3 Links I Love: The Qantas, Singapore, and Air New Zealand Long-Haul Edition

787, Air New Zealand, Links I Love, Qantas, Singapore Airlines

This week’s featured link:
Qantas flights direct from London to Perth – we reveal the hell of flying non-stop 17 hours from Australia in economy on the UK’s longest routeThe Sun
We have a theme this week, and it’s all about really long flights. Forget the stupid click-bait headline on this one. This is still a worthy read despite its tabloid-y style. The idea of flying 17 hours crammed into a coach seat where the sun never rises sounds just downright awful. If you live in Eastern Australia you have to stop somewhere, and I don’t know why you’d do this over a Middle East or Southeast Asia stop. Even if you do live in Perth, that stop may not be such a bad idea.

Two for the road:
‘New airplane smell’: Aboard a 24-hour Singapore delivery flightUSA Today
Ok, so this one is better than being a coach passenger to Perth, but it still sounds terrible. I don’t want longer range airplanes. I want faster ones.

New nonstops to New Zealand will be O’Hare’s longest flightsChicago Tribune
And here’s another one. I guess if you live in Flint, Michigan, congratulations, you can now fly with one stop to New Zealand instead of two.

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26 comments on “3 Links I Love: The Qantas, Singapore, and Air New Zealand Long-Haul Edition

  1. I live in Melbourne, so I’m the main target for Qantas’ new Perth-London 787 flights (they’ve removed the other stopover options for us, whereas Sydney-siders still have the Singapore option). It does not appeal at all – why fly 4-17 hours stints, when you can break it up more evenly with Singapore (8-14) or Dubai/Abu Dhabi (14-7-ish). Plus Perth is a lot less attractive compared with a an hour or two in Changi. We Australians are prepared for long flights to get anywhere, and we do it fairly regularly, but I think Alan Joyce has the wrong idea trying to sell us MEL-JFK/MEL-LHR or similar in the future – like everyone else, we don’t actually prefer being on a plane for 17-20 hours, we’d like to break it up. No matter how nice a 787 it is, economy for 17 hours is a struggle. If I was flying this sector, I would justify the cost for business every time, or not fly.

    1. AJ – I still see the Singapore option for you, looks like QF 37 connecting to QF 1, no? Is that going away at some point? Either way, you could also do Emirates via Dubai with the joint venture.

      1. Huh, I am wrong – they’re still operating QF37 which links up with the QF1 A380 from Sydney. Things are looking up! But you’re correct Brett, we have lots of options on the Kangaroo route if you’re not tied to QFF.

  2. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I still hate unnecessary changes. If rather just get wherever I’m going with less wasted time and less opportunity for something to go wrong. I’d prefer a 17 hour nonstop to a connection.

  3. SFO-DXB was bad enough at 16 hours in a middle seat in Economy…though to be fair I did luck into bulkhead exit row both directions so there was that. I can’t imagine doing 17+ in Economy. I’d rather break it in two or go to lie flat business class.

  4. I am with you esp. in light of shrinking passenger space on many airlines.
    There will clearly be a segment of passengers that would just as soon get there as fast as possible with the fewest stops or connections but I believe there will always be a segment of the public for whom 12 hours is about the limit of what their body can endure without being able to get out and stretch. When you are flying halfway around the world (and presumably aren’t going for just a couple days), is the addition of 4-6 hours for a well-timed connection going to make or break the trip?
    Further, it is far from clear that many of those new ultra long haul flights are going to work economically. Many are to destinations beyond which connections are not geographically the best or the ULH flights themselves are used to try to create connections at an airport that would otherwise not necessarily work.
    From N. America, a stop in NE Asia enroute to the rest of the Pacific Rim or in Europe enroute to S. Asia is not burdensome in terms of added time and gives the body a much needed break.

  5. Crankster, you have to remember that someone has to fill the Rahmfather’s new $4 billion international Terminal 2 at ORD. Air New Zealand is just trying to help — or get a jump start to obtain most favored international airline status in the Emanuel Administration.

    Just another reason why we need $4 billion on international terminal upgrades at ORD! So we can fly from Flint to Auckland.

  6. I haven’t been on a 17-hour flight, but I did 15-hour flights in economy several times (TLV–LAX). Yes, the flight is very long, but once it’s over, it’s over. And while a solo traveler might appreciate the chance to stop and stretch their legs, it’s a different story when you have small children in tow, rushing to make a cross terminal connection in JFK or CDG because the incoming flight was late. So yes, I’d choose the non-stop and even pay some premium for it.

    Also, my experience with TLV–LAX is that the fare premium for non-stop economy is often more than I’m willing to pay (even considering children etc.). This suggests that many passengers value the non-stop even more than I do.

  7. Does Australia have immigration and customs at the first port of entry? This would be another ding against making a connection in Perth on the way to somewhere else in Australia. Yes, it would be nice to get off a domestic flight at your final destination, but the extra time you’d need to allow in Perth for customs and immigration, re-checking your bags, and passing through security is a hassle, with a longer overall trip time, and a bigger risk of missing your connection. If I need to connect somewhere, I prefer it to be at an airport which allows airside transit without schlepping your bags or standing in line to present your documents.

