Usually we have only one shot at a New Year’s celebration. If it doesn’t go quite as we hoped, we have to wait patiently until Dec. 31 rolls around again.
For the lucky passengers on a Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Hawaii, a do-over came much sooner. Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA446 took off from Auckland, New Zealand, on the first day of 2018 and landed in Honolulu on the last day of 2017.
No, they didn’t accidentally board Marty McFly’s DeLorean. In fact, the jet traveled through several time zones and the International Date Line. The International Date Line zig-zags from the North Pole to the South Pole through the sparsely populated Pacific Ocean. It separates the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere.
Also, the time difference between Auckland and Honolulu is 23 hours. As a result, passengers onboard the Hawaiian Airlines flight experienced the time travel effect and the chance to ring in the new year twice. It takes just over eight hours to fly from Auckland to Honolulu, so everyone on board had plenty of time to prep for New Year’s Eve take two.
The flight tracking website Flightradar24’s Twitter account was first to point out the time-hopping flight.
Time travel is possible!
Flight #HA446 just took off from New Zealand in 2018 and will land in Hawaii back in 2017! pic.twitter.com/3KsCEniCOL
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) December 31, 2017
With an ABC reporter capturing the flight times to illustrate the funny occurrence:
Because of an unexpected delay, Hawaiian Airlines flight 446 took off in 2018 and will land in 2017. #timetravel pic.twitter.com/A5vesXmjqq
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) December 31, 2017
At least one passenger onboard recognized the time difference.
Just landed! #timetravel #HA446 pic.twitter.com/cFro4cHU5q
— Vsauce (@tweetsauce) December 31, 2017
Another commenter remembered taking a similar flight from Australia. She even enjoyed complimentary Champagne, which seems appropriate.
Other commenters noted the similarities to “Back to the Future.” Unlike McFly, however, the Hawaiian airlines passengers had a bit more leg room.
These ppl are going back into last yr without a space flux capacitor.. pic.twitter.com/fA2Fsw1t5s
— Own Your Masters 👑 (@ThaArchitect) December 31, 2017
Interestingly, this “back to the future” phenomenon almost didn’t happen. Flight HA446 was originally scheduled to depart Auckland at 11:55 pm on Dec. 31, 2017, but the plane was actually a bit delayed. The short delay bumped it five minutes into the new year. So, it actually left at 12:05 am on Jan. 1, 2018.
Happy New Year, again!