Qantas restarts Sydney-Singapore-London flights

After more than two years, the Kangaroo Route and the A380 superjumbo are both hopping back.

By David Flynn, January 14 2022
Qantas restarts Sydney-Singapore-London flights

Qantas' flagship QF1 flight from Sydney to London via Singapore will resume on March 27 2022, with the Airbus A380 set to return to the Kangaroo Route barely 12 weeks later, on June 19.

It's another welcome sign that travel is getting back to normal, and that scene is expected to include the reopening of the elegant Qantas Singapore First lounge, which has been shuttered since March 2020 – although the Qantas Singapore Business lounge unlocked its doors in December 2020.

Qantas' Singapore lounges: business class (left) and first class (right).
Qantas' Singapore lounges: business class (left) and first class (right).

Since November 1, the Sydney-London service has been running on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and making the necessary stopover at Darwin (where, to ease that top end transit, Qantas turned Darwin Airport's Catalina Lounge into a temporary international lounge).

Ready for some more good news? When the Airbus A380 takes over from the Boeing 787 on June 19, it'll be one of the upgraded superjumbos which feature the latest business class and premium economy seats, along with two new 'premium lounges' at the front of the upper deck and refreshed first class suites.

The Qantas superjumbos have been refreshed with new business class suites and upper deck lounges areas.
The Qantas superjumbos have been refreshed with new business class suites and upper deck lounges areas.

Both will be especially appreciated on the nearly 24-hour trek, compared to the original A380 business class Skybed seats and the single, narrow and not-very-comfortable 'lounge' area.

However, if you're sitting on a stash of Qantas Points that have piled up during the pandemic, the superjumbo's return also represents arguably your best chance ever to snare a first class Classic Flight Reward seat.

Treat yourself (and a friend) to first class on the Qantas A380 from just 216,900 points.
Treat yourself (and a friend) to first class on the Qantas A380 from just 216,900 points.

If you plan ahead and are flexible with your travel dates, it's possible to find many Qantas First suites open to a points-based Classic Flight Reward booking at just 216,900 Qantas Points each way, which puts a Sydney-London first class return trip in your lap for around 433,000 points.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth has also teased the possibility of those first London-bound A380s becoming 'Points Planes' in which every seat is up for sale at rock-bottom Classic Reward rates.

Previous Points Plane flights have proven incredibly popular with the airline's frequent flyers, while also helping them burn through a mountain of loyalty points built up during the pandemic.

(At the time of writing, Qantas' timetable doesn't permit booking just the Sydney-Singapore leg of QF1 – if you're bound for the Lion City, the only direct Qantas flight available from Sydney is the daily QF81.)

London will be the second destination for the red-tailed superjumbo, after it took wing on the Sydney-Los Angeles route on January 11.

Although the airline put its double-decker jets into hibernation in California's Mojave Desert in the early days of the pandemic, with the expectation they wouldn't be back until 2023-2024, a surge of bookings as Australia's borders reopen without quarantine for fully-vaccinated flyers has provided a shot in the arm for the superjumbo's prospects.

Qantas now plans to have six A380s in its Sydney hangars by the end of this year, with four more slated to return to service by early 2024 – although the airline says two of the 12-strong superjumbo fleet will be retired "because they will be surplus to requirements."

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 663

Hope that also bodes well for the slight chance demand will be high enough to reinstate the A380 at that time as well...making it a true QF 001/002.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1031

What is the status of lounges at SIN currently?  I know both QF lounges remain closed.  What, if any, lounges in T1 have reopened?  I saw a photo on Twitter earlier in the week of a J class SQ traveller in T3 who said there were no lounges open when he was there. before his flight and instead was in a dedicated corner of the terminal that had been set up as a temporary lounge area.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 500

Why doesn't Qantas fly the kangaroo route via Bangkok and Hong Kong anymore? Would be better offer more options. As nice as Singapore is, not everyone wants to transit there, it's pretty boring. There is also certainly quite a bit of tourist and business traffic to Bangkok and Hong Kong. Seems Qantas has an obsession with Singapore.

Because of our business ties with Singapore. Singapore is Australia's largest trading partner per capita, and also houses the Asia Pacific HQ of many international companies with smaller regional offices in Australia. There will always be strong demand to travel between the two countries. Then you have Australians and business folks living in Singapore, who need to travel onwards to London.

