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It's been four months since the Qantas-Emirates alliance officially swung into gear, and in the process titled Australia's travel globe tilted on its axis by shifting the pivot point for Qantas's Kangaroo Route from Singapore to Dubai.
Despite the benefits of Dubai as Emirates' geographically-advantaged superhub which puts dozens of European cities just one stop away, not everyone has been thrilled about losing Singapore as the traditional stopover en route to London.
Qantas' own poll of Australia travellers, taken prior to the Qantas-Emirates launch, saw Singapore rated ahead of Dubai and Hong Kong as the most popular transit point or stopover city for flights to Europe.
That said, it was a narrow margin: 64 per cent reportedly favoured the Lion City against a claimed 61 per cent for Dubai (a surprisingly high position, considering that at the time of the poll no Qantas flights stopped at Dubai).
Hong Kong was reportedly the traveller's third choice for a transit or stopover, at 60 per cent, followed by Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Most of those cities already play a part in alternatives to the Kangaroo Route – especially Hong Kong, which is served by Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic from Australia as well as British Airways on the London-Hong Kong leg.
Dally in Dubai, or shoot straight through?
It remains to be seen if Dubai will in time enjoy the same stopover status as Singapore, to the point where travellers opt to break their journey for a day or two before they tackle the second leg of this globetrotting trek.
One factor may well be the flying time to each hub.
For example, from Sydney to Singapore is an eight hour flight, which makes it tempting to stop over before embarking on the remaining 13 hours of the journey.
Dubai flips this equation so that the bulk of your flying time – around 14 hours and 30 minutes – is spent en route to the United Arab Emirates.
Once you arrive there, London is less than eight hours away, which could see many travellers grit their teeth and shoot straight on to Heathrow.
Doing the Kangaroo Route without a hop
But what if you could skip the stopover altogether?
What if you could step onto your plane in Sydney, Melbourne or any other sizeable capital city and not have to land until London?
Sir Richard Branson promises that's on the way thanks to Virgin Galactic's combination of supersonic and sub-orbital technologies, although commercial services are still estimated to be a good 20 years out.
Some of today's conventional aircraft can in fact do London to Sydney in a single run, as long as they've got few passengers and bags to weight them down.
A better bet are the new ultra-long-range variants of the Boeing 777, the forthcoming Airbus A350 and possibly even the Airbus A380.
A second-gen upgrade for the A380 has seen design and engineering tweaks boost the superjumbo's performance efficiency and extend its range sufficient to make a direct Sydney-New York flight possible.
If aircraft manufacturers continue to build on performance and fuel efficiency, non-stop flights from Sydney or Melbourne to London could follow.
In for the long haul
There are some caveats, of course.
The savings in time wouldn't be that substantial: say, 20 hours for a direct flight between the two cities against 24 hours (including your stopover 'downtime').
And you'd have to factor in how totally buggered you may feel after stepping off such a long flight, even if you were ensconced in business class.
And spending that long in economy would be a true medal-winning feat.
I've flown in economy from Sydney to Dallas, which is a 15 hour and 30 minute trek, and after 12 hours my legs were screaming for the release of a good straight-out stretch.
Eighteen-plus hours in today's narrow, cramped economy seats sounds less like the start of a holiday and more like a spell in solitary confinement.
But in a lie-flat business class seat, with a decent menu and plenty of latest-release movies, flying non-stop to London might beat a stopover in Singapore, Dubai or anywhere else.
Would you rather stop over or fly straight through to the UK? And if you do break your journey, what's your stopover city of choice?
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