High flyers, mark your calendars: March 27 sees the return of Qantas first class, not just in those sky-high A380 First suites but at the Qantas International First Lounges at Sydney and Melbourne.
It comes almost two years to the day that Qantas was forced to ground its entire fleet as Covid-19 took hold, and dispatch its A380s into hibernation to wait out the pandemic.
And with the worst of those days now behind us, the best days stretch out ahead – especially for travellers stretching out in these 14 spacious suites nestled away at the front of the A380’s lower deck.
All A380s flying on the Sydney-Los Angeles route are now the upgraded models which see the Marc Newson-designed First suites refreshed with new seat coverings and larger HD video screens.
While those are relatively minor changes, more significant are the two new lounges at the nose of the upper deck and, for passengers not cruising at the pointy end, the same modern business class and premium economy seats as on the Boeing 787s.
Qantas says its A380 First onboard menu has also been refreshed by chef Neil Perry, while the reopening of the spa at the Sydney and Melbourne First Lounges will add some preflight pampering – with first class travellers telephoned the day before their flight to pre-book a spa session.
“We know that our customers have missed the Qantas A380 travel experience as much as our team has missed being able to provide it for them,” says Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully, “so it’s fantastic that we’re back in the air with our premium full service on these newly refurbished aircraft.”
All that’s missing from the mix is the Qantas First Lounge at LAX, which for now will remain shuttered even though the rest of the Qantas First proposition is back – but Tully assures Executive Traveller this exclusive lounge will roll out the welcome mat “as soon as possible” in the weeks following March 27.
As previously reported, Qantas will also resume its Sydney-Singapore-London A380 flights – complete with first class, on a fleet of fully-refurb’d birds – on June 19, with the Qantas Singapore First Lounge set to reopen that same day.
Tully tells Executive Traveller that bookings to LAX and London are both “very strong” and a high proportion of those are being made using Qantas Points as frequent flyers capitalise on the mountain of points earned while largely grounded over the past two years.
Indeed, with travel yet to reach pre-pandemic levels and a consequently slimmer pipeline of forward bookings, this could be the best time to snare a Classic Flight Reward ‘points redemption’ booking in first class, at 162,800 Qantas Points one-day for Sydney-Los Angeles or 216,900 Qantas Points one-way for Sydney-London.