Review: Qantas Rome-Perth-Sydney Boeing 787 business class

Send your taste buds on an adventure aboard Australia’s first non-stop connection to mainland Europe.

Overall Rating

By Sid Raja , July 12 2022
Qantas Rome-Perth-Sydney Boeing 787 business class
Route

Rome-Perth

Aircraft Type

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Airline

Qantas

Flight

QF6

Cabin Class

Business Class

Seat

11A

Notes
The Good
  • A new non-stop way to get to Europe
  • Sleep experience with pajamas and mattress topper
  • Dining with an Italian flair
The Bad
  • Lack of WiFi on board
  • Confusing lounge access at Rome
X-Factor
  • Direct flight shaves about 3 hours from your journey
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

With Qantas’ new seasonal Perth-Rome flights jetting off this past month, the Flying Kangaroo is once again a regular sight in the Eternal City, marking an end to an almost 20-year absence of its distinctive red and white tail from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport.

Now flying three times weekly until October 6, and the only non-stop service from Australia to mainland Europe, it’s quicker and easier for travellers to enjoy the warm embrace of a northern summer. More than simply a one-time summer fling, the Red Roo has already announced it’ll return in 2023.

Shaving three hours off the previous fastest travel time to the Italian capital, it’s also a smart move for travellers from the east coast, with the outward bound flight originating in Sydney, making a pitstop in Perth and then continuing its 16-hour hop to ‘La Dolce Vita’, and vice-versa.

Executive Traveller ventured on board the return leg for a taste of the highly-anticipated route. Whether returning from Rome after a family reunion or reconnecting business links, here’s what to expect aboard the flight back from Rome.

Check-in

A mid-morning departure from Rome meant it was a relatively easy start to the day, giving plenty of time to mentally prepare ourselves for the marathon flight to Perth. It was quite busy at Fiumicino Airport, which is to be expected from one of Europe’s busiest hubs, yet check-in was still quite quick.

Qantas had a couple of premium check-in counters open, with a wait of no more than 15 minutes before taking the fast track lane through security, which probably saved around 20 minutes of wait time.

Lounge

Qantas directs all lounge-eligible passengers on its QF6 flight from Rome to the Plaza Premium lounge, stamping an invitation to this lounge on their boarding pass – despite there being an impressive British Airways lounge right next door to Plaza Premium.

As savvy travellers will be aware, with Qantas and British Airways both being member of the Oneworld alliance, the BA lounge is available to business class travellers on QF6, along with Qantas Platinum- and Gold-grade frequent flyers (and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents).

The Plaza Premium lounge is also open to any passenger on any airline for a fee, but with complimentary access if you have a Priority Pass card or certain eligible premium credit cards such as the American Express Platinum Card.

A central dining area with high ceilings and views of the tarmac greets you as you venture inside.

The lounge is located in Area E (Upper Level) of the Terminal 3 Extra Schengen Departures Area.
The lounge is located in Area E (Upper Level) of the Terminal 3 Extra Schengen Departures Area.

You’ll find several sitting areas scattered across the lounge, from large communal tables equipped with power sockets and USB charging ports…

Stay connected with free Wi-Fi throughout the lounge.
Stay connected with free Wi-Fi throughout the lounge.

…to plenty of individual armchairs – ideal to enjoy a drink or a small plate of bites.

Armchairs have convenient at-seat USB and AC power outlets.
Armchairs have convenient at-seat USB and AC power outlets.

Those who need to get some last minute work done can also make use of the suite-like armchairs…

These privacy booths are ideal for a little privacy, but not the most comfortable for extended periods.
These privacy booths are ideal for a little privacy, but not the most comfortable for extended periods.

… or the individual workstation pods for added privacy.

The lounge was spacious enough that it didn't feel overly crowded, unlike the rest of the terminal.
The lounge was spacious enough that it didn't feel overly crowded, unlike the rest of the terminal.

The lounge offers plenty of complimentary food options, including a cold self-service buffet or the ability to order hot food such as a ham and cheese toastie or omelettes and eggs.

