A Qantas 747 has diverted again because pilots worried it was running low on fuel as it flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Brisbane.
The flight, which continues on to Sydney, landed and refueled at Noumea in New Caledonia, resulting in a two hour delay to passengers.
A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller this morning: "QF8 diverted to Noumea to refuel because of stronger-than-forecast headwinds. The flight arrived in Brisbane at 0700 this morning, two hours late."
Arrivals boards at Brisbane and Sydney airports confirm the flight landing two hours late, eventually arriving at 0700 in Brisbane (scheduled for 0500) and 1005 in Sydney (scheduled for 0805).
Noumea is a usual diversion airport for flights across the Pacific, and it's fairly handy for flights from Dallas to Brisbane. The map below from the ever-useful Great Circle Mapper site shows that QF8 wouldn't have had to divert too much from its track, meaning extra delays were minimised.
Questions are being asked -- and not just by Australian Business Traveller -- why Qantas is having difficulty on the route, which stretches its Boeing 747-400ER aircraft to its maximum range limits on the Dallas/Fort Worth run.
ABC has reported pilots concerns that Qantas management is pressuring on them to carry the minimum possible amount of fuel, which will result in more diversions than ever before.
We hope the airline can figure out how to make the route work soon, because it does offer a number of benefits to business travellers.
Connecting onto Qantas' oneworld partner American Airlines via AA's main Dallas/Fort Worth hub rather than LAX in Los Angeles means extra single-stop connections from Australia to US cities.
The longest leg of the journey through DFW is on Qantas' angled-flat first-generation Skybed. That means that business class passengers also get to spend more time in an international-standard business class seat when compared with connecting through LAX on American Airlines' recliner-style domestic first class seats. Those are roughly equivalent to Qantas' domestic business class seats.
But comfortable seats and Qantas' service don't help when you're two hours late to a meeting. If you have a deadline at the other end of your flight, consider the more reliable Qantas flights to Los Angeles' LAX airport.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.