Hopping off the Kangaroo Route?

Paul Simon once suggested there must be 50 ways to leave your lover, and these days there seem to be almost as many ways for travellers to abandon the traditional Kangaroo Route from Australia to London via Singapore.

Qantas is the staunchest champion of the Kangaroo Route, named not just for our iconic Aussie mammal but the many hops formerly required to make the trek.

One day, we may even be able to skip the stopover entirely and scoot straight through from Australia to London.

When it launched in 1947 there were six stops en route from our harbourside to Harrods. Now it's down to a single stop at Singapore – and it appears an increasing number of travellers are hopping over that city as well.

It's not a slight against Singapore, but a matter of business travellers shifting to options which better suit their schedule, their budget and their travel preferences.

(One day, we may even be able to skip that stopover entirely and scoot straight through to London, as Clive Dorman writes.)

One of the newest challengers is China Southern, which earlier this year launched a Sydney-London 'Canton Route' via the airline's hub at Guangzhou, China's third largest city. The airline also has flights to Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

China Southern plans to upgrade the Sydney route to run daily from October 28, and has also committed to using it for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. That long trek is ideal for letting the 787 showcase its passenger-friendly features to reduce fatigue and the overall 'feeling crappy at the end of the flight' vibe.

Guangzhou and its proximity to Shenzen, the epicentre of China's high-tech and manufacturing industries in the booming Pearl River Delta, can also make for a more useful business-oriented stopover compared to Singapore.

Then there's Malaysia Airlines, which will upgrade its Sydney-London flights via Kuala Lumpur to an Airbus A380 in November, with Melbourne tipped to see its own superjumbo in March 2013.

That will bring to four the membership of the Kangaroo Route's superjumbo club, on top of Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.

Hong Kong and Bangkok remain the other Asian pivot-points for flights to London, with Virgin Australia offering the Abu Dhabi hub of its partner Etihad.

But it's not all about London, and it hasn't been for some time. Plenty of other European cities are pulling in Australia's business travellers, and it makes little sense to dive headlong into Heathrow unless the UK is your first port of call.

This is another factor steering travellers towards the Kangaroo Route alternatives, and airlines which can send you straight from their home hub airport to your final destination in Europe.

So this week, High Flyer is taking a snap poll on the new shape of the Kangaroo Route.

Do you still favour Qantas or BA and their traditional Singapore stop-over? Or do you head to London or elsewhere in Europe via another city or another airline?

David Flynn is a business travel expert and editor of Australian Business Traveller.

Twitter: @AusBT