This weekend saw the inaugural Flight for Qantas new non-stop flight and the first ever non-stop flight between Australia and Europe. This means that for the first time in history, Australia and great britain are connected via a direct air route, bringing both nations closer together. The new flight takes off at Melbourne midday, makes a stop at Perth, and is then flying the 17 hours to Heathrow, where it is scheduled to land early in the morning. Passengers on this route have the chance to experience Qantas' new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, delivered to the airline recently.

A report by BBC suggests that passengers were excited and the 17-hour ride was comfortable.

Flight departed from Perth

The airline's first flight on the non-stop service to London's Heathrow airport took off from Perth on March 24 at 7 PM AT and landed at Heathrow exactly 17 hours and three minutes later at 5:03 AM BST. The first flight was operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft registered as VH-ZND which is painted in a special livery to represent the country's indigenous people.

According to Flightradar24, a website for flight-tracking, the flight took a route over the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka, before it headed towards the UAE and flew over Iran, continued to fly over German airspace before it eventually started its approach into Heathrow.

This flight currently is one of the longest flights in the world, ranking only second behind Qatar Airways' Doha-Auckland route and just before Emirates' route Dubai-Auckland as well as United's service between L.A. and Singapore

Over 220 people on board

On the flight were over 220 people, most of them were paying passengers and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce also was one of the first people to ever fly non-stop from Australia to Great Britain.

People from the plane reported that the time flew by and the ride was comfortable and enjoyable.

In addition to the passengers, there also were four cockpit crew on board the airplane, which is quite rare today as only a few other flights are using four cockpit members, like Delta's Atlanta-Johannesburg route.

Qantas wants to go even further

The new route to London doesn't mean Qantas is ending their long-haul ambitions, as Qantas considers restarting flights to Paris and other European airports like Frankfurt if the route to London proves to be successful, which it is, according to CEO Joyce. The airline is additionally planning new flights from Sydney to both New York and London. Both cities are already served by Qantas but an initial non-stop service is still laying in the future.

Qantas has challenged both global aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, to build a plane which can fly the route without landing for fuel and can carry about 300 passengers. Airbus is pitching their A350-900 ULR at Qantas while Boeing is competing against Airbus with their 777-8X.

A decision on which manufacturer will receive the order still has to be made, with first flights planned for taking off in 2022.

'Kangaroo-route' gets upgraded

The new non-stop flight reduces the flight time between Europe and Australia by more than three hours, as passengers traveling between these two continents don't have to take a connection at any of the hubs in the Middle East, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha, or those in Asia like Singapore and Hong Kong.

But QF9 isn't the only change Qantas has made to the so-called "Kangaroo-route" in the past days: Their prestige flight QF1 is now stopping in Singapore on its way from Sydney to London instead of the previous stop in Dubai. An agreement with the UAE's biggest airline, Emirates, remains in place, but Qantas opted to give new connections for their passengers and give them a greater variety of flights on their way between Europe and Australia.