This Is What It's Really Like to Fly 17 Hours From Australia to England
Departing Perth at 6:45 p.m. AWST Saturday evening, Qantas's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flew a lengthy 9,000 miles to reach London Sunday morning at 5:02 a.m. BST.
And with little time to rest, the Dreamliner headed back to Perth eight hours later, landing in the city Monday at 12:40 p.m. local time.
These two flights officially kicked off the world's second-longest flight and the first regular, non-stop commercial airline service between Australia and Europe.
Twitter has been wary about the comfort and ease of a 17-hour-long flight, with some users preferring to break up the journey into smaller, more manageable flights.
But for the 472 passengers onboard the two groundbreaking flights, the experience was generally positive, since Qantas implemented special designs, technology, and procedures to make the flight as comfortable as possible. Such features include technology that counters turbulence and reduces noise, LED light fixtures, 42 business class flat bed seats, and 16-inch in-flight entertainment systems.
A few of the passengers took to Twitter to share what it was like flying the inaugural trip.
Upon boarding, passengers received complimentary amenity bags, which came with ear plugs, a toothbrush, a sleeping mask, and a fleece blanket.
The fliers didn't need to worry about getting hungry. On board the flight, they had unlimited access to a self-serve pantry, where they could stock up on free drinks and snacks, like carrots and hummus dip, apples, and Tim Tam biscuits, a chocolatey Australian snack.
In addition to the pantry, Qantas served a main meal, mid-flight meal, and breakfast. According to the Daily Mail, cheese ravioli with leek and mushroom cream sauce were on the menu, as well as chicken with red rice and roasted vegetables. "Tasty, filling but not heavy on your stomach!" economy passenger Wayne Kwong praised in a tweet.
Qantas designed the meals to help fliers fight jet lag, serving them at times intended to give passengers the best chance of falling asleep.
When it came to legroom, however, the jury is out. Kwong told Yahoo 7 that there was more than enough room in his economy seat, and taller passengers could request a "lovely retro pillow" to prevent knee injuries.
Although Kwong was happy with the amount of space, many passengers felt it was not sufficient, according to the Daily Mail.
And despite the Dreamliner's turbulence-reducing technology, the Boeing 787-9 did experience a bout of turbulence due to Cyclone Marcus. But the biggest complaint shared among fliers? There was no free Wi-Fi.
Yet it seems 17 hours without internet is not a big concern to Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who is pleased overall with the new flight service. As one of the 237 passengers on the flight from Perth to London, Joyce says the Dreamliner "is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky."
He continued, "The response to the flight has been amazing, both for the attention it's received since we announced it and the bookings we've seen coming in. It's great for Australian tourism, for business travelers and for people visiting friends and family on both sides of the world."