Review: how I survived the world’s first 20-hour flight

What’s it like to fly 20 non-stop hours from New York to Sydney? Executive Traveller brings you this first-hand report.

By Angus Whitley, October 20 2019

I’ve just endured the world’s newest longest flight, a 16,200 kilometer (10,100 mile), nonstop ultra-marathon from New York to Sydney. It took about 19 and a half hours, and was almost as demanding as that sounds.

The record-breaking Qantas flight touched down early Sunday morning in Australia. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivered its few dozen passengers – including yours truly – to their destination more or less intact, even if some of us were not quite sure what day it was.

Qantas wants to begin flying the time-saving route commercially as soon as 2022, so the airline used this test trip to explore ways to reduce its inevitable downside: Soul-crushing, body-buckling jet lag. Here’s how my journey unfolded in real time.

Qantas plans three 'research flights' for Project Sunrise: two from New York and one from London.
Qantas plans three 'research flights' for Project Sunrise: two from New York and one from London.

Off the ground

Our plane has been turned into a flying laboratory. Since the goal is to adapt to our destination’s time zone as fast as possible, we click into the Sydney clock right off the bat. That means no snoozing. The lights stay up and we’re under instructions to stay awake for at least six hours – until it’s evening in Australia.

This immediately causes trouble for some passengers.

Down one side of the business-class section, six Qantas frequent flyers are following a pre-planned schedule for eating and drinking (including limiting alcohol), sleeping and movement.

They mostly get with the program, but one of them is dozing within minutes. To be fair, I feel his pain. It may be the middle of the day in Sydney, but my body is telling me it’s pushing midnight back in New York.

Even in business class, 20 hours of non-stop flying takes its toll.
Even in business class, 20 hours of non-stop flying takes its toll.

Two hours in

It’s feeding time, and a key moment in the experiment. The specially designed dishes are supposed to fire me up, and a flavorful serving of poached prawns with chili and lime is like a gentle culinary slap in the face. Spicy Chinese-style cod with jasmine rice and sesame seeds repeats the explosive action. I’m momentarily awake.

The plane’s 40 passengers, including media, are all in business class. The six human guinea pigs at the heart of the research are seated on one side of the cabin. I want to do my own set of tests to see how my body is holding up.

Poached prawns with chili and lime, designed to wake passengers up.
Poached prawns with chili and lime, designed to wake passengers up.

After speaking to a travel doctor in Sydney before the trip, I’m armed with equipment to monitor my blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen-saturation levels. I’ve also got a memory test and a mood questionnaire. I want to see if a flight this long impairs my brain or dims my spirits.

The three-hourly tests I take during the first half of the flight reflect the demands of this trip. My blood pressure is elevated, though not high, and my heart rate picking up. My mood is light, though darkening very gradually.

Three hours in

The physical pressure of this experiment is clear. Around me, passengers are standing up just to stay awake. That dozy frequent flyer at the front of the plane is asleep, again.

While I’m finding this regime fairly challenging — and I’m not even in a do-it-tough economy seat – I try to keep things in perspective.

After I first wrote about this upcoming flight last week, one reader emailed to urge me into a stouter mindset. During the Korean War in the early 1950s, he said, he regularly flew 40-hour reconnaissance missions with crew rotations every six hours. “Man up,” the 83-year-old told me. Point taken.

The flight crew were monitored for brain wave activity, melatonin levels and alertness.
The flight crew were monitored for brain wave activity, melatonin levels and alertness.

Four hours in

Marie Carroll, a professor at the University of Sydney who’s overseeing the passenger research on the flight, rallies her troops at the back of the plane.

“This is the time, guys, when we really have to work through this,” she tells them.

Moments later, they’re leaning against the food trolleys in the galley, stretching. Next, they perform upright press-ups among the empty economy sets. As a finale, they attempt synchronized dance moves in the aisles. All in the name of science. 

Passengers undertake synchronized exercises mid-flight.
Passengers undertake synchronized exercises mid-flight.