Bite into a multicultural melting pot, from Italian to Continental and Asian cuisines.
Bite into a multicultural melting pot, from Italian to Continental and Asian cuisines.

If you fancy a pre-flight tipple, alcoholic beverages can be purchased at the bar for roughly half the price you’d pay in a casual bar in Rome, with an extensive drinks menu and premium listings such as a Zacappa 23-year-old rum for €8 (A$12) or a glass of Chianti for only €6 (A$9).

The menu includes a selection of spirts, wines, liqueurs and cocktails, plus non-alcoholic options.
The menu includes a selection of spirts, wines, liqueurs and cocktails, plus non-alcoholic options.

If you’re hoping to round out your Italian odyssey with a glass of prosecco, you may be a little disappointed, as the sparkling is not among the seven wine options on the menu. 

We also briefly visited the adjacent British Airways lounge, but only after convincing the surly lounge attendant that we were eligible to enter, despite ‘Plaza Premium Lounge’ being printed on our boarding pass.

In the end it was our Oneworld status rather than our business class ticket which got us through the doors – if you’re in QF6 business class without top-tier Qantas or Oneworld status, we recommend bookmarking this page of the Oneworld website which clearly outlines access for the BA lounge.

The centrepiece of the British Airways Lounge is its granite-topped bar.
The centrepiece of the British Airways Lounge is its granite-topped bar.

It proved a pleasingly quiet lounge, as most of the morning flights had already departed ahead of QF6.

With a small food menu, complimentary drinks and plenty of room to stretch out, it could be a great alternative to the busier Premium Plaza lounge.

Onto the other end of the flight: on arrival at Perth, we stopped by Perth Airport’s Qantas International T3 Transit Lounge, with access included for business class travellers, Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers (including their Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald equivalents), Qantas Club members and Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold elites.

The transit lounge was created specifically for 17-hour Perth-London non-stop flights.
The transit lounge was created specifically for 17-hour Perth-London non-stop flights.

With roughly one hour before you need to prepare for boarding the onward flight to Sydney (if that’s your destination), there’s not much time to spend: so if you want to freshen up after the long trek from Rome we recommend heading straight to the showers.

Showers are an appreciated addition to the lounge, but you'll want to be quick to secure one.
Showers are an appreciated addition to the lounge, but you'll want to be quick to secure one.

These 15 shower suites come well-appointed with all essential amenities, as well as relaxing ‘light therapy’ that proved especially welcome after our long trek from Rome.

The shower room includes three lighting options, from normal to simulated daylight to help adjust your body clock.
The shower room includes three lighting options, from normal to simulated daylight to help adjust your body clock.

Tailor-made in 2018 for passengers travelling on the 17-hour trek to London, you’ll find several bespoke health and wellness options to combat jet lag, including an outdoor terrace and a yoga studio where travellers can take a guided 15-minute class of ‘calming and grounding’ before each landing and departing flight.

Stretch out between flights in the intimate yoga studio.
Stretch out between flights in the intimate yoga studio.

There are also dedicated sitting areas with plenty of AC and USB charging ports scattered throughout to keep your inflight tech juiced up.

Armchairs, bench seats, dining tables and resort-like lounges are just some of the multiple seating options.
Armchairs, bench seats, dining tables and resort-like lounges are just some of the multiple seating options.

A selection of light meals and drinks are available, along with more substantial made-to-order dishes like a pork and fennel sausage sandwich or grilled lamb cutlets with rosemary and lemon dressing. 

Ready-assembled toasties, bruschetta and a small salad bar are just a few of the quick-bite options.
Ready-assembled toasties, bruschetta and a small salad bar are just a few of the quick-bite options.

Flight

Qantas’ Rome-Perth flight runs three days a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and is currently covering the European summer season from June 25 to October 6.

The return leg departs Rome at 10.50am and lands in Perth at 8.35am the following day, before making its way to Sydney for a 4pm arrival.

It’s a smooth 16-hour flight serviced by Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners – spacious, twin-aisle jets designed for efficiency and comfort.

