The other Kangaroo Routes: eight one-hop ways to get to London

By John Walton, April 3 2013

Qantas' decades-old Kangaroo Route to London via Singapore is now history, with the Qantas-Emirates alliance anointing Dubai as the new stopover.

It's a win for travellers heading to UK and European destinations other than London. With some 30 European cities just a single Emirates flight from Dubai there's no need to head all the way to London and then make another trip to get where you really want to go.

Read: What the Qantas-Emirates alliance means for London and UK travel

And while Qantas will keep its flagship Airbus A380s plying the skies from Australia all the way to London, these days you'll find plenty of alternatives to the classic Kangaroo Route.

While the total journey time is much of a muchness, if you're hoping to be productive (whether that's getting things done or getting a good night's rest) you have three choices when flying from Australia:

  • a relatively short leg to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, followed by a much longer leg to London
  • a slightly longer first flight to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Guangzhou, and then a slightly shorter leg to London
  • a long leg to the Middle East, then a short second half of the journey to London
Great Circle Mapper

Great Circle Mapper

In this list of one-stop options for getting to London, we've used travel times based on Sydney. Cut off up to half an hour for Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide flights.

London via Singapore

8h to Singapore, 14h to London

SQ's long-haul business class is great, but watch out for the regional type.

Now that Qantas has adopted Dubai as its international hub, British Airways and Singapore Airlines are the only ways to keep the Lion City on your itinerary.

BA's single daily Sydney-Singapore-London flight has moved to a new Boeing 777-300ER with fully flat beds in business class, but from other Australia ports you'll need to fly to Singapore with oneworld partner Qantas.

Read: Qantas rejigs flights and times for Singapore

A more appealing option might be Singapore Airlines which runs direct flights to Singapore from almost all capital cities, with many services several times per day.

Not only will you get fully flat beds in business class on its Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER flights to London, you can earn Virgin Australia Velocity points all the way.

However, take a careful look at the type of plane you're booked on for the shorter leg between Australia and Singapore — Airbus A330 planes have an angled lie-flat regional business class instead of the fully-flat sleepers.

London via Dubai

14h30 to Dubai, 7h45 to London

Emirates' A380 business is great, but other seats leave much to be desired.

From Qantas' perspective this is the new Kangaroo Route, although Emirates has christened it the Falcon Route.

Out of Sydney and Melbourne you can travel all the way with Qantas or Emirates; from other cities, it's an Emirates-only flight (unless you take a connecting Qantas flight into Sydney or Melbourne).

Our suggestion: given the 14-plus hour travel time to Dubai, Emirates' Airbus A380 in business class offers more spacious seats than either Qantas' A380 (your second-best choice) or the Emirates Boeing 777.

You'll collect Qantas Frequent Flyer points or Emirates Skywards miles regardless of which airline you travel on, but you'll earn the most Qantas points by booking onto a flight carrying the QF code, and you'll earn status credits only on QF flight numbers. If you're booked onto an EK flight you'll end up with fewer Qantas points and no status credits.

Read: Maximise your Qantas Frequent Flyer points on Emirates flights

London via Hong Kong

9h30 to Hong Kong, 13h25 to London

It's hard to beat Cathay's brilliant new business class — or its lounges.

Flying via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific offers some of the best business class lounges — and best business class seats — to London.

Cathay Pacific's fantastic new business class is offered on all flights from Australia and many onward services to London, and you'll have the chance to stop in at Cathay's excellent lounges too. Qantas Frequent Flyers can earn points and status credits when travelling with CX.

Virgin Atlantic does Sydney - Hong Kong - London with fully flat beds all the way, a standup bar in business class and one of the swiftest connection times. It's an efficient and often cost-effective choice, especially when you can earn Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer points en route.

Red Roo loyalists can of course jet to Hong Kong with Qantas and then transfer to the daily British Airways flight to London, as long as you don't mind spending up to six hours waiting between flights at Hong Kong airport.

London via Kuala Lumpur

8h30 to KL, 13h30 to London

Angled lie-flat seats are a drawback for business class on MAS.

Malaysia Airlines' entry into the oneworld alliance has bumped MAS up from a sometimes "cheap and cheerful" option to a decent backup for Qantas Frequent Flyers, although the point earning rates for MH-coded flights aren't great: you'll pick up only 0.75 points per mile in business class, with no cabin bonus to bump up the balance.

