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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.