        1. Are you sure about Schengen not requiring customs at first port of entry? I’ve never transited from outside Schengen to an intra-Schengen flight, but I think I’ve heard announcements on the flights into Schengen that passengers connecting to Schengen destinations had to pick up their bags and re-check them after customs.

          1. Schengen customs is at the final destination, not at the port of entry. They know whether you came from inside or outside Schengen from the color of your bag tags. No pick-up-the-bags-and-recheck-them required.

      1. Also, most countries other than the US allow international to international connections without a visa. Breaking up ultra long international flights into two international flights would fall under transit without visa and is what some people are willing to do to avoid an ULH flight.
        There are a few countries like the US where breaking up an international flight into two parts could involve one part being a domestic flight that is a significant part of the time on an ultra long haul international flight but there aren’t many cases like that.

      2. No, not every country. In 2008 I flew to Morocco on Royal Air Maroc JFK–Casablanca (CMN)–Marrakech (RAK), and at Casablanca we were directed to the transit area, bypassing passport control and baggage claim; we then went through passport control and customs at Marrakech.

        I don’t remember how domestic and international passengers were separated at Marrakech, whether everybody passed through immigration and customs or if the domestic passengers were funneled somewhere else. There was also an issue because my bag misconnected and arrived in Marrakech on the next flight; if I remember correctly, I just told the customs officer that my bag was on a later flight, and when I came back to the airport later in the day to pick it up they had already passed it through customs and it was waiting for me on the domestic side.

        I don’t know if the procedure in Morocco is still the same — I haven’t been back since.

    1. There’s a special arrangement made for QF10 (LHR – PER – MEL), where if you are continuing on QF10, you remain an international flight and clear customs in Melbourne.
      Any passengers connecting to any other flights (Sydney, Brisbane etc.) must clear customs in Perth – although Australian customs & immigration are less painful to deal with than American CBP in my opinion.

      1. Australian Customs (confusingly, the equivalent of US Immigration) is easier than US Immigration, but Australian Quarantine (the equivalent of US Customs) is very strict, for good reason. But neither is a cakewalk; at least in SYD and BNE, it can take a long time. (I’ve never entered Australia through PER.)

      2. How do they separate domestic and international passengers in Melbourne, then? (See my comment on Marrakech above — I’ve been on such a mixed flight, but I don’t remember how passengers were separated.)

        1. I believe when this has happened in the past with other flights (notably QF8 BNE – SYD), domestic passengers had a big ‘D’ on their boarding pass, which allowed them to travel through immigration without being subject to passport control.
          I think they were still subject to bag checks, however, as no duty free could be purchased by the domestic passenger.
          The other main point is that photo ID is required to board and passengers must comply with the liquids rule – neither is required on regular domestic flights within Australia.

  8. I once did LAX-BKK in J on angle seats (aka the staircase) on TG when it was flying. Over 18 hours. Never again!

    @Ron: you have to clear immigration/customs when you land in Australia. That said, the process is relatively fast and painless.

  9. The WB hours from Perth sound miserable. You live through a 17 hour night without a wink of sleep and then have to live through another day before finding a bed.

    Does this not bother other people? And is connecting in the Middle East any better?

  10. Long flights are the norm if you’re looking to get to Australia – DFW – SYD is 17 hours and has done very well for QF, likewise YVR – SYD has done well, even though LAX is only 3 hours flight away from both.
    I’ve done both DFW – BNE and YVR – SYD in Y, and the flight only really starts to drag on when you hit the 14 hour mark. Much prefer a direct flight over a stop at LAX, and the commercial success of these flights show it. I think Australian’s tolerance for longer flights is much higher, just because to simply get to SIN is 8 hours.

  11. When I lived in Sydney, I loved the 16-17 hour flight to DFW to get to the US east coast (a frequent destination). More time on a comfortable QF A380 or 747; less time on an AA narrow body. The A380 is configured in a way that lets me walk around plenty. I much prefer it to connecting in LAX and getting the long haul segment down to 14 hours.

    Part of the issue is that you can get pretty much anywhere in the eastern US one stop via DFW, whereas I often needed two stops via LAX. That’s not a factor if you’re going LHR-BNE/SYD/MEL/ADL, admittedly, and the connecting flights on those routes would all be wide bodies no matter how you route. So I too am less clear how the LHR-PER nonstop makes things more pleasant than I am about the DFW-SYD nonstop.

  12. No desire or plan to fly ULH in Economy ever again. Once did ATL-CPT and back (required refueling in FLL) when it was one of the longest flights. Painful, even though I was used to west coast-Europe flights. These new flights are hours longer…

  13. Having done many 15+ hour long hauls in coach, it’s really not a big deal. I submit that anyone who thinks this is a REAL physical hardship is a wuss. :) It’s just long and boring. Oh, and I do suggest getting up at least every 6 hours (aisle seats encourage you to get up, so get one), and try to move your feet and legs around at your seat periodically. I did once get a cramp in my leg flying from SIN to JFK with a stopover, that took a couple of days to completely go away. So I do make sure to do the exercises.

    The one thing that is an abomination is the movement to 3-4-3 coach seating on the 777. Avoid this if you can. The seats are narrower than on, say, an A320, and nobody wants a narrow seat for 15 hours. A normal size male barely fits into a 3-4-3 777 coach seat.

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