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Flyers praise non-stop Qantas flight – except for one

March 27, 2018 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Reviews by passengers and media of the weekend’s new Qantas Dreamliner nonstop Perth-London flight have been very positive, except for one British journalist who gave the flight a scathing review under the headline: “PLANE AWFUL Qantas flights direct from London to Perth – we reveal the hell of flying non-stop 17 hours from Australia in economy on the UK’s longest route”.

The history-making flight QF9 at the weekend carried 16 crew and more than 200 passengers, including Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce. It marked the beginning of non-stop flights between Australia and Europe – the fastest way of travelling between the two continents. See: History is made as Qantas nonstop lands in London

A writer from the New Zealand Herald, in business class on the Qantas B787-9, was full of praise. “Qantas’ service is top notch: cabin crew are all friendly and attentive and nothing is too much bother,” writer Alex Robertson said. “Food is excellent and the Neil Perry menus are tasty, filling and healthy.”

Captain Lisa Norman and crew on flight deck before takeoff. With Captain Norman were , Captain Jeff Foote, First Officer Dave Summergreene and Second Officer Troy Lane.

The seat unfolds into a lie-flat bed “with plenty of room to stretch out,” Robertson noted, adding: “It does, however feel like a seat with all the little lumps, bumps and undulations apparent when you’re trying to find a comfortable spot. Again, Air New Zealand’s lie-flat is more comfortable, with a flat surface, spongy mattress and full-size pillow.”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller section spoke to a number of passengers in different classes, including a 39-year-old psychologist who flew in economy “because there was no business or premium economy left” and declared it the best economy flight he’d ever experienced. He said he felt more rested than on any other long-haul economy flight.

The publication also spoke to a 62-year-old Briton who flew economy and described the seat as “very comfortable, no worries at all” even though he stands 188cm (six-foot-two) tall.

London’s Sun, however, ripped into the flight under that PLANE AWFUL headline, with its online edition describing the QF9 experience as “entering the ‘familiar kingdom of screaming kids and aching bottoms’ on the UK’s longest flight.”

Sun travel writer Jacob Lewis made the ultimate sacrifice and flew in economy class. He wrote that after spending 17 hours in the air, “I’m convinced that I am breathing more farts than air”.

“While a gaggle of excited Australian press turn left into a world of champagne and lie-flat ‘suite’ beds, I venture right, into the familiar kingdom of screaming kids and aching bottoms,” Lewis wrote.

Lewis questioned whether “shaving a couple of hours off your journey” is really worth taking on “the all-new endurance sport of extreme long-haul flying”.

Among his observations:

  • The flight is the world’s longest without daylight.
  • Food is “painfully bland but meant to help keep you hydrated…”
  • The west coast of Australia “can brew up some nasty storms”.
  • There was no Wi-Fi on the flight.
  • His back was aching after eight hours.
  • The quiet cabin is a problem if you want to attend the toilet silently.
  • Breakfast consisted of “soggy sausage and bacon, omelette beans, cake and yoghurt”.

Lewis questioned whether passengers would consider it worth paying a premium for the direct route.

That’s a reasonable point. Time will tell. According to Lewis: “Despite it being the inaugural flight, with first class full of media (including four TV crews) and economy full of flight anoraks, there were 23 seats left free in economy and one in premium.”

You can read Lewis’s account of the flight in the Sun online here.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Congrats to the one journo who speaks the truth. Simply put, there is no such thing as a pleasant flight when you’re talking 17 hours cramped into an Economy seat. And people should note that if you’re travelling from the East Coast, which the majority are, then via Singapore is still faster. As of this morning, the fastest journey from Sydney to London is with Singapore Airlines at 22hrs 40mins, which a change at SIN. Next it’s BA at 23hrs 15mins via SIN, tied with by a QF codeshare through Dubai and then finally the new QF service with a change in Perth at 23hrs 30mins. And that’s allowing that you have to do a 70min transfer in Perth, something I’d be hesitant about.

    Out of Melbourne, where the new QF flight starts, SQ still beats it to Heathrow by half an hour. And out of Brisbane the QF via Perth is easily beaten by Singapore, Cathay, Etihad and Emirates. The point is, for the pain of a 17+ hour slog down the back you’re not even getting there faster. It only works if you’re a resident of WA and I doubt there’s enough of those to fill a daily flight. Maybe those further forward in their flat beds will be happy with the route but having found Mr Perry’s meals in Business on other routes rather ordinary myself, I cannot imagine how bad his special hydrating meals would taste. More lettuce anyone?

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