It looks like cabaret, but beating jet lag is serious business. Beyond the sleepless nights and daytime fatigue, experts say critical processes including heart function and metabolism are upset when the body clock gets disrupted.

Passengers make use of every available space for stretching exercises.
Passengers make use of every available space for stretching exercises.

Seven hours in

A second meal arrives, and not a moment too soon. It’s heavy on carbohydrates and designed to send us to sleep. The sweet potato soup with creme fraiche is thick and luxurious, the toasted cheese sandwich less so.

Later in the flight, meals were designed to help send passengers to sleep.
Later in the flight, meals were designed to help send passengers to sleep.

The chef on the plane tells me he’s been preparing our meals for three days.

A Qantas chef prepares the passengers’ meals.
A Qantas chef prepares the passengers’ meals.

The lights are dimmed at last, and it feels like I’ve been released. I crash for six hours straight. That’s longer than I can remember sleeping without waking on any other flight, even with the business-class privilege of a flat bed.

Fourteen hours in

Across the board, my own medical tests suggest I’m coping. My blood pressure, which the doctor in Sydney said would be a good gauge of stress and fatigue, is back to normal. My heart’s pumping slower, I ace my memory test, and my questionnaire shows my mood is brighter.

The research on the passengers and crew will feed into Project Sunrise, Qantas’s plan to start direct commercial services connecting Sydney with New York and London. Other super-long flights from Australia’s eastern seaboard to South America and Africa might follow, Qantas says.

Qantas has an ambitious non-stop network in mind for its new globe-striding jets.
Qantas has an ambitious non-stop network in mind for its new globe-striding jets.

On board, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce tells me he’ll “absolutely” roll out this flight’s regime on his other long routes – if the science shows it helps. The trick is accommodating those who want to drink and snooze at will, Joyce says.

But don’t go booking your round-the-world flights just yet. Qantas needs new planes from Airbus or Boeing that can do the job with a full load of passengers, and a new deal with crew to work longer than 20 hours.

“It needs everything to come together,” Joyce says. He initially had dreams of turning these super-long flights into flying hotels, with sleeping berths or a work-out zone. That vision gave way to reality when profit margins proved too tight to waste space on such luxuries.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: setting out for the Project Sunrise research flight with high expectations.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: setting out for the Project Sunrise research flight with high expectations.

Our plane doesn’t have the range to haul a full load of passengers with luggage to Sydney. It took off with its fuel tanks maxed out – about 101 tons. To keep the weight down, there’s no cargo, and food and drink are limited.

In New York, the captain had seemed confident we’d make it to Sydney with gas to spare. He planned on landing with six tons of fuel, enough to stay airborne for another 90 minutes.

Seventeen hours in

Breakfast time, and there’s no limp sausage. Instead, it’s a bowl of ancient grains, avocado puree, warm haloumi cheese and a herb salad. This flight is turning everything on its head.

One of the frequent flyers, Sydney-based investor Nick Mole, says he got almost eight hours’ sleep and feels good. What about a full day’s work after landing? “I probably could do that,” he says. He thinks the bigger test will be how he copes in a couple of days.

A welcome view of Sydney from on board the Dreamliner.
A welcome view of Sydney from on board the Dreamliner.

Preparing to land

I feel better now than I did after flying to New York from Sydney a few days ago with one stop. That trip included a grating hour and a half queuing at immigration in Los Angeles with hundreds of other zombified travelers.

Disembarking in Sydney after almost 20 hours in the air.
Disembarking in Sydney after almost 20 hours in the air.

Personally, I would choose a direct Sydney-New York flight over one with a layover. But it won’t suit everyone: It took discipline and work to stick to the no-sleep routine in the first half of this flight. There may be a benefit to switching to the destination time immediately, but it comes at a price. I feel like I had to earn it.

The author traveled from New York to Sydney as a guest of Qantas.

