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What Sydney to London, NYC flights may look like

Qantas reveals what flyers want on ultra-long-haul trips

With an eye on “the final frontier of global commercial air travel”, that is non-stop flights between the Australian east coast and New York and London, Qantas has released data on what customers would want on their ultra-long-flights. 


In research conducted together with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, Qantas discovered that health and wellness (H&W) would be the top concerns for flyers on these almost day-long journeys, with mindfulness and “separation of experience” - two seemingly opposing ideas - particularly important to customers. 



With feedback from focus groups as well as Perth-London passengers, Qantas customers’ ideas for future ultra-long-haul flights range from onboard exercise bikes to virtual reality (VR) entertainment. 


CEO Qantas International Alison Webster said passengers had shown an increased interest in personal well-being, space and time.  


“Customer feedback from the Perth to London flight has exceeded expectations, especially in relation to the time saved by skipping the traditional stopover and going direct to their destination,” Ms Webster said of the study, which is titled Project Sunrise.


“Our job now is to determine where the most demand is and create this cabin in a way that makes it both affordable for customers and commercially viable for the airline.”


The five most frequently suggested ideas from customers include: 

  • Experiences where flyers can escape with VR relaxations zones or other entertainment
  • Exercise spaces 
  • Wireless, noise cancelling headphones   
  • Reimagined cabins, with a focus on comfort, sleep, dining and more 
  • An inflight cafe with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks 


The top five H&W initiatives currently in place include:

  • Stretch classes at Perth Transit lounge before and after London flights
  • Outdoor spaces in the Perth terminal
  • Inflight menus that aid sleep and wakefulness
  • Specially timed lighting to help passengers adapt to fight jet lag
  • Savings on time by removing the stopover between WA and UK 


Qantas says the research findings will now be used to shape interior cabins, future lounges, and onboard dining experiences. 


The flying kangaroo will unveil the aircraft it intends to operate on the Project Sunrise routes later in 2019, with the B777X and A350 the leading contenders.


What would be your ideas for an ultra-long-haul flight?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 29 January 2019

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