We’re flying today. Total time in the air should be around 18½ hours (Cape Town is long way from anywhere), but then when you add check-ins and door to door stuff, you’re probably looking at nearer a whole day.
We could have gone on a much more direct route (and potentially avoided this), but that wouldn’t actually have saved much more than 3 or 4 hours and would have wasted half a day at the other end. It would have also cost a lot more (like almost double), and to be honest we would rather spend that money on experiences and beer than on a slightly more direct flight.
That slightly more direct flight would also be on a very old plane, instead of the shiny new ones we will be enjoying.
And although BA have now done away with their 747s, they are still running 777-200s mostly built in the last century, on the Cape Town route. Those outdated aircraft don’t offer much comfort for passengers, given that it’s their 5th longest flight at around 11½ hours.
BA’s longer flights are:
4: Gatwick to Mauritius (also on 777-200s and doubly awful because you start at Gatwick)
3: Heathrow to Singapore
2: Heathrow to Buenos Aires
1: Heathrow to Santiago
That discomfort noted, it’s worth remembering that BA have been flying to Cape Town for over 90 years now. The first flight (albeit operating under Imperial Airlines, rather than the BA name at the time) was on January 20th 1932. The distance of er… 6000 Miles… being a bit much for aircraft back in those days, there were numerous stops along the way, and the journey took 11 days rather than 11 hours.
Better book a bit more annual leave.