The prospect of spending 17 hours in a metal tube, covering 9000 miles at 35,000ft might sound daunting. Or, if you’re a traveller and avgeek like me, this probably sounds totally awesome! I got the chance to step on-board a Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner minutes before passengers began boarding the (consistently) full flight.
A few things struck me:
- The 787 feels intimate – in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, the 747 is my all-time favourite plane, and the A380 is a flying legend. But the beautifully laid out cabin, with 42 flatbed Business class seats, 28 Premium, and 166 Economy seats, feels just right. Not too big, not too small.
- It’s absolutely mind-blowing that this plane will leave London, and won’t touch down again until it’s on Australian soil.
- Everything about this Qantas flight feels ‘neat’. A pristine Dreamliner, impeccable interiors – and equally impeccable, friendly crew, and a flight time that sees you jetting off from London at lunchtime, and arriving into Perth at lunchtime the following day. Perfect symmetry.
Here are a few other fascinating facts I learnt during my Qantas visit.
Destination time starts on boarding
To help passengers acclimatise as fast as possible, everything on-board is set to destination time; eating, drinking, sleeping – you name it.
On the subject of keeping passengers fed and watered, Qantas teamed up with the University of Sydney, who helped design a menu to hydrate and energise weary passengers. The menu offers meals that are filling and nutritious, without being too heavy.
Lounge hack alert!
I’ve been in a lot of airline lounges, and the Qantas lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 is impressive. The airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce describes the lounge as, ““a bit of English and a bit of Australian, too”. This is a good way to sum up the vibe of this airport retreat.
Luxuriously adorned, with marble bars – including a gin bar (more on this below) the lounge has its very own 15 chefs preparing deliciously fresh food from scratch, inspired by the airline’s famous catering expert, Neil Perry. Aside from showers for lounge guests who need a refresh, there’s even a playroom for kids – very useful when you have four children, like us!
If you’re flying from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 in Business, or First on another airline within the oneworld alliance, or your oneworld frequent flier tier is Emerald or Sapphire you can access the Qantas lounge. Click here for full eligibility details. I’ll definitely be using this lounge hack.
We’ve all heard of ants in your pants, but ants in your gin?!
Yes – you read that right. The Qantas lounge gin bar offers ‘green ant’ gin. Don’t worry though, the ants are dead, and are in high demand with guests!
World’s longest 787 Dreamliner flight
The Perth to London 787-9 Dreamliner flight instantly became the aircraft type’s longest direct flight. No other airline has pipped Qantas to the post – yet. With Qantas planning direct routes between Sydney and London, and Sydney to New York’s JFK, it will be interesting to see whether Boeing or Airbus get this impressive gig.
Trailblazing women in leadership
With just 5% of all pilots globally being women, it’s inspiring to see Qantas putting huge investment into the ‘Women of Qantas’, and what a role model Captain Lisa Norman (pictured below) is for the next generation of women entering aviation. Lisa flew the inaugural direct flight from Perth to London in March 2018. Lisa said that before she started flying, “[She] loved the smell of the kerosene and felt like an aviation nerd.” I’m with you Lisa – kerosene is one of my favourite smells!
Qantas ‘Green team’ is on a mission
With air travel set to double by the 2030’s, our insatiable demand for flight is growing. Our need for speed is quickening too, making flights like Qantas’ direct Perth to London route, a winner with the travel crowd. It’s great to see Qantas taking responsibility for their carbon footprint, and generally making plans for a cleaner, greener future. Their green team operated a 0% waste to landfill flight between Sydney and Adelaide, and the airline has set targets to cut 100 million single use plastics by the end of 2020, and eliminate 75% of the airline’s waste by 2021. Good work, Qantas!
Get inspired by Travel Insider
If you fancy a spot of destination dreaming, take a look at Qantas’ Travel insider. It’s packed with destination guides and travel tips.
Have you flown the Qantas Perth-London/London-Perth route? Would you? What’s been your longest flight?
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Images – source Qantas