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May 2, 2017

Are the Qantas non-stop flights Perth-Europe being overhyped?

There are factors at play in the Australia-EU and UK market that are much more important than Perth-London non-stops in a 787

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This Qantas 747 did London-Sydney non-stop in 1989

While there are obvious benefits (but maybe not in economy) in the forthcoming Qantas non-stop 787 flights between Perth and London for travellers starting out in Perth, the attractions for those leaving from Melbourne or Sydney are less clear.

Most flyer departing Australia for London, or for gateways in Europe, start their trips from the east coast cities, and for them the trip will continue to be one-stop, whether they fly via Perth, or the likes of Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha.

And they will overwhelmingly do so in the superior comfort standards of Airbus A380s, including flying Qantas on what will be its only A380 all-the-way flight from Sydney, once Melbourne loses its Qantas A380 service on the route when the 787s start flying a domestic sector from Tullamarine airport to Perth for the onward London flight from next March.

Some of the disadvantages in this situation for those thinking of flying Qantas rather than Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airways from Melbourne, can be found between the lines of this report in Australian Business Traveller.

All but Etihad among those Qantas competitors will be offering A380s all the way to London from Melbourne when Qantas reduces the seats it has on offer in Melbourne for a one-stop flight to Heathrow airport from its A380 via Dubai to the much smaller 787 via Perth.

So the net gain for Melbournians as well as those starting from points that are elsewhere east of Perth on the 787 service is questionable, no matter how excellent the product initiatives Qantas is bringing to the new but for most passengers tighter Dreamliner.

In fact Qantas has indicated that it will completely refurbish its A380s from nose to tail in order to compete with the refurbished and brand new A380 Singapore Airlines inaugurates from Sydney later this year and well before the Perth-London non-stop begins.

The remaking of the Qantas A380 fleet is said by some sources to liberate very useful increases in payload through the use of space saving spiral or ‘enhanced’ staircases forward and aft and much lighter seating fixtures.  Whatever the accuracy of such information from within Qantas, there is every reason to believe its A380s will emerge from refurbishment as convincing answers to the initiatives already being built into new SingaporeAir A380s and promised for the Emirates fleet.

The currently configured Qantas A380s lag the amenity levels seen in the Etihad A380s (soon to be twice daily from Sydney and with around four times the total capacity of a single London via Perth 787) or those that fly at times on Australian routes for Qatar Airways, or indeed the Emirates A380s on which Qantas places its code shares so that its customers can get the bigger-than-Dreamliner economy seats yet earn Qantas points.

There are however major potential advantages for the small number of passengers Qantas can accommodate on its 787s through Perth in that Dubai airport is so overcrowded people have to queue for the toilets, even at times in some of the business class lounges as well as in the main terminals, and Abu Dhabi’s all new and soon to open Midfield Terminal is much needed given the pressure on existing facilities caused by its success in growing that alternative UAE hub.

Singapore is in the box seat in this situation. Its Changi airport hub may not always prove perfect for purpose, but its fair to say it enjoys a huge reputational and in this writer’s opinion, real advantage over the other airports at which all flyers from Australia to London or European cities will stop until a commercially viable true non-stop airliner from the east coast of this country to the UK and EU becomes available. Maybe even before 2025.

Hidden behind all the hype about non-stop Perth 787s to London, and if Qantas has its way, to Paris, Frankfurt and maybe even Berlin (if it ever manages to complete its new airport), there is a story about ‘Little Qantas’. Qantas is making itself a notably smaller player in terms of its own fleet to the UK.

It holds or held four invaluable slots a day at London Heathrow airport, but will after the Melbourne A380 daily ends, only fly an A380 on one of them, and a much smaller 787 on another. Most Australians who want to earn Qantas points on a flight to Europe or the UK will do so on Emirates code shares, and in its A380s or 777s (and from the early 2020s in 777-Xs.)

Unfortunately for Qantas, the 787 is too small an aircraft for purpose on major Australia-Europe routes. What made sense in December 2005 when it was ordered doesn’t make sense today when 777s (and 777-Xs) and A350s offer better operational outcomes on city pairs that haven’t grown enough to support A380 sized loads per available slot.

While Qantas has become a strong and profitable airline group, it hasn’t tried to keep pace with demand, much of which shows very clear signs of being inbound, from markets where its brand value and recognition is low.

Non-stop flights between Perth and the UK and Europe will not on their own address these structural challenges nor radically improve the one-stop on the way flying experience of travellers in the rest of Australia, and it could be the Singapore one-stop offers that prove the prime challenge to Qantas services.

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79 comments

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79 thoughts on “Are the Qantas non-stop flights Perth-Europe being overhyped?

  1. comet

    Everyone knows that the Qantas Perth to Heathrow service will fail.

    Everyone, that is, except Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

    What was he thinking, putting a cramped 787 on that route? Then squeezing 9-across seating in the Dreamliner’s economy section, with reduced toilets, making this flight the most excruciating uncomfortable flight in the airline business.

    1. Dan Dair

      Will the B787 actually have the range with a ‘full’ load in a 9-across configuration.?

      1. Dan Dair

        There’s not a hell of a lot of point in saying you’re flying non-stop to London,
        if you keep ending-up in Hamburg or Schipol for a quick splash-&-dash, because the weather’s against you .?

  2. Jacob HSR

    100% of the seats on SIN to EWR non-stop were business class (probably 180° beds).

    The PER to LHR direct will probably need to be 100% business class – yet Qantas is probably silent on what kind of seats it will have. Or maybe they can have hammocks.

    Qantas should look at flying from MEL to LHR via CMB/DEL – not everyone likes the go via Dubai.

    1. Zarathrusta

      Give me hammocks in economy any day.

  3. Dan Dair

    Everyone knows what a success the Qantas, Perth to Heathrow service will be.?
    (I only said that to poke fun at Comet, as much as anything, because he got in first.!!!)

    Anyway, I do think the Perth-Heathrow plan is a good one & I hope it’s successful.

