Shining a light on Qantas' ‘Sunrise’ route

Qantas is ambitious, if nothing else.

The airline recently announced that it would be offering non-stop flights to the UK come 2025. And if these flights of more than 20 hours don’t sound hellish enough, the Australian Financial Review is estimating that it may cost more than $18,000 for business class tickets.

So, what’s first going to cost? The first-class cabins look very fancy, with flat beds and separate seats, a wardrobe and your own entertainment centre, but if business class flights are going to be $18,000, it might be cheaper to hire your own plane.

And in case you think that’s only going to be a minuscule section of the plane, think again, Qantas has said more than 40 per cent of the cabin will be “dedicated to premium seating”.

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So, it’s not enough that you remain in a metal tube for 20 hours, you might have to pay a small fortune for the privilege.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay less and stop over for a hot shower, a lie down and a proper meal.

Qantas’ non-stop Sydney to London plan, dubbed ‘Project Sunrise’ was delayed by the COVID pandemic. And though it might sound cheery and fun, I’d love to see passengers at the end of the flight and judge for myself how ‘sunny’ they feel.

The airline plans to use Airbus A350-1000s, planes that can fly direct from Australia to any city in the world, and Qantas claims they will be 25 per cent more fuel efficient than previous aircraft.

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To counteract the torture 20-hours straight flying may engender, Qantas claims it will introduce ‘wellbeing’ zones for passengers to move about the cabin to break up the trip.

Qantas said the zones would include enough room for a workout and a self-serve snack station. So, an office-level breakout room is meant to replace a relaxing overnight stay in a hotel, okay then.

Let’s face it, with every new plane launch, airlines have been promising bars and lounges on their flights for years, but it makes more money for them to squeeze us in like sardines, fed on a constant diet of microwaved mush. Who actually believes flying 20 hours straight is going to be any different?

But don’t worry, those flying in economy will gain an extra … wait for it … two inches of legroom. Totally worth it then.

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