Qantas, Economy class
THE FLIGHT: Flight QF10 from London Heathrow to Perth departed London at 13.15, and arrived in Perth at 13.00 the next day (+7 hours). This routing is the first direct ultra long-haul flight connecting the UK and Australia with a non-stop service.
THE CHECK-IN: Online check-in was easy and while their was some queuing for the bag drop the process was straight forward and relatively quick. The staff were friendly an acknowledged the long flight ahead with the reassurance that they had heard good feedback from past passengers.
THE SEAT: The 3-3-3 configuration of the Dreamliner aircraft makes for a busy looking Economy cabin and first impressions were that it felt over full. Passengers juggled bags, baggage and their bodies into position but once seated things started to improve in my aisle seat 52F. The seat itself had a slight recline and netted footrest plus adjustable headrest/support. The back-of-the seat touchscreen was like an enlarged iPad and could tilt to improve the viewing position. Below was a charging doc and storage shelf which doubled as an iPad holder if you’d brought your own. The table had a half and full option and there was an additional charging socket in the arm rests.Passengers received a pillow and above average quality blanket but I was pleased I’d bought extra lumber pillows to add comfort. The amenity kit, in a small felt pouch, was cute but basic containing just an eye mask, ear plugs and toothbrush.
THE SERVICE: The staff were friendly and looked great - bright uniforms, fresh, cheery faces throughout and always available. A drinks service with rice snacks came twice, with dinner (if you put yourself on Perth time) served about three hours in. I took the beef bourginon which was tasty enough, served with carrots, beans, some somewhat uninspired potatoes and a garlic roll. Hot drink options included hot chocolate with marshmallows and a kitkat, and then there were two rounds of ice lollies.By hour seven the lighting had gradually dimmed and we were encouraged to sleep. Water rounds followed and night snack of hot calzone was offered to those still awake. A well-stocked larder included cheese and biscuits, houmous and carrot packs, cereal bars, cake and apples for free grazing. Lights came up for breakfast three hours out, and the fruit plate, Greek yoghurt and muffin were all excellent. A hot omlette, sausage, bacon and spinach was also available and two rounds of tea/coffee.
THE VERDICT: The thought of this long flight was very much worse than the reality. The Dreamliner cabin environment really does seem to support wellbeing in the air. The atmosphere remained relatively fresh throughout, there was very little operational noise or distraction and the lighting helped create a pleasant environment throughout. The crew were great, nothing was too much trouble at any time and they were welcoming and understanding of anyone stretching or standing in their galley, where F&B extras were always available. I disembarked feeling surprisingly good and certainly wouldn’t hesitate to take the routing again.
THE DETAILS: This direct connection London to Perth starts at £816 return in economy. qantas.com.
Reviewed by Julie Baxter (2018)