How Qantas' non-stop Perth-London Boeing 787 flights will work

By David Flynn, February 8 2017

Qantas will begin selling tickets for direct flights between Perth and London by April, ahead of a March 2018 kickoff for the non-stop service.

And there's no exaggeration in saying this marks a new era for Qantas, not just for the new Boeing 787 aircraft involved – an aircraft which will eventually take over most of Qantas' international and domestic east-west routes – but for a future network built around ultra long-range direct flights.

Qantas plans more of these to come, not just from Perth to other popular European cities but – with the right aircraft from Airbus or Boeing – Sydney to New York, Melbourne to London and Perth to Los Angeles.

But for now all eyes are on Perth, which will anchor this shortest and fastest version of the Kangaroo Route in its 70 year history and turn the WA capital into a new home-gown international hub for Qantas.

It's a seismic shift for Qantas, so here's how the airline will run its Perth-London flights.

1. Perth-London flights will start from Melbourne

The actual route for the Boeing 787 will be Melbourne-Perth-London, with the Dreamliner taking flight from Melbourne Airport's international terminal.

Passengers will go through customs and security at Melbourne before the Dreamliner makes a cross-country leg to Perth.

For Platinum-grade frequent flyers, this will include access to the Qantas first class lounge (below) with its seasonal a la carte menu and spa treatments.

As the Boeing 787 itself tops out at business class, most other passengers will be ushered into Melbourne's Qantas international business lounge - which, sad to say, is arguably the worst international lounge in Qantas' Aussie network.

At this point, savvy Platinum card-holders will be hoping that Qantas will sell the Melbourne-Perth leg as a domestic flight, in the same way as some Jetstar flights are offered today.

Read: Get into the Qantas First Class Lounge on domestic Jetstar flights

This would let them clock up some pre-flight time with fine food, wine and perhaps a spa treatment at Melbourne's Qantas First lounge before doing an otherwise bog-standard transcontinental run to Perth.

However, it's tipped that Qantas may prevent the Melbourne-Perth leg from showing on domestic airline schedules so can't be booked as a purely domestic flight.

It's also been suggested that Qantas could drop its daily Melbourne-London flight from early 2018 in favour of the Boeing 787 service, with partner Emirates moving to fill in the gap in Qantas’ network by rostering one of its own aircraft onto the Melbourne-Dubai leg as a codeshare with Qantas.

Read: Qantas to axe its Melbourne-London Airbus A380 flights?

2. A new international lounge for Perth

Those London-bound flyers from Melbourne will arrive at a new international zone at Perth Airport's Terminal 3.

This is currently a domestic terminal and part of the T3/T4 'Qantas precinct' but is being converted to allow international operations thanks to a $14 million investment by the WA state government.

Eligible travellers will head straight to an all-new Perth International Lounge which will be similar in concept and design to the airline's existing international lounges at SingaporeHong Kong and Brisbane, below (and a substantial upgrade to the current Qantas International Lounge at Perth's T1).

Read: Qantas confirms new Perth international lounge for Boeing 787 flights

Not eligible for lounge access? Let's hope the terminal's international zone includes at least a cafe.

(It should, given that Qantas will also shift its Singapore and Auckland flights to T3).

3. For those connecting from Sydney, Brisbane or Adelaide...

Travellers on Qantas' other east-west flights will arrive into the domestic T4 terminal and walk across to T3's international zone.

This could make more sense for passengers from Brisbane and Adelaide who today have to fly to Sydney to join QF1 (or to Melbourne for QF9) – they're already making one stop before they even set foot onto the flight to London via Dubai, so the Perth-London service will be mean one less connection, and a far easier one than at Sydney.

Sydney-siders may likely stick with the daily Airbus A380 flight to Dubai and London, especially as unlike the Boeing 787 it offers first class – unless they're driven to transit at Perth rather than Dubai, prefer to fly on the Dreamliner over the superjumbo, or want that non-stop Australia-London experience.

Additionally, some pundits predict the Perth-London flights will cost more than those which run via Dubai.

How much time do travellers stand to save on these direct flights?

Qantas estimates around 17 hours from Perth to London, to which you can add four hours if you're coming from Melbourne and around five hours from Sydney or Brisbane.