    I am though, a bit skeptical about the fact that QF announced the route 15 or 16 months in advance of it actually commencing.?
    It can’t be as a test-marketing ploy, since that cat’s now out of the bag & Qantas are going to look bloody stupid (stupider.?) if they then pull the service before it’s launched.?

    Is it normal to announce a service like this so far ahead. I can’t remember anything with such a gap between announcement & commencement, but maybe I’ve just not paid enough attention.?

    1. Jacob HSR

      The SYD to DEL direct by AI was announced long before it began.

      It began on 30 Aug 2013 and there were articles about it in 2010.

    2. JW (aka James Wilson)

      Dan,
      It’s worth remembering that QF needs to operate this flight out of Perth’s domestic terminal to provide maximum convenience for passengers connecting from domestic flights. That means CIQ facilities need to be provided at the domestic terminal. Perth Airport was initially reluctant to help make that happen because their long term plan is to relocate everything over to the international side of the airport. In announcing its plan well ahead of the start date, QF was able to create lots of media hype about the benefits to WA of the new service. That no doubt helped pressure the airport authority into agreeing to QF’s plans.

  4. Goat Guy

    Other than for people in Perth I just can’t see the attraction in this flight. Certainly for anyone in Melbourne you’d have to be a diehard Boeing fan to think that 17 hrs in a 787 would be anything other than torture regardless of which class you fly and with plenty of A380 offerings from other airlines I’d expect that Qantas will be waving goodbye to most of their FF’s heading to London. The longest time you’ll ever experience is the last 3 hours of a 17hr flight.

    1. Dan Dair

      Goat Guy,
      If you’re not in Melbourne or Sydney AND you can also get a direct connecting flight to Perth,
      IMO it makes loads of sense to one-stop at Perth, rather than two stop & SYD or MEL and then at a midway-hub somewhere.?
      Fly from Adelaide or Darwin, etc to Perth & you’re already flying West. So your journey is shortened by your domestic connection, not increased.
      Plus you then non-stop to London, rather than one-stopping on any other route.

      That makes sense to me,
      but it doesn’t make any sense at all if you’re able to drive-up to SYD or MEL.?

      1. caf

        Canberra also has the one-stop option SQ292, SQ308 to LHR (return SQ321, SQ291). Darwin also has SilkAir flights to SIN at least?

        1. Mark Skinner

          Jetstar as well ex-Darwin to Singapore, and PAL to Manila (PAL often has cheap business fares to Europe).

      2. Zarathrusta

        From Adelaide you’d take Singapore, Qatar or Cathay for a 1 stop.

        1. Zarathrusta

          Or Emirates!

      3. Mark Skinner

        Going from Darwin to Europe is best done DRW-SIN by Jetstar or Silkair. The flight times DRW-SIN and PER-SIN are so close it makes no sense for Darwinites to go to Perth. Once in SIN, the possibilities are very broad too.

        The new service is good for Perth, certainly. It also provides an extra option for those who might have a specific and urgent need.

        However, I can’t see it being of interest to Adelaide or Darwin originating travellers.

        1. Dan Dair

          I’ve no doubt that you’re all correct about the connection options you quote.
          However, how long will the overall flight times be & what is the price differential going to be.?
          And will that make a difference for decision-makers when they choose which route to take.?

          Personally, I’d always want to fly in an A380 if I could. Since it’s not currently available on the non-stop (nothing is, it doesn’t start for nearly a year.!), it looks like it’s going to be a complicated decision around price, end-to-end journey times, company travel-policies & possibly loyalty points.?
          Unless QF genuinely believe they can fill their plane from the Perth catchment area.?

      4. Bruce Joyce

        Darwin is actually closer to London than Perth.

  5. Jacob HSR

    Looks like QF will stop flying from MEL to DXB and instead fly from MEL to PER to LHR!

    Almost all the tickets have been sold – so I guess people love back pain.

  6. getluv

    What a f*cking naive article. Sometimes you offer some interesting insights Ben, but airline economics isn’t one of them.

    If the economics had worked Ben, QF would have obviously have flown both. I mean they get the slots back from BA at the end of the year. I think the only money QF has ever made out of the UK are from the slots it leases. QF has never said LHR is a cash cow, in fact they’ve said on numerous occasions how “difficult” it is. Why throw more money after bad, when you can try a different tactic?

    Judging by SQ’s profit results over the past few years, I don’t think they’re making that much money either. Do you know how much CX, EY and QR were charging between SYD and LHR recently. $1100! It’s no wonder QF are reducing seat numbers and just taking the cream of the crop. Newflash, J and W are already oversold on the first fight PER-LHR/LHR-PER.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the 9-across and toilet did. Oh wait, you’re anti QF-readers have already posted. You may as well be a Channel 9 reporter when a Choice survey comes out.

    The new WA goverment, like you and your readers, just highlight why armchair CEOs should never actually be CEOs or in the planning department of an airline. I mean you’re so quick to deny the economic benefits that PER will get (adding the word maybe still requires you to actually prove why its a ‘maybe’). You’re also quick to ignore the benefits PER passengers will get flying to LAX.

    Some Australians think they’re so entitled. Also using AusBT should not be a credible source for any credible news website.

    Along with their new announcement last week, EK announced they are upgauging their morning flight also to A380 which QF also mentioned in their press release. So that is an alternative. That’s 3 A380s a day ex-MEL with a QF code, one even via SIN. If you don’t want to fly EK, or via SYD/DXB, then don’t. Because for the past four years, PER, ADL and BNE flyer have been using alternatives for to Europe and QF International is much more profitable.

    1. comet

      I don’t think anyone wants to read insulting posts like the one above. No point 🙁

      1. getluv

        If I was insulting QF you’d be all over it, I’m sure.

      2. Mark Skinner

        It’s the incoherence rather than the insulting tone that’s a problem. Wading through a rambling garble that boils down to “I disagree – because!” is wasted effort.