Syncing to Perth or Sydney time zones is easy on this flight, as you can while away the first 6-7 hours enjoying lunch, watching a movie or catching up on work, still on the Italian daytime timezone. Then, simply go to sleep and 6-8 hours later your body is essentially on Perth time.

Qantas recently announced it was lifting the mask requirement on several outbound flights, including Perth to Rome. However, they were still mandatory on return all the way from Rome to Sydney.

Carry-on baggage allowance in business class was 14kg in total (including two hand baggage items of up to 10kg), and 40kg checked luggage, and more if you’re a Qantas Club or Silver or higher Frequent Flyer member, or OneWorld Sapphire or Emerald members.

Seat

Business class on this flight comprises of the now-familiar David Caon-designed lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration – allowing direct aisles access for every passenger – with a divider between the middle seats sliding up for privacy or down for seatmate sociability.

The business cabin features a total of 42 seats, split across two zones.
The business cabin features a total of 42 seats, split across two zones.

The seats are split across two distinct zones, with most of them found in the forward eight-row cabin and an additional three rows behind the first galley.

Each seat gets a side shelf where you can keep books and magazines, laptops, tablets and smartphones, amenity kits and any other travel gear close at hand.

The David Caon-designed seat includes ample storage options to keep gadgets and amenities at hand.
The David Caon-designed seat includes ample storage options to keep gadgets and amenities at hand.

The seats are well-appointed and sport a premium finish in colour and material, with a wrap-around shell offering a degree of individual privacy.

When it comes to work, the Qantas Business Suite makes for a great office-in-the-clouds.

The shelf next to each seat is wide enough to spread out any work-related documents, whilst a spacious tray table can be stowed away out of sight or pushed back and forward to a position that suits you.

The tray table is spacious enough to accommodate a large 17-inch laptop while also being very sturdy, with AC and USB power sockets found on the shelf next to the seat.

The flight's menu is waiting to be perused the moment you sit down.
The flight's menu is waiting to be perused the moment you sit down.

Their location is equally handy for keeping your laptop juiced up while you work, as it is for recharging devices while they sit snugly out of your way.

Once you’re ready to count some sheep, the seat transforms into a fully-flat 2-metre bed. The cabin crew can then prepare the bed with a padded mattress for extra comfort and a blanket and pillow.

The lie-flat bed is surprisingly comfortable, with ample room to stretch out.
The lie-flat bed is surprisingly comfortable, with ample room to stretch out.

For light sleepers like myself, the Do Not Disturb button will advise the crew to prioritise your slumber over almost everything else bar in-flight safety.

Business class passengers receive a pair of lightweight pyjamas and a black and pale blue faux-leather retro amenity kit containing Li’Tya skincare products and a sleep mask, along with the usual items such as a dental kit, socks and earplugs – the recycled packaging was a nice touch.

The faux-leather amenity kit has a premium feel, with multiple amenities nestled inside.
The faux-leather amenity kit has a premium feel, with multiple amenities nestled inside.

Meal

Having attended a preview of the Rome menu at Qantas HQ last month, it was exciting to see how this would translate to the meals on board.

The service starts off with the obligatory drink and almonds (Champagne Jacquart was also available)….

...and then an 'Aperitivo' of a tomato and mozzerella suppli paired with a 'Qantas Sky Spritz', which is a white wine spritz with finger lime and Davidson plum. 

... followed by our choice of starter: maccheroncelli pasta served with amatriciana sauce and pecorino. In true Roman style, the pasta was beautifully cooked with a little spicy edge to it.

This was followed by grilled snapper with peperonata, pine nuts, and green beans. The topping of fresh basil filled the cabin with a wonderful aroma and the dish is somehow both rustic and hearty, while also being light. The fish was slightly overcooked but this didn’t mar a beautiful dish.

Lunch was capped off with either the cheese option, paired with a 2018 Paracombe Montepulciano…

…or a ricotta and cherry crostata with marinated sour cherries and mascarpone, for those with a sweet tooth.

We chose to stick with the red wine, but a 2017 De Bortoli Noble One dessert wine was also available, along with a wide selection of liqueurs.

