Travelers setting off for Australia from the UK just over a hundred years ago could expect their journey by steamship to last anywhere between 35 and 40 days.
In 1947, airline company Qantas first flew what they called the 'Kangaroo Route,' which saw 29 passengers and 11 crew travel for 4 days to complete the Australia-UK trip (via Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo and Tripoli). Earlier this week, Qantas announced that they will be introducing the first ever non-stop passenger flight between Perth and London in March 2018 – a journey that will take just 17 hours. Now that's what you call making time.
The 14,498km non-stop route will be one of the longest in the world, with most flights between the two continents currently including at least 1 stopover in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong or elsewhere. Passengers will fly in the new 787-9 Dreamliner, which will need two pairs of pilots to take it in turns owing to the length of the flight. “This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft," enthused Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group. "Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge."
Joyce was also eager to allay fears that a 17-hour flight could be uncomfortable without the prospect of a stopover and a chance to stretch one's legs. "When we designed the interior of our 787s, we wanted to make sure passengers would be comfortable on the extended missions the aircraft was capable of," he said. "That's why we have features in our Economy seats that other airlines reserve for Premium Economy." Joyce even added that the 787's "Business Suite has been nicknamed 'mini First Class.' "
Of course, the flight will only be non-stop if travelers don't have to make a considerable journey to get to either Perth or London. Down Under-bound Berliners and Amsterdammers would still have to get to London if they wanted to fly to Perth directly from Europe, while Sydney and Melbourne are a four- or five-hour flight away from Perth respectively. However, this will still be the first non-stop commercial flight to connect Australia and Europe and, when you think about the days of steamships and four-day flights on the 'Kangaroo Route,' that is something to take note of!