    2. Jacob HSR

      First of all, look at the Masters Hardware disaster and the Tata Nano disaster (only 174 were sold in March 2017 – yep just 174 of them!). And then look at Wikipedia – edited by the public for free.

      So the collective intelligence of the public is very good – if only Tata and Masters asked the buyers what they actually want.

      With aviation, do you think Qantas should fly MEL-DEL-LHR? It would be a more balanced journey than MEL-PER-LHR/MEL-DXB-LHR.

      A lot of the MEL to DXB flights actually stop in KUL for fuel!

      1. getluv

        No one wants to fly via DEL. Move on.

        1. Jacob HSR

          Abrasive and dismissive.

          Move on yourself. I cannot wait till a private airline flies from AUS to South Asia and proves you wrong.

          1. getluv

            And we will wait for the day Australians don’t need transit visas to go through that place.

            Come back when they do.

    3. Goat Guy

      Getluv,
      Armchair CEO’s don’t get excited about a maiden flight that has been hyped for months being oversold in J and W. They get excited about repeat business from J and W class passengers. Aside from the noble inhabitants of PER I can’t see that happening but the view from your armchair may be rosier.

      1. getluv

        Considering QF don’t have an infinite supply of aircraft it would make sense to divert their bigger aircraft where money is actually being made, ie to Asia, and stick to the cream of the crop (even in premium classes). Clearly QF management know a bit more than you.

        1. Goat Guy

          Getluv,

          Clearly you are a fan of QF management. Those would be the guys that grounded the airline and trashed their brand, got into the massive stuff up that was Jetstar Hong Kong, made ridiculous fleet decisions to ensure their LCA looked profitable at the expense of their “Premium Brand”, handed Emirates their non-Sydney business on a platter and lost $2.8 billion in 2014. Yep, your right, they know a bit more than me.

          1. Nick

            Hey Goat Guy (what an apt name), so you think the militant trade-union approach to slow-burn Qantas to the point that it would be broken up and sold off is better, huh?
            Qantas has never been stronger. You mustn’t be able to see the the satisfaction and performance ratings from where you sit.
            The next time you’ve engineered a multi-billion dollar corporate turn around I’m sure the worlds major airlines will beat a path to your door….. looks like Ethiad needs some help.
            BTW QAN $4.36, VAH $0.18.

          2. Goat Guy

            Hi Nick,
            Great to see Qantas Management getting involved on Plane Talking. I’m guessing you aren’t in Finance so perhaps Marketing? Anyway the militant trade union line was Dixon’s and Clifford loves it as well. Seems they aren’t nearly as militant when Qantas is making money. Strange that. Successful businesses have moved on from the adversarial approach of the 90’s, perhaps it’s time to give up on the “them vs us” approach. Oh and the only time Qantas looked like being broken up was by their own management and the APA debacle in which the unions actually helped save Qantas.
            Alas I don’t get to see the lovely management reports that you likely get paid on, I see the coal face as someone that spends too much time on planes. Perhaps less time on BI reports and more time talking to passengers/customers might prove interesting for you.
            You got me again on the multi billion dollar turn around. Then again I haven’t lost near $3bn in a business to enable me to turn it around. The 2014 result was the “if you are going to make a big loss then make it a huge one and clear the decks” approach to accounting and I have been guilty of that in the past. By the way AJ is still $1bn in the red over his tenure.
            Lastly I’d be delighted if Etihad wanted my services and you could put in a good word for me. If AJ is worth $13m at Qantas then the Etihad job has to be paying $20m doesn’t it? Which raises the point of who exactly at Qantas is greedy, management or the unions? Personally I find $13m an offensive number for a CEO to be paid.

    4. Adam Parker

      Completely agree with everything GetLuv.

      I grew up in Perth but have been London based for over 10 years and am truly thrilled at finally having the convenience of a non-stop flight back to my home city, on Qantas tin to boot. B******y awesome! Friends & colleagues here in the UK and back home in Perth are equally as thrilled too, the only naysayers I’ve met live in Perth and don’t fly on the longer international routes….

      While 17 hours does seem like a long time, it’s no different to when the 747 was released years ago and longer direct flights between Asia and Europe became more prevalent – and look how standard they’ve become.

      The case against the ultra long range routes has always been the around the amount of fuel & weight, nothing to do with the endurance of the passengers. The 772 and A345 (launched 15 years ago) have the range to fly direct, but fully loaded it was likened more to a fuel tank rather than an airliner. It’s only now thanks to the lightweight composites in the A350 and 787 that the ultra long routes are actually viable.

      SQ are even reintroducing the SIN-EWR route along with adding new non-stop routes to the US when they take delivery of the A359 next year.

      Introducing longer, direct flights is what the the airline industry has been doing since the start. This is a game-changer in so many ways (not just for Perth), it’s hard to see how it won’t be a success.

      1. Ben Sandilands

        I didn’t suggest it wouldn’t be a success for the Perth market. But I have underlined the fact that it doesn’t change much for the rest of the Australian state capital city market which will continue to have one stop services to London or on some airlines, Europe, via Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha. I also pointed out that those options, almost all involving A380s with superior seating amenity to the 787 in economy, include the promised refurbished flagship Qantas A380. The opportunities for Qantas passengers to earn points on Emirates A380s was specifically mentioned. I’m not fussed by criticism, its all part of the conversation, but try not to verbal me with things I didn’t say next time.

        1. getluv

          Considering that QF will be redeploying the A380 into Asia, my guess is that Melbourne and Sydney will have something to gian.

      2. Nick

        Totally agreed, most of these haters can’t seem to forget the days of government backed, legacy airlines that flew half-full 707’s and 747’s around the world with little regard to price, efficiency and competition let alone capital return.
        Virgin has had its hands in its various parents pockets for most of its life.
        Alitalia has tanked (again) along with AirBerlin teetering on the brink – I’m sure Etihand is feeling quite anxious……

  7. Nudiefish

    I don’t get any of the excitement for a 17 hour leg. I would think that it would be a seat in hell no matter which class.

