Enjoy the Qantas 787, and the first class lounge, on a domestic flight

Sample the flagship international jet, and the international Qantas First Lounge, without leaving the country…

By David Flynn, July 7 2022
Enjoy the Qantas 787, and the first class lounge, on a domestic flight

Quick quiz: you’re a Qantas Platinum member flying from Sydney to Perth. Would you rather:

(a) fly on an Airbus A330 or (yikes!) a Boeing 737, and start your journey at Sydney’s T3 Qantas Business Lounge; or

(b) fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and begin your trip at the international Qantas first class lounge with a leisurely a la carte lunch, some fine wines and Champagne and the possibility of a spa treatment?

Yeah, we thought you’d choose (b). Who wouldn’t?

And for the next few months, that’s exactly what you can do: by hopping onto the Sydney-Perth leg of QF5, the Qantas flight which continues all the way to Rome.

The Qantas Boeing 787 offers an international-grade experience, even on domestic flights.
The Qantas Boeing 787 offers an international-grade experience, even on domestic flights.

That short domestic portion of the 23-hour trek is available to be booked on its own – and as QF5 is nominally an international flight, it departs from Sydney’s international terminal, which in turn makes the luxuries of the Qantas First Lounge available if you have Qantas Platinum status (or any Oneworld Emerald equivalent). 

That includes the a la carte dining menu, fine wines and Champagnes and, if you’re lucky, a spot at the day spa.

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon before flying from Sydney to Perth...
There are worse ways to spend an afternoon before flying from Sydney to Perth...

(This is largely the same arrangement as for QF9, which flies Melbourne-Perth-London: Qantas Platinums can book just the Melbourne-Perth leg and begin their trip at Melbourne’s international Qantas First Lounge.) 

Not just for Platinums...

What if you’re not a Platinum-grade frequent flyer? It’s still worth considering for Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas Club members, given that the international Qantas Business Lounge at T1 is certainly a few steps up from the domestic Qantas Club at T3.

Furthermore, doing a Sydney-Perth hop on the QF5 Dreamliner costs no more than any other Qantas flight from Sydney to Perth – entry-level economy fares typically start just under $400, with business class from $2800.

Business class on the Qantas Boeing 787.
Business class on the Qantas Boeing 787.

And in terms of the flight itself, there’s the novelty of making it on the modern, quiet Boeing 787 – which has Qantas’ best business class seats, while economy is also a better experience than any other domestic jet.

(Note that you can’t book into premium economy on the domestic QF5 flight – only travellers going all the way from Sydney to Rome can choose that option.)

Economy class on the Qantas Boeing 787.
Economy class on the Qantas Boeing 787.

The timing for QF5 also works pretty well: although the last Sydney-Perth flight of the day, its 6pm departure from Sydney means you can put in a solid morning’s work (or packing) before heading to the airport for a late lunch at the Qantas First Lounge and having dinner on the flight.

After the 8.50pm arrival into Perth, make a beeline for your hotel, hit the hay and you’re ready to launch yourself into the following day.

There are just two caveats:

  • these Qantas flights from Sydney to Rome via Perth run just three days a week – on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday – so you’ll need to be a bit flexible with your travel schedule
  • Rome is a seasonal service, running only from June 22 until October 6 this year – although it will return for a similar run in 2023

Oh, and before you ask: you can’t buy duty-free at Sydney Airport, because your boarding pass will clearly show you’re effectively a domestic traveller, so the goods won’t be leaving the country.

Plenty of time for the iconic Qantas First Lounge pav before oyu head to Perth...
Plenty of time for the iconic Qantas First Lounge pav before oyu head to Perth...

How to book yourself onto QF5 from Sydney to Perth

  1. Go through the usual steps for choosing a Sydney-Perth flight on the Qantas website
  2. Make sure you’re looking at a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday no later than October 6
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the flight listings, where you’ll see QF5 ready and waiting to be clicked
QF5 lets you enjoy the Qantas Boeing 787 from Sydney to Perth.
QF5 lets you enjoy the Qantas Boeing 787 from Sydney to Perth.

