While some passengers are reeling at the $10,000 business class airfare for Qantas’ new Boeing 787 flights from Melbourne (or Sydney, or Brisbane) to London via Perth, low-cost airlines have put a cut-price Kangaroo Route on the horizon.
Sure, it’s got some long layovers – and it’s less business class than premium economy – but at around $1,700 to London via Singapore, we can think of worse ways to make a budget-minded business trip to Blighty.
It’s a low-cost combo of Singapore Airlines’ offshoot Scoot and Norwegian Air, which from late September will begin direct flights between Singapore and London’s Gatwick Airport.
Both legs are on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with a ‘premium’ cabin – although of course there’s a world of difference between this and what any other airline considers as business class.
You can forget about lie-flat seats with direct aisle access: these are recliners...
... and they're ranked 2-3-2.
But you still get meals and drinks, AC and USB power and checked luggage.
Even so, if you pegged the price against premium economy on a conventional airline you’re still looking at several thousands of dollars staying in your pocket; and by most counts it’s going to be better value than economy on any airline.
Norwegian cites its entry level premium fares for the Singapore-London at around $1,200 each way, with Scoot’s equivalent ScootBiz at up to $510 when we checked for flights in mid-November.
One downside is the long gap between flights: Scoot’s daily flight from Sydney reaches Singapore at 7.05pm, so you’re up for an overnight stay before Norwegian’s London-bound flight leaves at 9.30am the next morning.
Likewise, Norwegian’s return flight from Gatwick to Singapore arrives at 12.45pm – giving you some 13 hours to kill until the 1.45am departure of Scoot’s flight to Sydney.
The upside? You’re in Singapore, a business hub and appealing destination in its own right: so you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to break your journey for a day or two.
If you’re a business traveller on a budget, would you consider flying in a premium class with low-cost airlines between Australia and Europe?