Angus Whitley

Angus Whitely is a Sydney-based business reporter with Bloomberg

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

Fascinating insights - it will be good to see a follow up post mid-week re how you're feeling Angus... I'm personally looking forward to BNE-ORD next year - anything to skip LAX

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 71

Yes, direct to ORD is going to be fantastic for our business!

andyf

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 122

Surely this is 99% PR and 1% research.

Also, while the initial thought of non-stop flight is appealing; as soon as you said "20 hours", my mind went to "dear god, that's like a whole day stuck in the same seat - imagine being in the middle seat in an economy cabin for that time period".

It really sounds like hell for economy or even premium economy passengers; and even in business class I'm not so sure anymore.

Maybe its the psychological 20+ hours that makes me think 24-hours = a day, that's just far too long in a single seat.

Whosaid

Whosaid

15 Oct 2019

Total posts 3

Alan Joyce, fly in 54E for 20+ hours, then tell us how wonderful such a flight would be, with no you-beaut-cute "exercises" and no special food and/or timing for service and staying put in your assigned seat for that length of time. Bet he'd change his mind quick fast. This is the reality of these super long flights.

All this research is fine, but it's not reality of daily services. How will staff cope with all that time on duty - even with regular breaks, and how will all this extra time fit with union rules relating to time on duty?

resolute

resolute

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Feb 2017

Total posts 22

Yep not much fun.

Not for me. No matter how much spin QF does.

Bring on the Supersonics.

SYD/LHR in 6 hours sounds good to me.

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

"The plane's 40 passengers, including media, are all in business class."

That's unfair, and unrealistic. It's not how the vast majority of passengers will fly these ULR flights.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 50

Considering the daily EWR - SIN is about the same flying time, this is clearly a PR flight. I always felt if there wasn't a contingent in economy, this would be a media stunt.

It appears that photo of them in economy is just them doing exercises.

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

Agree totaly Phil re J.

It is a test flight, one of many & hopefully great data & information. It is just as valuable for the tech crew & cabin crew on this first one. I agree, the tests need to develop with more dense passenger numbers across all cabins.

It should be noted this won't be the aircraft doing the ULR sectors; known sooner than later hopefully. Note DFW-SYD is 17 hours & PER LHR is 17 40. SQ SIN-JFK is 18 45. So the 19 15+ which did include some 'vectoring' is not that much more. SQ have gone with Premium Cabins only so that option adds interest.

The traction on passenger on particulary the PER LHR route is high & DFW is always popular. It also should be remembered OJA did LHR SYD direct & I am sure landing with far more tired tech etc crew. 'MARKPK' mentioned Chicago, so hopefully this research helps that sectors as well as the pre mentioned DFW & PER LHR ones.

SMILIE, you need to consider the arrival time not the departure time. #TimeZoneSwitch

I don't see it as a publicity 'stunt' - a lot of people have put a lot of time into flight test #1. Good on QF doing the research.

I am yet to do PER LHR but will & a little 'scared' of 43C (Y) but not 20A (PEco) although I have sat in 1A on short haul 789 very nicely.

Nice report Angus. I know one thing, the flight & media hits are very good ... who are the other airlines doing US flights ex Sydney ?

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

I'm sure that the research conducted on this test flight will be very useful, and I would expect that each passenger was given a detailed questionnaire or log for subsequent analysis. Well, I hope so.

It's just a pity that this research flight did not include anyone sitting in Economy for the duration of the 19hr flight.

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

Maybe test #2 etc :)

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

@Phil Young - there is basically really zero need to test economy, because whether a flight is 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19hours long, a large chunk of economy passengers won't be feeling tip top during or at the end of it and there is bugger all an airline can do to fix that other than make a seat a lot more spacious... Which apart from giving us an extra inch or two (if we're lucky), will not happen.

The key market here is the frequent business traveller. QF will need those passengers to take this flight and keep taking this flight. So those passengers need to feel the benefit in time and how they feel afterwards. An economy passenger is likely to take this flight and forget about how painful it was before they are next due to take it again, already be bedded down into a stopover strategy, or choose on other factors like price.

