Am I going to be stuck in the past FOREVER?
November 24, 2006 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Okay, so I'm flying from New York at 6:55pm (EST) on December 30th, and arriving in Seoul at 5:45am (Korea Time) on January 1st. Presumably westward. I've been trying to wrap my head around when exactly I'll see the New Year, but I can't do it.

I know there used to be a tool that would plot the trajectory of any given flight, but I can't find it anymore. I also don't know exactly how long it would take to go from timezone to timezone, etc etc. I doubt this is something that can be figured out exactly, but any insights? I'd love to be able to say I saw the beginning of 2007 twice, or never actually left 2006.
posted by borkingchikapa to Travel & Transportation around Seoul, South Korea (11 answers total)
Thinking of FlightAware? AFAIK, though, it tracks only current flights.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2006

Great Circle Mapper
posted by cillit bang at 10:35 AM on November 24, 2006

You can't celebrate new year twice flying west. If you reach the international dateline before midnight, you'll jump from 11pm on the 30th to 11pm on the 31st, which is boring. If you cross it after midnight, you'll jump from 1am on the 31st to 1am on the 1st, which means you'll never see the stroke of midnight.

("midnight" at the dateline is 7am EST or 9pm Korea time, ie 12 hours into your flight)
posted by cillit bang at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2006

I entirely missed the 4th of july last year whilst crossing the dateline. Boo.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2006

I say celebrate 5 hours and 5 minutes after takeoff. You'll be in sync with your east coast friends.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2006

Can you find out, and post, the details of your flight? The JFK-Incheon nonstop flights around then only depart midmorning, so it doesn't seem like it's any of those. If I knew what flight it was, I could do some research and figure out exactly where you'll be when, and be able to give a good estimate on when you'll pass through midnight.
posted by blacklite at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2006

Response by poster: Oh whoops, looks like I screwed up the details a bit. This is what I'm ACTUALLY doing.

Departure (JFK): December 31, 12:50 AM EST (morning)
Arrival (ICN): January 1, 5:50 AM KST (morning)

Thanks, Blacklite.
posted by borkingchikapa at 1:22 PM on November 24, 2006

That makes it much more likely you'll cross the dateline on the 31st (which in dateline terms starts 6h10m into your flight), meaning you never see midnight.
posted by cillit bang at 1:50 PM on November 24, 2006

There are a few ways to handle one's personal time zone.

Flight crews use the local time of the destination, immediately after takeoff. It's what I do, too -- I just set my watch to the time zone of my destination airport once we leave the ground. It makes it easier to get used to the time zone of your destination, although I suppose it's all mental. In KST, you depart at 2:50pm, December 31. Using this method, your personal midnight will be 9h 10m after takeoff, and you'll probably be above northwestern Alaska somewhere.

The other method is the one it looks like you're thinking of, where you switch time zones through each one that you traverse. This doesn't work out very well for you, though, because as a couple of people have suggested, the date line will mess things up. All of your flight will occur earlier than 08:00am local time. You'll probably exit the Alaska time zone around December 31 8am local time (5pm UTC, about 11 hours after takeoff), and then enter the Kamchatka time zone, where it will be January 1 5am, thereby depriving you of any midnight.

Option three is using UTC (Universal Coordinated Time, == GMT, or Zulu time). Dec 31 Midnight UTC is Jan 1 9 am Korea time, which means you'll be off the plane by then. :)
posted by blacklite at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2006

It's situations like this that really expose the illusory nature of time.

If you're worried about missing midnight, I say you should either stick with your originating time zone (EST) and have your own private new years celebration (complete with streamers, a noise maker, and alcohol) in the commode on the plane; or, you take option 3 above (GMT) and go to breakfast in korea listening to (and singing along with) "auld lang syne" on your ipod while drinking mimosas.

Either way, you should make the most of being alone on NYE.
posted by GS1977 at 3:10 AM on November 25, 2006

Bill Bryson wrote about this in his book of travels across Australia.

He reasoned that all plane tickets for flights that cross the date line should contain a warning:

"Warning: Temporary Loss of Existence May Occur During Flight"
posted by TheOtherGuy at 5:11 AM on November 25, 2006

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