    My wife and I go to Europe every year and always break the trip with a $100 bed in Singapore airport on the way over for a few hours. And a couple nights in Singapore itself on the way back. Breaking the trip not only kicks jet-lag in the butt, it also removes a lot of the torture from a long haul flight.

    Of course it shortens the duration of the holiday by a day or two, but it increases the enjoyment 100%. It doesn’t even shorten the holiday, really, because you have a couple of days in Singapore instead of France/UK/Germany, etc. You just have a different experience.

    Please keep your 17 hours in the tube.

    1. Dan Dair

      Nudiefish,
      I your circumstances, I respect & agree with your choice;

      However, businesses don’t want their staff to be hanging-around for a day somewhere midway just avoiding jet lag, as it’s inefficient.
      Also many people want to spend as much time at their destinations as possible, so a stopover day is considered a wasted day. If you’re visiting family once in 3-5 years, you don’t want to ‘waste’ any time seeing the sights of Singapore or HK.?

    2. J_sh

      Right on the money there NF. Best way and value and comfort from SYD to LHR, IMHO, is SQ232 to SIN in Y on an A380, arriving late afternoon in time to get to a hotel, shower and enjoy the open air dining, then sleep in a proper bed for an early breakfast at a proper table then transfer back to the airport for SQ308 to LHR on an A380 clearing Immigration about 5PM for an un-rushed shower and dinner near the airport, waking next morning dialed into the local time with minimal jet lag. Spend a bit extra for W maybe but not necessary. A briefer version which saves a bit is to head back to the airport after dinner then take SQ306, a B777, still 3-3-3 across but leg room a bit tight, so if saving a day at the cost of arriving rather jet lagged is the scenario then in this case W might be justifiable.

  8. Ian Teese

    Re space in 787. Have just come off CX 787 Melb-HK then CX 777 HK to Fra. The 787 toilets were better than 777 because of layout.
    PremEcon seats a mile in front even though 8 wide like 777.

    1. Ben Sandilands

      Ian,
      Cathay Pacific doesn’t have any 787s, the choice upon the retirement of their last A340 is an A330 or a 777 or in a small but rising number of cases, an A350-900. I think you were comparing the A330 to the 777. Until Cathay Pacific starts introducing the smaller seat promised for its 777s , they remain in the classic format that is notably better in my opinion than the A330. CX hasn’t announced higher density seating for the A350, and while its nine across format is slightly smaller than that of the classic nine across 777, it is s much quieter cabin and has in my opinion again, superior washrooms. I think Qantas intends to replace its Hong Kong A330s with A380s to some extent upon the removal of the Melbourne-Dubai-London A380s next March. That will put considerable pressure on Cathay Pacific no matter what aircraft is operating, as Hong Kong routes suffer from a shortage of slots and seats per jet, and Qantas will have an advantage over any of them in terms of more spacious economy seating, and more seats to sell in an underserved market because of strong growth and restrictive route agreements.

      1. Ian Teese

        Sorry Ben.
        In my frazzled state after a hectic week, I had looked at the wing tips but nothing else. It was a 359. A pleasant flight anyway but crew service was ordinary.
        A stroll through Economy suggested that seat spacings looked passable.
        New Premium Economy an excellent step in quality. Also some nifty tricks to maximise internal seat width and leg space.

  9. patrick kilby

    Everybody makers big deal about a 17 hour flight but that is only 30mins more than the current Syd-DFW. I would prefer a stop in Perth than DXB any day. A one or more hour shorter flight time is not a bad thing and a shorter 4-5hours flight followed by a longer one suits me as well. I prefer DFW over LA to the US East Coast for that reason. I just spent 14hours in a United 787 Melb LA. A bad experience but that was not the seat it was United’s poor service and stingy food offering leaving one v hungry by the end of it. I think the QF flight will work with a Perth hub to LHR and then Paris by the end of next year. For me from Canberra there is a very good connection coming back so it would be QF2 going and QF10 via Perth coming back and that will have a quicker flight time anyway.

    1. comet

      Sydney -> Dallas on Qantas is 15 hours 30 minutes, last time I checked, on a 747-400 or an A380.

      That would be much nicer than being stuck for more than 17 hours in the 787 Dreamliner’s ultra-narrow seats from Perth to London.

  10. scot mcphee

    PER-LHR (14,500 km) is right in the middle of the 787-900 max range (14,800-15,750km). MTOW is 253,000 kg, but as a good chunk of that must be fuel (98,500 kg max fuel) leaving a ZFW of 154,500 kg – the aircraft itself weighs 128,850 kg leaving 25,650 kg for pax, baggage, crew and cargo. How will they turn a profit on the route?

  11. Mark Skinner

    Dan, the distance DRW-SIN is close enough to PER-SIN that it makes zero sense to fly from DRW-PER.

    In the context of the article, it makes even less sense to fly a QF 737 to Perth from Darwin then a B787 to LHR, when an A320 or B737 to Singapore can be followed by a menu of A380 flights. It wouldn’t even be on anyone’s radar.

    From Adelaide, why would anyone prefer a flight in a B737 to Perth followed by a B787 to London on Qantas be any better or worse than an Emirates B777/A380 via Dubai, or a Singapore Airlines A330/A380 via Singapore? The QF option would be no better than third choice 9n the face of it.

  12. Flying High

    Passengers will determine the success of Perth to London flights, not a group of armchair Qantas critics who probably arent QF customers anyway.
    Ben you have been so wrong on so many issues in the past in respect to Qantas and you just might be wrong again. My impression is that when it comes to Qantas, you are wrong more frequently than you are right whenever you make a call on a Qantas topic.
    For anyone in Perth, its a no brainer if they want to fly on QF.
    For those in Adelaide, it provides a new option to backtracking to Melbourne and Sydney for those who want to fly QF. Despite the other options available at Adelaide, significant numbers still backtrack to Melbourne and Sydney to fly QF.
    On the way back from Dubai, the existing QF flight arrives too late into Melbourne for connecting flights to other states – so on the way back there is really only the Sydney flight (or Emirates) as the option for non Melbourne QF flyers.
    For anyone in Melbourne, they lose a one stop option to be replaced by another one stop option. If they really want to fly A380 via Dubai they can fly on QF codeshares.
    For Qantas it makes a lot of sense. They get to operate out of a home port using existing facilities and staff with overall lower operating costs at that location and with the potential to turn a home port into their European hub in the longer term. It gives them a product that is different to that offered by its competitors – so its less of a pure commodity and they may be able to retain more of a pricing premium as a result. It gives them a premium heavy flight and that is where the profits are being made. For QF the economy passengers are there to pay the bills whilst the the money is made with moving premium passengers.
    But in the end it will come down to how their customers vote with their feet.

