TravelExpertGuide - The travel guide you can trust. News, articles, directories and dictionary on travel.
Travel Forum    Air Travel
Travel Discussion Forum


Why dont planes fly over antartica?

When i was flying from Western Australia to Brazil i was wondering why didnt the plane just fly over antartica it would have been shorter distance than flying across pacfic ocean

Check our article section Travel Tips
5 Most Adventurous and Dangerous Tours on the Planet
Post reply   New thread
Show all answers

Kevin P
Often, planes will fly over Antarctica. There is nothing preventing an aircraft from doing so, and airlines will if it is actually a shorter flight.
A great tool I have found online is the "Great Circle Mapper", a program that will extrapolate the shortest route between two points on the globe. If you take a look at an example flight between Sao Paulo and Sydney, its ideal path doesn't take it directly over the pole, but just around it in the pacific.

Barbados Chick
Not really, it depends on the earths spinning - if you were against the spin it would be quicker - as the earth would be turing towards to.

Because of the magnetic field around the Earth. On Antartica is exactly south magnetic pole and pilots in airplane in this moment shall lost any possibility for navigation. In the air you haven't any sign-post and always the pilots are dependent about instruments in airplane. If they will fly over the Antartica great possibility could be to finish fly for example in South Africa! Best Regards and veradisca! Neven.

I dont' think it has anything to do with the magnetic compass.
I learned to navigate while in the Navy, we used magnetic and Lorain and that was back in 1973. Lorain is a electronic system. As for flying over antartica maybe the commerical airliners perfer not to do it because of weather conditions there?

It's got nothing to do with the magnetic poles. Most planes navigate by GPS anyway, but hundreds of planes and ships operate in the arctic and antarctic regions (supplying the polar bases, for example) without any difficulty.

There's nothing to see there and nowhere to go!

It most likely depended on the type of aircraft you were flying on. If it was a twin-engine such as a Boeing 777 or Airbus 330, there are certain regulations that apply to how far the aircraft can be away from an airport in case of emergency. (This is called ETOPS. Wikipedia has a decent entry for it Another factor may have been weather - maybe storms or a headwind prevented travel over Antarctica.

Their direction finders don't work due to the magnetic fields of the poles and the plane can fly off course and get lost big time

 Enter Your Message or Comment

User Name:  
User Email:   
Post a comment:


TravelExpertGuide - The travel guide you can trust. Travel articles, news and directories
TravelExpertGuide Facebook Page TravelExpertGuide Twitter Page TravelExpertGuide Google+ Page
Terms of Service   |  Privacy Policy
Partner Links  |  Contact Us

© 2013 TravelExpertGuide
 ARTICLES Hot in Travel 
 NEWS Europe 
 DICTIONARY Family Vacations