The seating is a mixed bag, with angled lie-flat seats between Australia and Kuala Lumpur, while the KL-London leg on MAS' Airbus 380s boasts fully flat beds (although without direct aisle access).

Photos: Take a tour inside Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A380

London via Abu Dhabi

14h45 to Abu Dhabi, 7h45 to London

Etihad's business is top-notch, with stellar food and wines.

With flights from most Australian capital cities, Etihad offers an appealing alternative for business travellers who put a premium on seats and service. With excellent fully flat beds plus top notch food and drink all the way to Europe, you'll arrive rested and refreshed – and your Virgin Australia Velocity account will be topped up too!

A minor downside is at the airport: the business lounge in Abu Dhabi is crowded, and there's a fair bit of queueing if you have to change terminals. As the airline has grown, its hub airport facilities haven't entirely kept pace.

Read: We review Etihad's Pearl business class

London via Guangzhou

9h40 to Guangzhou, 13h20 to London

Only some Canton Route flights have fully flat beds.

China Southern's efforts to spruik its "Canton Route" via Guangzhou are meeting with some success, particularly among budget-minded business travellers.

While fully flat beds are only starting to be introduced onto the route, it's still a bit of a potluck effort to find out whether you'll be lying flat or at an angle. But the price is right for many business travellers.

London via Bangkok

9h20 to Bangkok, 13h to London

Business is fully flat on Thai's A380, but the rest of the fleet is less comfortable.

Thai Airways offers numerous connections through its Bangkok hub, with decent lounges and useful onward connections from Europe thanks to its partners in the Star Alliance. Winging your way to London on Thai's new Airbus A380 is another upside.

That said, the seating on flights out of Australia is less than impressive: it's mostly angled lie-flat seats, and Thai has a frustrating habit of swapping planes at the last minute so your carefully-chosen spot turns into a middle seat between a galley kitchen, a noisy lavatory and a screaming baby.

Read: We review Thai Airways Airbus A380 business class

London via Doha

14h15 from Melbourne to Doha, 7h40 to London

Qatar's business on most long flights (including Melbourne) is a fully flat bed.

If your home airport is Melbourne or Perth there's one more route on your roster – you can fly Qatar Airways via Doha. 

Melbourne travellers see a reasonable fully flat bed — though no direct aisle access — on the long leg to Doha, while Perth will eventually get the top-notch Qatar 787 business class, which rivals Cathay Pacific for comfort and space.

Australian business travellers pick...

Which of the new Kangaroo Routes is your preference? Which have you tried — and which would you happily fly again? Share your thoughts with fellow AusBT readers in a comment below.

Keep up to the minute with news for business travellers: follow @AusBT on Twitter.
John Walton
John Walton

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.

madge

madge

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

I prefer flying via HKG as the city has plenty to offer if you want a break in your journey. I find that 6 hour transit is enough to pop into the city for a meal with friends. Shame its not really an option with QF/BA any more. The prices are now ridiculous.

SteveCF

SteveCF

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 170

Good article, and great to see so many options. 

I would be intersted in an article that ranked the options factoring in the departure times, seat quality, international airport lounges, transfer times etc.. 

Then we can all disagree and slam your results!

gaschmon

gaschmon

QF

19 Feb 2013

Total posts 26

What about reviewing via Tokyo or Seoul?

JAL, Asiana and Korean Air offer connections to London. Albeit some of them with a layover of up to 24 hrs on the forward leg, but most of these options will throw in a free hotel for the night.

madge

madge

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Maybe they were left out because JL/OZ only fly to SYD. Because if you include options that are limited to SYD there's also CA via PEK, UA via SFO, AC via YVR.

Globehopper

Globehopper

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 19

There's also Air China via Beijing and China Eastern via Shanghai

John Walton

John Walton

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

a layover of up to 24 hrs on the forward leg

Got it in one there! While I know that there are routes that I'd personally consider if on a flexible or business-and-pleasure itinerary like via Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai or Beijing, we were really keeping this one to straight-through options.

mb68

mb68

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

Great article! What would also be handy (if possible) (a) is to have a fare comparison on these routes and (B) the Australia to Europe Options in J class VIA USA.

