Wealth Blog

Day trippers, there's no such thing as a hard day's flight

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 3:25am

Back when I was young and foolish, I occasionally did something really daft like fly to London for the weekend for the Oxford vs Cambridge varsity rugby match at Twickenham, or England vs Ireland.

It was the height of folly: leave Hong Kong on Friday night, having rushed to Kai Tak airport from work; try to sleep all the way, fired by red wine; arrive at dawn, and hit the ground running (on adrenalin).

After the match, I would race from the drunken revels or drowning of sorrows (depending on the result) back to Heathrow for the Saturday night flight to Hong Kong. I would arrive on Sunday evening, collapse, and emerge just about human on Monday for work.

Those were the days.

But it seems they are here again. Forget all that carbon footprint stuff; Cathay Pacific CEO John Slosar tells me that same-day return flights to London are all the rage now, especially since the advent of the CX business class.

If you decide to nip to London for the day on Wednesday November 7, for example, it will set you back HK$69,609 with taxes.

That means catching a flight at 1.10am, arriving at Heathrow at 6.20am, and returning just after 10pm on the same day to arrive back at about 6pm on Thursday. So you have lost a day to the eight-hour time difference, but you've had a very long day in London.

Or you could splurge HK$94,530 and go first class, but the word is that the new business class is nearly as good as first.

So who are these crazy global day trippers and are there many? They are mostly busy business executives and there are a few of them.

It makes sense, Slosar says, if time is precious. "You arrive in London after a great night's sleep, beat the traffic into London, keep going all day, get lots done, and fly back that night. And it saves the price of a hotel room."

Well, yes, but what's a HK$5,000 hotel room when you're spending HK$70,000 on the airfare?

Plus, Slosar adds, you arrive back in Hong Kong before your body realises you've gone, after another good night's kip.

He makes it sound so easy. Has he done it? He grins. But what about losing all that first class revenue to the new, souped-up business class? His grin widens. "Oh, I think we can live with that."

For more details on indiscriminate discretionary spending, see Anna's wealth blog at scmp.com/wealthblog