$1,700 'business class' to London: the cut-price Kangaroo Route

$1,700 'business class' to London: the cut-price Kangaroo Route

While some passengers are reeling at the $10,000 business class airfare for Qantas’ new Boeing 787 flights from Melbourne (or Sydney, or Brisbane) to London via Perth, low-cost airlines have put a cut-price Kangaroo Route on the horizon.

Sure, it’s got some long layovers – and it’s less business class than premium economy – but at around $1,700 to London via Singapore, we can think of worse ways to make a budget-minded business trip to Blighty.

It’s a low-cost combo of Singapore Airlines’ offshoot Scoot and Norwegian Air, which from late September will begin direct flights between Singapore and London’s Gatwick Airport.

Both legs are on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with a ‘premium’ cabin – although of course there’s a world of difference between this and what any other airline considers as business class.

You can forget about lie-flat seats with direct aisle access: these are recliners...

... and they're ranked 2-3-2.

But you still get meals and drinks, AC and USB power and checked luggage.

Even so, if you pegged the price against premium economy on a conventional airline you’re still looking at several thousands of dollars staying in your pocket; and by most counts it’s going to be better value than economy on any airline.

Norwegian cites its entry level premium fares for the Singapore-London at around $1,200 each way, with Scoot’s equivalent ScootBiz at up to $510 when we checked for flights in mid-November.

One downside is the long gap between flights: Scoot’s daily flight from Sydney reaches Singapore at 7.05pm, so you’re up for an overnight stay before Norwegian’s London-bound flight leaves at 9.30am the next morning.

Likewise, Norwegian’s return flight from Gatwick to Singapore arrives at 12.45pm – giving you some 13 hours to kill until the 1.45am departure of Scoot’s flight to Sydney.

The upside? You’re in Singapore, a business hub and appealing destination in its own right: so you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to break your journey for a day or two.

If you’re a business traveller on a budget, would you consider flying in a premium class with low-cost airlines between Australia and Europe?

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

28 comments

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    10 May, 2017 08:05 am

    This is the way of the future last month my brother went to Paris with Vietnam in business on there A350 for cheap cheap. He said it was amazing, he would do it again any day.
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  • Alex

    tm_smile

    10 May, 2017 09:14 am

    VN isn't exactly what you'd consider a budget airline though...
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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    10 May, 2017 09:16 am

    It's more about the price he paid for VN, $1,200.00 in business
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    10 May, 2017 08:47 pm

    Each way, even with optiontown
    VN is an excellent product and I have done 2 trips to Vietnam and 1 to Europe with them over the last 5 years but their prices have risen with the new planes and deservedly so! (A350 and 787, so as good as it gets, the old 340 and 777 from 3 years ago were a bit tired, probably re-fits of early 2000's planes) Yes they are by far the cheapest way to Europe in a proper lay flat, with excellent service (despite crap connections) , but they are not that cheap, they are around $3600 if you actually book J all they way on sale.
    And I will be happy to say - I thoroughly recommend them, QF PE or VN J not even a contest
    I put my money where my mouth is as well, I paid for my parents to go to London PE in November, despite my mothers mis-trustings as a 75 year old closet racist (you know the type, "I am not racist, but...")

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    11 May, 2017 08:03 am

    $1,200 was Singapore to Paris with about 24 hrs stop over which he enjoyed. He used points to get to Singapore.
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  • Michael  Matheson

    Mickhenny

    12 Aug, 2017 08:01 pm

    Hi there im new to this forum, coulod someone please tell me what QF, PE mean . We are actully flying to Euorpe in August 2018 and i seen return with Vietnam Airline for under $4000 each 
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  • Will Dutton

    Kinkade

    26 Sep, 2017 08:33 am

    QF is the airline code for Qantas and PE means Premium Economy.

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    10 May, 2017 08:05 am

    Long layover may not necessarily be a bad thing. I assume you can't book these 2 segments under one booking meaning:
    1. You may not be able to check through the luggage, therefore need to allow enough time to clear custom, collect baggage and re-check-in again.
    2. If there is a delay in the first segment and you miss the second flight, neither airline is responsible for any compensation as the contract of carriage is to take you from A to B only, no obligation to get you there on-time. Therefore a long layover gives extra leverage if there is any delay.
    However, I would still make sure I have travel insurance in case either one of these flights get cancelled. Low cost airline usually do not offer much compensation.
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  • eminere

    eminere

    10 May, 2017 08:57 am

    Completely agree on all points.
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  • thelongroad

    thelongroad

    10 May, 2017 02:42 pm

    Travel insurance generally does not cover this scenario of missed connection on separate bookings, except under some fairly limited circumstances.  If you know one that does, please let me know!
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  • peteshep

    peteshep

    10 May, 2017 03:36 pm

    Some cover when there is more than 24 hours between the flights
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  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    10 May, 2017 08:14 am

    QR currently has a sale on. You can travel in J for little more than that (ex Europe)
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  • apacau

    apacau

    10 May, 2017 09:38 am

    Re QR, not ex Australia though (just looked this morning).


