Qatar Airways’ A380 comes soaring back to Sydney

The Oneworld airline’s superlative superjumbo, with its elegant upper deck lounge, makes a welcome return to Australia.

By David Flynn, June 1 2022
Qatar Airways’ A380 comes soaring back to Sydney

Arguably one of the world’s best Airbus A380 experiences is on a triumphant flight path back to Sydney, with the Qatar Airways superjumbo making a keenly-awaited return as Australians head north for the European summer.

The Airbus A380 replaces the smaller A350 which the Oneworld member has been using to connect Sydney to its hub at Doha, where travellers can step onto an onwards flight to over a hundred destinations.

And while the double-decker jet lacks those private business class Qsuites, its previous-gen business class still ticks all the boxes for space and comfort with ample room for working, dining from the à la carte menu, relaxing, and at some point snoozing on the lie-flat bed.

Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 business class.
Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 business class.

There’s also a fresh first class option for Sydney flyers: the A380 is the only jet in Qatar’s international fleet with a first class cabin (at least until the Boeing 777X arrives), with eight spacious open suites.

Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 first class.
Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 first class.

But the highlight of any flight on the Qatar Airways A380 is a visit to the upper deck premium lounge, where business and first class flyers can relax and socialise while enjoying drinks and snacks from the bar menu, or even have simpler dishes from the business class menu – such as a cheese platter – delivered to them at the lounge.

Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 upper deck lounge.
Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 upper deck lounge.

And if this lounge is among the best places to be on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380, then the counterpoint worst place to be is in the first row of economy, just beyond the lounge...

... where despite a thick richly-patterned curtain passengers would be tormented by the sounds of chatter and merriment, the popping of the odd Champagne cork and clinking of glasses... although perhaps this would provide the enticement they’d need to upgrade to business class on their next journey.)

Sydney loves the superjumbo

The A380 will slot into Qatar Airways’ daily Doha-Sydney service, with QR909 departing Sydney at 10pm to reach Doha’s Hamad International at 5am the next day, in time for the morning wave of connecting flights across Europe and the UK – although it’s also worth breaking your journey for a few days to discover the Qatari capital city.

“We are excited to reinstate the Airbus A380 for our Sydney service,” says Jared Lee, Qatar Airways Vice President of Sales for Southeast Asia, Southwest Pacific & Indian Subcontinent,

“This is the latest in a series of enhancements to our Australian network this year, following a recent increase in frequency earlier in March. The Australian market continues to be an area of strong growth for Qatar Airways as we see robust travel demand.”

Indeed, Sydney is the first southern hemisphere destination to see Qatar Airways’ A380s since they made an unexpected return in November 2021, after airline CEO Akbar Al Baker reactivated four of the ten-strong superjumbo fleet as a stop-gap measure to help cope with increasing demand when many of its Airbus A350 jets were grounded over claims of fuselage degradation.

With much of Qatar's A350 fleet out of action, the superjumbo is soaring again.
With much of Qatar's A350 fleet out of action, the superjumbo is soaring again.

“We grounded the A380s at the beginning of the pandemic, and we never wanted to fly them again,” Al Baker told Executive Traveller at the time – well aware that only five months before he described his purchase of the superjumbos as “the biggest mistake” in the airline’s history, sledging the superjumbo’s thirst for fuel and environmental impact.

At the time of writing, the A380s are also connecting Doha with popular destinations London and Paris – although additional destinations in Europe and Asia are now being considered following Qatar’s decision to bring back an additional four superjumbos to cope with the increase in post-pandemic travel.

As a member of the Oneworld alliance, Qatar Airways flights can be booked using Qantas Points.

A one-way business class trip between Sydney and London on Qatar’s A380 costs 159,000 Qantas Points (plus taxes and surcharges) as a classic flight reward – slightly more than the 144,600 points needed for Qantas’ own Sydney-London A380 business class flights, which resume on June 19 via Singapore.

Ironically, Qatar Airways has also inked a ‘strategic partnership’ deal with Virgin Australia which will see full ‘earn and burn’ capabilities across both airlines plus reciprocal lounge access for Velocity frequent flyers.

As previously reported, Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty program will has switched to same Avios frequent flyer currency as British Airways, while also allowing Avios to be transferred between BA and QRPC accounts.