What it’s like on QF5 from Sydney to Perth

Apart from the obvious novelty of beginning your domestic trip from the Qantas First Lounge, and making that short coast-to-coast hop on a Boeing 787 that’d usually be criss-crossing the globe, the flight itself is fairly normal – although if you’re in business class, the meals certainly seem to be a cut above most domestic fare.

That said, it’s delightful to be surrounded by passengers who are setting off for Rome and buzzing with excitement.

Note that even if you do online checkin for the domestic leg of QF5, you will still need to front up at the Qantas checkin desk: this is where, after showing photo ID, you’ll be issued with a physical boarding pass with an orange D sticker indicating you are a domestic passenger.

You will also need to use a staffed immigration counter rather than the automated smartgates. And hang onto that boarding pass, as you will need it on arrival at Perth Airport.

Flying from Perth to Sydney on QF6

What about the return leg from Perth to Sydney?

You can even head back too Sydney on the Dreamliner’s QF6 return leg, which wings its way into Perth in the early hours of Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

QF6 is wheels-up from Perth at 10.05am, reaching Sydney ay 4.05pm; the flight departs from the international wing of Perth’s domestic T3/T4 complex, and Qantas has confirmed that eligible Sydney-bound domestic passengers will be admitted to the Perth International Transit Lounge ahead of QF6’s departure.

JJ1
JJ1

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 14

This is a great opportunity for Platinum FFs to experience the First Class lounge. It might be useful to point out that it's not quite as simple as that. I understand that in order to travel as a domestic passenger on this flight you need to be carrying the required identification to show officials, both in Sydney and Perth and you can't have a digital boarding pass because the Border Force personnel are required to collect your boarding pass from you on arrival in Perth, and/or Sydney for that matter. I also note that the article indicates the last flight from Sydney to Perth is at 6pm but I have a flight booked in a couple of weeks time for 7.55pm. I wonder if there is going to be a change

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 383

I think everyone carries some photo ID these days. but this reminds me of those old Jetstar flights from Sydney to Melbourne to Bali, JQ35 I think? Same deal as this but of course super-cheap Jetstar fares, as low as $50. But Jetstar checkin only opened three hours before the flight, whereas Qantas has checkin at Sydney T1 from 5am, so even without the digital boarding pass you should be able to rock up to the Qantas T1 checkin desks, collect your paper boarding pass and through you go, breakfast and lunch in the lounge!

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 238

Oh yes, I remember JQ35, and there were several other similar flights as well, I think one was Qantas from Sydney to Brisbane to Manila? These were brilliant, although the only reason to do JQ35 SYD-MEL was for the Qantas First Lounge, and getting through Melbourne immigration was usually a mess!

Definitely keen to hear from somebody who does this if they can check in well before three hours. Not that you'd want to spend all day sitting around any airport lounge, no matter how good it is, most of us here have a life!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1108

$2764 for a one-way five hour flight is amazingly expensive.  By comparison, Virgin is charging $1335 for J on the same route.  I think I'd pocket the $1429 saved and have a really good time in Perth!

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 383

Well that's sort of apples vs oranges isn't it? It's a Boeing 737 vs a 787, plus this article also factors in the Qantas lounge experience. Let's not turn this into another boring "Qantas vs Virgin" comment chain.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1108

If you look at the screenshot, QF are charging this extortionate fare whether you are on a 787, A330 or 737.  That is the real scandal and you'd need to spend many hours in the lounge chugging the top-shelf champagne to justify the price differential compared with the still very satisfactory VA J product.

Yes, the 787 J class is nice but no nicer than the A330 and, even then, none of the flights shown would be likely to require a lie-flat sleeper so, for most people, a recliner seat is fine for these flight times.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2018

Total posts 1

I was on what I believe the first QF6 that went Perth to Sydney (connected from Rome) and I was able to enter the International Transit Lounge in Perth as a Gold FF. It was a bit of a novelty compared to the normal Qantas club. I was able to get an upgrade to Premium Economy which was great, food on there was better than the A330 Business in fact. 

