Celebrating 2020 By Flying During The New Year Holiday


When we picture New Year’s Eve celebrations in our minds, we think of fireworks and huge parties. Here in the US, we tend to think immediately of the sparkling globe dropping to the rooftop of 1 Times Square at exactly midnight — an American tradition since 1908


But what about traveling during the New Year? What is it like to be in the air on this holiday? 


There are definitely both pros and cons, but some are trying to make “New Year’s In The Air” a new popular way to celebrate … many by promising a second celebration in a different time zone. 


New Year’s Eve – What To Expect At The Airport


This might actually be one of the best parts to flying during this holiday, especially if you’re not traveling for the novelty. For the most part, airports on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are far emptier than during other days this time of year. This is mostly because people are already at their chosen destinations. 


USA Today surveyed some of the busiest airports in the United States, and found a common theme among all of them: 


“[Los Angeles International Airport] says about 239,000 fliers are expected to pass through the airport on both Dec. 21 and Dec.23. The slowest days there will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, LAX says.

At Florida’s Orlando International, however, officials say five of the six busiest days during the window will fall between Christmas and New Year’s. Orlando officials believe that airport’s two busiest days during the holiday period will be Dec. 28, followed by Dec. 27.” – USA Today


So maybe flying on New Year’s Eve is simply the smart choice to make for someone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of an otherwise busy time of year. 


But what if you are interested in actually celebrating the holiday in a new way? Well, it looks like airlines are starting to oblige.


Getting Two New Year’s Eves in 24 Hours


The idea of celebrating New Year’s in one location, then flying “backward” to celebrate it again isn’t new. What is new is the fact that some companies are starting to offer packages to promote exactly this. 


Business Insider highlights private jets that will take a party of 8 from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California in order to celebrate the New Year in both locations. “the time in LA is 19 hours behind Sydney, so if you can make the journey between the two cities in less time than that, you can fly “back in time” and arrive several hours before you left.” These kinds of packages bring hefty price tags, however, so unless you are ready to save up quite a bit, you may want to skip on down to the next option:


Simpleflying.com offers a look at possible other routes to plan for a double-party on New Year’s Eve, as well as a handy graphic to show why this is possible when flying across the international date line. Essentially, any flight taking off from the asian side of the pacific and landing in the western hemisphere will provide you with two different New Year’s celebrations. 


Examples on simpleflying.com include:

Hong Kong -> Los Angeles, CA

Tokyo, Japan -> Los Angeles, CA

Guam -> Honolulu, HI


Image of the International Date Line from TimeAndDate.com


Spending Midnight In The Air

This is another trend that is slowly catching on – airlines offering New Year’s Eve packages for spending the magic moments of the new year at 30,000 feet. 


Aerotime.aero puts together lists of flights which will be in the air at midnight (for both originating time zone and destination) so that you can party with the others on your flight. They also pay close attention to what cities you will be flying over. This way, you can observe festivities on the ground. 


For a first-hand account, we turn to the author’s father, who is a very frequent flyer. “I got stuck one year having to take a flight from Grand Rapids, MI to San Diego, CA on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “I thought I’d probably just sleep through the whole thing like I usually do, but we got to see the fireworks all across the first part of the country from the air. We saw the ones in Chicago, then I want to say St Louis, but don’t quote me. Plus a bunch of smaller cities’ firework shows in between. Either way, it was pretty spectacular, and now I’m glad I was able to see it.” 


When asked if he would do it again, he replied “probably not, unless I could be up there with my family. Then it might be pretty fun.” 


Though it should be noted as one blogger points out regarding her own New Year’s Eve flight experience, champagne is not allowed on some airlines due to its pressurization. If you are going to be opening a bottle when flying those airlines, it would need to be a flat wine instead. Check with your airline of choice before booking if this would be a deal-breaker for you.


In an interview with Today.com, Dr Robert Quigly of MedAire.com also warns that carbonation can expand up to 30% at the higher altitudes. So that bubbly would make you feel a lot more bloated than it would on the ground anyway. It might be better to skip it until you land at your destination.



