Emirates brings back the Sydney-Christchurch A380 superjumbo

The A380 is once again the best way to travel across the pond. First class for three hours..? Well, why not!

By David Flynn, December 22 2022
Emirates brings back the Sydney-Christchurch A380 superjumbo

Quick quiz: would you rather make the the quick three-hour dash from Sydney to Christchurch in a Qantas Boeing 737, featuring the same business class seats as any domestic Australian flight; or the Emirates A380, with international-grade business class seats and the bonus of that upper deck cocktail lounge?

We’re pretty sure we know your answer. After all, it’s barely a contest – especially when the fares are exactly the same.

With that in mind, it’s “welcome back” to Emirates’ daily Sydney-Christchurch superjumbo flights, which resume on Monday March 27.

The Emirates A380 lets you enjoy an international experience on a three-hour jaunt.
The Emirates A380 lets you enjoy an international experience on a three-hour jaunt.

The A380’s trans-Tasman excursion is a continuation of the Gulf carrier’s Dubai-Sydney EK412 service, with the Christchurch-Sydney leg slotting into the evening Dubai-bound departure of EK413.

And if you’ve already got a Sydney-Christchurch trip on your to-do list, or are looking for an indulgent long weekend getaway, this could be just the ticket.

For starters, business class fares start at around the same $900 mark – and there’s simply no contest between the business experience of the Qantas Boeing 737 and the Emirates Airbus A380.

Qantas Boeing 737 business class vs Emirates A380 business class: there's really no comparison.
Qantas Boeing 737 business class vs Emirates A380 business class: there's really no comparison.

Even if you don’t recline your Emirates A380 business class seat into a fully lie-flat bed, you’ve got direct access to the aisle; plenty of personal space around you; a large video screen packed with movies and TV shows; and even your very own mini-bar.

Make the most of this quick trip in Emirates' A380 business class.
Make the most of this quick trip in Emirates' A380 business class.

And after enjoying a proper international-grade business class meal, you can head to the cocktail bar at the rear of the upper deck to enjoy a drink, some nibbles and the company of your fellow high flyers.

The iconic Emirates A380 bar features on every one of the Gulf airline's superjumbos.
The iconic Emirates A380 bar features on every one of the Gulf airline's superjumbos.

And while this Emirates A380 sports the airline’s new premium economy seats, they’re being sold for close to $800, so you may as well spend a little extra and luxuriate in business class.

A380 first class between Sydney and Christchurch: do you really need a reason?
A380 first class between Sydney and Christchurch: do you really need a reason?

Want to really splurge? Book yourself into one of the superjumbo’s 14 private first class suites and, if you’ve time, sample the delights of a shower at 30,000 feet.

Make time for a quick shower.
Make time for a quick shower.

An Emirates spokesperson has confirmed to Executive Traveller that showers will be available “upon request” by first class passengers on both the Sydney-Christchurch and Christchurch-Sydney flights, along with Emirates First amenity kits; however, “pyjamas are not available on this route as they are reserved for overnight flights."

Yes, splurging on first class is an extravagance for a flight of barely three hours from start to finish – but this adds to the appeal if you're looking to celebrate a special occasion with your partner or simply to treat yourself.

The schedule even lends itself to making the most of your time:

  • EK412 departs Sydney at 8.45am, to reach Christchurch at 1.50pm
  • EK412 is wheels up from Christchurch at 6.20pm to get you back into Sydney around 7.40pm

Just to make this even more tempting: these Emirates flights can be booked via the Qantas website as Classic Reward flights using Qantas Points, and there’s plenty of availability.

One-way in Emirates A380 business class will set you back just 43,800 Qantas Points, with first class at 64,500 Qantas Points (plus $173 in fees and charges for either ticket).

The best way to begin this Sydney-Christchurch A380 flight will of course be at the Qantas First Lounge – provided you’re booked into first class or hold Platinum status with the Emirates Skywards or Qantas Frequent Flyer rewards programs – otherwise, head for the Emirates Lounge at Sydney T1, which bests the sub-par Qantas Business Lounge in every respect.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 153

A couple of things. Is there any lounge arrangement for CHC, already known or likely? Secondly, the $173 extra on points travel.  Why waste the points when the comparable (nett) cash cost of a J seat is ~$725?

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 115

Lounge arrangements likely unchanged - Manaia Lounge (by Plaza Premium) located opposite gate 29, immediately past the Air NZ lounge on the RHS as you walk out along the international concourse. Food and beverage is mainly comfort food without too much fuss, but quality is quite OK. Comfortable and fairly quiet space pre-flight, and the A380 gates are a very short walk from the lounge, down the end of the concourse. They use the end 2 gates, with F & J boarding down the very end where it is less crowded.

16 Mar 2018

Total posts 2

I've done First class twice and they don't allow pyjamas or shower on that short leg. Plenty of other spoils but not those

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 115

Correct, shower not an option on the short hop to/from CHC, but if you ask the crew nicely for an amenity bag/PJ's they definitely have them on board to allow for the return longer sector SYD-DXB. Sometimes also depends on the inbound flight was as to whether they have many spares in your size.  They might not have spare PJ's in your size, but definitely carry extra amenity kits as I have seen them requested and given regularly. I have seen people request the shower on that short sector (cringe), but the crew usually politely shut those requests down with "not enough water carried on this sector"  etc.

TIP - there is often turbulence as you descend low over the NZ Alps before the spiral approach down to CHC, so it's a good idea to use the bathroom before you cross the NZ west coast on the SYD-CHC sector.

15 Jun 2022

Total posts 1

Annoyingly, it appears EK is only releasing one first class award seat per flight for QF passengers anyway. I need two seats, so I booked one last month, and it doesn't appear like they're going to release another for the same date. All dates around mine (OCT 2023), there is only one available award seat to book as well. Will keep checking, I guess... 

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 115

Return in F was $3,016 when I booked a couple of weeks ago (connecting via MEL), which is only about $50 more than the exact same trip I have done a few times pre-pandemic. So in the bigger picture of what Intl airfares are currently costing in general, that's a fairly nominal increase. If you want the full clip of QFF points and SC's, remember to book the QF codeshare flight numbers QF8766/QF8765

Some basic 'back of the napkin' maths has $3k for 6.5hrs in EK First, versus $25k+ next month SYD-LAX F with just under 29 hrs of flying. So on an hourly basis, QF F to LAX is nearly twice as expensive..... 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2021

Total posts 22

I booked a return today on 3rd party website and it was 1595 aud return EK SYD.CCH and  you can choose QF 737  with QF via BNE or add 104 aud to fly EK  Total round 1700AUD incl taxes.

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 8

Emirates PR says you can get a shower and amenity kit 'on request' - ask the flight crew. Pyjamas are out apparently.


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