points, >24hrs giving 1 point and anything in between giving 2 points.
- Travel Time (Total): total end-to-end journey time, including flight time and layover. Scoring as above with an extra 2.5 hours added on for a ‘standard’ stopover.
- Frequency: daily number of flights, which gives different options in terms of timing and ‘fall backs’ when there are delays / misconnects.
- Stopover Rating: (very) subjective rating out of 5 of what the place would be like for a 1-2 night stopover, including things like cost of accommodation, interest as a tourist destination, ease of getting into the city from the airport etc.
There aren’t many surprises at the top, with Hong Kong and Singapore coming joint 1st, followed closely by Dubai then Tokyo. In joint 5th are a handful of airports including Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bangkok and KL.
You can see the complete list here:
Overall, there’s actually relatively little that separates a number of these airports! Hopefully the above list is useful in planning your next UK to Australia trip, and do let me know if I’ve missed any obvious stopover locations and / or you disagree with the ratings above!