$1,700 'business class' to London: the cut-price Kangaroo Route

By David Flynn, May 10 2017
$1,700 'business class' to London: the cut-price Kangaroo Route

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?


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 940

This is the way of the future last month my brother went to Paris with Vietnam in business on there A350 for cheap cheap. He said it was amazing, he would do it again any day.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 148

VN isn't exactly what you'd consider a budget airline though...


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 940

It's more about the price he paid for VN, $1,200.00 in business

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 164

Each way, even with optiontown
VN is an excellent product and I have done 2 trips to Vietnam and 1 to Europe with them over the last 5 years but their prices have risen with the new planes and deservedly so! (A350 and 787, so as good as it gets, the old 340 and 777 from 3 years ago were a bit tired, probably re-fits of early 2000's planes) Yes they are by far the cheapest way to Europe in a proper lay flat, with excellent service (despite crap connections) , but they are not that cheap, they are around $3600 if you actually book J all they way on sale.
And I will be happy to say - I thoroughly recommend them, QF PE or VN J not even a contest
I put my money where my mouth is as well, I paid for my parents to go to London PE in November, despite my mothers mis-trustings as a 75 year old closet racist (you know the type, "I am not racist, but...")


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 940

$1,200 was Singapore to Paris with about 24 hrs stop over which he enjoyed. He used points to get to Singapore.

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 1

Hi there im new to this forum, coulod someone please tell me what QF, PE mean . We are actully flying to Euorpe in August 2018 and i seen return with Vietnam Airline for under $4000 each 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Dec 2016

Total posts 18

QF is the airline code for Qantas and PE means Premium Economy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

Long layover may not necessarily be a bad thing. I assume you can't book these 2 segments under one booking meaning:
1. You may not be able to check through the luggage, therefore need to allow enough time to clear custom, collect baggage and re-check-in again.
2. If there is a delay in the first segment and you miss the second flight, neither airline is responsible for any compensation as the contract of carriage is to take you from A to B only, no obligation to get you there on-time. Therefore a long layover gives extra leverage if there is any delay.
However, I would still make sure I have travel insurance in case either one of these flights get cancelled. Low cost airline usually do not offer much compensation.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1247

Completely agree on all points.

14 Nov 2015

Total posts 41

Travel insurance generally does not cover this scenario of missed connection on separate bookings, except under some fairly limited circumstances.  If you know one that does, please let me know!

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 163

Some cover when there is more than 24 hours between the flights

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 72

QR currently has a sale on. You can travel in J for little more than that (ex Europe)

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 55

Re QR, not ex Australia though (just looked this morning).

Separately, is there a website or newsletter one can sign up to that highlights J class deals ex AU? Plenty out there promoting the many crazy Y class fares in market, but I've yet to find anything highlighting J specials

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 72

Not specifically, although you could sign up to Point Hacks. 

They do a decent overview of Aussie based flights, credit cards, etc.

Alas, flying from Australia tends to be a captive market: not so easy to take a 1-2 hour flight and find yourself in another country with low airport duty/departure tax, etc.

Best of luck :-) 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 385

What I would do? I'd choose a full service network carrier and fly in Y for a lower price and take added benefits like better schedule, lounge, bags, meals etc for what is arguably the close to same product inflight. 

08 Dec 2014

Total posts 3

Norwegian have free functional wifi in Europe, nit sure about the new singapore flight though.


07 Jan 2017

Total posts 30

This is more of a premium economy than business. 


03 Apr 2017

Total posts 1

I just priced this out, it's around $400 cheaper than the equiv Singapore airlines premium economy, think I'd pay the extra to have the end to end ticket & luggage.

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 47

Agree... We just returned from Europe in PE on SQ and it was about $400 more for the return fare. With the supposed savings mentioned by David, around $150 for 6-8hrs in one of the Changi transit hotels would make the layover comfortably disappear. 

24 Apr 2015

Total posts 128

Scoot are excellent for the price. Flown them a few times.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

31 Jan 2013

Total posts 26

I've tried these budget "Business class" products before. Not great, but not terrible either. Definitely a step up from Y but nowhere near J. I think so long as you don't get the middle seat, it can be tolerable for long haul.

12 Sep 2014

Total posts 26

Shows how ripped we get in Aus as you can purchase BKK-LHR-BKK on QF/EK tin (A380) in FIRST for AUD$5500. Throw in a cheap J Jetstar/QF flight r/t Aus to BKK and a few days in Bangkok, and it's a sweet deal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 164

It IS business class... circa 1999

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 262

Best option would be the Bulk Head seats right?... right????

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 73

Definitely many options out there for people wanting business flights to Europe at a better price. And I think in the next few years there will be even more options competing for this area.

My old folks expect business class on their long haul flights but have been priced out with CX and QF they even tried PE (Still usually 3500+ AUD per person) for some years with the main airlines but found the service and hard product just okay but nothing special. I didn't see VN has been offering cheap flights to UK, I will keep an eye on that. Anyway for the past 3 years they have been very happy with the CZ business class flights BNE-CAN-LHR return usually under 5000Aud. Economy and PE might be pretty average on CZ but they thought the service in business was good value for the money they paid.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 783

Doesn't matter what you call the seat or cabin type - to get a level of comfort above Y for that price is very good. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 462

Not a bad way to go.I would love it if someone could say bring on a SQ ECONOMY TO SINGAPORE then get onto with a decent connection Scoot to Athens for the kinds of pricing they are suggesting for the rest of Europe.The longer sector can be done in Business Class.You can also get a stop either way there or home.Compare this to whatever the Middle Eastern 3 offer and you would be better off with these kinds of Combos.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 31

I fly VN every time in business class. Brand new 787s and A350s. Fly to Moscow, London, Paris, Frankfurt - plenty of choice. I'm going next July (peak season) for $4100 MEL-SGN-PAR return. Only negative is the very long layover on the return journey (why can't they fix that up!), however, once you apply for the free transit program they look after you with free visa, free hotel, free meals, free transport, free tour of SGN, free use of the business lounge and an agent who meets you on arrival and sees you through to departure.

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