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- Qantas non-stop Perth-London Boeing 787 flights start March 24
- Daily QF9 service begins from Melbourne with domestic Dreamliner leg to Perth
- Qantas axes Melbourne-Dubai-London Airbus A380 flights
Qantas will begin daily non-stop flights between Perth and London on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner from March 24, 2018, with tickets now on sale.
However, as exclusively tipped by Australian Business Traveller in December 2016, the airline will axe its Airbus A380 flights from Melbourne to London via Dubai in favour of the direct Dreamliner service between Perth and London.
The Perth-London flights, which go on sale today, will inherit the QF9 and QF10 numbers of the Melbourne-London superjumbo service and will also begin at Melbourne, offering travellers from the Victorian capital a Dreamliner all the way to London.
Introducing the new QF9: Melbourne-Perth-London
The Qantas Boeing 787 bearing the QF9 flight number will depart Melbourne's international terminal at 3.20pm to reach Perth at 5.20pm.
After a 90 minute layover – with most of that time spent at an all-new Qantas Perth International Lounge – the Dreamliner will set off for its non-stop run to London at 6.50pm, reaching Heathrow at 5.10am the following day.
The return journey on QF10 sees the Boeing 787 wheels-up from Heathrow at 1.30pm – affording travellers time to relax in the new Qantas London Lounge slated to open in the second half of this year – arriving into Perth at 1.15pm the next day.
At 2.45pm it continues onto Melbourne, touching down at 8.10pm.
But that's not the end of the run for this busy Boeing 787, which will then become Melbourne-Los Angeles flight QF95 – which is being re-timed to leave Melbourne at 10.40pm for a 5pm arrival into LAX.
Qantas has designed these additional cross-country and trans-Pacific legs to not only maximise the Boeing 787's flying time but also entice Perth residents with a one-stop Dreamliner route to Los Angeles to help fill the plane's seats on the domestic west-east trek.
Paying the 'non-stop' premium
However, travellers can expect to pay a premium for the direct Perth-London service over one-stop flights such as London via Dubai.
Qantas is pegging year-round return fares for QF9 as follows:
- Business class: starting from $9,890 Melbourne-London, and from $9,725 for Perth-London
- Premium economy: starting from $4,450 Melbourne-London, and from $4,250 for Perth-London
- Economy: starting from $2,270, "but are expected to drop below $2,000 during sale periods" the airline says
The 14,498km trek will take around 17 hours, which currently pegs it as the third-longest passenger flight in the world, and the world's longest Boeing 787 flight.
“We’re conscious that this is a long flight, but not much longer than our Sydney to Dallas service," says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
"It’s the kind of route that the Dreamliner was created for, because of its built-in features to reduce jetlag and improve the overall travel experience."
“We’ve added a very high level of comfort in each of the cabins and a lower seat count than most of our competitors. And we’re making tweaks to our in-flight service designed to help customers enjoy the journey more.”
Before setting out for London, business class travellers and other eligible passengers – including Qantas Platinum and Gold frequent flyers and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents, as well as Qantas Club members – will rest up in an all-new Qantas Perth International Lounge being built in a dedicated 'international wing' of the domestic Terminal 3 which will also include immigration, security and quarantine facilities.
Qantas says it will share more details "on the transit experience at Perth" next month.
A Dream(liner) run for lounge lizards?
With QF9 starting its journey out of Melbourne's international terminal, this will allow Platinum-grade frequent flyers to book the Boeing 787's Melbourne-Perth leg as a domestic flight – and enjoy the food, drink and spa of the Qantas first class lounge by grabbing even the cheapest economy ticket to Perth.
The timings work well for an east-west business trip, with QF9 out of Melbourne at 3.20pm and arriving into Perth at 5.20pm.
However, Qantas will want to keep open as many seats as possible for travellers who are going the whole way from Melbourne to London rather than doing a short hop for which it already offers a half-dozen domestic flights.
As a result, we expect Qantas will deliberately engineer the Melbourne-Perth pricing of QF9 to be far higher than its domestic equivalents in order to discourage transcon lounge lizards.