I have done this several times and have also found this a good option depending on carrier offcourse.

John Walton

John Walton

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

That's something that I'd love to see too, but the problem is that fares on the route are especially volatile at the moment — due to a variety of factors, including the upcoming QF-EK alliance.

The thing about the Kangaroo Route is that these connections are optimised for the transit, whereas connecting via the US can save money, but is often poor value in terms of time, inflight product and hassle.

Yusef Danet

Yusef Danet

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

We're so far from London that you can fly long haul in any direction and make it with one stop. I have a creative travel agent mate who has found seats when others couldn't Lon-Syd via JNB, NRT, even SCL.

mb68

mb68

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

I agree YD, Our choice from here is amazing! and pretty competitive if researched properly.

JBH

JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 118

Indeed, the value of a 'creative' TA cannot be under-estimated.

airtraveladdict

airtraveladdict

24 Oct 2011

Total posts 162

its funny you should point that out. I did a flight search a couple of weeks back for Business Class from NRT to LHR.

and I cant remember the exact figures but to fly from Seoul/Narita to LHR with China Southern was approximately $2,400 Australian dollars one way.

But if you booked the ticket from Guangzhou (home base of China Southern), the same flight, I'm talking about Guanzghou to LHR, is $4,000 Australian dollars.

So if you lived in Guangzhou, book a cheap a cheap 2 hour flight to Seoul, and then hop on the returning returning Seoul-Guangzhou and then LHR in business for $1,600 AUD less. lol

pprofpopp

pprofpopp

20 Sep 2011

Total posts 28

Great feature!!  As a solo business, where travel budget dollars have to be vetted by my "real life accountant" (ie , wife and co-director),  I tend to do more Premium Econ than BC these days, I'm at a loss to know even HOW to get from Adelaide or Syd/Mel to London in PE with Qantas. The A380 QF PE service was very, very good I thought and light years ahead of the sad old BA equivalent, but I can't even see how to book it anymore as all is going via Dubai and Emirates with no PE option.  I saw some "Premium Economy" fares listed on the QF Web site showing these routes (Adel-LHR) at PREMIUM, PE prices (ie, a sh$#@tload of money) when each of the legs flown was in ordinary economy. : )    Must book one of those today I thought :-)

So has qantas given up on it's PE seating to London/Europe???

For my next trip in April to Italy/UK, I have a great open jaw PE Cathay flight from Adel-HK, then HK to Milan in PE and return LHR to HK and Adel again in PE and all for just over $3k.

Qantas couldn't come anywhere close to that fare last time I looked.

I really love flying on qantas but their business and pricing model seems to want to make this as hard as possible for me to choose them.

Wonder if I should consider 'jumping ship' to cathay and Marco Polo?

Cheers and Best Wishes, and thanks for such great features and updates.

Philip

airtraveladdict

airtraveladdict

24 Oct 2011

Total posts 162

Yes I noticed that recently too. With the exception of 1 flight, most of the Qantas PE will take you as far as Dubai and Emirates will take you to EU/UK in Economy.

You have the option of JAL PE all the way, which is around $3k, from Sydney to Narita to EU/UK.

Or as you pointed out, Cathay Pacific, which I think is around $3,500 to $4,000.

I have read some reviews about CX PE, that is very much like economy.

Anyway I don't know much about Marco Polo club, but from what I read, it was hella confusing. To join MP you need to pay $$$ like Qantas FF, and then you join the complimentary Asia Miles.

But if you join Asia Miles, you can fly Royal Brunei Business to London, but you have to catch the flight in Melbourne. It is around $3,600 to $4,000 return and its the lie flat seat from Singapore Airlines' old Raffles Class, Lavender/purply seat. I read from reviews, that it is very comfortable seat and considering it is the same price as PE, you are getting a business lie flat seat, instead of a 38" seat pitch with a 9 degree recline.

But no alcohol served onboard, unless you BYO.

airtraveladdict

airtraveladdict

24 Oct 2011

Total posts 162

well under $3k for CX PE is not bad at all.

Also wanted to add, with JAL PE, you get access to their sakura lounge in narita. I'm not sure what value it will be to you, but its extra info.

jackmaulee

jackmaulee

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

22 Feb 2013

Total posts 2

I don't think Thai is planing to use the A380 to London anytime soon. Currently A380 only flies to Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Paris and Frankfurt. Currently they are using the refurbish 747 (74N) which can be seen on the SYD-BKK route sometime. They have suites in the first and angled lie flat in business but they have the new entertainment system. And for other Australian route it's the same style of business class seat and older enterainment system (AVOD). 

AgentGerko

AgentGerko

31 Jan 2013

Total posts 35

Your info on travelling via Hong Kong with QF is incorrect. The standard QF Business Class fares will no longer permit travel on BA from Hong Kong to London after 31 Mar. In fact when I asked QF how one could fly to London with a stop in Hong Kong after 31 March they told me I would have to fly Hong Kong to Singapore on Jetstar then Singapore to Dubai on a QF-codeshare on Emirates and then QF from Dubai to London. Their staff advised that customers are very unhappy as the traditional stop in Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong is really not an option any more using Qantas.

The other thing to note is that whilst Qantas and Emirates codeshare on each others flights to London, the Business fare on Emirates is about a grand cheaper than with QF so why would you choose QF when you can buy an Emirates ticket, save money and still sit on the same planes? I cannot see where QF is benefiting from this partnership.

mb68

mb68

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

I agree  AG , The fare diferrence is quite obvuious , even if FF points are better on QF , the fare aon EK has to be a drew card for them?. I too am not sure what the benefit for QF is .. 

Andyzx

Andyzx

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2011

Total posts 18

AG you are correct and this is a shame.  However you do have 2 options from 1 April

1. as noted fly Cathy - very nice all the way and great J and Y+ is available.

Check the BA website, they have connections via HKG, code share QF to HKG and BA to LH, connection time is not great but as you said a few house and you can meet freinds etc.

aero-seat

aero-seat

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

I like flying on the traditional way via Singapore and I really love Singapore Airlines' seats. I also like going via Hong Kong on Cathay and Virgin Atlantic, good to have a break on the way!

I don't think I enjoy Virgin Australia/Etihad, their service isn't so flash for business class. I have flown China Southern before but not all the way to London, and I am eager to test the Qantas/Emirates alliance to the UK!

joserizal

joserizal

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

24 Feb 2013

Total posts 3

Prefer to fly via Kuala Lumpur. I can buy ciggattee, drinks, food with cheap price. Heard some Malaysian, Malaysia Boleh, What is that huh?

concorde70

concorde70

27 Feb 2013

Total posts 12

There is also SYD-JNB on Qantas or PER -JNB on SAA then and JNB-LHR on British Airways, Virgn Atlantic or SAA.

concorde70

concorde70

27 Feb 2013

Total posts 12

There is also MEL/BNE/SYD-LAX then LAX-LHR

Ksmith

Ksmith

05 Sep 2011

Total posts 66

While travel via LAX is fine on Air New Zealand, where you are checked right through from AKL to LHR, and only go through a brief passport check during transit; on any other airline it is a real pain as you have to fully clear US immigration and customs, and then check-in again for your connecting flight.

mb68

mb68

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

MAS tells me that the A380 KL to LHR j class service  is a fully flat bed, not the one shown in this article. 

Ksmith

Ksmith

05 Sep 2011

Total posts 66

Correct, as stated in the article the A380 offers fully flat beds. The image shown is the previous generation business class seat found on their other aircraft.

pprofpopp

pprofpopp

20 Sep 2011

Total posts 28

Just flown Cathay Adlaide-HK-Milan and have open jaw return ex Hathrow.  Tried their new PE class as this seems effectively defunct now on Qantas/Emirates.

 

adel-hk, excellent.  As good s qantas and of course miles ahaead of BA.

 

Given upgrade to BC from HK to Milan!!!!  Amazing,  17 years with qantas and Platinum.  1 intnl upgrade in all those years.  1 trip with Cathay and recognised, offered upgrade.

 

Guess who my new fave airline is!!!  (and, NO, I don't expect that all the time but more than once in 17 years would be nice.

 

Go cathay!

 

Philip

 

Longreach

Longreach

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

Qantas may have copyrighted the term now, but the original Kangaroo Route was Imperial Airways/BOAC/BA to Singapore, then the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service to Brisbane.

It can still be done, so far as I am aware.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on The other Kangaroo Routes: eight one-hop ways to get to London