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We, my Wife and I, both in our 70s, wish to visit Australia, (Fly from L.A.) The idea of a long flight does not apeal to us. How can this be handled? Fly to Hawaii, then perhaps Fiji, or (what) other stop, before making the jump to Melborne? Which Airline has the comfort we need? Thank You Jack Smith

I've made the flight twice and it seems endless. I'm an elite flyer with United so I was able to book a premium economy bulkhead seat on the side with really helped as I could prop my legs up on the wall.

Air New Zealand offers some long-haul possiblities with their Premium Economy seats or their Sky Couch options. I flew them to NZ some years ago when they just offered regular economy and they at least had a leg rest which helped. Their website is: They used to offer stopovers on Fiji or Cook Islands. I don't know if they still do this or not.

I think Qantas is also offering Premium Economy now as well from Los Angeles.

Air Tahiti Nui flies LAX to Papeete then on to Auckland where you can connect to flight to Melbourne but they only offer Economy and Business/First class.

Hawaii to Sydney is almost 12 hours so almost as long a flight as LAX to Sydney so that stopover will not help much.

I've made the LA-Sydney flight a number of times and agree that it can be painfully long. If business class isn't an option for you, I'd also suggest looking into Economy Plus seats on United. The extra leg room helps. I also think that Qantas has something similar but it may cost more than Economy Plus on United.

One option is LAX-Papeete-Auckland-Sydney. (I don't know if there's a non-stop flight from Auckland to Melbourne.) But I don't think that Papeete itself is much of a place to visit. The other option is to stop over in Fiji, perhaps using Air Pacific, the Fijian carrier (if it offers something like Economy Plus). There's a satisfactory hotel right across the street from the terminal at Nadi airport, and plenty of resorts within a 30 minute drive. You could look at places along the Coral Coast.

Taking a break on Fiji for a day or two certainly makes the trip more acceptable. Alternatively, Fiji is also a hub from which you could fly to the Cooks or Samoa or Tonga. While you're in the neighborhood, see the South Pacific!

If you're thinking of stopping off in both Hawaii and Fiji in one or both directions, check with your airline as to the number of free stopovers you're allowed. I won't be surprised if you learn that you're allowed only one stopover in each direction.