Jackson

Jackson

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 20

I agree. Even though we know QFs revenue will rely mostly on the premium passengers, reality is that most actual number of passengers will be in economy.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 50

I do have to note that Qantas does also rely on the Frequent Flyer Redemptions for a part revenue base. It probably one of the reasons for having the economy cabin for the Sunrise flights.

MKS11

MKS11

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

Completely agree. And this idea that you will get the whole plane on some exercise workouts and doing all the food stuff in order. It's all blah. Hardly a realistic test... Having said all that I'd do the directs any day. Apart from the fact QF will again just rip us all off for it.

amaritz

amaritz

23 Oct 2019

Total posts 1

Interesting story, but I have to place emphasis on Phil's post. Agree with Phil. It is incorrect to call it a research flight, as the measurement unit is only business class passengers. Therefore huge validation issues, data unrepresentative of ff's as majority of passengers fly economy. I'm platinum and fly economy! If economy research is to follow, it would be good to receive such clarification. But thank you for the business class insights.

smiliemonster

smiliemonster

01 Nov 2015

Total posts 3

How do you think you would have fared if the flight left New York mid-morning? If the idea is to delay sleeping, leaving at night seems counter-intuitive...

rhondaB

rhondaB

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 15

Any departure time would be dictated by the curfew hours at SYD.

smiliemonster

smiliemonster

01 Nov 2015

Total posts 3

Agreed, although the curfew window is only 5 or 6 hours. That gives plenty of time to slide the departure

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

There's a range of factors influencing the departure time slot. This may include:

(1) Are morning departure slots available?

(2) Would there be sufficient connections into JFK to warrant a morning departure? i.e. from BOS, IAD, ATL etc?

(3) Would premium pax (like ET readers) really want a morning departure during the working week?

(4) Can Qantas get pax going beyond Sydney onto connecting flights?

(5) If they can, what's the load factor on these flights? Does this restrict bundling options?

As a business traveller my preference is to try and minimise the time I'm in the air during normal business hours. My preference when returning from the US to AU is to catch an evening flight that ultimately drops me back in AU in the morning.

Aircraft Lover

Aircraft Lover

KLM - Flying Blue

05 Feb 2019

Total posts 34

JFK and SYD airports are saturated with air traffic

In NYC, it is extremely difficult to get newly available slots

And crossing the congested US air space has to be taken into account also

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 71

The idea is to change to the destination time zone not necessarily delay sleep

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Business traveller.... Work all day in New York, get flight to SYD. If they fly out mid morning, they lose that day.

VHOEJ

VHOEJ

26 May 2011

Total posts 13

Agree with Andyf....this is 99% publicity. Yes Premium passengers can cope better and have the space to do things like exercises. No Y passenger will go through this regime by choice unless they have plenty of empty seats around them.

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

It isn't really "the world's newest longest flight" though is it? A Qantas 747 flew non-stop from London to Sydney in the 90s (albeit it with payload restrictions just like this flight).

archipelago23

archipelago23

20 Oct 2019

Total posts 1

As per your quote, the keyword here is "newest". The 747 in the nineties isn't newest is it?

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

It doesn't matter how new it is. The flight isn't the longest.

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

The worlds newest second longest flight.

Morgan27

Morgan27

27 May 2017

Total posts 19

How do we know Qantas will install economy seats on this plane?

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

Because they said they want all four classes.

QFP1

QFP1

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 64

Because Alan Joyce has previously confirmed this to AusBT, the aim is for the Sunrise jets to have all four classes: first, business, premium economy and economy. See https://www.executivetraveller.com/qantas-wants-four-classes-300-passengers-in-ultra-long-range-project-sunrise-jets

QFP1

QFP1

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 64

I know that Qantas wants the Sunrise jets to also fly routes such as SYD-LAX and even SYD-SIN-LHR, especially as replacements for the A380s, but while that sure makes sense from a financial and fleet management perspective, I do think there should be dedicated Sunrise jets without economy: just maybe four first, suites plus a very large business class cabin and a decent sized premium economy one.

