Commentating on the recent milestone that Qantas reached in launching nonstop service from Perth to London Heathrow, CEO Alan Joyce remarked that creating a “cargo class” replete with gyms and sleeping bunks for passengers is “just the beginning of endless possibilities” ahead for the airline in the near future.
“Launching Perth to London was the first of many firsts for Qantas,” he said.
Qantas performed years of research to study how sending a 787-9 into the air for 17 hours differs from the existing variables in ultra-long-haul flying as we know them today. Multiple series of hypotheses were tested and experiments performed to assess how to predict and measure hundreds of scenarios, from wind conditions to restricted airspace to the anatomical reactions to onboard catering.
Subsequently, Qantas’ innovations team wound up collecting, “way more data than they know what to do with.” Rather than leave them idle, the airlines’ management team wants to test out new ideas that build on the momentum of QF9.
The projects will be rolled out in multiple phases, but these were some of the highest-level details of the innovations that customers can look forward to seeing on Qantas’ long-haul flights starting in 2020:
- Floor-to-ceiling glass windows in Business Class
- A premium-economy class “lounge” area in the cabin with ping-pong tables, select arcade games, and bean bag chairs
- Presenting each Economy class passenger with a drone that can fly around the aircraft and offer 360-degree, 3-D views of the plane
- Live performances by Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra
- Installing an operating room behind the galleys, allowing for physicians to perform up to three open heart surgeries in a single one-way flight
- Creating a children’s arena with live, recorded tapings of Sesame Street
- A cabin class devoted to “mobile passengers” who buzz around on razor scooters and want to take advantage of, “in-flight networking.” Joyce thinks this will be a hit among the startup community
- The unveiling of the world’s first in-flight natatorium, created for exclusive use by Australia’s National Swimming teams, with a locker-room, sauna, and diving board (only available on the Airbus A380)
- A racetrack to be used by the Australian Grand Prix
- An in-flight Zoo, featuring over 700 animals across 150 species in a single, co-habited rain forest
When asked if Qantas was purposefully revealing these plans to the public in light of Air New Zealand’s recent announcement of a nonstop flight to Chicago, a Qantas spokesperson said in response that its largest regional rival could, “piss off.”
Happy April Fools!