    Separately, is there a website or newsletter one can sign up to that highlights J class deals ex AU? Plenty out there promoting the many crazy Y class fares in market, but I've yet to find anything highlighting J specials

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  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    11 May, 2017 09:23 am

    Not specifically, although you could sign up to Point Hacks. 

    They do a decent overview of Aussie based flights, credit cards, etc.

    Alas, flying from Australia tends to be a captive market: not so easy to take a 1-2 hour flight and find yourself in another country with low airport duty/departure tax, etc.

    Best of luck :-) 
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  • Adam T

    AT

    10 May, 2017 09:58 am

    What I would do? I'd choose a full service network carrier and fly in Y for a lower price and take added benefits like better schedule, lounge, bags, meals etc for what is arguably the close to same product inflight. 
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  • Ben B

    BenBoyd

    10 May, 2017 02:56 pm

    Norwegian have free functional wifi in Europe, nit sure about the new singapore flight though.
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  • ZT

    ZT

    10 May, 2017 03:00 pm

    This is more of a premium economy than business. 
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  • tm

    tm

    10 May, 2017 03:13 pm

    I just priced this out, it's around $400 cheaper than the equiv Singapore airlines premium economy, think I'd pay the extra to have the end to end ticket & luggage.
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  • petercr

    petercr

    10 May, 2017 06:02 pm

    Agree... We just returned from Europe in PE on SQ and it was about $400 more for the return fare. With the supposed savings mentioned by David, around $150 for 6-8hrs in one of the Changi transit hotels would make the layover comfortably disappear. 
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  • flyOFTEN

    flyOFTEN

    10 May, 2017 03:22 pm

    Scoot are excellent for the price. Flown them a few times.
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  • Tancho

    Tancho

    10 May, 2017 04:43 pm

    I've tried these budget "Business class" products before. Not great, but not terrible either. Definitely a step up from Y but nowhere near J. I think so long as you don't get the middle seat, it can be tolerable for long haul.
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  • Guvner

    Guvner

    10 May, 2017 05:40 pm

    Shows how ripped we get in Aus as you can purchase BKK-LHR-BKK on QF/EK tin (A380) in FIRST for AUD$5500. Throw in a cheap J Jetstar/QF flight r/t Aus to BKK and a few days in Bangkok, and it's a sweet deal.
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    10 May, 2017 08:29 pm

    It IS business class... circa 1999
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  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    11 May, 2017 01:22 am

    Best option would be the Bulk Head seats right?... right????
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    11 May, 2017 02:29 am

    Definitely many options out there for people wanting business flights to Europe at a better price. And I think in the next few years there will be even more options competing for this area.

    My old folks expect business class on their long haul flights but have been priced out with CX and QF they even tried PE (Still usually 3500+ AUD per person) for some years with the main airlines but found the service and hard product just okay but nothing special. I didn't see VN has been offering cheap flights to UK, I will keep an eye on that. Anyway for the past 3 years they have been very happy with the CZ business class flights BNE-CAN-LHR return usually under 5000Aud. Economy and PE might be pretty average on CZ but they thought the service in business was good value for the money they paid.
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  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    11 May, 2017 07:32 pm

    Doesn't matter what you call the seat or cabin type - to get a level of comfort above Y for that price is very good. 
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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    12 May, 2017 07:10 pm

    Not a bad way to go.I would love it if someone could say bring on a SQ ECONOMY TO SINGAPORE then get onto with a decent connection Scoot to Athens for the kinds of pricing they are suggesting for the rest of Europe.The longer sector can be done in Business Class.You can also get a stop either way there or home.Compare this to whatever the Middle Eastern 3 offer and you would be better off with these kinds of Combos.
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  • GoYouBlues

    GoYouBlues

    26 Sep, 2017 12:24 pm

    I fly VN every time in business class. Brand new 787s and A350s. Fly to Moscow, London, Paris, Frankfurt - plenty of choice. I'm going next July (peak season) for $4100 MEL-SGN-PAR return. Only negative is the very long layover on the return journey (why can't they fix that up!), however, once you apply for the free transit program they look after you with free visa, free hotel, free meals, free transport, free tour of SGN, free use of the business lounge and an agent who meets you on arrival and sees you through to departure.

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