This is the Planet Patrick Qantas QF10 London to Perth Flight Review. I took this flight in February 2019 and it is remains one of the longest flights in the world.
- Qantas QF10
- Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner)
- London (LHR) to Perth (PER)
- 11 February 2019 (arriving +1 day at 11.56am)
- Seat: 49F (Economy)
Qantas QF10 Flight Review: Planning
Early in 2019, I found myself with a few weeks available for a trip away from a very chilly Northern Ireland. I have twitchy booking fingers and I considered all kinds of warm locations. But it wasn’t long before I settled on a place I simply love to visit, Australia.
I wanted this trip to be about all the bits of Australia I had not yet seen. High on my list were Perth, Alice Springs, Darwin, Uluru and Adelaide. It’s always fun to visit Melbourne and Sydney, so I added in connections there, which made it easier to book the web of flights I’d need for the whole trip. I booked everything through Qantas at the same time, as that made the shorter hops much cheaper than booking one-ways directly with any other supplier (including Qantas).
Why I picked the QF10 Flight
I spent a lot of time reading blogs and reviews of QF10, which is a bit of a famous Qantas flight. At the time I booked, the London Heathrow to Perth flight was the third-longest flight in the world. It was launched in 2018 to replace a much longer stopover flight from London to Dubai to Melbourne. The aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner), is billed as reducing jet lag and wear and tear on the human body over long distances. For this 17-hour trip, there would be innovative air conditioning with less recycled air and increased oxygen and humidity, as well as healthier and lighter meals.
When to Book Flights
For long-haul flights, I have found the best prices are available 2-2.5 months before the departure date. I do try to stay flexible as going a day early or a day later can save you $$$.
First things first, check-in. To reduce my own travel stress, I came to London Heathrow from Belfast City Airport one day in advance. I stayed very comfortably at the Premier Inn at Heathrow Terminal 4 for about £35 GBP. After a short commute to Terminal 3, where Qantas is based, I found myself the only person in the check-in line, about 3 hours before flight time.
Need a hotel at Heathrow?
I stayed at the Premier Inn, but if that doesn’t suit you, there’s a wide range at the terminals or within a short drive (some also offer parking deals if you stay with them before your flight).
Check out the full list here.
Qantas QF10 Flight Review: Premium Upgrades
I chose to fly in Economy on this flight, as both the Premium and Business cabins seemed extraordinarily expensive. I checked out the price of flying the same route via Dubai or South East Asian hubs and these were much cheaper (of course). With Qantas, the price of flying in Premium Economy on the return flight from Perth to London was $3500 AUD one way (in 2019, that was around £2,000).
With the check-in desk so quiet, I decided to check with the agent if a paid-for upgrade to Premium Economy might be available. He said, “usually, upgrades can be bought, except for the direct flight to Perth, as it’s usually 100% sold out before the day of the flight”. Darn it! It struck me that if the flight was sold out, my back-up dream of a row to myself in Economy was definitely not going to happen!
There is a second part to this review! Right click and open the Perth to Melbourne Flight Review in a new window/tab to read later!
Qantas QF10 Flight Review: The Gate Experience
I picked up a bottle of gin in duty free to see me through my 5 weeks in Australia and hotfooted it to the lounge area in Terminal 3. The options available are not very fancy, to be honest. I don’t have sufficient Qantas status to get into the more glam parts of Terminal 3, but it’s nice at least to have any kind of lounge bolt hole away from the noise and before such a long flight. Here’s a review of the Aspire Lounge experience accessed via Priority Pass.
Passengers have to pass through pre-screening
There’s plenty of seating so the wait isn’t a pain.
Qantas operates a pre-screening area at the gate, to ensure that all the passports and visas are in order and we were held in that area for about 20 minutes before the flight was boarded in the usual business-premium economy-economy by row order.
Both of the glamorous classes looked pretty good, but I was also fairly impressed by the quality of economy.
Picking a Seat on the Dreamliner
I had picked a seat in Row 49, about halfway through the Economy cabin. Picking the ‘right’ seat can be a decision fraught with challenges, especially when the flight will be more than 17 hours. The Dreamliner configuration is 3-3-3 in Economy.
The problem with seat choices
Here is the dilemma:
- Window Seat: you need to wake/disturb two other people to get out for a walk / the toilet.
