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Qantas non-stop flight from Australia to UK makes history

Nadja Beschetnikova
March 26, 2018

Qantas Airways just made history. Perth and London are now connected with the first non-stop flight. 

It becomes the first regularly scheduled nonstop commercial airline service connecting Australia and Europe. The inaugural non-stop flight QF9 took off from Perth at 7pm local time on Saturday, 24th March, and has landed in London at 5 am GMT on Sunday.

The QF10 Flight 10 departs London Heathrow at 1:15 p.m. and arrives back in Perth the next day at 1:00 p.m. Passengers stay on board for approximately 17 hours. The flight covers 9,009-miles over the course of the journey. The flight will run daily.

The flight is operated by four pilots during the journey, with a total 16 crew members on board. The aircraft has a vibrant livery based on the artwork Y am Dreaming by Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

For the inaugural flight tickets were available, starting from $1,099 for a one-way, and $1,428 for a round-trip in the economy class. The whole business class for the premiere night was of course reserved for journalists and company management, but it’s available for the next flights in March, starting from $5,139 for a round-trip. 

The route will be operated with the newest aircraft recently ordered by Qantas, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft is programmed with jetlag-reducing features to make the long-haul route more bearable.

Among the jet-lag-fighting features are the seats, designed with more space, better pressurization and humidity, technology to reduce turbulence, and windows that are up to 65-percent larger than those on conventional aircraft.  

Besides, according to the airline, the “homestyle comfort food” menus for trips between Perth and London are designed to reduce jet lag too. With meals including salad of cumin spiced beef with courgette, cheese ravioli, or chicken with red rice and roasted Mediterranean vegetables each menu helps to maintain hydration and aids sleep.

Chicken with red rice and roasted Mediterranean vegetables, one of the economy meals served during the 17-hour Qantas flight.
Photograph: Wayne Kwong/Twitter

Qantas’s 787-9 Dreamliner has a total of 236 seats including 42 of the airline’s latest business class lie-flats in a 1–2–1 configuration so every passenger has direct-aisle access. 

Each bed is 80 inches long. The roomy flat is equipped with a 16-inch entertainment screen, USB and AC power ports.

The premium economy section has 28 seats in a 2–3–2 configuration. Each is 20.5 inches wide, has 38 inches of pitch and reclines to nine-and-a-half inches with netted footrests for ergonomic relaxation.

Their entertainment screens are 13.3 inches wide, and each seat has five small stowage areas for items like tablets, passports and water bottles.

The economy class boasts 166 seats in 3-3-3 configuration, each is 17.2 inches wide. They feature 12-inch entertainment screens, integrated mood lighting, and personal device holders.

"I think Qantas' designers have really thought about the little extras like storage space, charging ports, the footrest is really good. This is the first long-haul economy I've done where I haven't got a sore back, the angle of the seat is really good,» a passenger gave a positive feedback, and praised the work Qantas has done. 

The launch of the flights is a significant moment for the airline industry since it can have a significant impact on the preferences of passengers. It’s around three hours quicker than routes which involve stopping in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

The new long-haul route is designed to attract first of all lucrative corporate travelers who can save several hours by avoiding a stop-off, but it will definitely popular among tourists as well since Australia is becoming an attractive destination for Britons.

Could you believe that in 1947 the route between Australia and London took four days and the flight included seven stops? That’s why the route was originally named the “kangaroo route”.

Qantas has also adjusted the timings of some domestic flights in Australia to allow passengers to fly into Perth from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane to catch the QF9.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the company is interested in expanding its non-stop service. The next destination could be Paris.

Currently, there are three active participants in the battle for the title of the “World’s Longest Flight”. Recently, the title has passed from hand to hand between Qantas with its 16-hour, 50-minute flight from Dallas Fort-Worth to Sydney, and Emirates with its 17-hour, 15-minute flight from Auckland to Dubai. Currently, the record for the longest flight in the world is held by Qatar Airways with its 18-hour, 5-minute flight from Auckland to Doha, covering 9,032 miles.

In addition to notable advantages for passengers, the new aircraft is more environmental-friendly.

The Dreamliners use 20 percent less fuel than a Boeing 747 on a per-seat basis and have operating costs that are 15 percent lower.