Qantas 787: The fastest 17 hours in the air

August 31, 2019
A Qantas 787. Photo: Qantas

Perhaps the Boeing 787, with its lower pressure altitude and higher humidity, is a time machine.

That is possibly the only explanation as to why a 17-hour non-stop flight from Perth, Australia to London’s Heathrow, passes so quickly.

And it seems no matter who you asked and in what class, the answer is the same “that was much easier – and quicker – than I thought.”

Our flight, QF9 on August 29 was no different.

READ: easyJet. How easy an simple can it be?

It started with some indulgence in the business lounge as our points upgrade had come through from Premium economy the day before.

So, armed with boarding passes 1K and 2K doors opened!

The Qantas premium lounge at T3 is quite outstanding with an outdoor BBQ area giving it a uniquely Australian flavour.

Boarding was no fuss and once seated the British-based crew were all over us with assistance and champagne.

Take-off was effortless and soon the lights of Perth made so famous by John Glenn in 1961 disappeared.

Dinner was served about 90 minutes into the flight after drinks and canape.

The appetizer was a choice of roast pumpkin soup, salad of prawns or pork and shiitake dumplings.

My choice was the prawn salad which came with tomato, corn, jalapeno cabbage with tomatillo, chilli and lime salsa.


Wine? No not this time, sparkling water with ice and lemon. The first of many.

The main course was a four-choice affair with a green leaf side salad.

Pan-fried polenta with braised, greens, mushroom ragout and salsa verde, Seared Humpty Doo barramundi, roast chicken or seared beef fillet.

I chose the Humpty Doo barramundi which came with tamarind sauce, gai lan and jasmine rice.

Again, another winner.

Finishing off were the usual cheese selection and / or Maggie Beer’s ice cream.

Another movie or two and time for a little sleep before the Indian monsoons woke me up with a few bumps.

Once clear of those I decided to catch another episode of Line Of Duty and watch the lights of Abu Dhabi and Dubai slip by.

Qantas 787 Dreamliner business

London was only seven hours away.

Sleep beckoned and I was able to get four or so hours before breakfast was on offer. And for entertainment some spectacular thunderstorms over Europe out to our right.

The touchdown was a 4.40am and we were at the terminal at 4.50am – 40 minutes ahead of schedule.

In fact, most flights over the northern summer are arriving about 30 to 45 minutes early

As wound be expected at that time of day the customs area was empty and we sailed through.

There is nothing so nice, after a long flight, as the sight of an empty customs hall.

While we waited for our baggage time to ponder the technology that can deliver one effortlessly from one side of the world to the other without so much as a whimper.

And the 787 does it while burning 34% less fuel per passengers than the A380.

In fact, Qantas has had a remarkable run with the daily 787 operations with only four technical problems in almost 18 months of operations.

Having said that the route was two years in the planning and Boeing and Qantas have worked closely to make the service an outstanding success.

Passengers rate it the best in the Qantas network with the highest satisfaction ratings and that is evidenced in the load factors which are running at 92% per cent overall and 94% in the premium cabin.

And how did we feel a day later?

In great shape with no jet lag at all.