Qantas’ first non-stop London to Sydney test flight set
Project Sunrise 787 flight will include a revamped in-flight menu and other tweaks.
Qantas' "Project Sunrise" long-haul flights experiment continues, with the airline announcing a test flight landing on Friday 15 November between London and Sydney and a second run between Sydney and New York in December.
The London to Sydney flight will take place on a new Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 that was scheduled to be delivered from Seattle to Australia, and will have researchers on board collecting information about how passengers and crew cope with the long-haul flight.
Changes from the first flight will include a switch to the in-flight menu and more exercise routines for passengers.
"We know that travellers want room to move on these direct services, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. "So, we're definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises."
The flight will depart at 6am from London, with passengers immediately offered a high GI "supper" menu. The thinking is that offering meals based on the destination time zone, rather than the breakfast you might expect first thing in the morning, will help with jet lag. Food choices will include a steak sandwich, chicken broth with macaroni and pana cotta. Wine will also be offered (phew!).
The 19.5-hour journey covers 17,800km. That's almost five hours faster than Qantas' current London to Sydney service, which flies via Singapore. The flight time is similar to Sydney-New York despite a longer distance, since tail winds will assist the flight. (That wouldn't be the case on a Sydney to London journey.)
Despite the experiments, it will be a while before any tickets will be available on these services. Qantas has said it hopes to introduce non-stop Australia-UK and Australia-US flights by 2023, but only if the business case stacks up. A decision is expected this year. I'm really hoping it comes off, if only so I never have to land in Los Angeles airport again.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
Picture: Marc Terrano