Speaking of which… everyone used to hate long haul flights. Dread them, even. Which makes the current clamouring over long haul direct flights interesting (and potentially a positive sign for Qantas’ Project Sunrise ambitions).
Of course, much of this can be attributed to short term factors, with Australians having a great pent up demand to see friends, family and the world, having been denied this for almost two years.
But there’s another side to this which has people asking, in a post-pandemic world, are flights with stopovers going to become less desirable?
With delays and sudden national shutdowns (or in Australia’s case, regional shutdowns) over COVID cases and varients now very much at the front of travellers’ minds, not to mention the risks of catching COVID and the inconvenience of paying for testing increasing the more destinations you go to), suddenly the idea of a 17-hour flight from Perth to London becomes a lot more attractive than a 3 stop Skyscanner special (or even a one-stop flight which goes via Singapore or Dubai).
The only thing is… thanks to Western Australia’s rigid stance on entry requirements, Qantas has replaced its direct Perth to London flights with direct Darwin to London flights. This means Sydneysiders (and anyone willing and able to fly to Sydney) can fly to Europe with zero international stopovers (until December the 18th, when Singapore will be back on the QF1/QF2 roster).
Until then, however, “the red-tailed Boeing 787-9 will depart Sydney three times a week at 6.30pm, and then call into Darwin at 9.25pm,” Executive Traveller reports.
“After a 90-minute break as the plane refuels, QF1 is wheels-up from Darwin at 10.55pm to tackle the 13,800km, 17½ trek to London, where it arrives at 6.50am,” (Executive Traveller).
Switching Singapore for Darwin… Image: Qantas Website
There has been strong demand for this. Qantas’ Sydney-London flights, which begin on November the 14th, have been met with a surge in demand. According to Executive Traveller, the first of these flights is already sold out, and Qantas is now adding an extra two Sydney-London-Sydney flights in the second half of November.
Writer, travel journalist and podcast host Ben Groundwater shared his personal response to the news on Twitter: “No surprise Qantas’s direct flights to London are going gangbusters. I used to think, 17 hours in a plane, no thanks. But now to get to Europe without transiting anywhere, without worrying about another country shutting down, just jumping off the plane and being in Europe? Yep.”
No surprise Qantas’s direct flights to London are going gangbusters. I used to think, 17 hours in a plane, no thanks. But now to get to Europe without transiting anywhere, without worrying about another country shutting down, just jumping off the plane and being in Europe? Yep. https://t.co/pUOytoSB2E
Reuters reported on October the 1st that “Rival Virgin Australia, which does far less international flying, did not announce any schedule changes but said it would continue to add flights as travel demand increased and restrictions eased.”
There you have it – the long haul flights people used to dread are now more popular than ever. As to whether it will stay that way, it depends on whether people continue to prioritize the convenience of not having a stopover (and their fear of catching COVID-19) over their fears of contracting DVT.
Got itchy feet yet? Watch the following video to see 3 reasons you should visit England as a tourist.