Louise Matson shares her experience in Business, Premium and Economy Class Direct to London.
Posted on March 19 2019
I love to travel and have been fortunate to experience the Qantas Dreamliner flying directly from Perth to London return on three separate occasions within 9 months. Here is an insight into the experience I had travelling in the three cabin classes available on the Dreamliner; Business , Premium Economy, and Economy. Naturally I loved Business Class as expected, however was inwardly dreading Economy class only to be pleasantly surprised.
Qantas introduced the direct flight to London in March 2018. The QF9 departs Perth daily at 7.40pm to arrive into Heathrow as scheduled at 5.05am. The 14,500km flight takes approximately 17 hours. All my flights were under that time so somehow it seemed easy. When the Captain informs the passengers the flight time is 16 hours 45 minutes, less than the expected 17 hours, the psychology of it tricks my brain to thinking it is so much quicker. I am sure that is not what he is trying to do but for me it seems easier to handle. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ( not so long) flight.
Actually that is pretty much what I do. Settle in by placing my reading items at hand, earphones at the ready, blanket and pillow near by. I tend to break the flight down into 5 hour sectors. My mind set is that I am flying Perth to Sydney, then Sydney to Perth, and then back again. I know it seems a little silly but I wonder if you do the same thing. Perhaps you break the time into the number of movies you will watch. Watch 2 movies while drinks and dinner are served, sleep for 6 hours (which I managed to do on all sectors) as it is during the night so normal sleep hours apply, and another 2-3 movies over breakfast and descent and you're there.
By the way the movies were fantastic, the selection comprehensive and current and for more worthwhile 'pass the time' entertainment the Qantas magazine Travel Insider is always a great read. I always note down restaurant and hotel suggestions as they provide information on the latest fabulous places to be in cities around the world.
The returning flight QF10 departs London at 11.55am arriving at Perth Terminal 3 at 12.45pm, again with a scheduled flight time of approximately 17 hours, but as travel expert Geoffrey Thomas reported in The West Australian the QF10 from London to Perth set a record of 15 hours and 45 minutes when they had favourable winds behind them. What a win!
My first Dreamliner experience was travelling with my mum in Business Class. The seating configuration is 1-2-1. We had our very own single well appointed window seats, one in front of the other. They are not the most spacious business class seats I have experienced but they are certainly very comfortable. I was able to 'pop in' on mum with ease and check she was comfortable and managing the latest technology. Of course the cabin crew were always on hand to provide assistance and tend to our every 'need', but it is nice to be able to move around without bothering other passengers next to you and these seats do that by providing easy access to the aisle and bathrooms.
The standard Business Class comforts of bedding, flat beds, noise cancelling head phones, and refreshments at hand were complemented by the large windows, large television screens, amazing food, and undeniable great service. How do the crew do it with such professionalism and smiles over such a long time frame? I loved my job as a flight attendant but I think this flight would seriously test my excellent customer service capabilities. Thank you crew!
Speaking of the flight attendants, I have had numerous conversations during the flights asking how they find the flight, and they actually all respond they enjoy it. The crew are able to get some sleep (rest at least) between meal services unlike the shorter flights when they always seem to have to be working. The stopover in Perth is longer now also giving them a proper sleep catch up before boarding the return flight back to their London base. They love the sunshine and beaches here in Perth.
Another interesting fact is that some crew don't live in London although they are London based, they commute to Heathrow from European countries. One of the crew serving me was French. I love France and had to take the opportunity to speak with him to find out where he is from. He informed me that he continues home to Marseille once the Dreamliner has landed in London. Can you imagine another several hours before actually arriving home after working such a long day in the air. Another delightful crew member was originally Melbourne based but has taken the opportunity to be London based for two years. She has decided to live in Italy where her extended family live. This involves a commute to London to join the flight and a commute to Italy at the end of her duty. How wonderful to create such an experience before returning to her original Melbourne base to continue as cabin crew there.
I also talk about shoes and Louise M shoes with the cabin crew. I digress!
Being one of the first aircraft to land in London after the 5am curfew is fantastic. I had never experienced an empty immigration hall at Heathrow before, first in line for passport check was fabulous. The baggage carousel was just as smooth and efficient with my bag already coming along the belt towards me when I entered the hall. Admittedly flying business class does have you disembarking first so you do have a head start to Immigration and Baggage.
The Business Lounge access is another lovely benefit of travelling business class or if not travelling up front I use my Gold Frequent Flyer status to enjoy the same lounges. If you check in early you can use the Domestic Business Lounge in Terminal 4.
As the QF9 departs from Perth Terminal 3, not Terminal 1 where all other international airlines depart from, it has its very own dedicated lounge the Transit Lounge. The only time you can have access to this lounge is, when travelling Business Class or your Frequent Flyer status allows, on the QF9 or transmitting on the QF10 onto Melbourne from London. To access this lounge you enter Immigration (opens 2 hours prior to departure), fill out any tax return forms, pass through a second security check, and then into the beautiful Transit lounge itself. It has an indoor and outdoor area, bar and freshly cooked food brought around on trays or a selection of food on a table to self serve. A beautiful extra is the 15 minute yoga sessions by Bodhi J. This was a wonderful calming relaxing time, I found it just perfect to prepare for the flight ahead.
When departing from London Heathrow the Qantas Business Lounge is a lovely place to relax, refresh and prepare. This new lounge offers an a la carte dining experience on the lower level, with a circular bar, showers and buffet food table on the upper level. It is always a treat to have access to this lounge. I have met some really interesting people here. As I am usually on business travel for Louise M shoes it is an opportunity to meet other travellers and learn about their business or leisure travels too.
Now for the Premium Economy area, positioned between Business and Economy. There are only 4 rows with seating configuration of 2-3-2. I thought it would be nice to show you in more detail so have chosen the you tube video below provided by Business Traveller. The Dreamliner provides features for ultimate comfort on long haul flights. I liked the intimacy and privacy of the cabin curtained off from Business and Economy you felt like you were on your own private jet. I do struggle with sitting upright for so long but the chairs really do provide the most comfortable experience as one can get, without being fully reclined. The risk of knocking elbows and bumping heads while sleeping is pretty much eliminated by the spacious arm rests and winged headrests. I like that the pillow can fit over the headrest however I was not aware of this feature during my flight. A little demo of all the features prior to take off would be handy!
The biggest surprise for me was the Economy class seats. I am definitely not a fan of 3-3-3 seat configurations, so I was extra delighted when I had a seat next to me spare. This enables me to place personal items on the next seat, elbow room when eating, and a place for drinks during meal service. I did have to get up each time the passenger on the window needed to go to the bathroom but I made use of these occasions to stretch my legs, and visit the well stocked snack bar in the galley area between meals. Again the seats were comfortable, the lighting conducive to sleeping and crew regularly monitoring the cabin with refreshments and ensuring we were well looked after. The cabin has a sense of space and openness with overhead lockers well positioned, large windows, large entertainment screens, and places for reading glasses and personal items to sit so you are not fumbling for them in the dark. I was very impressed and relieved to find the Economy much better than I anticipated for such a long journey. Well done Qantas!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience on the direct Perth to London Qantas Dreamliner, Of the three travel classes, if you do have the opportunity to travel Business Class do so it really is a great experience from check in to bag collection, however don't be too upset that your seat is in Economy it is a really lovely experience in its own right.
If you have your own experience on the QF9 or QF10 I would love to hear about it, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safe travels and bon voyage!