Qantas' Airbus A380, and first class, returns to Sydney-Hong Kong

By David Flynn, April 23 2019
Qantas' Airbus A380, and first class, returns to Sydney-Hong Kong

Qantas is once again scheduling its flagship Airbus A380 between Sydney and Hong Kong over the 2019-2020 summer season, with Qantas first class suites also up for sale – making Qantas the only airline offering first class on this busy route.

The 'summer superjumbo' has become something of a tradition for Qantas, with the double-decker jet well suited to handling the extra bookings buoyed by holidays as well as Chinese New Year, which in 2020 falls on January 25.

Qantas' Airbus A380 is once again earmarked for Sydney-Hong Kong
Qantas' Airbus A380 is once again earmarked for Sydney-Hong Kong

Qantas’ online schedule shows the A380 will replace the Boeing 787 on the daily QF127/QF128 service, beginning with QF127 on Wednesday December 4 2019 and winding up with QF128 on Saturday March 28.

The upside, of course, is the ability to book into one of the A380's first class suites (or snare a points-based upgrade from business class) so you can luxe it up on the 9½ hour journey.

Qantas offers 14 first class suites in the nose of its Airbus A380
Qantas offers 14 first class suites in the nose of its Airbus A380

The X-factor: it's not yet known if the HK-bound A380 will be one of the first ones to be upgraded with the same excellent Business Suites as the red-tailed Dreamliners...

Qantas' latest Business Suite, as seen on the Boeing 787
Qantas' latest Business Suite, as seen on the Boeing 787

... or will retain the original and less comfortable Skybed II berths.

The Qantas Airbus A380 Skybed II business class seat
The Qantas Airbus A380 Skybed II business class seat

If the summer superjumbo is among those to have received their million-dollar makeover, business class travellers will also have the opportunity to try out the two new lounges at the front of the upper deck.

A concept image of one of Qantas' two new A380 business class lounges
A concept image of one of Qantas' two new A380 business class lounges

Read more: Qantas' upgraded Airbus A380s will begin flying in August 2019

If you do book first class on Qantas' Airbus A380, we suggest suites 1A and 1K for that ‘private jet’ feeling; 2F if you want a cosy nest; and 5A and 5K for maximum privacy. For the best view on the daytime flight to Hong Kong, opt for 4A and 4K, but on the overnight return leg, light sleepers should avoid 5F.

Read our expert guide to the best seats in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

05 May 2016

Total posts 537

Nice.


Depending on the flight times it would seem likely that the refurbished A380 planes may be rotated amongst multiple routes to minimise time on the ground.

Also even if your booking shows the refurbished seat map QF could have to change to using a different A380 for operational reasons e.g. if there’s an unexpected major breakdown of one of the 12 A380s in the fleet.

19 Nov 2012

Total posts 41

The plan is to have 4 aircraft refurbished by the end of the year.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

Which I would expect would be assigned to the big routes such as London and Los Angeles. For Qantas, the A380 to HKG is all about capacity so it really doesn't need to be the latest and greatest. I would actually think HKG will be at the back of the queue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2017

Total posts 34

Generally speaking, airline's place aircraft on routes as and where they fit into the tight schedulling. This is particularly true in a smaller fleet which are stretched to their availability limits.

E.g. if the aircraft lands from LAX before heading off to HKG on it's next trip, Qantas will just use whichever aircraft is available on that particular pairing. In order to place specific aircraft on specific routes, due to say differences in fitout or product, its very complex and costly, and affects scheduling greatly. But, ya never know!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 208

I will fly if refurbed only

Last experience just awful in j
Very sad and no care given by qf

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 40

That would be nice. I sort of fed up with "Longreach" old style business seats.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

25 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

We have flown in the A380 Skybed II twice this year - from Singapore and LAX. On both occasions I would estimate at least half of the seats were broken and would not go flat. By selling these seats as ‘flat beds’ Qantas is bordering on misleading and deceptive conduct. Food and service is equally average. With so much choice now, Qantas is no longer competitive. On the L.A. route, AA has a superior product (never thought I’d ever say that!).