    1. Ben Sandilands

      Flying High,
      Did you not notice the post making that very point about Qantas customers being able to earn points on one stop Emirates flights with wider economy class seats from most of the Australian capital city market.

      Let’s also do a recap on stories I was right about when it came to Qantas, starting way back in 1999 for the AFR on the Bangkok incident. Other stories that were not only right but lead to revealing Senate Committee inquiries included the conscious misreporting of the 2007 Jetstar final approach fiasco to Tullamarine Airport, and caused the ATSB to re-open its inquiries into that event on the basis of ‘fresh information’. I also called the Jetstar Hong Kong disappointment for Qantas correctly, although I supported the Qantas objective on the basis of a personal belief in free markets and initiatives that undo the established order, I also correctly called the RedQ or Asia One lunacies, and it wasn’t anything I dreamed up, but which I reported from briefings by Qantas sources. I will go in to bat for Qantas whenever there is a good story, but if the fog of PR delusions or hype gets a bit too thick, I’ll also have a go at that. The Learmont and Manila 747 incidents are a case in point, as was QF32, which so fulsomely illustrated the excellence of the Qantas safety culture. Of course we are all at times biased or selective in our perceptions, and I think you have conveniently or accidentally overlooked stories about Qantas that were not only positive, on their merits, but never received much general media coverage, because like all PR obedient outlets, the notion of writing reports that aren’t cut and paste press releases just doesn’t compute. (I often quote Qantas media releases in large part however when I see the content being passed off as original reporting by the daily media. I like readers to know what they find in regular media is actually dictation.)

  13. Mark Skinner

    Flying high. As a part time Adelaide resident, I can see that people who backtrack from Adelaide to Sydney/Melbourne to fly QF might change to the Perth flight.

    However, that’s merely shuffling passengers: more passengers ex PER, fewer ex MEL/SYD.

    So, it’s certainly good for Perth, nobody denies that. However, it’s of zero use to Darwinites, of zero use to most Adelaidites, and for those Adelaidites who want to fly QF specifically, it’s merely a reshuffle of existing passengers. For the rest of Adelaide travellers, there’s no reason to change. That’s for economy. Now, if you are talking Business or First, it’s simply laughable. Absurd. Why would I buy a Business ticket on a B737 with 34″ pitch, when I could be on Emirates/Singapore with full flat beds all the way? Hahahaha.

    Hence it’s good news for Perth, but anything beyond that is hype. The point of the article.

    1. Concorde

      I’m a former Adelaidean (not Adelaidite) now based in Dublin – Although I will be returning for good later in the year.

      One of the issues I have with the new QF787 service is that to get home I would need to first hop from DUB to LHR then traverse security, customs etc before boarding the epic 17 hour flight to PER, going through CIQ on arrival and then boarding another flight to Adelaide. This trip would cost me roughly an additional AUD$800 (return) in a very squashy economy seat, take 8 hours longer (and from a quick search on the QF site) actually require that I re-board the 787, overfly Adelaide to MEL to then jump on a final flight into ADL. Why would I bother? The answer is I wouldn’t. Unless your final destination or starting point in Europe is London; this just doesn’t make sense.

      I’m flying home in a few weeks with EK and will arrive in a little under 23 hours subject to any sandstorms or fog in Dubai. Qatar would also get me home in a similar time-frame for a little more $$, but in the comfort of an A350 via the lovely Hamad international.

      Whilst I am one to put my hand up for historic and unique flight experiences such as PER-LHR, I just can’t get excited about the prospect of being jammed in a so called Dreamliner for 17 hours whilst expending much more of my time and $$

  14. Flying High

    Mark Skinner said “However, that’s merely shuffling passengers: more passengers ex PER, fewer ex MEL/SYD”
    Yes and your point here is? They are filling seats on the flight out of Perth and that is what is needed to make it a success – Customers in Seats!
    I think you would be surprised how many customers backtrack out of Adelaide to Melbourne for the QF flight to London. Qantas would know the exact numbers but it would not be a surprise if its in the order of 100 plus passengers per day out of Adelaide.

    Mark Skinner said “Why would I buy a Business ticket on a B737 with 34″ pitch, when I could be on Emirates/Singapore with full flat beds all the way?”
    Well explain that to the QF customers who currently take up the business class seats on the a380 when they have the option of flying Emirates or Singapore out of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Explain that to the business class customers from Adelaide who currently take the 737 leg to Melbourne to jump on the a380. Some people prefer to fly QF.
    Plus the QF 787 business class will be an upgrade on the QF a380 business class – so some QF flyers will be actively seeking to take the flight out of Perth just like many of their customers currently actively seek to take the a380 flight when many others would perceive they have better or lower cost alternatives.
    Emirates fly the 777 out of Adelaide and the 777 business class product is not as attractive as their a380 product – its not a fully lie flat seat and the Qantas a380 business class product is superior to the Emirates 777 product.

    It is the customers who will decide if the flight from Perth to London will be a success and Qantas has a lot more information about its customers than you or I.

    1. Mark Skinner

      Flying High. Your obfuscatory agnotology is admirable.

      None of that addresses Ben’s original points, nor mine. You’d save yourself a lot of time by just saying you disagree and leaving it at that. One example: you talk about people from Adelaide backtracking to Sydney from Adelaide to get on an A380…when the subject is going to Perth to travel on a B787! Riiiight! I notice that while mentioning the Qantas A380 business product being superior to the Emirates B777, your silence on the B787 business product, which is the relevant comparison, is all we need to know. Lol!