There are plenty of other ways to maximise your Avios with Qatar Airways, including a promotion for new Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn up to a 5,000 Avios bonus.

Sign up using the promo code PCAUNA22 by December 31, 2022 and take your first Qatar Airways flight as a  Privilege Club member by July 31, 2023 to earn an additional 2,500 bonus Avios in economy or 5,000 bonus Avios in business or first.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 337

Love QR A380 First  better than Etihad A380 First except for the shower!  A lot loike Lufthansa First  except you dont get a floor to ceiling locker lie you do on Lufti A380 First. Used to do it on the way to Tel Aviv from Adelaide (qantas Biz ADl-PER, QR Firs a380 t PER-DOH, Al Safwa First Lounge for 12 hours sleep and food  and  nicely empty MASSIVE First lounge and WALL-terfall with Islamic Art Displays, buggy to gate  then QR First (C actually) on 787  Doha to AMM Amman  then Royal Jordanian Biz on A321 for the 50 minute hop to Tel Aviv!  Bring it back as pre-covid ! Cant wait!!!!!!!! And only 110K American AAdvantage Points and about US$120 taxes - try than on Qantas!!! (270K Points and about 500 or 600 AUD taxes

QF LTG

29 Feb 2016

Total posts 26

It would be fantastic to get back into one of their A380s but when I looked at a return trip SYD/LHR there isnt F availability all the way back, at least with reasonable connection times. Going to UK its 24h duration which is fine, but coming back  the A380 to SYD leaves DOH 2 hrs before the A380 from LHR arrives. Other flts are 777 and 350s. So one will need to spend almost a day in Doha to travel by A380 all the way - duration is 41h, with 20h connection time..  Perhaps that sched will be adjusted as demand continues to return. 

12 Aug 2019

Total posts 12

On the subject of the A380...

I'm a frequent traveller to Asia (Singapore, Thailand typically).

Can anyone advise which airlines run an A380 there from Aus?  

Hanging out to give that bar/lounge a crack :)

mos
mos

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Dec 2014

Total posts 20

I was booked in QSuites business for a flight in June, but the B777 has now been swapped out for the A380. However, my seat assignment has not been changed, it is still row 1, which would now be a first class seat. When I look at the seat map in my booking, it only shows the business class cabin (from row 10), but still says my chosen seat is row 1 (even though I can't navigate to row 1 on the seat map). Does anyone know if they are seating business passengers in first seats when this happens, or will I find my seat re-assigned when I check in? Or perhaps they are not selling them as first class on the DOH-SYD A380?

14 Jul 2022

Total posts 1

Hi - I am in the same boat flying out in Aug and would be very keen to know what happened in your situation.  Did they keep you in first or were you made to change seats on the day and go to business?  Many thanks, B

23 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

When will Qatar airways a380 return to Melbourne?

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 16

I think around the same time. Qatar have re-activated 8 of 10 A380's currently flying to London, Paris and Bangkok. Once Sydney resumes then they will have 2 spare and I'm sure it will be used on Melbourne-Doha rather than to Perth Or Frankfurt (pre-pandemic). 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 654

The only way to fly. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 337

Hope you can still book American Airlines awards - its a nice way to get to Israel for not manu miles and minimal taxes using QR and RJ with a QF feeder to SYD  -used to do ADL-PER QF C  QR F PER-DOH-AMM then RJ AMM-TLV for about 120K miles and about US115 taxes

02 Jun 2022

Total posts 2

I just finished searching American Airlines to come back from the middle east to Auckland and neither TLV or AMM gave any flights (April/May 2023) in first class via SYD as they routed either via BNE or ADL but leaving from BEY (Beirut) allowed routing via SYD on the A380 for 100,000AA miles which for the long flight from DOH in first and the two first lounges in DOH and SYD is a good deal in my book.   Could not find and first class all the way from SYD to Europe which would be 115k miles and I am pretty happy to pay 100k first from the middle east over 85k AA miles in business from Europe for the first experience.

Not the only jet with First class, Also the 777-300ER to MLE, IST, ZRH, CDG, LHR

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 16

Not happy that Qatar don't even want to fly the A380 to Melbourne. I did MAN-DOH-MEL two months ago on QR 787-8 and 777 and it was good, but I'd like to try A380 on Qatar.  


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