Why Do Flights Through China Take Such Odd Routes?

It's all twists and turns!
Derya Ozdemir

Millions of people travel by plane every day, participating in this seemingly miraculous activity in which a large hunk of metal hovers in the sky for extended periods of time and transports them to magnificent destinations in record speed. However, as you might expect, flying from point A to point B entails more than merely determining the shortest distance between two points. In truth, a variety of factors influence flight routes, and pilots cannot just fly anywhere they wish.

Aside from technical and practical issues such as waypoints and natural jet streams, there are also political, legal, and financial restrictions on flight paths. Take China, for example. When flying over China, you'll see that there is all sorts of seemingly random twists and turns. But why is this the case? This is an intriguing subject, but in order to understand why China's aircraft routes appear so strange, you must first grasp how flight routes function in general. To learn more, watch this video on the YouTube channel Half as Interesting.

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