Ringing in A New Decade


No matter how you are going to be celebrating the New Year (and the New Decade!), we here at Cornerstone Information Services hope that it is full of happiness, joy, and great memories. Above all, we wish you both prosperity and safety in your celebration and for the whole of 2020. 


And if you are traveling, you may want to check out our previous post on “Holiday Travel Hacks” from many of our veteran travelers here at Cornerstone! 


Happy New Year, and Safe Journeys! 


Holiday “Travel Hacks” From The Experts


With the Holiday Season in full swing, we thought it might be fun to have our Cornerstone family share some of their favorite travel hacks, tips, and tricks with you this week. Not only do we handle travel data for major global travel agencies … but many of us are veteran travelers ourselves!


Whether it’s advice for short domestic hops or long international hauls, hopefully these can help turn your holiday travel from a dreaded ordeal into a pleasant journey:


Arrive At the Airport Early

  • Arrive early for flights  – Jim


  • Save your sanity and allow plenty of extra time – Laurie


  • Get to the airport earlier than you think you need too – Amy


  • Seems like common sense, but arrive at the airport early and ensure your phone is fully charged. Charging ports always seem to be at a premium  – Bobbi


  • Make sure you allow for extra time getting through security so you’re not short on time getting to your flight – Sheri


Download the Airline’s App Before You Go

  • If flying, download the airline’s app.  Use it for your boarding pass, tracking bags, maps at airports, schedule changes, etc – Amy


  • You can also download an app to check airport security lines and wait times – Amy


  • If you’re tech savvy, download the airline app to your phone so you can use that for flight updates, boarding passes, and general airport information – Sheri


Plan, Plan, Plan, and Remain both Flexible and Vigilant Until You Arrive

  • Prepare for (and expect) delays. Also, have a backup plan if a flight cancelled or delayed  – Jim


  • I would also say avoid weekend travel, especially when Christmas is on a Tuesday or Wednesday  – Laurie


  • Fly as early in the day as possible – more time for re-routing, if needed  – Shaun


  • Keep an eye on your flight status. Even if weather is not a factor in your area, there could be a domino effect, especially if you have connecting flights – Jodi


  • Make sure to check your flight status prior to going to the airport – Sheri


  • Remember your cell phone charger and perhaps also bring a charging pack. You don’t want to be low on power if you have to communicate with relatives or use an Uber – Nick


  • Clear storage space in your cell phone, so you can take plenty of pictures and videos – Nick


Packing Light and Smart

  • When packing, use “Travel Cubes”.  They save space, are easy to unpack, and make it easy to keep things organized. Plus you can use a cube for dirty clothes while you are traveling – Amy


  • Use packing bags in order to organize your clothes.  They save you space in your bag and keep things from getting wrinkled. It also helps stay organized and ready to go home or to your next destination – Mat


  • Use a small craft organizer box to pack jewelry.  Cheap, adjustable, and keeps items separate – Holly


  • Keep all required medications on you and not in your luggage, just in case your luggage gets lost – Sheri


  • Before you travel, buy two (2) of every hygiene item you use and create a travel hygiene bag.  Then you have your travel bag ready at all times and don’t have to worry about the hassle of getting all the hygiene essentials at the last minute.  Having this grab and go takes a little stress off of the packing day – Jenny


  • Binder clip your razors.  When grabbing for items in your beauty bag, don’t get cut by your razor.  Place binder clip on the blade side and protect yourself from a nasty cut when in a rush searching for something – Jenny


  • Don’t over pack!  The less you have to carry, the easier you will be able to maneuver through airports and be able to keep your carry-on luggage with you – Sheri


  • Bring a charger in your carry-on! – Amy


Looking The Part


  • Dressing nicely will surprisingly save you trouble. Plus dress shoes are easier to take off to put through the x-ray – Marco


  • When traveling abroad, try not to look like a tourist or someone that doesn’t belong.  Do your research and try to fit in vs. stand-out. The best way to do this is to look at pictures on the internet of how people dress. Get familiar on Google Maps where you are staying and local landmarks.  Know the general way from the airport to your hotel – Mat


  • If you’re traveling alone, dressed nicely, and wearing your smile, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. The gate people will be far more likely to upgrade someone who looks responsible and who looks easy and pleasant to deal with – Lierin