The main issue was getting into Sydney and Border Force not knowing what to do with us domestic travelers. The officers were all looking at each other not knowing what to do with us - memo obviously didn't get through! We spent 15 mins in the Passport line until they found an ink pad and an immigration stamp to put on our boarding pass. All quite hilarious really. 

Hopefully they have sorted that by now and its a bit more fluid getting in!

06 Sep 2019

Total posts 24

I see that it won't let me book that leg when flying from Gold Coast or Brisbane so I'd need to book a separate ticket for the first leg.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1445

I am wondering how border force manages the automatic passport readers. Maybe they have a separate domestic lane. The other day the queue was one hour. I bet the just love domestic passengers complicating matters.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 429

You don't have to be a genius to work out what most of us would choose.I recall way back in the day on the Old QF81 one could get that Sydney to Adelaide on the 767 or in the final decade of it's service A330.it was better than the any domestic 737 of the day(Ansett till 2001,Qantas themselves and Virgin in more recent times). Of course J is a different story to what I got in Y. Granted the schedules might not be as user friendly as say standard domestic services but everything else beats it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 98

It will be harder to get reward seats on this flight though so book early

Was easily able to get FF seats in J on the A330 flight from Perth to Sydney for late August using the P1 VIP team but requests not granted for the 787 flight on the same day

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2022

Total posts 1

I travelled QF6 from Perth to Sydney last week. Was there early so had to use the Domestic Business Lounge first before being told the International Transit Lounge was open. Went through Customs and Security again before spending 45min in the Transit Lounge. 

Also requested a points upgrade to Premium Economy and received 24hrs out from flying.

Highly recommend flying this flight.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Good article, some will no doubt find this useful and put it to really good use.  But I find myself thinking the same way as reeves35 on this matter (and would rather spend the difference on a few cases of Bollinger).  

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 21

I take the QF 9 for all Mel-Per travel. Its easy, just show Drivers Licence and away you go. Yes you get a paper boarding pass with a D stamp but its simply the best way to get to Perth. First Lounge in Mel, good service, better meals #winning

Interesting! How early are you allowed to check in?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 4

I agree with Mork12 & patrikk. I had the " misfortune " to travel J class on the QF010 PER/MEL leg of the international LHR/PER/MEL flight through from London 2 weeks ago and the experience in arriving at the MEL international terminal and the subsequent border force mismanagement of dealing with Domestic passengers completely ruined the experience ! 45 minutes to get through the terminal  due to there being no " D " domestic line open and the solution was to put everyone in the special assistance queue that was full of inbound international passengers who weren't able to use the smart gates, from the 6 other arriving international flights that had landed . As you can imagine with only 1 desk open to deal with these " special assistance " passengers ( and I don't mean disabled Pax , I mean people with passport problems or visa difficulties ) the time taken to pass through as a simple domestic passenger was absolutely ridiculous. The QF010 is daily, so surely this farce doesn't occur every night of the week ? Border force staff weren't interested at all in acknowledging the problem/issue at all . So I naturally wont be trying this flight option again anytime soon. And would warn all other subscribers to consider it carefully. 

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 36

I have to say that the First Class lounge was a treat when I was in there on a flight albeit to Bangkok.

I was just happy sitting at the bar being served a lovely meal with a fantastic glass of champagne.

The service from memory was 2nd to none - not sure I would say that the Qantas business class lounge is worth any praise

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 23

“international Qantas Business Lounge at T1 is certainly a few steps up from the domestic Qantas Club at T3” Is it really? I was in there a few weeks ago and it was the same cheap wine as the domestic lounge and the food was very average. It should be a step-up but it really isn’t.

I can't speak for the wine but the food is definitely better than the Qantas Club. But all the same I wouldn't do the SYD-PER 787 unless I was Platinum so I could get into the First Lounge, now that is worth it!


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