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 25

Food on my last flight in Feb was bordering on criminal. Happily I had snacked in the lounge. Otherwise...

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

I know that SkyBed MK2 is bound for sunset, and it's old hat now I get it....but....one thing I miss (and will continue to miss) is the physical space that you get in front of you. Yes the new seats are the future and they are great but what you gain in an individual seat I think you lose in space and room.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2014

Total posts 19

Those QANTAS cocoon business class seats are a shocker, no air circulates and they are like concrete to sleep on.

QF

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 5

Marc Newson has a lot to answer for. Everything he designs looks great, but suffers from design flaws. Including the Qantas crockery, which is fine if you cut something in the middle, but it flips up if you cut something towards the edge. Don't get me started!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

The A side seats in F are better as the centre & right side share overhead areas. There is ~some ~ noise in 1A with the bathroom flush.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2018

Total posts 6

I just checked the price to fly. It costs $3000+ for a one way ticket. Last year it was only $2500.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 443

What a joke. Qantas does NOT operate a true 1st rate carrier 'first' class per se. This is a deluxe business class at best. Food, amenity kit, lavs, crockery(new cutlery already looks shockingly old) and service standards are nowhere near where a first class service needs to be. Qantas $15000-$18000 prices set high expectations yet are mostly false and misleading. Just because Qantas calls it first, it's not. Bedding is just about the only aspect that warrants first class standards. Only ever buy A on sale if you fly up front on the A380. Anything else is robbery for what you get. Fly with SQ EK QR LH if you're going to pay that much.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

completely agree as I wrote about this product first hand expereince

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 208

100% Agree Joe

Terrible J service with old seats that are mostly broken absolute joke qf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 104

Don't get too excited. In terms of F, QF is "one of the worst airlines in the free world."

obi
obi

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 31

Agree with the above negative comments about QF ‘first’. Flew to London return last year. The forward flights were very disappointing - food and wine were very average, athough the crew tried hard. One return leg ex SIN was reasonable and that was it. Neil Perry’s catering has long past its use-by date - his menus look mean when they arrive at your seat and the food does not taste of anything much in the air. I was terribly disappointed and I paid in real money for this dubious pleasure. Never again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 303

Darn, miss being able to select the F seats as J seats when they weren't selling the F class product....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

Yep, Qantas First a shocker

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

I can see that anyone who dare to criticize this product all the QF freeloaders out to give them a minus-yet the truth you cannot deny!!!

Just returned from a Qf35-36 Melbourne-Sin-Melbourne first class experience on this 380-the cabin is badly shows the worn and torn signs-the seats are far from the windows and don't utilize the given space at all-a ridiculous set up the movable chair when at take off you sit rigid than you can manipulate the whole machinery-the silverware is a complete disaster! Even in Economy other airlines serve better! And they use this 'thing' all over even in the lounges.The food on the way up was 'satisfying' nothing special but the return flight the breakfast was a miserable failure!
I would certainly give this product a miss in the future as it's doesn't represent any value-it's more like a glorified premier business class to say the best not to mention the grossly overpriced tax you have to fork out with QF -I paid nearly a 1000$ while the other ticket with AA was hardly 200$-save your money and points and fly with a decent airline who provide real first class experience!

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 45

Have to laugh at all the Qantas employees at QCC and apologists down scoring anything negative about Qantas First Class. News Flash QCC-: there is no denying any of the criticisms so heads out of the sand and fix it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 208

Comical is a word Sr Batrill

Its not even a second rate product
Way behind

03 Nov 2015

Total posts 10

Maybe the downvoting is more a reaction to the way some people are just so negative about anything and will use any article to whinge about Qantas and QF first class. I certainly get sick of the endless knocking. My 2c on this is that Qantas first class isn't in the same league as most others such as SQ, Emirates, