Low on fuel again: Qantas diverts two 747s

By John Walton, July 21 2011
Low on fuel again: Qantas diverts two 747s

Qantas has diverted its QF8 flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Sydney via Brisbane for fuel again this week -- twice! -- because the Boeing 747-400ER plane used to fly the route couldn't reach Australia with even a reduced load of passengers.

On Sunday July 17 QF8 diverted via Nouméa in New Caledonia, refuelled and arrived late into Brisbane and Sydney, delaying passengers and missing onward connections.

A different 747 diverted on Monday July 18's QF8 flight, to a different airport: this time, Auckland Airport in New Zealand.

Great Circle Mapper

Great Circle Mapper

(With timezones and the international date line, those flights left Dallas on Friday and Saturday, respectively.)

After a rocky first week in May, it appeared that Qantas had sorted out the problems with QF8, which included deciding to leave thousands of kilos of passengers' luggage behind in Dallas and diverting to New Caledonia for fuel.

But the latest diversions mean that our advice to fly to Los Angeles on the more comfortable A380 and connect from there has to remain in place.

If you are travelling in business class on QF7 to Dallas or QF8 back to Australia, make sure you check out our advice on picking the best seat available on those flights: you may be sitting in it for hours longer than the nineteen-hour-plus flight from Dallas to Brisbane to Sydney.

The 747-400ER planes that operate Qantas' Dallas flights only have the first-generation Skybed, which reclines to an angle rather than being fully flat like the second-generation Skybed on the Airbus A380. So it's important to pick a good one for as comfortable a flight as possible.

(Why are business class fully flat beds better than angled lie-flat seats? Don't miss our exposé of the Lie-Flat Lie.)

Qantas is apparently planning to refit its 747-400ER fleet with the new Skybeds, but one of the planes has just come out of an intensive two-month overhaul (called a "D-check" in aviation circles) at Avalon Airport in Geelong, and the new seats haven't been installed.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 4

A380 isnt always the best bet either.. One had to divert into BNE on July 3rd for refueling before continuing on...

06 Jan 2011

Total posts 14

In these two situations, how long was the delay on the ground? Are passengers let off the plane? Could they use the Auckland Qantas Club to refresh while waiting?


22 Jul 2011

Total posts 2

How silly is it that they dont fly to San Fran anymore! It would have been perfect to fly from Dallas to San Francisco on the 744 or A330. Then fly Sydney direct where most of us want to go.  

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 17

To be fair, I have been diverted to Fiji for refueling on LAX-SYD flight in the past.

Sometimes the wind just works against you.

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