By comparison, the Sydney-London QF1 flight takes an average 14 hours from Sydney to Dubai and a further 7½ hours from Dubai to London for a total flying time of 21½ hours

4. London, here we come!

Qantas hasn't revealed the timings of its Perth-London flight but if the Boeing 787 was wheels-up from Perth in the evening it could arrive into London from 6am onwards.

The alternative would be leaving Perth mid-morning to reach London at around 7pm, although passengers from the east coast would face a very early start.

Either way, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has said the airline will revise its east-west timetables with an eye to better connections so that some specific flights would neatly feed into the Boeing 787 schedule.

5. The return journey

Passengers will relax pre-flight at Qantas' new London lounge (below) at Heathrow Terminal 3 before boarding the Dreamliner for the long trek back to Australia.

A return flight leaving London mid-morning would reach Perth close to noon, allowing passengers from eastern states to continue on a connecting flight from Qantas' T4 domestic terminal and arrive home in the evening.

Readers are reminded of our comment policy and asked to keep comments on topic and to add value to the conversation. Comments not meeting those criteria may be removed without notice.

David
David

David Flynn

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.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

I hope Canberra is in the mix. The bus in Sydney is a pain, and the security queues in Melbourne a little long. It may mean moving the current Canberra Perth flight a little earlier.

Mal

Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

From what Alan Joyce has said, I'd think there will be a flight from each major city to Perth timed for the Boeing 787. Canberra-Perth would only need to move back a bit earlier. The current one is probably timed more for WA-based federal politicians who need to fly CBR-PER.

alex_upgrade77

alex_upgrade77

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 244

Interesting article.

If Qantas don't open up the MEL-PER leg to domestic traffic, that's going to be one pretty empty (and unprofitable) flight on that first leg. 


And they can't expect to fill the flight from Melbourne because presumably the PER-LHR leg will include passengers connecting in from ADL and BNE and elsewhere as well as those originating in PER. 

Surely they'll open it up to domestic and charge a premium?

Steve Doyle

Steve Doyle

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 15

If Qantas cancels the Melbourne-Dubai-London A380 (which it's expected will happen) and hands the QF9/10 flight numbers across to Melbourne-Perth-London, then a lot of the current QF9 travellers would probably shift to the Boeing 787 direct service. Given the Boeing 787 has half as many economy seats as an A380 (166 vs 371) then allowing domestic flyers to do the Melbourne-Perth leg would effectively block those seats from being sold to passengers flying all the way to London. Those passengers would be paying a lot more to Qantas so why wouldn't Qantas want to prioritise them over domestic flyers whose sole reason to book the 787 is to eat and drink their weight at the Melbourne first class lounge?

vincew

vincew

08 Feb 2017

Total posts 7

Qantas/Jetstar used to sell domestic segments of international flights departing from international terminals as domestic flights so this isn't anything that hasn't been done before.

All that happens is at check-in (which needs to follow the international check-in cut-off instead of the domestic one), your boarding pass will be stuck with a large "D" sticker to denote it is a domestic flight. At immigration, you'll be processed through a separate line for domestic travelers.

Given the 4 hour flying time there's opportunity to offer Premium Economy (quite a few of the Asian carriers do on short haul flights of the same length). Alternatively they could block off a section of the seats for QFF Platinum/Gold card members...

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Alex you may have forgotten the LA Perth passengers which this flight may be marketed and timetabled for. That may keep th flight full-ish on all sectors without the need for domestic passengers.

apacau

apacau

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 46

If you blocked seats on MEL-PER to LHR bound passengers only, you will be flying a lot of empty seats on that leg, given all the pax joining at PER off other flights or people originating in PER. Thus I can almost guarantee the domestic only flight option will be offered for sale - it will just need to be managed carefully to ensure sufficient capacity is available to passengers looking to book all the way from MEL-LHR

GregXL

GregXL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 395

Agreed, as for the PE seats, they can either create a domestic PE fare or offer them as extra legroom seats to Y passengers at a fee like they do now.  Could be a good way to test the market for PE on PER domestic services.

