The March 2018 kick-off of non-stop Qantas flights between Perth and London received plenty of attention last week. Yes, it's a game-changer for the Kangaroo Route – and at 17+ hours, it'll be among the world's longest flights. And yes, the fares are significantly higher than stopover routes.
But a few other details wrapped up in the Red Roo's big bang announcement may have slipped past business travellers.
Melbourne-London Airbus A380 flights axed
Daily superjumbo flights from Melbourne to London via Dubai will no longer run once the Boeing 787 begins its Perth-London sprint on March 23, 2018.
Qantas' rationale is that the Kangaroo Route market cannot sustain both of the daily Airbus A380s from Sydney and Melbourne to London plus the new Boeing 787 from Perth.
It's a double-whammy to Melbourne flyers who prefer the spacious superjumbo – especially with its first class cabin, which is a great way to use frequent flyer points for an upgrade – along with a stopover in Dubai.
First class dilemma
If you don't want to do the non-stop Perth-London trek and pay those premium fares – or if you want the option of flying in first class, which the Boeing 787 lacks – you'll need to jet to Sydney to catch the daily QF1 superjumbo at 3.50pm.
This is also going to put pressure on Sydney flyers headed out on QF1, specifically in availability of upgrades from business class to first class using Qantas Points.
Any increase in Melbournians booking the A380's first class suites out of Sydney means fewer of those luxe cribs sitting idle and thus being tagged for upgrades.
Superjumbos to Singapore, Hong Kong
Losing the A380s from Melbourne to London has an upside for business travellers headed to Asia. Qantas will roster its spare superjumbo on flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Sydney-Hong Kong already sees the Qantas A380s used to cater for high demand over the Christmas holidays and Chinese New Year.
That'll now extend to more of the airline's Asian network.
And while Qantas won't be selling first class on those flights, Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers booked into business class will be able to select one of the A380's comfy first class suite for the 8-9 hour journey.
You'll still be served the same meals and wine from the business class menu, but you'll enjoy a far superior seat.
Fly Melbourne-Perth on the Boeing 787?
Qantas' new Boeing 787 from Perth to London will actually begin its journey from Melbourne. The Dreamliner's cross-country leg will depart from Melbourne's international terminal at 3.20pm to reach Perth at 5.20pm.
Some Platinum-grade frequent flyers and aviation fans are keen to book the Boeing 787's Melbourne-Perth leg as a domestic flight, without continuing to London.
This would let them sample the Dreamliner – which for the short term will be seen only on a handful of international routes - and enjoy the food, drink and spa of the Qantas first class lounge, even though they've bought the cheapest economy ticket to Perth.
However, Qantas intends to hide this short QF9 leg from its online booking engine and deliberately jack up the prices so those who can find it won't be able to justify booking it compared to regular domestic Melbourne-Perth fares.
The move is intended to keep open as many seats as possible for travellers going the whole way from Melbourne to London.
Qantas has already started testing inflight Internet on Aussie flights, and by the time the Boeing 787 takes wing the satellite tech will be rolling out across the airline's domestic fleet.
But while the Dreamliner is coming straight from the Boeing factory just north of Seattle, it won't be fitted with the necessary tech for sky-high WiFi.
That'll come down the track, we're told. Until then, serious binge-fests of your favourite TV shows are recommended to help pass the time.
More direct flights to Europe are on the way
Not chuffed about the non-stop flights and their premium pricing? Get used to it, because Qantas isn't drawing the line at London.
The airline has pegged Paris, Rome, Berlin or Frankfurt as the next round of non-stop routes for the airline's Boeing 787 network beginning late 2018.
Those flights would all go via Perth, leveraging the WA capital's role as a new international hub for Qantas.
Non-stop is indeed the future of the Qantas network, with fuel-efficient and ultra long-range jets from Airbus and Boeing set to carve out direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York in the early 2020s.
What do you think of Qantas' planned changes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.