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First Qantas 787-9 has arrived in Sydney- and why I’m not excited

First Qantas 787-9 has arrived in Sydney- and why I’m not excited

The biggest news last week as far as Qantas is concerned was the arrival of their first Boeing Dreamliner 787-9.

For some reason, I just can’t Get excited about this. Don’t get me wrong. If through some near miracle, Qantas offered me a seat on a flight – I’d be there in a flash, but it just doesn’t get me, you know, firm as a block of airline butter.

So why is that? Well, I think it has something to do with delayed gratification. Those damn planes have been on order for 12 years, and its not like Qantas couldn’t have had them earlier. In fact they did, but handed them on to their Jetstar subsidiary just shy of 4 years ago (13 November 2013) swapping a bunch of A330’s back to Qantas for them.

Media Watch describes media junket

Don’t get me wrong. I like the Dreamliner I’ve flown it a couple of times, but is this news? I can’t really do better than the above cut from Media Watch on the ABC this Monday.

The saga of Qantas 787’s has been long, really long. Well things do change in 12 years, and deliveries do get delayed, but the net effect is it dampens my excitement. These planes are no longer new, or particularly exciting on the outside, let alone on the inside. We are not going to see a lot of innovation in the interiors – really we have seen it all before.

Australia to London Direct?

The other selling point that Qantas trumpets are that as of March 2018, Australians will be able to fly direct to London. While strictly true this is very misleading. The majority of traffic between Australia and the UK comes from the three eastern states capitals’ of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne so you will have to stop over in Perth for this ‘direct’ flight. That’s about five hours away from the east coast. So actually – all East coasters will have a layover. Would you prefer a layover in Perth or Singapore? I know where I would prefer to park myself for a 90-minute layover.

Will the Perth direct to London save you time?

From Sydney

Well, if you fly on the A380 to London from Sydney via Singapore on QF1, the scheduled duration is 23h 55m.

On the 787-9 via Perth, it will take 25h 20m – so no advantage there

From Melbourne

OK – you save nearly an hour on the Dreamliner: 22h 50m compared to via Singapore at 23h 35m – and you do have to do the first part of that trip on an A330-200, while the 2nd part is on an A380.

From Brisbane

Again the difference between the two flights is roughly an hour – with the advantage to the Dreamliner

From Perth

This is where there is an actual advantage. Previously your best options were on Emirates via Dubai, but now you have an actual direct flight, with no layover.

No First Class

The new direct flight via Perth has been trumpeted as perfect for business people – so presumably the top end of the market keen on saving an hour. But the 787 won’t have a first class cabin – so how is that appealing to premium flyers? I’m sure it makes economic sense not to have a first class – Joyce is good at his numbers, but will it be the route premium travelers prefer over the A380 via Singapore? I don’t think so.

Unless I’m confused, Qantas was intending to charge a premium for the 787-9 ‘direct’ flight, and when I researched this a few months ago when bookings were first available – I’m sure this was true. Now, not so much.

Last Word

If you live in Perth, and want to travel to London – then from March 2018 this is a boon at 17h 20m. You can actually fly direct, and save about 2.5 hours on a via Dubai Emirates flight.

If you are travelling from the east coast. Not worth getting excited about. Unless saving an hour is vital to you, or the departure times suit you better, I think your via Singapore options are better. Only one stop, and with the actual, or potential ability to fly 1st class.

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