Steve Napier

Steve Napier

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

I guess the arrival time into SYD had nothing to do with Kochie being on board? I'd be interested to see the day-to-day schedule for these flights.

Maybe it was a missed opportunity to not have any pax/guides pigs in Y. Maybe that will change with the next 2 flights JFK-SYD & LHR-SYD. Will the pitch in Economy & Premium be improved so the Window seats pax can actually get out when the pax in front is fully reclined? I guess that will depend on whether an A350 or B777 is chosen.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

In years to come there will be an announcement that all the Economy pax squeeze up around the back toilets so the Business Class pax and come back and use the Economy seats for their push-ups.

Morgan27

Morgan27

27 May 2017

Total posts 19

But Qantas is toying wiht the idea of bunks in the cargo hold and while that will never happen I think Qantas will come up with some cool idea to help economy passenegers enjoy a comfortable flight. Secondly there isnt even a plane that can fly this long so Qantas might have ahd the inteniton to install all four classes but after these flights they may realise that even J passnegers only just survived and deicded agianst it.

josephjohn8484

josephjohn8484

17 Jan 2013

Total posts 20

I wonder if Qantas will consider making the SYD-JFK leg direct, that would be a nearly bearable 17 hours, while retaining, possibly, a Vancouver stop on the way home. CX pulled out of Vancouver, thus it could be a decent fifth freedom option too, while also bypassing LAX.

terryj

terryj

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2016

Total posts 10

It would be good if Qantas applied the principles of their research flights into their current operations. If keeping to destination time is so important then why would they want to keep the cabin dark on the LAX-JFK sector? Surely having the cabin light would encourage passengers to stay awake during what is day time hours rather than promoting sleep. Unfortunately being a 787 passengers are not given a choice.

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 71

The crew want you asleep. Pax are too demanding when awake

Aircraft Lover

Aircraft Lover

KLM - Flying Blue

05 Feb 2019

Total posts 34

I am so happy to read that Qantas is one of the airlines worldwide, making medical and scientific research, in order to improve the long-haul passenger's experience

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

As this is a controlled experiment with only six test subjects, the rest doing what they like as the ‘control' I expect flights 2&3 will look at these results and then extend it to economy passengers again in the form of a controlled experiment. By getting the PR elements out of the way in this flight they can broaden the focus of the study in flight 2&3. I for one would easily do without the stress of US immigration and security for a shorter travel time. To London via Perth might still be my preference certainly coming back to Canberra with tgecsame number of transfers.

Trogdor

Trogdor

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 82

Yes, it's a PR stunt as much as a research flight, but I don't think it makes it any less interesting.

As for the "will anyone do this in economy" question - that's what everyone was asking when QF started Perth-London, and economy is close to full on every flight. Joyce has already said they will be giving an extra inch or two of pitch in economy on these flights, so provided he comes through on the promise (and hopefully ups PE to 40" as well) I don't think there's any reason to doubt that these flights will be packed as well.

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 71

Let me remind everyone complaining about the lack of Y testing:

This 787 is not capable of taking both the fuel required for JFK SYD, AND full pax.

I believe this was more a test of the crew than anything else. My biggest concern is the pilots: how are they coping? What will CASA say? What crew numbers will be used?

I have also heard that crew negotiations with Qantas about these long flights is not going well.

Correct me if I'm wrong; but only UK based crew are operating PER LHR?

IMHO flying Y on such a flight is sheer stupidity. Anyone done 20 hrs nonstop in a single chair with only 32” face space? What's the maximum time you've spent in front of your computer nonstop? Even if you are a keyboard jockey you have a tea room and get breaks away from your prison.

No way in hell would I fly anything less than J on this flight even W is not good enough. Qantas should look carefully at SQ.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 50

I have to note, you don't have to fill the economy cabin completely, you just have to have some passenger load in the cabin to test it. With the custom pjs, pillows and other items, most of consider this a PR exercise as it is lacking testing that wouldn't look glamorous to the media onboard.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

I believe LHR-SIN and LHR-PER are exclusively UK based cabin crew but AU cockpit crews.

Nickj338395

Nickj338395

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 20

Generally yes but seeing more of a mix with the UK crews rotating through Aus and the other way around

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 255

The future of long haul, in my view at least, is A mix heavy on economy / PE seats for hub to hub and business+ seats for direct flights. So while initially there will be four classes on these flights, a decade in I reckon All or almost all of the economy seats will be replaced by more business and/or PE seats.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

A full service carrier would struggle to make money on a long-haul all-Economy service and would mean that Economy passengers would have to be handed over to low cost carriers such as Jetstar.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

Apparently the FAs on this run were from the UK-based crew, as the Australian crew didn't want to go near it. Flight would be a good candidate for the A350-1000 once the fuel tank mods and MTOW increase are introduced.

oldchinahand

oldchinahand

13 Sep 2019

Total posts 4

Already there is the A350-ULR that has a range of 18000 km. It has larger fuel tanks and can fly for 20 hours plus with up to 250 pax in mixed cabin.

Singapore already use this aircraft on non stops from Singapore to New York a distance of 15,350 km. The distance from Sydney to New York is 15,980 km. To London is further - 16,900km.

If this more than just a publicity stunt by Qantas why did they not purchase this aircraft back in early 2017 when it became an available option?

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

So you think QF didn't buy the A350-900 ULR in 2017 because they intended to do a publicity stunt in 2019? Maybe they just want a bigger plane than the -900 version? Airbus has already indicated there will be advancements by the time QF takes the A350-1000 (if they do), so by waiting they get a better plane for their purposes and got to see how the market took the PER-LHR flights.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

QF don't have the fleet size to dedicate aircraft to an ULR route like SQ can, thus the A350-1000 (non-ULR) once upgraded, would be ideal. More good timing by Airbus than anything else. QF can use it on the ULR routes, then turn it around for shorter runs if required. Also some commonality with A380 cockpit which reduces training costs. Boeing can only promise on paper at the moment with the 777-8X or whatever it's going to be called.

highflyer

highflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 302

Did i miss something? Are they going to start offering stretching classes onboard?

gmrza

gmrza

21 Oct 2019

Total posts 1

Getting to the East Coast of the US, the layover in LA is the killer - especially having to queue in immigration, which is such a grind. Because of the unpredictable delays in LA you always have to allow a long layover. Now, if only I could get a direct flight from Melbourne to Dulles!

Not having to use a US carrier for the journey across the US would be a big bonus.

Rod H

Rod H

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 121

The ultra long haul Qantas flights are still quite a few years away if they ever happens at all. estimates are 2034 or 2024.

QF have a lot of convincing to do to get Aircrew fully onside, there is quite a lot of concern about crew well being on these ultra long flights.

A lot can change in a few years and by then a great many passengers will have tried very long haul and they will be the deciders as to whether the ultra long haul is really worth it.

I can tell you one thing I won't be a customer!!!

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

What a load of hype and waste of time. Give me an A380 in J with a stopover any day over all this spin...I still have no real idea of the motivation behind all this.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

There was a lot of discussion about the very long Perth London flight and despite the views of many on this forum is a great success. I do Dallas Sydney quite a bit (17+ hrs) and adding a couple more hours is not a big deal. Having four classes makes sense as a fleet of 10 so 300 seaters they can be moved around on the high yield long routes. I suspect the London route will have load restrictions into the wind but like DFW will still make money. The A380s will be moved to the high yield Asian routes plus LA.

oldchinahand

oldchinahand

13 Sep 2019

Total posts 4

Parrickk

By what critatian are you measuring this 'great success' of Perth -London please ? Its common knowledge that the route is not making money.

Why do you believe that Asian routes are high yield - they are not.

