Qantas will start using Boeing 747s on domestic flights from the end of this month. The jumbo jet will serve the trans-continental Sydney-Perth route and some lucky Qantas frequent flyers will be able to score a free upgrade to a Premium Economy seat!
The first Sydney-Perth Boeing 747 flight will be QF581 on 30 July 2018. (If you’re interested, this flight does have both Economy and Business class reward seats available now!) But the 747s on the Sydney-Perth route are only temporary. At this point we can only find Boeing 747 flights scheduled up to 5 September 2018 (where QF575/580 is operated by a Boeing 747).
These Perth flights are currently scheduled to be operated by a 3-class Boeing 747 featuring Premium Economy. But Premium Economy will not be sold. Instead, the Premium Economy seats are available for free selection by top-tier frequent flyers with Economy tickets. Economy service and meals will still be provided.
It is possible that VH-OEB, which was previously due to be retired at the end of this month, will operate these Sydney-Perth flights. This is the oldest of the 10 remaining 747s in the Qantas fleet. The Business class seats on this aircraft are the older angle-flat SkyBeds. But this plane does have 14 lie-flat First class seats in its nose. Should VH-OEB be used, these First class seats would likely be offered at no charge to top-tier frequent flyers booked in Business. That said, VH-OEB probably won’t be used for the inaugural QF581 service on 30 July as it is scheduled to be parked in Tokyo that day.
These Sydney-Perth flights still appear on the booking page of the Qantas website as “A330” flights. But if you click on the flight number, the aircraft type shows as a Boeing 747-400.
The apparent reason for the introduction of Boeing 747s on domestic flights is a shortage of Boeing 737 pilots. The pilot shortage has already resulted in several other changes across the Qantas network. From 23 July 2018, Qantas’ afternoon Perth-Singapore flights will be upgraded from Boeing 737s to Airbus A330s. But the second-daily evening flight on this route, QF77/78, will be axed from the same date.
Qantas will also upgrade selected flights between Brisbane and Melbourne from Boeing 737s to brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners over the coming months. Plus, Qantas is also bringing forward the launch of Boeing 747 services from Sydney to Honolulu. These were due to begin on 7 December 2018 but will instead start next month.
Qantas last regularly used Boeing 747s on domestic flights to Perth in 2012 amidst an intense capacity war with Virgin Australia.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF network changes [744 PER/SYD & 330 PER/SIN]