      If you wish to debate the points either Ben or I made, I’d be happy to engage. Since you didn’t, all I can do is say: have a nice day. 🙂

      1. JW (aka James Wilson)

        Mark Skinner,

        I fear you are guilty of the same conduct of which you accuse Flying High, ie missing the point.

        Flying High clearly said “the QF 787 business class will be an upgrade on the QF a380 business class” and “the Qantas a380 business class product is superior to the Emirates 777 product”. Ergo, QF’s 787 Business Class product is superior to EK’s 777 product.

        I totally agree – the Business Class seats currently offered in EK’s 777s are seven-abreast and are NOT proper lie-flat beds; they lie at an angle. Their recently announced Business Class upgrade does offer lie-flat beds, but they are still seven-abreast and are not as good as the new QF seat, especially if you get stuck in EK’s middle seat.

        When it comes to SQ, the Business Class seats they offer on the A330 out of Adelaide are also angled and do not lie flat, so your contention that you “could be on Emirates/Singapore with full flat beds all the way” isn’t entirely true. Granted, the Business Class products offered by those airlines out of Adelaide are superior to that offered on QF’s 737 to Perth (which, by the way, has a seat pitch of 37″ not 34″), but it’s only a 2-½ hour flight to Perth and some passengers would be prepared to cop that for the better comfort of QF’s 787 seat on the Perth-London sector, particularly if they want to avoid Dubai.

        If I was flying Business Class out of Adelaide for London I’d choose Qatar’s A350/A380 over all of them, but that’s a different story.

  15. Mark Skinner

    Actually JW, the Qatar A350/A380 illustration IS another example of the point I’m making: there are much better business class options out of Adelaide than PER-LHR B737/B787.

    Your example is one, EK B777/A380 is another, SK A330/A380 another, and so forth. (One can argue at some length about the detail if you want). However, Ben’s points remain: It’s good news for Perth, but hype for every other city. Seriously, who in Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or Hobart would see the new service as something they would seriously consider over other options?

    Then there’s First. Oh, sorry, the 787 doesn’t have First.

    If anything, Ben was being a tad kind to Qantas, all things considered. Perhaps if the QF fanboi brigade read more carefully before pounding their keyboards?

  16. JW (aka James Wilson)

    “Seriously, who in Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or Hobart would see the new service as something they would seriously consider over other options?”

    Obviously not you! Ben does have some valid points, but some of your arguments are patently absurd.

  17. Mark Skinner

    If my arguments are absurd, you should have no problem demonstrating who would prefer travelling from any of those cities to LHR via Perth using the new service.

    But you can’t. For the reasons Ben stated. It’s good news for Perth, overhyped elsewhere.

    Rather than bluster, why not simply point out those customers in the cities other than Perth who would see Perth as better than their present alternatives. (And I might point out that it’s quite possible that Emirates will have full flat business class beds in its B777s to Adelaide by the time Qantas starts its Perth to London service).

    1. JW (aka James Wilson)

      “Rather than bluster, why not simply point out those customers in the cities other than Perth who would see Perth as better than their present alternatives.”

      I did, but you clearly failed to comprehend. You might be interested to know that I agree with Ben; the non-stop PER-LHR service probably won’t be a huge drawcard for passengers out of other Australian capital cities. I waded in to your argument with Flying High because I took exception to your sweeping generalisations about passengers from Adelaide. I think that Adelaide is possibly one city where there might be a market, especially for those passengers who are loyal to QF but don’t want to back-track to Melbourne or Sydney, or those who want to avoid the Middle East. Is it the only option? Of course not, but I don’t think it’s as dire an option as you make out and I think that some passengers will find it attractive, even if they do have to take a 737 from Adelaide to Perth.

      “And I might point out that it’s quite possible that Emirates will have full flat business class beds in its B777s to Adelaide by the time Qantas starts its Perth to London service”

      That could be true, but you obviously missed the bit about it still being seven-abreast vs four-abreast on QF. That means some poor bugger gets stuck in the middle with no direct aisle access. Emirates’ Business Class seating, even the upgraded version, has been panned in the media as being inferior to the products offered by other major airlines. Please explain why you think it’s superior to QF’s product on the 787.

  18. Mark Skinner

    LOL!

    Erm, I was going to leave it till I got to your last paragraph.

    The EK Flight ADL-LHR is B777/A380
    The QF Equivalent is B737/B787

    So, please, where is the Business class comparison of the EK B777 and QF787 that you waxed so eloquent on relevant to anybody travelling from Adelaide?

    If you are going to use an “apples and oranges” argument, make it a little less obvious.

  19. JW (aka James Wilson)

    I’ll spell it out for you petal:

    Emirates
    ADL – DXB: B777, sector time 13:10
    Transit: 2:15
    DXB-LHR: A380, sector time 7:30
    Total journey time: 22:55

    Qantas
    ADL-PER: B737, sector time 3:20
    Transit: 2:25
    PER-LHR: B787, sector time 18:20
    Total journey time: 23:05

    So, for a bit of ‘pain’ at the beginning of the trip, the Business Class passenger that chooses QF gets to avoid over 13 hours of potential purgatory in EK’s B777 product and a transit through the airport hell that is Dubai. As I said previously, some travellers might find the QF option attractive, especially those who remain loyal to QF and want to fly on QF aircraft. The only other option for them is to back-track to Melbourne or Sydney, which also means spending 1:20-1:50 on a B737, for a total journey time of over 28 hours.

    Now how about answering the damn question?

  20. PaulM

    Never before have I seen so much commentary, and so excited, about international travel out of Adelaide! Not had such fun since the days in the 1980’s when we used to trot down to the airport to watch the new baggage carousels.