QFP1

QFP1

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 64

Perth-London is known to be very successful, high loads especially in business class and in fact Alan Joyce has said it's the first time that AU-London has made money for them, which sound incredible to think Qantas has been running A380s SYD-LHR and also until recently MEL-LHR at a loss, but if the PER-LHR Boeing 787 has turned things around it's clearly making money. You're also talking about two engines, not four, so that alone slashes fuel cost which is the biggest expense to begin with, and an aircraft that's more fuel-efficient by design anyway, plus no stop-over at Singapore means lower crew costs and airport fees. Smaller passenger load is also clearly more efficient on the basis of the B787 vs the A380. So "common knowledge that the route is not making money", not at all, that's in fact totally wrong.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

Old china hand I won't repeat the statement by QFP1 but in addition just to note the high yielding Asia routes are Singapore already by 2 A380s, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. When qantas moves to the new Beijing airport that may be another one.

longwayaway

longwayaway

27 Aug 2017

Total posts 17

What a pantomime. Singapore Airlines were doing the New York - Singapore flights ages ago. A pilot friend who flew the A430-500 (pilots log bunk time) logged over 21 hours as his longest sector. 180 Pax - 174 tonnes of fuel. FOs only did takeoffs and landings in the simulator so that the Captains stayed current.

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 184

Anothe PR gimmick from the world's highest paid airline boss.

It's pathetic approach to so called research study,As it's lacking most of the reality.

40 something business class Pax???

Get real!!!!

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

b1812 there are two more flight as part of the study so we can assume they will have economy as well.

Ataylor1

Ataylor1

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2015

Total posts 2

What's with the toasted sandwich!? How is that supposed to inspire passengers for sleep, especially if it was uninspiring as alluded to by Angus.

14.5 hours is my limit, even in business and with the new and fantastic range of 'suits' available on a number of airlines, of which QF is just one.

pippip

pippip

23 Oct 2019

Total posts 1

Have flown annually Melbourne to Philadelphia via LAX. Airport to airport around 25 hrs. By the time I get to my sisters in Delaware it is around 31 hrs door to door. If there was a direct flight to Philadelphia I would take it, would reduce the time by around six hours.

The last two visits have got through LAX border control and into the domestic terminal in under an hour. Betterthan arriving in Melbourne

2A

2A

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 14

I just arrived from Europe via Dubai last night, 6 and a bit hours from Brussels and then 13 and a bit on to Brisbane and so far feel pretty good. This is my 89th trip to Australia. For what it's worth, here is my conclusion on beating jet lag: It can't be done. Some trips I've been lucky, sometimes unlucky. Sometimes it's been worse going north, sometimes worse going south. Sometimes I'm hungry, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I sleep well on the plane, sometimes I don't. Therefore go with the flow and don't get stressed about the whole thing. And always have a good book ready to read. It's better than staring at the ceiling stressing about lack of sleep. As everyone is different and every trip is different for everyone, trying to work out a magic solution isn't going to work. Dine on demand and sleep when you like service is best, deal with the consequences later. RC

oldchinahand

oldchinahand

13 Sep 2019

Total posts 4

As the majority of the demand for travel between Australia and Europe comes from people in Eastern Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane etc.) for most pax Perth - London is not 'non-stop' at all as they need of course to get to Perth.
Perhaps I am missing something but could someone please explain what is the attraction of schlepping all the way to Perth (about 4.5 hours, 6 from Brisbane) to then spend 17 hours non stop to London particularly as the the departure time of 6.30pm means a wasted day getting to Perth from the east coast.

All this wasted time and discomfort just to save a couple of hours flight time seems rather odd to me particularly when there are seven or eight well timed convenient, comfortable one stop flights ex Sydney via Hong Kong that will get you to London in 24 hours - and in good shape with a refreshing stop and great lounges half way.

Initial pent up demand I can understand but are there enough masochists out there who want to spend 17 non -stop hours in one plane one cabin one seat to make this route viable long term?

Qantas claims the route has created 601 new jobs in Western Australia I find difficult to believe with just one extra flight a day in and out of Perth.