Hong Kong already has a OneWorld partner that does a fine job and Bangkok is not in the same league yet. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 500

Bangkok is a more interesting place as a transit stop though. Also for tourists too. Qantas is seriously limiting itself with its Singapore obsession. Singapore Airlines offers far more through traffic than Qantas ever will, not to mention direct traffic that ends in Singapore too.

@Asiabiztraveller - wrong. For years, Qantas flew via Bangkok and also Hong Kong. Of course there's limited demand when they offer fewer and fewer flights and increasingly poor service compared with the Asian carriers. No wonder they stopped flying onward from Bangkok and Hong Kong - better to fly THAI/Cathay.

I'm talking about pre-Covid at least. With Hong Kong's strict zero Covid policy, there might never be anyone allowed to step foot in that territory again. LOL.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1031

Singapore is used as QF's hub as well as being the hub for Jetstar Asia.  If QF were to operate individual disconnected services via numerous ports, there would be no hubbing opportunity

Are you suggesting BKK and HKG in addition to SIN? I think there'd just be not enough demand for Qantas to split its Kangaroo Route via more than one city. I think Qantas "obsession" with Singapore is more about the fact that it's proven to be the best stopover for decades.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 624

They used to fly to London via Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even to the point that QF1/2 was the Sydney/Bangkok/London route. 

They changed that when they dropped to two daily flights and I’m sure the drop wasn’t due to lack of demand though rather a lack of yield especially on the Bangkok route. Of course not helped by the A380 starting on the Mel/Syd- SIN - LHR route a year or two earlier. So Qantas went from 4 daily 747’s to two A380’s both via Singapore. 

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 47

I'm not sure Hong Kong would be a feasible transit destination they just banned all transit flights in quest for their Covid Zero policy. 

Bangkok would be an option your correct as a fair few Aussies do visit Thailand and is a great stopover destination - Singapore Changi Airport personally is much nicer transit airport than Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport

But i agree with you in that if your planning to stopover for a few days Thailand is much more attractive than Singapore

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 309

I'm keen to see the return of the A380 to QF1/2, but they still aren't in the QF schedule before Oct 2022.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2576

That's correct, the earlier timings have yet to be loaded into the schedule but Qantas has confirmed to us that the A380 is coming back sometime in July. You can't keep a good superjumbo down!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1031

It will be interesting to see how QF handle this flights.  They will want to make it qualify as a VTL flight so people joining or disembarking in SIN are not subject to strict quarantine requirements.  UK qualifies already but, of course, lots of people who join QF2 have been travelling throughout Europe and some of these countries will not have VTL status.  

To qualify as a VTL flight, all travellers must have spent all the of the past 14 days in VTL listed countries only.  

I guess, in theory, QF could avoid VTL issues by making the flight for SYD-LHR passengers only with no joining or departing in SIN but that does raise the challenge of being able to fill the A380 with such a condition in place.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 384

I expect it will simply be easier for Qantas to retain QF81/82 as its VTL flight and leave QF1/2 as a non-VTL service, meaning everyone flies the whole journey. Hopefully it won't be too long before Singapore drops the whole VTL scheme but I wouldn't count on that happening in a hurry!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 188

I shall definitely be booking onto the upgraded SYD- LHR A380. Hopefully VTL will be back in place or scrapped totally by then. No reason QF1/2 cannot be part of VTL if it is still in place. I am sure demand for the A380 will warrant more planes coming back into service. I flew SIN-MEL this week in J on the A330 and business only had 2 spare seats with economy at least 80+% full. Hopefully both the Emirates and BA lounges in Terminal 1 at Changi will be open soon, I love normally going into all three (Qantas is the 3rd) when flying out of Singapore.

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 14

Im waiting for QF93/94 Melbourne to LA to go back to A380!! Hopefully this year. Everything always Sydney. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 500

And Singapore. Not everyone wants or needs to go to/via Singapore, especially when you have Singapore Airlines covering Australia so well.

Plenty of Aussie expats living in Thailand, Vietnam and other countries, probably more than in Singapore. I find it strange there is no Melbourne-Bangkok option on Qantas (though recently there have been several Qantas freight/repatriation flights flown between these two cities) only Jetstar.

Like with LA, the focus seems to be almost solely on Sydney, when there is probably just as much business and leisure travel out of Melbourne.


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