  21. Flying High

    Its very clear that Mark isnt going to take the flight out of Perth. He probably wouldnt take the flight even if it was direct out of Adelaide. Possibly the only way he would take the flight would be if Qantas was selling business class seats at economy prices and even then he would probably be gritting his teeth all the way.
    Its the real Qantas customers who will determine the success of the route, the customers that want to fly Qantas.

  22. Mark Skinner

    Paul, I must admit it’s interesting watching the Qantas fanboi types twisting and turning.

    In this present round they descended on Ben because he had the temerity to suggest that while there was benefit to passengers from Perth, the benefits to others were overhyped. The nerve of him to suggest such a thing!

    Then, when it was pointed out that Ben was, if anything, a little kind to Qantas, they bought out their playbook – The Book of Bad Arguments.

    https://bookofbadarguments.com

    I think most of the book’s chapter headings have been covered: flying high just added “ad hominem” in his last post.

    FWIW flying high, old chum, I am more than happy to fly Qantas out of both Adelaide and Darwin where I spend much of my year, to Europe where I spend some of that year, were flights available. However, Qantas does not fly to Europe ex Darwin, nor does it have a flight out of Australia from Adelaide. So, if I prefer to fly Emirates or Qatar or Singapore or Air NZ (going the other way), why blame me? If other international carriers are prepared to serve Adelaide and Qantas is not, is it then my fault I don’t fly Qantas?

    Just to clear up a point, Air NZ is introducing a B787 service with Business Class from Adelaide this year, and I’ll probably try it. So, I’m not prejudiced against the 787. Although from what I’ve been led to believe, Air NZ has more toilets in its 787 biz class, and for a short hop to NZ too. Again that, like serving Adelaide is something Air NZ, unlike Qantas, has decided to do.

    Also, isn’t Fiji starting direct flights in Adelaide too? Qantas has made itself merely a domestic airline as far as Adelaide is concerned. No anount of spin and blaming potential customers by the fanboi types changes that. 🙂

  23. J_sh

    Re the various discounting of concerns regarding the 3-3-3 layout and other questionable Qantas management decisions Mark S posts a good reminder. The whole marketing approach by Qantas PR, starting with Joyce’s announcement that they would configure their B787s ‘especially’ for ‘ultra-long haul’ flights, has been a fraud, supported by their bought and paid for aviation writers (who at least were generally honest enough to footnote their rehashes of the Qantas PR releases with the information that they were sponsored by Qantas). By by sticking with the herd who, use B787s on mid-range flights, Qantas have done no such thing as especially configuring their B787s for ultra long hauls flights, and their PR release concentrating on having a claimed 1″ more leg-room than in Y on the A380s while omitting the information that the seats will be 1″ narrower than on the A380 is a “look over there” distraction which almost all of the above mentioned Qantas sponsored writers employed.

    Basically Qantas are making it impossible to make an informed decision concerning whether or not to choose Qantas or the alternatives, and if Qantas between the possibly DVT inducing discomfort on the B787 vis a vis a stopover A380 route.

    It was said that in Soviet East European times people knew that they had sub-standard facilities and goods and services avaiable. They didn’t mind that and made jokes about it. What they hated with vengeance though was the lies coming from the establishment about how good they were having it.

    Many people will end up with a ‘never again’ attitude at being hoodwinked onto a 3-3-3 B787 or a 3-4-3 B777 and it carries over to ‘never again’ with the airline in general, not just those particular aircraft.

    Taking customers as people to be fooled is not conducive to customer satisfaction or loyalty.

  24. Flying High

    Oh my…..when logic fails….throw in the book of bad arguments….
    So if your so confident in your views Mr Skinner, tell us when Qantas will cut the route. Give us a time frame. Then when that time has passed, we can see who was right.

    The point above, which you have confirmed, is that your not a Qantas customer for flights to Europe. For the reasons you have explained you have chosen not to fly Qantas and that is your prerogative. For different reasons some 100 plus customers per day in your situation in Adelaide have chosen to fly Qantas to Europe.
    It is the customers that have historically chosen to fly to Qantas out of Adelaide and Melbourne and the customers that want to fly direct to London out of Perth that will determine the success of the Perth to London flight.

    Qantas is replacing a 484 seat aircraft with a 236 seat aircraft – if Qantas was able to retain only 50% of the passengers from the a380 flight out of Melbourne they would fill the 787 flight without a single passenger from Perth.

  25. Mark Skinner

    Flying high, assuming you are correct that 100 or so customers per day choose to go to Sydney or Melbourne to fly in the A380 to Europe, does that translate into those people wanting to fly to Perth to travel in the B787? Or will they all continue travelling to Sydney to keep going on the A380?

    In which case, maybe it might be only a few tens of people using the Perth option. Again, Ben’s point of overhype becomes fair comment.

    Of course, it becomes even more problematic if the reason those people are doing that is because they are on corporate tickets, and are forced to “choose” Qantas by their company policy. If that is the case, there’s a possibility of losing them as long term customers when either they travel on their own dime…or they get to the position of determining travel policy in that company.

    Finally, I’d point out that I always use Qantas between Adelaide and Darwin, and that’s often via Melbourne where I have some interests and could use Virgin, but don’t. However, Qantas has not been loyal to Adelaide, and should not act miffed if other airlines move into that space, and Adelaidites use those airlines.

  26. Goat Guy

    Making Perth the hub for flights to Europe says more about Qantas/Emirates relationship than anything else. Qantas has gifted Emirates a big chunk of their business including most of the non Sydney and Melbourne market to Europe and now has to work out how to win those customers back. The 787/9 provides the tool in that they can hub out of an Australian port rather than that of another airline, Dubai for Emirates and Singapore for Singapore. The chances are that most people would prefer Perth for 90 mins over Dubai and there is little doubt it would be a far more pleasant experience. As has been discussed, the smaller 787 (over an A380) provides the ability to go to ports such as Paris and Rome that Qantas found uneconomic years ago.

