Spring Break Svalbard! Or, the longest flight in the world

How much would it cost to fly between the furthest south airport in the world and the furthest north? How long would it take?

This was what I was thinking about as I lay in bed last night, in only my boxers, attempting to escape the Guadalajara heat.

But of course I couldn’t just let this question fester.

So I got to work.

ushuaia to svalbard

Too long to fit on Google Flights’ maps.

Our adventure starts on May 19th of this year in the wonderful South American city of Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Ushuaia is known, amongst other things, as the furthest south city in the world. Technically, Puerto Williams, Chile might be further south, but technically Puerto Williams might not be a city.

From Ushuaia we get on a $170 flight to Buenos Aires, where we stay a few days, dance a little tango, drink a little (we get mildly drunk) wine, and have dinner at 11pm, because that’s apparently the earliest it’s sociably acceptable to eat dinner in Buenos Aires on a weekend.

Now we need to get to Europe. So, we board a non-stop (!) flight from Buenos Aires to London, operated by Norwegian Air UK, on May 22nd, for just $574.

buenos aires to london norwegian

We’re getting close.

Fortunately, we only have one night in London. I say fortunately because London is expensive, and probably rainy. The very next day after arriving from Buenos Aires we get on this gorgeous, sleek flight from Heathrow to Svalbard with a sumptuous layover in Oslo, i.e, nine hours, i.e. long enough to walk to the gas station and get a hot dog, before heading to the Spring Break capital of Norway: Svalbard.

london to svalbard SAS

At 78 degrees north, Svalbard is one of the furthest north inhabited places in the world, and definitely one of the most accessible. It boasts the furthest north commercially accessible airport in the world, no work visa requirements for American citizens (as per the Treaty of Spitsbergen), and for having a law in which you must take a rifle along when leaving the city limits in case of polar bears. How many other cities do you know what have this rule? Exactly. Grab your bikini.

The total price for this jaunt, between the furthest south airport in the world and the furthest north, using the route I found last night, would be just over $900. If you bought the tickets all at once together it would cost over $2,000.

So again, grab your bikini, because: Spring break Svalbard!


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Lying on the Grass Outside the Buenos Aires Airport

buenos aires

It’s an opportunity. You must think of it as an opportunity. If you think of it as anything else you’ll get frustrated. Go ahead, get it all out. The girl in Bogota told you you’d have access to the VIP lounge. You might be way more comfortable there right now. And then the other girl told you you could recheck your bag at 330am, and then you were promptly told it would be 600 or 630am by someone else. Go ahead, complain. Go ahead, cry. But look on the bright side. It’s 351am. You’re lying on the grass outside the Buenos Aires international airport listening to the crickets. You’re in Argentina. You’re in South America. And not only are you in South America, but you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. And you’re going to the southernmost city in the world, a place most could only dream of going. And you’ll be there in just a few hours. You just have to wait a couple more hours and then check your bag. There isn’t even dew on this grass. It’s four in the morning and there’s no dew. How is that possible. Bless this country.

This experience is way cooler than any VIP lounge. You just got hit in the face with a leaf. In the VIP lounge you’d be stuffing your face with shitty food and checking Facebook 400 times. But instead you’re already out in it. You’re in nature. You hear crickets. You smell what smells like a fire. Or fall. It’s fall here. If you were inside the airport you wouldn’t even realize that. You’re in Argentina. You’re in Buenos Aires. The last time you were here was 2008. And you were only here for one night. You got drunk with your friend Andrea and her friend. You dine and dashed on some beers at a club. The next morning, at breakfast, Andrea fell asleep with her head on the table. You caught the metro home. South America. South America.

It’s all mental. You could rage over this situation right now. Or you could realize that each moment in life is precious. You could get a coffee. Maybe even talk to some Argentinian people. The breeze is hitting my face. It still smells like smoke. It feels like a summer night. You’re lying on the grass outside the Buenos Aires international airport listening to the crickets.