Pack Your Smile, and Don’t Be Afraid  to Ask For That Upgrade or For Other Help From Gate Agents


  • ​If you’re running late, ask at the gate if they can help in any way. It only worked once, but I was dressed nicely and they took me on one of those golf carts between the airport walls all the way to my gate – Marco


  • Bring extra patience (and kindness)! – Laurie


  • The Gate Agent is your best friend, or your worst enemy; be nice to them – Shaun


  • Smile – everyone is in the same boat … and, thank the various workers you encounter because they’re working during the holidays so you can travel  – Shaun


Don’t Check A Bag If You Can Help It


  • When flying, avoid checking any bags if you can. It makes it easier for airline staff to help you change flights if necessary. They often give a visible sigh of relief when they learn there are no checked bags to deal with! – Nick


  • Try not to check any bags. Do you know how much airlines make in just baggage fees? It’s crazy! Besides, you can fit a lot in a purse, laptop case, and a carry-on. If you MUST, it’s probably cheaper to ship other stuff to your destination than to check it on the plane – Lierin


Getting Through Security Hack? – Bring An Empty Water Bottle!

  • I always take my empty water bottle through the security check and fill it up at filling station after security. Saves you from buying an overpriced bottle of water! – Lauren


  • Bring reusable water-bottles. (Empty until you get through TSA) They can always be re-filled, and you don’t have to buy water at the airport – Amy


  • Make sure you review the TSA requirements prior to going to the airport.  It will help you speed through security – Sheri


Once You Arrive

  • Jetlag is a strange beast. Most people that can sleep on the plane do so. But if you can’t, which is common, it’s really best to just get there and essentially sleep from when you land to when you should be waking up the following day. That can be a few hours to something like 20 hours. That’s how I used to get adjusted flying so much from Italy to Brazil and back  – Marco


  • Shop for groceries when you arrive and are settled at your destination.  Getting the basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton of money – Mat


  • Uber vs. Lyft vs. Gett (taxi).  There are a ton of services for ride sharing  There is a HUGE difference in pricing for airport runs.  Check all three and save money – Mat


  • Make sure you have something that stands out on your luggage so it’s easily identified coming off the baggage claim – Sheri


  • Put identification inside your checked luggage so in case the exterior identification tag gets lost, your luggage can still be identified – Sheri


Other Invaluable Tips From Seasoned Cornerstone Travelers:

  • Bring a rubix cube. Maybe odd, sure, but showing a stewardess how to solve my rubix cube paid for a sandwich on a flight once – Marco


  • Save on international data and cell phone charges.  Upgrade your phone so you can use e-sim technology. I am really loving the GSMA e-sim providers that can save you a ton like TruPhone.com and GigSky.com – Mat


  • Don’t pay international costs for your cell phone. There are so many other ways to call people. Get a “call through the internet” app. Use Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, whatever you want. My husband and I would pay for Skype minutes whenever he had to go to Italy. Did you know you could use Skype from a Playstation Portable? Neither did I! – Lierin


  • Keep a pen/ pencil or crayon handy to draw or play tic-tac-toe with the kids – Bobbi


  • Not just for the holidays ….. but keep a journal or take pics of the labels from wines you enjoyed when traveling so you can remember them when you get back home – Bobbi


  • Pack an extra holiday card with an Amazon gift card. There may be someone at your celebration that you weren’t expecting, and you won’t want to be empty-handed at gift-giving time! – Nick


And the best Holiday Travel Hack comes from our very own St Nick!: 

  • When traveling by reindeer sleigh, be cognizant of foggy weather conditions. Proper lighting is important, so arrange your team of reindeer accordingly – St. Nick


Although, we have to say that there is one Cornerstone employee who seems to have beaten holiday travel altogether!

My ‘Holiday Travel Hack’:  I tell people I’ll cook the meals if they travel to me instead – Josh

But unless you’re lucky enough to be the actual “holiday destination” like Josh, we hope these travel tips and tricks can help make your holiday a little less stressful and a little more bright!

Happiest of Holidays and Brightest of New Years from our Cornerstone family to you and your own!