Last fall, Qantas received the first of eight 787-9 Dreamliners it ordered from Boeing (with the possibility of ordering more in the future). Though this plane was the 615th Boeing Dreamliner to roll off the production line, it made news nonetheless because of the special route upon which the Australian airline intends to fly it.
Qantas will will launch the first-ever nonstop commercial route between Australia and Europe when it begins flying the Dreamliner from Perth to London March 24, 2018.
The new route will be one of the longest flights in the world, clocking in at 17 hours and 20 minutes from Perth to London, and 16 hours 45 minutes on the way back.
Not only is that a lot of time in the air, but it also means passengers and crew will face new challenges when it comes to dealing with time changes, jet lag, and just plain staying sane over the course of the journey. As Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce joked, Qantas's old tagline of, “A sleep, a meal, a movie and you're there,” just won't cut it anymore.
Due to the timing and duration of the flights, Qantas has entirely rethought the passenger experience. The airline enlisted the help not only of in-house industrial designer David Caon and the airline's chef partner, Neil Perry of the Rockpool Dining Group, but also of Professor Steve Simpson and his interdisciplinary team of experts at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, which is dedicated to studying chronic disease and metabolism.
“Our research project with Qantas includes strategies to counteract jet lag, including on-board exercise and movement, menu design and service timing, pre- and post-flight preparation, transit lounge wellness concepts and the cabin environment, including lighting and temperature,” said Simpson.
Here are some of the innovations both on the ground and in the air that passengers can expect once the new plane takes flight. And pay attention, because as part of Qantas's “Project Sunrise” initiative, we might soon see even longer flights such as from Sydney to Cape Town, London, New York City and Rio, some of which would be as long as 20 hours.