Flying to Australia is a long arduous experience. The flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is a nonstop flight and typically takes around 14 to 15 hours. Besides the length of the flight, you will cross the International Date Line, which messes up your body clock. This means that you can board a flight in Los Angeles on a Monday night and arrive in Sydney on Wednesday morning. The best advice is to sleep. Melbourne, Australia is 16 hours ahead of the Eastern U.S - a quick, but sometimes effective way to calculate the time in the U.S while you're in Australia is to subtract 4 hours from the current time and switch from AM to PM or vice versa. The opposite holds true when calculating the time in Melbourne from the U.S.
If you are flying First Class or Business Class, great! This is very expensive though. Business Class tickets from the U.S. can be over $7,000 (U.S.). First Class can be over $12,000 (U.S.). The service is much better and you will be much more comfortable than in Coach. Book early if you are using your miles. There are very few seats allocated for these international flights .It is advisable that you book 6 months in advance or more. The problem that you face is that the airlines will tell you that there are no seats available for frequent flier miles on the flight that you want. Business Class and First Class may be half empty but there are no seats allocated for your type of "free" ticket is what they are saying.
You have several choices of companies flying from the United States; Qantas, Air New Zealand and United all fly from California to Sydney and Melbourne.
The Internet provides a wonderful opportunity to explore and research your flight opportunities. Two sites that you could use are Expedia and Travel Now. Both are powerful travel search engines and are a great place to start researching your options. There are many others however and much of it is personal preference.
The bottom line is that you will get there. Even if you are stuck in a middle seat at the back of the plane, Australia is worth it. There is no other country like it.
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