With a 16-hour flight time there’s a good chance you may wake up feeling peckish midway through the journey, so you can help yourself to a snack in the galley…

Drinks, fresh fruit and Nero chocolate bars are just some of the mid-flight snack options.
Drinks, fresh fruit and Nero chocolate bars are just some of the mid-flight snack options.

…or order one of the available mid-flight bites as a refreshment. You can’t go wrong with the mushroom and spicy salami pizza, although we wish the serving size was a little bigger.

After a solid few hours of sleep, breakfast is served as we approach the last 90 minutes of flight.

We choose the Italian option again – a pecorino frittata with cherry tomatoes and delightful herbed mascarpone, which really helps elevate the dish.

On the side are a couple of indulgent sfogliatelle (Italian pastries with ricotta and candied fruit), which provide fuel for an upcoming day of circadian adjustment.

Back on Australian soil we enjoy lunch on our final leg between Perth and Sydney, where the business class menu features a choice of four different meals, including a plant-based dish.

Looking for a bit of a change from the Italian feast we had on the previous flight, we opted for the cinnamon braised beef with jasmine rice and seasonal greens, which came with a green leaf salad and a perfectly paired shiraz.

To finish off, we’re offered a small selection of cheese served with a tasty Maggie Beer vanilla bean ice cream.

Entertainment & Service

Each business class seat boasts a 16-inch HD video screen loaded with music, boxed set TV shows and movies – the ‘Premiere’ section offers some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters. It’s good to see Qantas offering a full selection of entertainment again.

One glaring omission from the flight is the lack of Wi-Fi on the Boeing 787, with the roughly 16 hour flight (or 21 hour journey to Sydney) accentuating the feeling of being disconnected from the rest of the world.

On the service front, business class service throughout the flight was faultless, with an attentive and friendly cabin crew that catered to your every need at the touch of a button.

Verdict

In terms of convenience, you can’t go past QF5/6 Rome-Perth-Sydney, which is the only direct link between Australia and continental Europe. More than that though, it’s a taste of Italy through and through, something to whet your appetite on the outward bound leg or savour on the return.

Qantas’ Boeing 787 business class is a worthwhile option arriving well rested, and we love the way the on-board menu authentically showcases Italian cuisine

All in all, it was an exceptional flight and great to see Qantas expanding the European options from its western hub of Perth: we eagerly await the next destination to be added to the long-range network.

The writer travelled as a guest of Qantas.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 265

I think airlines not having wifi on their planes in the middle of 2022 is a big no-no. 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 383

Interesting to hear about the lounge situation at Rome, and annoying that BA lounge staff are yet again poorly informed on OneWorld access rules. This has been an ongoing issue with BA though, I've lost count of the number of times I've been challenged at BA's LHR lounges over the eligibility of my Qantas status!

Me too, BA seems especially prone to this compared to CX for example.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

Readers are reminded to keep their comments on topic – that topic being Qantas' QF5/QF6 flights to/from Rome – and to add value to the article and other comments.

Meals look pretty good Sid. This flight obviously makes sense if you are going to Rome, much better than back-tracking via LHR, of course there are other options such as Emirates. Qatar, Etihad, SQ with one stop at their hub, but I can see the appeal if you're in Sydney or other large Australia cities although it's really only non-stop from Perth.

16 hours, that's a LONG time to spend in any business class seat, even a good one like the QF 787s. I think this is where it's good to have a bar or lounge like the EK or QR A380s. Still miss the Virgin 777s and their business class bar area.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1445

Lost I’ve done it many times to Dallas and London (787 and A380) not always in business and it is fine.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2017

Total posts 27

A380's a different beast though. The thing is massive. A 17h flight in a B787 feels super cramped. 

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 367

The flight itself QF5/6 presents very well but this is not the return of Qantas to continental Europe that customers can practically use beyond Italy. Options from FCO are limited (both flights and interline fares) and with a 10.50am departure from FCO leaves limited options for connections, fingers crossed your short haul Europe flight (to QF6) isn’t delayed. Still good on QF for giving it a go and all looks good on the 787, hope FCO makes a permanent spot on the QF network. 

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 56

That's a good point AT, you would probably need to overnight to safely make this Rome outbound flight. 

