airline: Qantas, economy
THE FLIGHT Flight QF10 from London Heathrow to Perth departed London at 13.15 and arrived in Perth at 13.00 the next day. The 17-hour flight was operated by a B787 Dreamliner and is the first scheduled non-stop service between the UK and Australia.
PRE- DEPARTURE Online check-in was easy and while there was some queuing for the bag drop the process was straightforward and relatively quick. The staff were friendly and acknowledged the long flight ahead with reassurances of good feedback from past passengers.
THE SEAT The economy 3-3-3 configuration of the aircraft makes for a busy looking economy cabin and first impressions were that it felt over-full as passengers boarded, but things settled down. My aisle seat (52F) had a slight recline and netted footrest plus adjustable headrest/support. The backof-the seat touchscreen was like an enlarged ipad and could tilt to improve the viewing position. Below was a charging doc and storage shelf which doubled as an ipad holder. Passengers received a pillow and good quality blanket but I was pleased I’d brought extra lumber pillows. The amenity kit was cute but basic containing just an eye mask, ear plugs and toothbrush.
THE SERVICE Cabin crew were friendly and looked great – bright uniforms, fresh, cheery faces throughout and always available. A drinks service with rice snacks came twice, with dinner served about three hours in. I took the beef bourguignon. Seven hours in, the lighting gradually dimmed and we were encouraged to sleep. A night snack of hot calzone was offered to those still awake. A well-stocked pantry included cheese and biscuits, hummus and carrot packs, cereal bars, cake and apples. Lights came up for breakfast three hours out, and my choice – the fruit plate, Greek yoghurt and muffin – was excellent.
THE VERDICT The thought of this long flight was very much worse than the reality. The cabin environment really does seem to support wellbeing in the air. The atmosphere remained relatively fresh throughout, there was very little operational noise and the lighting created a pleasant environment. The crew were great too – nothing was too much trouble at any time.
THE DETAILS Qantas flies daily from Heathrow to Perth, with return fares in economy from £816. qantas.com
"The CABIN ENVIRONMENT really does seem To support wellbeing in The Air"