The Qantas A380, and first class, returns to Sydney-Los Angeles

The superjumbo and its first class suites make a welcome comeback on the popular route.

By David Flynn, July 30 2022
The Qantas A380, and first class, returns to Sydney-Los Angeles

Travel is taking another small yet significant step of recovery with the return this weekend of the Qantas Airbus A380 – and its first class suites – to the Sydney-Los Angeles route.

The red-tailed superjumbo – refurbished with the airline’s latest business class and premium economy seats, along with two new upper deck lounges – touched down at LAX on Friday morning and will be winging its way back to Sydney to complete the trans-Pacific trek on Sunday morning.

This is the fourth Qantas A380 to be brought out of mothballs since November 2021, after the airline put them into hibernation in July 2020 as the pandemic set in.

At the time, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he expected the twelve-strong fleet of A380s would remain grounded for at least three years, through to mid-2023, although the resurgent demand for international travel will now see a sixth superjumbo back by the end of this year “ with the remaining four A380s expected to return to service by early 2024,” the airline says.

However, only ten superjumbos will return, with one of those already being dismantled at Victorville ‘boneyard' where the A380s were stored during the pandemic to supply Qantas with spare parts for the ongoing upkeep of the remaining ten A380s until they are replaced by the Airbus A350 towards the end of this decade.

Up next: the LAX first class lounge

Despite the trumpeted relaunch of the Qantas first class experience on March 27, a superjumbo shortage forced Qantas to temporarily stop flying its double-decker Airbus A380 between Sydney and Los Angeles after June 18, with flights handed over to the Boeing 787-9.

At the time Qantas was flying only three A380s, all of which were committed to the flagship Sydney-Singapore-London route since June 19.

Qantas' schedule now shows the A380 making sporadic appearances on the QF11 and QF12 flights over the following fortnight, although a second A380 seems set to join the route by Friday August 12, as from that date there are noticeably more ‘A380 days’ on the timetable.

(With those two A380s dedicated to Sydney-Los Angeles, most other days of the week see a Boeing 787 assigned to the 14-hour trek, although on some days there’s no Sydney-LAX flight at all.)

An August return for the Los Angeles-bound A380s also indicates the Qantas LAX First Lounge will soon unlock its doors, which Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully told Executive Traveller represents  “the last piece in the (lounge) puzzle.”


22 Oct 2012

Total posts 316

The good news is that VH-OQH is currently on its way back to Sydney, due to arrive 27th July, after being in Abu Dhabi for the past 4 months.  That will now mean that Qantas will shortly have 4 x A380's operating.

Isn't this what the article says? Anyway, yes, and as to why more A380s were not brought back sooner, I hear the core issue is the extensive pilot training or rather re-training needed, the hours and sim time and practical hours in the sky and doing take-offs and landings etc.

20 Sep 2017

Total posts 9

From flight radar 24 and other sites I think the current locations of each A380 is as follows: 

VH OQA  is in Victorville

OQB is in Abu Dhabi

OQC  is in Abu Dhabi

OQD  Current

OQE To be parted out

OQF Being Parted out

OQG LAX but going to Abu Dhabi

OQH Sydney 

OQI Victorville

OQJ Current 

OQK Current 

OQL Victorville

but with all these extra seats, there's no reduction in fares it seems. Demand must be huge.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

13 Feb 2017

Total posts 4

Regular Flyer, it's not just demand, have you seen the price of oil, thanks to Putin and Ukraine?  Also, have you read the reports at World Wide airports,  London, Amsterdam, Toronto, Bali, Frankfurt, where it takes upto 5 hrs to retrieve your luggage, if at all?  Everyday, the WWW is full of stories of passengers losing their luggage and waiting up to a week to have it returned. After 2 yrs of Covid  Lockdown, passengers just want to get away. If you are in Australia, you yourself will know that of all the World Wide Countries, Australia had the strictest travel restrictions. I have met Australians waiting 2 years to get home  because of limitations and lockdowns! Airports laid off so many employees because of Covid, that it is now difficult to get them back. Have you seen the airline cancellations in Europe, and Heathrow limiting the passengers to 100,000 a day. Emirates is NOT agreeing! The fares will not be reduced for a while, if ever!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 27

Sooo overdue. I suffered the unfortunate fate of flying Y BNE-LAX 27 June in a crammed full A330 with staff suffering the ignominy of trying to sleep lying across seats in the mid cabin (albeit hidden by curtains).    No opportunity to do a 'lap' of walking space, smelly bodies squashed together for more than 13 hours, it was an experience I never want to repeat in my lifetime.   At least the A380 offers some visual space and the opportunity to stretch the legs to avoid DVT, and hopefully some J seats available for sale ... At any price!!!

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Oct 2016

Total posts 71

Ignominy is a word that you don't see much these days

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Nov 2018

Total posts 4

Caught QF81 Sydney to Singapore 26/7/22 on one of the recently refurbished A380's which was packed. Flying business, the entertainment system was out for about 25 minutes and needed to be rebooted twice, power port to charge laptops didn't work at any business seat the entire flight, and I was genuinely surprised to see wifi had not been added as part of the refurb, since it's commonplace on the likes of Emirates.  That said, inflight service was great, and the new seats are very comfy, although the food isn't what it was pre-covid, but ok.  The toiletries bag contents has shrunk seriously with now only minor brands, containing three small face, hand and lip moisturiser samples in 5ml tubes - and each noticeably only half filled.  Even Colgate toothpaste has been bumped for a small tube of something called White Glo and the bottled water in the biz seat has been downsized to 390ml. Considering the prices are heading northwards, the trip certainly had something of a spartan feel.  Am on the Los Angeles flight at the end of August, so will be keen to compare that experience.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

To cannibalize one aircraft to feed parts to others seems shortsighted given the shortage of A380's QF has in its fleet. With so many decommissioned A380's globally, economical spares are not in shortage, where as operational QF A380's are. 

SYD-LAX some days serviced by A380's, others 787's and some days no flights at all - what a patchwork quilt QF has turned it's operations into, what a shame.

Flying 787's and A350's on these long haul flights is like returning customers to the days of the 767's, just on extended ranges.

Am not impressed and competitors are going to move on this. Goodbye Qantas!

Air Canada - Aeroplan

13 Feb 2017

Total posts 4


The problem is the A380 has 4 engines and thus uses more fuel. Have you seen the world price of oil , thanks to Putin and Russia?  Oil prices in Europe have doubled or tripled in places. All these new aircraft fly with 2 engines, and thus use less fuel. One will have to fill planes in order to pay for the fuel, and we will have full flights for a long while in the future. The A380 has come back to fill a need, but it was thought that after Covid, the A380 would become a rarity.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

Thank you 747sp for this valuable and interesting information.  Greatly appreciated.  Also please to see that Nancy Bird is not down for scrapping.  Can't wait for these beautiful birds to be flying on the Sydney Dallas route.   The last time we flew from London to Sydney (March 2020!) we were in the upgraded business on an A380 and it was amazing - space, comfort and wonderful crew.

20 Sep 2017

Total posts 9

Hi All   VH OQA many be the next plane to move out of storage and to LAX 

20 Sep 2017

Total posts 9

A 5th A380 has returned to service with VH OQB  back in Sydney and I think QF 11/12 will become a A380 every day except Tuesday 

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