Perth to London non-stop
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Qantas Frequent Flyer, part of the global Oneworld network. .
About 17 hours. Covering 14,498 kilometres, it's one of the world's longest commercial flights.
I was in 42D, an aisle seat in the middle row. The front section of 116 economy seats is in a 3-3-3 configuration. Economy seats are narrower (by 0.76 centimetres) than those on Qantas' larger international planes, but I couldn't tell. The trade-off is an extra 2.45 centimetres of leg room compared to Qantas' other international economy spaces. You have to search for it, but a flimsy netting arrangement hangs from beneath the seat in front, allowing you to cradle your feet. The seat reclines a respectable 15.24 centimetres.
Economy passengers travelling to Europe can bring up to 30 kilos of checked baggage and one piece of carry-on baggage up to seven kilograms.
The Dreamliner is a quiet plane compared to most jets and its pressurisation and humidity control is superior to that on other high-altitude planes (pressurisation, for the boffins, is sustained at the same level you'd get at about 1830 metres, or 6000 feet). It's supposed to reduce jet lag. I'm convinced it does. You can stand upright beneath the high luggage storage, and big windows with electronic blinds enhance the impression of space. Your pillow has a slip that goes over your headrest, meaning it won't shimmy away while you sleep. There's a soft blanket. I fell asleep easily.
Beneath the good-sized touchscreen (boasting the expected zillion channels and new movies), there's a drop-down shelf for your phone or tablet, plus power and USB plugs. If you can't find enough entertainment, you're not paying attention. I read a book.
You're not in first or business, so service is limited to a welcoming smile, the distribution of small comfort packs, drinks and meals. No complaints. You can always buzz if you need anything more.
There's a main meal about two hours after take-off, a mid-flight snack and breakfast. For the main, I opted for the salad of hot smoked salmon with quinoa, pumpkin pilaf and horseradish cream (with a glass of Australian sparkling). The other options were roast chicken with parmesan cream or beef steak with red wine sauce. Dessert was Eton mess and I'm a sucker for Eton mess. Mid-flight was ice-cream and fruit, smoked ham and mustard cheese baguette with a baked lamington, or carrot sticks and hummus dip with cheese and biscuits. I went for the baguette and lamington. Sweet tooth. For breakfast I overlooked the fruit plate and chose spinach frittata, sausage, bacon, kale, feta and tomato relish. Pretty good economy airline victuals, really.
ONE MORE THING
We don't all live in Perth. My marathon began in Melbourne. About 4½ hours later, I was in Perth, waiting to transfer to the Dreamliner. By London, the whole trip had taken about 23 hours. That's about the same as if I'd flown a more traditional, one-stop route from Melbourne. It might be worth travelling to Perth a day earlier.
A flight such as this one is a challenge, but I slept quite a bit, knowing I didn't have to wake half-way for an annoying two-hour stopover. I'd do it again without thinking. If I was thinking, I might take a different route and throw in a day's layover in Singapore or somewhere.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE