My local airport is Joplin Regional Airport (IATA code JLN), which is about 30 miles from here. When I first flew into Joplin, it was a cold January night and I’d flown from London Gatwick to St. Louis in a TWA Boeing 747. Making the switch from the 747 to the TW Express BAe Jetstream 31 (below) was quite a leap. It was fun, however, except on one occasion when I disembarked in a rainstorm and picked up my checked you-can’t-carry-this-on backpack from a rain-soaked tarmac. That’s another story, and nothing was seriously damaged.
Fast forward a few years. When Susan and I went back to England in 2013 we flew from the new terminal at Joplin. We took an American Eagle ERJ-145 to Dallas-Fort Worth.
This is the only service out of Joplin, but it’s a jet, and DFW is a big hub. In 2013 We connected with a flight from DFW to London-Heathrow, and then from Heathrow to Newcastle.
I have to say that the flight from Dallas to Heathrow on an American Airlines Boeing 777 was one of the less pleasant experiences of my life. I assume the seating in cattle class has been moved even closer together. Fortunately we came back on a venerable BA 747 which was a little less painful.
But – as I found out recently, a new destination has been added to those available from DFW. Sydney, Australia. For a few months a 747-400ER made the trip, with an intermediate stop in Brisbane, and apparently on one occasion a highly intermediate stop in Noumea, New Caledonia when the pilots on the flight from Dallas felt they couldn’t make Brisbane for fuel.
However, from September 2014 QANTAS changed the equipment and now the flight is non-stop in an A380. Woohoo!
If you look closely at the QANTAS Kangaroo it’s wearing a Stetson and has a blue neckerchief with little white stars, suggestive of the American flag. A nice touch. I saw a logo on something (I don’t remember what) with the strapline “G’Day, Texas.”
The DFW – SYD route is currently the longest commercial air service in the world in terms of distance covered. Singapore Airlines used to fly from Newark, NJ to Singapore which was a longer, but that route has been cancelled. I note from Wikipedia “Since Flight 8 is both an overnight flight and crosses the International Date Line, it arrives in Sydney two days after departing Dallas.”
It’s nice to know that if we have the time, money and inclination we can get on a small plane in Joplin, get on an enormous plane in Dallas and fly non-stop to Sydney. Even if we have to cross the International Date Line and have some very interesting jet lag experiences as a result. 🙂