    So this is about Qantas getting back into Europe in a big way by providing a better alternative one stop to Emirates in particular. To that end it’s a smart and probably great way to go and Qantas is finally getting on the front foot again. It’s just a pity that the boys with the Excel spreadsheets didn’t work out that 8 across in Y and another toilet in J class would have provided the last piece of the potentially winning formula.

    Flying High, perhaps the question isn’t when they drop the route but when they tinker with the cabin configuration.

  27. Mark Skinner

    JW, the use of hyperbole doesn’t help your case any more than fling high’s ad hominems.

    “Potential purgatory” in Emirates’ B777 business class? Come on! Tell that one to those sitting in economy! Please!

    Dubai “hell”? For Business and First passengers, the Emirates’ lounges, where people will spend their time, trump the Qantas Perth lounge by miles.

    Fact is, Qantas abandoned the likes of Adelaide, other airlines moved in. Simple.

    1. JW (aka James Wilson)

      The comments were a comparison of the airlines’ Business Class products, but I guess you missed that.
      I guess you also missed Ben’s comment where he said that “Dubai airport is so overcrowded people have to queue for the toilets, even at times in some of the business class lounges“. Try taking a look at some of the reviews.
      Finally, you clearly missed the news about the new Qantas lounge that is being built at Perth’s T3, specifically to cater for the B787 flights to London:
      “Qantas has confirmed plans to open a new Perth International Lounge in early 2018 to cater for its non-stop Boeing 787 flights between Perth and London.
      The lounge will adopt the same ‘premium’ position as Qantas international lounges at Singapore, Hong Kong and most recently Brisbane, and cater for business class travellers and eligible frequent flyers – including Qantas Platinum and Gold card-holders (and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents) along with Qantas Club members.
      Located in Perth’s domestic Terminal3, which is being modified to handle Qantas’ international flights, the lounge will include an outdoor space.”
      (Business Traveller, January 27, 2017)
      If you want to engage in a bit of ‘obfuscatory agnotology’, then that’s your choice. Just don’t mock others who do the same, because that might expose you as a hypocrite.

  28. Mark Skinner

    James, you said that Emirates Business class was “purgatory”, I said, and still say that is hyperbole. The reason I mentioned economy class (B787, B777, or Jetstar new A320) was to point out what actual purgatory was. But you knew that.

    I said and still say that the present First and Business lounges in Dubai beat the present Qantas Perth lounge. BTW, it’s not uncommon in lounges throughout the world to be full at times. While I’ve never had to wait for a toilet in a Dubai lounge, I have had to elsewhere in the world during busy times, including, cough, Perth with all those worker chappies going to the mines.

    It’s funny that when you compare the present EK Business seats out of Adelaide, with future QF seats out of Perth, ignoring EK’s B777 upgrade program, that’s ok, but when I compare the present EK lounge with the present QF lounge and ignore the QF upgrade, that’s different? You have checked to see if Emirates has plans for Dubai upgrades, of course? Right? How about you compare like with like and get back.

    As for flying high’s obfuscatory agnotology, I refer people to his posts to make their own judgement.

    1. JW (aka James Wilson)

      Oh FFS. If you actually bothered to read, you might notice that I said:
      “[Emirates] recently announced Business Class upgrade does offer lie-flat beds, but they are still seven-abreast and are not as good as the new QF seat, especially if you get stuck in EK’s middle seat.” I did not ignore the upgrade, I said that it is still seven-abreast, making it inferior to the QF product. Got it sunshine?

      I totally agree that QF’s current international lounge at Perth is sub-standard and the domestic lounge isn’t much better, but so what? Passengers on QF’s 787 flights to London won’t go anywhere near the place; they’ll have their own brand new lounge at the domestic terminal on the other side of the airport.

      You accuse me of not comparing ‘like with like’ and yet you are guilty of exactly that behaviour. Readers need look no further than your posts to find shining examples of the ‘obfuscatory agnotology’ of which you accused Flying High.

  29. Flying High

    LOL. Mrs Skinner using the term ‘‘obfuscatory agnotology’ to avoid discussing the facts. Its a shining example of hypocrisy.
    So when do you think they will cut the route Mrs Skinner? Or do you think it will be successful and they wont cut it?

  30. Mark Skinner

    Since I never said the Perth flights would be cut, that question is not only irrelevant, it is obfuscatory and agnotological, old chum.

    In fact, like Ben, I said the flights are a good thing for Perth, merely overhyped for everywhere else.

    It’s really hard to defend a position I have never held.

  31. Mark Skinner

    Further, I sincerely hope that people are not being paid to defend Qantas here. Since no attack was made on that fine company, paying someone to defend it from non-existent attacks would be a waste of the corporate communications budget.

    Of course, if people wish to defend Qantas from imaginary attacks on their own time…please carry on! (Unencumbered by the need to actually read the article or comments thereon).

  32. JW (aka James Wilson)

    Get real. For the record, I am not paid by Qantas and have no intention of ‘defending’ the airline. My comments were only intended to put the lie to some of your hyperbole.

    1. Mark Skinner

      Yes James, and in the spirit of my acceptance of your assurance that you are not paid to defend Qantas or Jetstar, or even to attack those so cheeky as to question those pillars of our society, I hope you will accept my assurance that it was not I that threw the pie in the eye of the man with the planes in the sky.

  33. Flying High

    Oh dear Mark…….
    So your position is its over hyped but its going to be a success.
    LOL.

    1. Mark Skinner

      You’ve almost got it FH. Almost. No cigar yet though.

      Just like Ben, I’m saying it’s good for Perth, but overhyped for other places in Australia.

      I’ve never opined whether it will be a success or not. That’s just you putting words in my mouth, you naughty boy!

      The one thing you did get right though, and I acknowledged this earlier, is that success or failure will depend on how many bums Qantas can get on its seats ex Perth. However, neither you nor I can know that.

  34. Flying High

    Only taken 76 posts for you to wave the white flag:)

  35. Mark Skinner

    Keep waving that limp lettuce leaf there FH, maybe you’ll score a hit some day.

  36. Flying High

    Happy to do so Mr Caterpillar 🙂

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