- Aisle Seat on a 3 that has a window: two other people will need to wake/disturb you to get out.
- Middle Seat: no, never.
- Aisle Seat on the centre 3: only the person in the middle seat might need to disturb you to get out. There is a 50% chance of being disturbed because, if you are asleep, and the person on their other side is awake, they will get out that direction.
- Can you tell I’ve overthought this?
Every seat had a pretty decent pillow, a comfy blanket, cheap over-ear headphones and an amenity pack (eye-mask, toothbrush & paste, ear plugs).
I was surprised at how comfortable the seat was – there was decent lumbar support and a reasonable width and pitch. In fact, because there is a ‘foot net’ (a special sort of net bag into which you slip your feet to support them under the seat in front of you), it felt more spacious than almost any economy seat I’ve used on long haul (possibly with the exception of Latam from South Africa to Brazil).
Qantas QF10 Flight Review: Inflight Entertainment
The inflight screen was about 10 inches and there was a small flip-down tray to carry my iPad. As my iPad is one of the bigger models, it did fall off the tray when the person in front put her seat back pretty firmly. So I stopped using that pretty quickly!
There was a reasonable selection of TV, Movies and Audio – really, better than that, a really good and updated list. The passenger next to me wanted my help to find ‘The Favourite’, but as that was still in cinemas on the day we travelled, it was not available.
Once the seats were reclined when passengers wanted to rest, space did get pretty tight for using the screen or the iPad tray, but that was fine as long as YOU also wanted to recline your seat.
Food & Drinks on the QF10
So to the important stuff – FOOD (and drinks)! The initial drinks service was a pretty good selection of wines or spirits or soft drinks with a snack pack. I went for a gin and tonic which was a refreshing start to service.
The menu was pretty good for Economy (so I’m sure it was really nice in Premium or Business).
Mains included a chicken salad, penne or a Guinness beef stew, served with wine and a dessert of rhubarb and ginger tart.
Although this looks like a modest portion, this was pretty filling and the veggies were really delicious. It’s worth bearing in mind that part of the Qantas Dreamliner long haul philosophy is balancing meals and this option skewed more towards veggies than meat quantity.
Snacks were always available at key points and you could help yourself to drinks, fruit and healthy options if you were awake. Around halfway through the 17 hour Qantas QF10 flight, a shorter service delivered a small but tasty hot Calzone pizza, some fresh fruit and this delicious ice lolly.
Qantas QF10 Flight Review: Breakfast
About 3 hours before landing, a Wake Up drink of apple and ginger was served to startle the taste buds! I did not sleep at all well on the outbound flight as I couldn’t get into a comfortable position. If I was lucky, I got a couple of 30 minute naps. My legs were certainly sore by the time we arrived. I looked again at options for my return journey, including paying the upgrade price to Premium Economy. Instead, I chose a bulkhead seat, which worked out to be WAY more comfortable.
Breakfast was served around 2.5 hours before landing. While the Cumberland sausage wasn’t amazing quality, the rest of breakfast was delicious. Somebody in the catering department took seasoning very seriously and I was very glad about that.
Arrival in Perth, Western Australia
Upon arrival in Perth, the wait at customs/immigration was no more than 10 minutes, and my bag was already going around the carousel once I got through. I chose to transfer to my hotel via Uber, which showed up within 10 minutes and it took 10 minutes more to reach the city centre.
places to stay in perth
I stayed at the Miss Maud Hotel in Perth, Australia (read my review here). I believe it has now been taken over, but there are a LOT of independent and chain options in Perth.
Conclusion: Qantas QF10 Flight Review
One question remains: does the Dreamliner live up to the hype of reducing jetlag? The answer is YES!
Despite the fact I got almost no sleep on board, I suffered no red eyes or scratchiness that you’d normally associate with a long-haul flight. I did have a short nap when I reached my hotel and then got a further 6 hours sleep on my first night. Despite the fact that I was up around 4am on the first full day in Perth, I had a great day and felt completely in the zone with no residual tiredness. I followed Qantas’ advice to do some light exercise, doing a low-stress 5k jog along the waterfront and getting in lots of walking during the day. As I usually suffer from pretty bad jetlag, this made a huge difference to the quality of my holiday. The only thing that would be better would be if I’d flown business!!
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