Perth-based Qantas Frequent Flyer member Chris Frame is delighted the Flying Kangaroo is restoring international service to Singapore from the West Australian capital.
Just a few weeks shy of a year ago I wrote this piece about Qantas’ decision to pull out of regular Perth international services. At the time many WA-based Qantas frequent flyers were reeling from the prospect of having much fewer options to fly with the national carrier; while passengers booked on Qantas’ full-service A330 flights were encouraged to re-book on Jetstar’s one-class, no-frills A320 services, or find alternative arrangements.
But with the announcement that Qantas will recommence Perth – Singapore flights five times a week using Boeing 737-800s, things are looking up for WA-based travellers. This is just the latest announcement in what has been a bumper year for Qantas; with a return to profitability, improved A330 seating and the opening of new and innovative routes just a few of the achievements.
So why are Perth flyers so happy at the Qantas news? Here are five reasons that Qantas’s decision to return to Perth is one to celebrate!
A shorter journey – Perth-based Qantas loyalists who continued to fly to Asia with the carrier faced a journey of up to 14 hours. These flyers endured services routed via Melbourne or Sydney, meaning many hours were wasted backtracking across the continent. With direct flights re-established, the journey has been reeled back to just over five hours, saving valuable time while travelling.
Upgrades are back on the agenda – Qantas frequent flyers wishing to treat themselves to a bit more space are once again able to use their Qantas frequent flyer points to upgrade; a popular benefit which was not available on Jetstar’s one-class services.
More legroom and more food – two inches might not sound like much, but Qantas’s 737s sport a 30-inch seat pitch in economy, which trumps Jetstar’s 28 inches; and over five hours it will definitely make a difference! And let’s not forget that meals (and checked baggage) are included on a Qantas ticket, making for a more comfortable experience all round.
Connections are easier – Qantas’s international fights are fully interlined with the airline’s extensive domestic network. This is particularly important for those passengers travelling through Perth from other towns and cities in WA. It saves valuable time, as there is no more waiting for baggage, or the need to checkin again at the international terminal.
Earning a full serve of points and status credits – with Qantas aircraft back in the air on Perth international flights passengers are rewarded with the full Qantas earn rate for frequent flyer points. And unlike travelling codeshare on Jetstar aircraft, Qantas international services will offer a full serving of status credits on all ticket types – essential for maintaining status benefits with the airline.
My story last year ended by saying, “The sooner that Qantas management reconnects with its Perth customers and realises that no level of marketing speak can convince us that a Jetstar aircraft is the same as a Qantas aircraft … the better. Only then can Qantas ever hope to return to Perth with enough customers willing to welcome it back”.
It appears that day has come! Here’s hoping there are many more QF flight numbers on the Perth International Airport’s arrivals board in the near future!
Chris Frame is a Perth-based maritime historian, travel writer, author and lecturer.