The inbound flight from Perth arrives in the morning so it's pretty good for connections. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 238

I don't think anybody sees this as a way to connect beyond Rome, it's really just about 'Australia to Rome'. If you wanted to fly to another Italian city, eg Milan, you'd fly directly there with SQ, EK, QR etc or maybe fly QF to London and then BA to Italy.

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 56

Well, you can also connect to the extensive Italian rail network from there. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 91

I just dont get the "shock/horror: no wifi".  On airlines that do have it, it's never really amounted to much, and its not like there's not an excellent entertainment system on QF long distance flights. While I have not done Rom-Per, I have flown QF Syd-YVR in same metal and found it excellent as was the service. 

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 56

The issue for biz travellers is it's a longer time in the air, and if you're connecting through to Sydney you only have a short period of time to shower, change, have a snack, and re-connect with work. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 429

I haven't been to Italy as such but if coming from Adelaide the scheduling beats anything say the likes of Singapore Airlines has to offer and it's one stop some more.ADL-PER-FCO and the same on the return.Contrast that with anything SIA or Qatar offers and this is the better option.I have transited Doha on the way to Europe and it's not an experience I would want to ever do again(except as a last resort).

I love my stop overs in other countries but with the amount of lost luggage if it makes it on the plane in Roma atleast you know it makes it to Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 98

Hi Sid

Thanks for your review

My personal view is that there has been a dramatic reduction in the food and beverage (including wine) product on Qantas in J and F over the years in comparison to other carriers in J and F and that this was prevalent prior to COVID - several Flyertalk reviews (including in F recently from LAX to SYD) support this

The cheese and Maggie Beer ice cream have no relationship to "a taste of Italy"

The beans on your "slightly overcooked" fish dish are clearly past overcooked 

This review confirms my view that the meal offerings are pedestrian compared to other carriers and that the "Neil Perry experience" especially in F, has come to an end

Did you take note of all the wines offered on this flight? It would have been good to have the information for all the wines (the Montepulchiano can be bought for 23 dollars at Dan Murphy and Qantas would have bought it for less), an interesting finding compared to the airfare 

For many of us the wine is an integral part of the experience

What are your specific thoughts about the price point of the average QF fare for this experience when you compare it to a nonstop experiences on QR, SQ, JL, NH, including the specific food and wine offered on these carriers, some of which are available online ?

Thanks

Ian 

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 56

Hi Ian, 

I think you may be confused - there's no First class on this flight, this is a review of Business class.

Thanks. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Aug 2016

Total posts 63

The cheese and Maggie Beer ice cream are served on the domestic leg of QF6, so does it need to be "all things Italian" by this point? I'd be happy getting a MB ice cream regardless.

Presumably, the 787 wasn't wi-fi enabled yet, but others are in the fleet - or was it unservicable?  

Good to see Red Roo adding more destinations (albeit seasonal), hopefully FCO and others will be back fulltime as demand picks up. Good to see you on another inaugural flight Sid (we were both on QF1 to DXB - can you believe it's been 9 years).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 98

Do we know whether there is any evidence that "business travellers" constitute a significant percentage of individuals that fly from Perth to Rome?

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 238

I think this is mainly  about leisure travel, both holidays and families reconnecting, especially as it's a seasonal route.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 98

No confusion

I was referring to business class

I was at the drinks launch in Perth the day before the flight as a P1 (where the food was also very average despite AJ etc being there)

My comments about F were made to highlight there have been declines in both classes

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 56

Hi Ian, 

I can't comment about the food at the events, or in First Class, or the pricing (which is dynamic), or many of the other things you mention. It sounds like you need to send feedback to the P1 team if you feel so strongly about these issues. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2013

Total posts 36

I like the idea of those dishes. Much more appetising than the rather tired faux trendiness of other QF business menus. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 133

i'm here to understand logic. East coast to USA has prices in excess of $10,000 in business class for sometime now, and the A380's are on and off, and what would be the point of adding a seasonal destination, rather than increasing services on the existing sectors they already run. Would this not be cheaper for QF? 


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