Yes, you read correctly: the first non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has taken off today (24th March, 2018).
The Qantas Airways flight from the city of Perth on Australia's west coast to London Heathrow is due to land in the early hours of Sunday morning. The 9,000-mile trip is expected to take around 17 hours depending on winds, reports The Daily Telegraph.
A return trip from London Heathrow to Perth will then take off at 1.15pm on Sunday afternoon.
The 17-hour flight is around three hours quicker than the fastest Australia-UK journey time with a stopover in the Middle East. It also shaves off around three hours from the fastest journey times to cities on Australia's east coast including Melbourne and Sydney.
The historic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight will be piloted by two Captains and two First Officers working in rotation with nap breaks. One of the pilots, Capt. Lisa Morgan, told the West Australian that the airline's team has been working on making the direct route a reality for three years, adding: "When I joined Qantas not in my wildest imagination would I have thought this possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, gay or straight — if you have a passion you can do anything."
Qantas says it has reduced the number of seats on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from the usual 300 or so to 236 in a bid to give passengers more space and comfort than on a regular long-haul flight. But if you're struggling to imagine just how long the non-stop flight really is, here's a handy visual aid: 17 hours is enough time to binge-watch every episode of Big Little Lies, plus one season of The Crown.
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