Everyone has a bucket list – their personal set of aspirational must-dos in life. Maybe you want to visit every country in the world or run a marathon. Perhaps you dream of eating in a three Michelin-starred restaurant or driving the Pacific Coast Highway in an open-top Cadillac. Whatever’s on your bucket list, here at Netflights we’ve created one specifically for flying – the Flucket List – packed with ideas to thrill, excite and intrigue you in 2020, and leave you with a rediscovered love for all things aviation. From luxury cabins and private jets, to jaw-dropping window views and sleek airport lounges, here are 20 flying experiences that should be on your 2020 Flucket List.
- Strap in to the world’s longest passenger flight
Singapore Airlines relaunched their record-breaking flight between Singapore and New York in October 2018 using specially modified Airbus A350-900 ‘Ultra Long Range’ aircraft. The flight completes the 9,534-mile journey in about 18 hours, which might sound like rather a long time to be on a plane. But you don’t have to worry about cramped Economy seats, because there’s no Economy cabin! Most of the plane is taken up by 67 Business Class seats and 94 comfortable Premium Economy seats.
- Travel by seaplane to the Maldives
A holiday to the Maldives is enough to make you feel like an A-lister. But the cherry on top of the cake is arriving, not by coach, but by seaplane. Trans-Maldivian operates a fleet of 48 De Havilland Twin Otters – which seat just 19 passengers – flying to the 1,200 atolls that make up the Maldives. So you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the turquoise Indian Ocean and its islands. If that’s not arriving in style, then we don’t know what is.
- Fly onboard BA’s 32-seat ‘private jet’
Take off from London City’s tiny runway and fly to New York onboard BA flight 001. This unique Airbus A318 operates as a regularly scheduled flight but, with just 32 Club World Business Class seats onboard, it feels like your very own private jet. The flight also benefits from US immigration and customs pre-clearance to save time when you land in New York.
- Experience Etihad’s ‘The Residence’
There’s Business Class, then First Class – and then there’s ‘The Residence’. Step onboard an Etihad Airways’ A380 and prepare to be wowed by its amazing three-bedroom, private apartment in the sky. With your own separate living area, bathroom and bedroom – with a double bed – plus a butler, you’ll literally be living the high life.
- Feel like royalty at LAX’s Private Suites
Live the VIP lifestyle with The Private Suite experience at Los Angeles Airport. Your dedicated eight-person team will take care of everything from the moment you arrive at the private terminal, right until you’re chauffeured to the plane in a BMW 7 Series. No matter which airline you’re flying with, you’ll skip the usual passenger terminals, your luggage will be whisked off to the plane, and your boarding cards will be waiting for you. Once you’re through the discrete security checkpoint, you can wait in your plush Private Suite – complete with daybed, fancy catering and bathroom.
- Grab a seat on Qantas’ Antarctic flight
Every year, Qantas operates a handful of special round-trip charter flights from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney to the South Pole. Your B747-400ER will descend low over the polar ice, giving you once-in-a-lifetime views Antarctica. These 13-hour flights take you to the very ends of the Earth, and should certainly be on everyone’s Flucket List.
- Fly back in time onboard an Air Chathams DC-3
Relive the days of old and take to the skies of New Zealand in this epic WW2-era passenger plane. The DC-3 is famed for the heroic role it played during the Berlin Airlift, and now you can experience aviation as it used to be, as you embark on a scenic trip around the North Island.
- Take a non-stop flight from London to Western Australia
Not too long ago, the Kangaroo Route would take 63 hours and involve over 10 stops. But with ‘Project Sunrise’ Qantas plans to offer an incredible non-stop flight from London to Perth from 2020. A new B787-9 covers the 9,000-mile distance in less than 17 hours. Daily flights operate from Heathrow – why not fly in Qantas’ newest Business Class suites for the ultimate long-haul experience?
- Stay in TWA Hotel at JFK
Immerse yourself in the jet-set era of the Sixties at this newly opened airport hotel at New York’s JFK Airport. Built around the iconic TWA Flight Centre, 512 ultra-quiet rooms overlook the runways with perfect views of every take-off, while the rooftop infinity pool lets you get even closer to the action. Fancy a drink? Step onboard the Lockheed Constellation plane that’s been turned in to a swanky cocktail lounge. You’ll be in AvGeek heaven!
- Discover the Island Hopper route
Unites Airlines’ Island Hopper provides a vital connection for the residents of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands – and it also happens to be one of the most scenic flights on the planet. Join the United B737-800 as it flies from Honolulu to Guam, with stops at Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk. Or, why not tick this off your Flucket List in style, and spend a night on each tropical island as you go?
