Ask Finder: Should I fly Qantas to London via Singapore or Perth?
What are the alternatives to Qantas's longest direct flight?
Ever since it introduced its direct Perth to London service, Qantas has linked that route to flights from Melbourne. If you book a Melbourne to London service with Qantas, the first option you'll almost always see is QF9 via Perth on the way there, and QF10 via Perth on the way back. That means you're on the same flight the whole time (so less chance for luggage mishaps), and it's the quickest way to get there.
Why would you choose to skip that and pick an alternative route, such as flying to Singapore and then changing onto QF1 which originates in Sydney? The most obvious reason is that the Perth to London leg clocks in just under 17 hours, which makes it Qantas's longest flight (its newly-announced Brisbane to Chicago route comes in second). For some people, that just sounds like too many hours on a plane (though our reviewer coped OK with it).
A second possible reason relates to timing. Virtually every service Qantas will sell you flying to London leaves Melbourne in the afternoon and arrives at Heathrow early in the morning UK time. However, on the return leg, it's a different story. QF10 leaves Heathrow around lunchtime, while other alternative routings leave London in the evening. If you'd prefer a full final day in London, QF10 might not be the best choice.
The final issue is cost. If an alternative routing is hundreds of dollars less, then you'll want to consider that. In my experience, the QF9/QF10 combo often is the cheapest for this route, but that won't always be the case.
If you're not flying on QF9, then the most obvious option is to fly to Singapore on QF37, which departs Melbourne at 4:15pm and lands in Singapore at 10:25pm. It's a relatively tight connection to QF1 to Heathrow at 11:55pm, but Changi is an efficient airport and that will usually work.
More convoluted routes will sometimes show up, including flying to Brisbane or Sydney for a connecting Singapore flight or flying a different domestic service to Perth before joining QF9. These will be OK in a pinch, but they will consume more time and may involve an annoying terminal interchange.
A final possibility to consider is flying on a direct Emirates service from Melbourne to Dubai. Emirates and Qantas have a full partnership, so you'll still get all your points benefits and lounge access. The main reason to consider this is if your final destination in Europe is somewhere east of London. For some countries, a direct flight from Dubai will be more efficient than transferring to yet another flight in London.
Bottom line? If you really want to get to London from Melbourne on Qantas as fast as possible, go via Perth. But weigh up the costs and the schedule on your chosen dates before deciding. Happy travels!
Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice. Got a question for Points Finder? Hit us up on Facebook.
Picture: Angus Kidman