Airline travelers takeoff in 2024 but reach their destinations in 2023

The international date line runs through the Pacific and serves as the line of demarcation between calendar dates. The Oceanic country of Kiribati is the first country to celebrate New Year’s Day, while American Samoa and nearby islands are the last to see the change of day.

Passengers aboard several transpacific flights took off from their destinations in 2024, but upon landing in the Western Hemisphere, the calendar read 2023, as if they had traveled back in time.

Flights operated by United Airlines, Japan’s All Nippon, China Southern Airlines and many others departed airports that were west of the international date line and landed in cities east of the demarcation.

Some of the itineraries included Tokyo to Los Angeles; Shanghai to Los Angeles; Hong Kong to San Francisco; and Shanghai to Anchorage, Alaska.

Many of these flights are daily excursions, but only on one day of the year can travelers say they ‘took off in the future and landed in the past.'


The international date line was established in 1884 and runs from the poles through the Pacific.

Island nations such as the Kingdom of Tonga, Kiribati and even the U.S. territory of Guam are some of the first islands west of the international date line.

These islands, therefore, are the first to ring in the new year, while islands southwest of Hawaii but east of the demarcation are some of the last. This includes American Samoa, French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.

A close examination of a global map shows the international date line takes on a zigzag path, and cartographers say that was done in order to keep the demarcation from dividing countries.

While the date line generally runs north to south from the North Pole to the South Pole, it zigzags around political borders such as eastern Russia and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.


Of the dozens of flights that start west of the international dateline during the early morning and arrive east of the demarcation during the late evening, only one route is considered to be domestic. This route is operated by United Airlines flight 200, which takes off from Guam’s Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport around 7:30 a.m. local time and arrives in Hawaii about 7 hours later, around 6:30 in the evening.

Unfortunately for travelers wishing to complete the oddity in 2024, significant delays pushed back the departure time of UA200, meaning that their arrival in Honolulu would happen after midnight and that there would be no double New Year for those aboard the Boeing 777-300.

According to data from FlightAware, several airports across East Asia faced a similar fate, with delays and cancelations, meaning 2024 may not have been the year to attempt this unique excursion.

Flight delays around the U.S.
(FOX Weather)