- Experience BA’s new Club Suite
British Airways is currently rolling out its stunning new Business Class cabin. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, this much-improved cabin boasts fully-flat beds and that famous British Airways hospitality. Fly on any BA A350-1000 now to experience the new Club Suite.
- Settle into The Pier Lounge at Hong Kong Airport
Business Class lounges are generally fantastic, but The Pier is next level. Cathay Pacific has cleverly brought together traditional style and modern-day touches to develop the ultimate Business Class lounge. Slurp artisan teas at the unique Tea House, grab dinner from the Noodle Bar, and unwind with yoga or meditation in The Sanctuary.
- Go plane-spotting on Maho Beach, St Maarten
St Maarten in the Caribbean has become a must-visit location for anyone who loves aviation. As anyone who’s seen the endless YouTube videos will know, Maho Beach is in an unusual position. Right next to Princess Juliana International Airport, the beach lies at the very end of the runway – meaning that planes land and take off just a few metres over holidaymakers’ heads. The jets are so close, in fact, that you can feel the ‘whoosh’ of air as they pass.
- Take a flight to South America with Virgin Atlantic
Virgin’s new service to Sao Paulo – it’s first ever to South America – commences in March 2020, joining Tel Aviv and a return to Mumbai, plus increased services to Los Angeles and the Caribbean among others – in a rapidly growing network for the airline. Although you won’t be aboard one its new A350s (you’ll need to be heading to New York and Washington to experience one of those), the B787-9 Dreamliner is still a relatively new addition to the fleet, so you can be assured of a comfortable, quiet and efficient trip.
- Travel through Beijing’s new mega airport, Daxing
They do big things quickly in China, and the country’s newest – and biggest – airport is no exception to that rule. Boasting a terminal measuring seven million square metres with two floors each for arrivals and departures, seven runways and capacity for 100 million travellers a year, Daxing Airport in Beijing also has its own solar farm, a fleet of clean energy vehicles and 100% rainwater collection. However it was completed – within budget – in less than five years. During 2020, services from British Airways, Finnair, LOT and others will see arrive and depart from there – just make sure you leave plenty of time for any connections!
- See the Northern Lights from the air
Take off from the UK and fly to Iceland to see the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis. These specially chartered flights provide uninterrupted views across the night sky and give you the best chance of seeing the magical Northern Lights – a real Flucket List experience.
- Hop on an ‘empty leg’ flight
Private jets aren’t just for millionaires. If you’re flexible on when and where you fly, then you too can travel on your own Global Express business jet. All you need to do is book an ‘empty leg’ flight. An ‘empty leg’ occurs when the plane is flown empty at the end of a season, in order to get back to its base. Not only are these flights lovely and quiet, but tickets are sold for a fraction of the cost of a standard charter – so keep any eye out for a bargain!
- Soar in a Spitfire
In 2020, we’ll be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. What better way to remember those tumultuous days than to don a flight suit and take to the air a specially modified two-seater training Spitfire – the hero of the battle that raged over Britain’s skies. This unbelievable experience is available on select dates in 2020, with flights taking off from the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire.
- Forget 19 hours – how about a 53-second flight?
Blink and you’ll miss it. This one-of-a-kind flight awaits the explorers and adventurers out there. In the far north of Scotland, you’ll find the world’s shortest flight – the tiny 1.7 mile route from Westray to Papa Westray lasts as little as 53 seconds! The Loganair Islander aircraft used for this route holds just eight passengers and has only one pilot. Flights operate daily and cost just £17.
- Fly to the edge of space with Virgin Galactic
According to statements made in October 2019, Virgin Galactic expects to begin passenger-services in 2020 – although after many similar such statements in the past, they’re being distinctly cagey around a specific month. If it does happen, those with deep enough pockets (tickets are around $250,000 per person) will attend pre-flight training at the recently opened Space Port America in the New Mexico Desert. Then, they’ll jet off on their 90-minute trip to suborbital space, 80 kilometres up aboard carrier aircraft White Knight Two, and then VS Unity where they’ll experience a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to earth.
For those with more mortal wallets – but who still want to find out what weightlessness is really like – it’s possible to book flights aboard a modified Boeing 727 departing from a range of US airports each year. On board, you’ll get taken up to 30,000 feet before beginning one of 15 dives, climbs and parabolic curves that create a weightless environment. So you’ll float, flip and feel what it’s like to be an astronaut.