Australia’s national carrier launched its new 17-hour non-stop flights between Perth and London Heathrow on March 24 this year – the first scheduled non-stop service between Australia and the UK one of the longest non-stop commercial flights currently in operation.
The flight is operated by the airline’s newest aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which notably features all-new seat products in the business class, premium economy and economy cabins.
But it’s not just the seats that are new on Qantas’s longest service. The in-flight menu has also been specially tailored for the 17-hour flight with dishes designed to reduce jetlag by encouraging sleep at optimal times and promoting hydration.
But does flying the route actually live up to all the hype, or is 17 hours just too long to spend on a single flight with what Qantas has to offer? Take a look at our review to find out.
Hong Kong Airlines: Los Angeles-Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airlines has been making notable headway on the international scene, with a number of new routes to destinations in North America launching over the past year. After it began flying non-stop to Vancouver last summer, the airline’s second destination was Los Angeles featuring the carrier’s newly received Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
Taking off on December 18, 2017 the new service features Hong Kong Airlines’ existing business class seat rather than the new seat product it unveiled last year that had previously been expected to launch on the airline’s first A350. However, this has since been pushed back and the airline now aims to roll the new seat out later this summer on board its fifth A350 aircraft.
Nevertheless the airline’s current business class seat has a number of positives including being able to recline to a fully flat bed position as well as offering direct aisle access for all passengers thanks to the cabin’s 1-2-1 layout.
Business Traveller tried out the airline’s debut US service soon after it launched to see whether Hong Kong Airlines offers a competitive alternative to existing services between Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Virgin Australia: Melbourne-Hong Kong
Virgin Australia made its debut in Hong Kong in July last year, launching a five-times-weekly service between the city and Melbourne – a route traditionally dominated by Oneworld members Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Since then, the airline has announced a second route to Hong Kong from Sydney that is set to launch on July 2 this year.
Unlike the other two routes on this list, Virgin Australia’s Melbourne-Hong Kong service is operated by its Airbus A330-200 – an older aircraft that saw its business class offering revamped in 2015 to include the airline’s most premium seat product, “The Business”.
But while the aircraft and seat may not be brand-spanking new, the seat is nonetheless quite popular with travellers, offering quite a lot of privacy. Is that enough to make it a competitive alternative to the regular flights offered by Cathay Pacific and Qantas? Business Traveller gave the flight a go in order to find out.