As I mentioned above good PR but one hell of a lot of spin going on re these longhaul non-stops.

I see that the Quiet Kiwi has piped the Flying Kangaroo with a non stop ex Auckland to New York - full load - no spin they just made it happen.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

Oldchinahand I think the figures suggest most passengers on the Perth London are originating in Perth. The flight is aimed at Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra (one stop on the return leg and easier Melbourne connection going), and of course Perth. I don't think too many from Brisbane or Sydney use it.

wilrc1

wilrc1

Etihad - Etihad Guest

16 Feb 2019

Total posts 1

This was purely a marketing stunt if the frequent flyers were not in economy in two rows of three, very disappointing

rambler

rambler

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2013

Total posts 25

The inhuman idea of stuffing economy passengers into 32in pitch seats for 20 hours shows a fair degree of contempt for them on the part of Qantas/Sydney Airlines. Bravo to Singapore Airlines for making their ultra-long service all premium classes. Hard to believe this is anything but a stunt.

Phil O'Paistree

Phil O'Paistree

10 Dec 2018

Total posts 29

In economy the airline has to show contempt for either the passenger or their wallet. As the vast majority of airlines offer (long haul) economy passengers the choice of a wallet enema in return for a more comfortable seat and passengers still elect to fly economy, it would be reasonable (?) to assume that they (the economy passenger) are comfortable with the idea that the airline repects their wallet at the expense of their person ... but if you have a workable layout that would allow a profitable 100% First (or even Business) at current Economy prices ... patent it before mentioning it to anyone.

aeromedic

aeromedic

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 12

A completely wasted exercise. Joyce will never know what it feels like to travel in economy class for such a journey. His grand ideas of amenities for business class is all he focuses on because THAT'S where the profit is. No profit in economy class though and proves it with the DFW/SYD route. The A380 cannot take full fuel, cargo, baggage and full pax. The economy class is sacrificed to enable full first and business, resulting in small numbers in economy in order to make the journey..This aircraft, on the other hand, is a 787 Dreamliner with limited weight (fuel, pax bags, etc.), and was fitted with economy seats as well, indicating that there will be economy pax. How you can hope to get accurate data for all classes is beyond me. Methinks Joyce is wearing blinkers and wants publicity.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

Dallas has a full load West to east and is only constrained east to west at certain times of the year. When I'm on it it is fairly full.

Herb33

Herb33

Air Canada - Aeroplan

02 Sep 2015

Total posts 12

Agree with Phil Young, need to see how economy pax find the long voyage. Should pack about 30 in back end with no vacant seats, restricted to back end toilets and fed normal economy food. Joyce and VPs to be used as steerage pax.

Australian pax can easily get to central and Eastern US without using US carriers. Can fly from SYD and BNE To Vancouver (YVR) on AC , Outstanding Business Class. In YVR can preclear US customs and immigration and arrive in US as domestic passenger. Entry at YVR very simple with Australian passport. Try it!

tonyw

tonyw

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2015

Total posts 20

I've always gone to destination time once boarded! The reason they turn the lights down is to get you to "sleep" rather than ask for things. {AKA service, attention, help, etc., etc.}

clipped_wings

clipped_wings

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Jun 2019

Total posts 8

I'd rather cop the transition through stopovers and accumulate the 2 or 3 sectors for my frquent flyer profile, than sit for 20 hours on "one" eligible leg.

resolute

resolute

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Feb 2017

Total posts 22

19+ hours - FORGET IT!

resolute

resolute

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Feb 2017

Total posts 22

It would be – PURGATORY!

Being crammed into a middle seat in row 67

> With babies crying.

> Children screaming and kicking the back of your seat - for 19+ hours

Not my how I wish to spend the time in my life.

Why would anyone want to put themselves through this?

No matter how much spin QANTAS put on this, to the public – NO !

Resolute.

maabbot

maabbot

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 92

It's hardly putting man on the moon...just one great big marketing exercise. Move on.


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