Qantas Will Announce Non-Stop New York And London Flights, New First Class And Other Cabins

Qantas is poised to announce its largest aircraft order ever, including the ultra long range Airbus A350-1000 which will fly non-stop to both London and New York. The planes will be outfit with four classes of service, including new seats. That means first class will survive. And Qantas will have one of the most generous economy products in the world.

The announcement is expected to include both the new A350-1000 order as well as finalization of existing orders, bringing the total to:

  • 12 Airbus A350-1000s
  • 20 Airbus A321XLRs
  • 20 Airbus A220-300s
  • Options on about 100 additional Airbus aircraft with delivery slots over a 10-year time horizon

Aircraft orders are always pumped up to sound more impressive, and the same orders are reported multiple times – letters of intent, options, firm orders and at ‘list price’ which is about double what airlines actually pay. So be skeptical of the $25 billion price tag of this order, which also includes an assumption of the airline taking all of the planes on option. The real, firm, incremental spend here is likely closer to $2.5 billion.

Qantas will use the A350-1000s, modified to carry additional fuel, on world’s-longest flights like Sydney – London non-stop as well as Sydney and Melbourne to New York JFK. It will also offer generous per-passenger room. The aircraft is designed for around 370 seats, but reports vary on whether Qantas will fit it with 200 – 270 seats. New York – Sydney is about 500 miles longer than the current world’s longest New York – Singapore, and London – Sydney about 1000 miles longer.

The commitment to first class is encouraging, and the product will almost certainly be an improvement over antiquated A380 seats.

Perhaps most importantly coach will offer 34 inches of pitch, the distance from seat back to seat back. That’s 2-3 more inches than United, Delta or American offer. And with the wider airframe of an A350 versus 787, seats will be wider than American’s and United’s.

The plan for an A350-1000 order isn’t really new – it was made shortly before the pandemic – but the closing of Australia to even outbound travel for Australians and significant curtailment of return of its citizens called into question the future of ‘Project Sunrise’ ultra-long haul flying. Meanwhile A321XLRs and A220s will replace Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s. Qantas subsidiary Jetstar is also committed to an Airbus narrowbody future.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m sorry but Australia is just out of the question until they (and their airlines) change their masking rules (currently required for all international flights to/from the country). A 14+ flight in a mask is just not going to happen.

  2. Yeah I have zero interest in these flights, even in first. I’d rather connect in DXB or LAX.

    I’m not convinced that sitting in economy that long is healthy.

  3. I would hardly call the current first class seats antiquated – they are far more comfortable than most others and have storage for everything imaginable – I’ll take these over Cathay’s any day of the week. People complain about the seats not having doors – it is damned near impossible to see anyone while seated or sleeping.

  4. I would NEVER take that flight in economy. Only rookies and the uninformed would fly that route.

  5. I flew SFO-SIN in business on SQ. Way too long even in Business. That flight changed my life. As an airline pilot it made me convince myself I will never operate to Asia! Europe and US only. you are traveling that far… just take a 2 hour stop and break up the journey. Much better for ya!

  6. Prob ok in coach if you are under 30 like me 😉 lol
    Show me the award seats in First and I’m in!
    Otherwise Ill be sending all my enemies in cattle long haul
    There’s nothing like a generous long haul flight to see if they develop Deep vein thrombosis 🙂

  7. Comfortable economy seats!!??
    What is going on here?
    Burning question: will they serve Pringles?

  8. I flew that QR DOH-AKL a few times 3 years ago. With Q-Suites not bad at all I slept quite a bit

  9. The SYD-LHR flight shows a great circle route lwith a large portion over Russia. Who knows how long that will remain a no no!

  10. @Skykar

    I’m on an Etihad flight now to Melbourne. 14 hours. Not many people in masks and no one (passengers or FAs) seem to care one bit

  11. @skylar do you have a reference for this alleged requirement to be masked on flights to and from Australia? That aside, given this aircraft delivery is years away, it’s unlikely masks will be an issue either way.

  12. I’m not at all certain that this will be moot. Aussies went prison-colony crazy with covid and my friends down there all believe that masking will be permanent for their air and bus travel. There isn’t even a hint of discussion about ending it – or even about it being a temporary emergency measure.

  13. LOL- I’ve flown SIN-LAX a half a dozen times since Covid started, and SIN-NYC twice. What’s the big deal about wearing a mask on the plane? I didn’t have any problem, and I have yet to hear a surgeon say, “Man, I gotta find a new line of work- this mask is killing me!”…

    Clearly, the wider seats and inclusion of First Class is an attempt to keep the weight down. I am surprised they have any economy at all- the SQ-NYC flight lowest class is Premium Economy. On the other hand, maybe Quantas will just put economy seats in and charge premium economy prices- $2K round trips?!

  14. > I have yet to hear a surgeon say, “Man, I gotta find a new line of work- this mask is killing me!”…

    If you know a surgeon who spends 19 hours in surgery, God bless him.

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