Qantas will operate Airbus A330s on the Melbourne-Perth legs of its QF9 & QF10 services from Melbourne to London Heathrow, replacing the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The change applies to the sector between Melbourne and Perth on Tuesdays, starting from 11 February 2020.
The aircraft downgrade only applies to the Melbourne-Perth and Perth-Melbourne legs of QF9 and QF10 on Tuesdays. The Perth-London legs will still be operated by Boeing 787-9s, as will the Melbourne-Perth sectors on other days of the week.
Qantas flight QF9 operates daily from Melbourne to London via Perth, with QF10 running in the opposite direction. The marathon Perth-London leg happens to be the third-longest flight in the world.
What about Premium Economy passengers?
Qantas is still selling Premium Economy tickets on QF9 from Melbourne to London on Tuesdays, as well as QF10 from London to Melbourne departing from London-Heathrow on Mondays (arriving in Perth and Melbourne on Tuesdays). There is no notification to Premium Economy customers on the Qantas website about the aircraft change in Perth.
There is no Premium Economy cabin on the Qantas Airbus A330, which features only Economy and Business class. A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Frequent Flyer that passengers ticketed in Premium Economy to/from London will be accommodated in Business class for the domestic leg. That’s quite a nice upgrade!
Economy and Business class passengers will not be disadvantaged either. The Business class seats on Qantas’ Airbus A330 are virtually identical to those found on the Boeing 787-9, and the Qantas Economy seats on the A330 are arguably better than on the Boeing 787-9 anyway. By many accounts, the Qantas Dreamliner Economy seats are uncomfortably narrow.
When booking an Economy or Business ticket on QF9 from Melbourne, the Qantas website shows the operating aircraft on Tuesdays as an Airbus A330.
Why the aircraft change on QF9/10 between Melbourne and Perth?
The aircraft change appears to be related to Qantas commencing flights from Brisbane to San Francisco on the 9th of February.
Currently, Qantas operates an evening flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles six times per week as QF55/56. This will soon be replaced by the new Brisbane-San Francisco and Brisbane-Chicago flights, which will operate 4x weekly and 3x weekly, respectively. By ending the QF10 Dreamliner service from London in Perth on Tuesdays, and immediately turning this aircraft around back to London, Qantas is able to add that seventh weekly flight from Brisbane to the United States.
Normally, the aircraft arriving in Melbourne as QF10 from London will then operate an evening flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles or San Francisco. However, there is no service on either of these routes on Tuesdays.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Why is QF10 PER-MEL showing as an A330 on 28 April 2020?
Re-routing of Perth-London flight due to Iran & Iraq airspace closure
In other news, Qantas has announced it is adjusting its flight paths on flights to London to avoid Iraq and Iran airspace until further notice.
The diversion is adding around 40-50 minutes to the flight time of QF9 from Perth to London, which is also currently taking off with a reduced number of Economy class passengers so that more fuel can be carried. The return flight, QF10 from London to Perth, is still able to carry a full passenger load.
Despite earlier suggestions that the Perth-London leg of QF9 may require an unscheduled stop in Singapore, this does not appear to be happening.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Potential QF9 fuel stop in Singapore?