Why Planes Don’t Fly Over The Pacific Ocean

by SharonKurheg

Have you ever seen the flight patterns of flights from Japan to the United States? They never go directly across the Pacific Ocean to get to, say, San Francisco. They take a curved pattern that brings them, if not over Canada, then near it.



The same goes for fights between, for example, Los Angeles and Beijing – they take an upward curve route that hugs Canada, Alaska, Russia, etc., before reaching their destination in China.

So what’s up with that? Why don’t planes fly over the Pacific Ocean?

Well, of course, SOME planes fly over the Pacific. Lots of them, really. I mean, there’s no way you can get to Hawaii from anywhere else without flying over the ocean. Flights between the U.S. & Australia or New Zealand go directly over the Pacific waters, too. But if you’re more north and plan to fly somewhere that’s more north? It definitely looks like a roundabout way of getting there, doesn’t it?

In a nutshell, it all has to do with saving time, saving fuel, distance, safety, and a few other factors. Watch this:

Of course, the “rules” for this have changed somewhat since most planes aren’t flying over Russia or Ukraine right now. But until that all started, yeah…pretty interesting, huh?

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EL's Abject Creation March 25, 2023 - 9:19 am

If the world is round this picture doesn’t help at all. If the world is round Paris and Boston are right next to each other. That flight pattern picture proves only that they fly within our earth and logic would suggest flying over water (ocean) is more than likely going to have storms than flying on coastlines or above land.

Al November 12, 2023 - 9:30 pm

This is not really accurate. For many flights from Asia to US West Coast, it largely depends on wind and jet stream. Sure the great circle route is the shortest but it does you no good if you are going against a strong jet stream or conversely to take advantage of the jetstream by riding straight across. I’ve flown many times from HK to SFO going straight across either to take advantage or to avoid the jetstream.


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