Ever since Qantas began non-stop Boeing 787 flights from Perth to London in March 2018, the airline has talked up and teased the possibility of Paris and Frankfurt joining that ultra-longhaul list.
Now, in circumstances that nobody ever expected, the two European cities will briefly become a de facto part of Qantas' 'Dreamliner direct' network.
Qantas is launching another round of repatriation flights across December 2020-January 2021 to bring home some of the many thousands of Australians still stranded in the UK and Europe.
Those flights, arranged in conjunction with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), will depart from London, Paris and Frankfurt.
But while DFAT is helping to co-ordinate the passage of Australians flying from those cities, Qantas remains free to sell commercial fares on each flight's outbound leg from Australia.
"As the national carrier, we're proud to operate selected flights on behalf of the Australian Federal Government to bring more people home during this unprecedented time," the airline says.
Although most Australian residents require government permission to travel overseas, a range of exemptions are available – although for many applicants, getting that authorisation hasn’t proven an easy task.
Qantas' special non-stop flights to Europe
Each Qantas Boeing 787-9 departs from Sydney, makes a brief stopover at Perth, and then continues all the way to its final destination.
Qantas' QF9 non-stop flight to London
- Departs Sydney at 4.05pm on 26 December 2020, arriving London Heathrow at 5.05am on 27 December
- Departs Sydney at 4.05pm on 12 January 2021, arriving London Heathrow at 5.05am on 13 January
Qantas' QF175 non-stop flight to Paris
- Departs Sydney at 3.35pm on 13 December 2020, arriving Paris (Charles de Gaulle) at 6am on 14 December
Qantas' QF115 non-stop flight to Frankfurt
- Departs Sydney at 3.45pm on 9 December 2020, arriving Frankfurt at 6.10am on 10 December
Seats on the Boeing 787 are available across all three cabin classes in business, premium economy and economy.
A spot-check on average pricing for the flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt show economy fares from around $1,300, with premium economy typically starting at $3,500 and business class from $6,500 (depending on the route).
Qantas notes that "due to the high number of passengers wanting to travel on these flights, it may not be possible to provide seat separation for all passengers, and you may be seated next to other passengers."
The airline also advises that "the inflight entertainment system will be unavailable" – so with these flights stretching to 24 hours from start to finish, passengers are advised to BYO reading material, moves and binge-worthy TV series.