Mal

Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

And how exactly do you propose Qantas should 'carefully manage' selling of economy seats on a Melbourne-Perth domestic leg to make sure there's still seats enough for passengers flying all the way from Melbourne to London?

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Not if there were LA originating folk on it.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 524

It will be interesting to see what the Status Credit earn is like compared with the current route via Dubai. If the route via PER is more expensive I'd hope it earns more SCs.

John Phelan

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 318

Status credits are directly related to distance, so there should be no change to that. 

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

It may well be that the current QF9 will terminate in Dubai rather than being fully axed for the moment as then some LHR bound passengers can join QF2, as well as other European flights.

ajstubbs

ajstubbs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

I find it hard to believe they won't keep some form of A380 service ex-Mel for EU bound passengers. The JV agreement has leeway for different options. 

Trogdor

Trogdor

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 69

Alternatively, is this an opportunity for QF to fly another Dreamliner from MEL to Dubai and then on to another destination in Europe, with passengers on both flights "swapping over" in Dubai?

henrus

henrus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Does anyone know if this flight will be covered under the existing emirates codeshare agreement?


ajstubbs

ajstubbs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Do you mean will it have an EK flight number as well? I'd be surprised but I guess it's possible.

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

So this news can really be spun in the following ways:

  1. QF is downgrading MEL/LHR from A380 to 787 effective Apr 2018
  2. QF daily MEL/LHR will be retimed to allow for better connection with other QF domestic services at PER
  3. QF ditching DXB for PER for its daily MEL/LHR service, Or
  • In response to community concerns QF will deliver a LHR service that avoids a DXB stopover, Or
  • SIN looses out again with the change of stopover points from DXB to PER on its MEL/LHR service.

autvlr

autvlr

12 Apr 2011

Total posts 68

Or: QF is reducing capacity to London.

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

Assuming QF retains its landing slot at LHR at 1240h and the PER/LHR takes 18h:

  • PER/MEL - Dep: 2335h, Arr 0040h

2h turnaround at PER

  • PER/LHR - Dep 0240h, Arr 1240h

All at local times.

This timing allows for connection with

  • QF767 (BNE/PER) Arr 2345h
  • QF583 (SYD/PER) Arr 2150h
  • QF719 (CBR/PER) Arr 2045h

With ADL, DRW existing flights offer poor connections, so they'll probably get routed by SYD on the flagship LHR service (or in the case of DRW, bite the bullet and acknowledge the loss of market to SQ).

Upshot: Assuming the above, the QF MEL First lounge would still remain open in the evening for the evening MH,CX, QR departures. *phew* *fingers crossed*

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 288

That a lot of assumptions. It has already been said that domestic flights would be re timed to connect better.

I also think 2:40AM departure time is pretty rude for what is ultimately, a flagship route.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 501

Think you are close to the money. However it is clear London slots will need to be changed. Current slots are QF1 arrive 6:05, QF10 depart 11:55, QF9 arrive 12:40, QF2 depart 20:45. Cannot do that with QF1/2 at A380 and Perth as 787, assuming QF9/10 is canned or terminates in DXB the above slots need to change anyway.


So what you would want is the 787 coming in a bit earlier to then be able to turn around and operate the 11:55 flight out.


So how about leave Perth circa midnight, for a ~10am arrival in London. Better time to be leaving Perth plus east coast connections are sorted (with BNE flight timed earlier) and away you go.

On the return for a 11:55 departure, guess that means arriving in Perth early afternoon so again good time and connections to the east.

Anyway all academic anyway isn't it? None of us have control over slots and none of us know if QF9/10 will be canned or terminated in DXB. My money is on terminated in DXB though....

dommey

dommey

19 Jun 2014

Total posts 32

Is this Melbourne to London via Perth service going to be similar travel time to other Melbourne to London services?

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Yes I believe around 90 minutes less than the current QF9 but I might be wrong.

Mal

Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

QF9 you can average at 14 hours Melbourne-Dubai and 8 hours Dubai-London, plus about 2 hours in the lounge at Dubai = 24 hours.

For the Boeing 787  service you'd be looking at 4 hours from Melbourne to Perth, add 2 hours in the Perth lounge in transit, then 17 hours for Perth-London = 23 hours.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Dimmer AJ reckons it is an hour faster due to faster 787 turnaround time at Perth and fewer traffic related delays than Dubai.

tjacook

tjacook

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Feb 2017

Total posts 1

Given there can be a rather significant variation in flight time from Sydney (and other East Coast) ports I can't see why you would opt for the flight via Perth. Risky if you have a tight connection. 

Kathbirk

Kathbirk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent FlyerJ

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 13

Hope Qantas consider that not all passengers start their return journey from London and allow for domestic connections into London on the same day before boarding the return flight to Perth.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

There is a 10pm QF2 for those connecting passengers who can't make a late morning flight.

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 449

Isn't that why the code-share agreement with Emirates is so valuable? Pax who don't want to or need to exit via Heathrow can pick up a code-share EK flight to Dubai and then multiple flight options back to Oz...

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 250

I would anticipate domestic bookings on the Mel-Per leg but would equally anticipate people with those domestic bookings being thrown on to domestic only flights if sufficient people book through to LHR. 

Hewnix

Hewnix

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 13

A couple of  questions here:

a) Any word for us Economy class passengers on seating or new amenities on the 787? 17 hrs is uncharted territory. What will be the width and pitch of the seats? How strict will enforcement of seat "boundaries" be? (Imagine you are stuck next to an obese or very broad individual breaching into your seat for 17 hours with no alternative seat) We are talking about a real chance of significant mental or physical health episodes on this flight. I get it, Business Class will be revolutionary, but Economy is still the majority of pax. What are the chances we get an exercise bike somewhere? 

b) Is London such a significant destination? Personally, I'll have no reason to go to London for business, and it's the least interesting part of Europe for tourism purposes - I'd rather stop in DXB or Singapore and go straight to southern Europe from there. As far as business ties, aside from banking, UK is of declining importance to Australia. However, if Perth can be turned into a bona fide hub into rest of Europe, that's more exciting, but still not sure if the stopover in DXB or SIN are so bad as it is to justify using Perth. Who knows if that'll be viable -- Perth's geographic positioning is not ideal enough for this. Broome would be better, but obviously has no local population to support. 

Serg

Serg

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

By all means it is good news. And I really hope that it will put huge dent in QF-EK marriage and hopefully will lead to divorce that in my books will be even greater news.

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 211

QF-EK relationship is probably one of the major factors that allowed QF to keep operating to Europe. The capabilities and economics of the B787 can only do so much (possibly fly to the major cities but nowhere close to the thirty odd cities that EK serves in Europe) but if the relationship breaks down (which I doubt it will) QF has more to lose. 

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 174

this flight is only useful for those whose final destination is London,those with connecting flights to other Europian destination is just another hassle to transfer the notorious Heathrow nightmare-and 17 hours -imagine you are stuck in a middle seat between 2 fatso-yeah that would be fun....

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 501

So stick with other carriers if London isn't your destination. Mentioned it above, point to point hub busting is the whole idea behind the flight and the 787's range in general.

markpaul

markpaul

Philippine Airlines - Mabuhay Miles

04 Aug 2015

Total posts 2

I can see price war between PER-LHR with Middle eastern and SEA carriers! 

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 211

Price war = win-win for customers

Looking

Looking

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 118

There is intense price competition on right now. Fares Syd - London rtn for $1400 with Qatar.

The less QF is involved with EK the better, specifically if they want to have any credibility with their "powerful engagement on equality" for gay and lesbian passengers.

grahama33

grahama33

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

What an awful backwards step this will be for Qantas's Melbourne customers. Currently - a nice 10 abreast A380 service. In future - the horrific option of 9 abreast on a 787. Who in there right mind would choose that - particularly when EK, EY, QR, SG and MH all offer A380 services to London. 

Shoudy Chen

Shoudy Chen

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

The thing about MEL-PER-LHR is the pax capacity for the flight. Given that PER-LHR is 14499 km long, they can't fit 236 people on the flight. They need to reduce it to a lighter load to enable more fuel for the flight. 

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Shoddy,

They have already reduced the passenger load to that low number for exactly that reason so they can do the flight with that load.


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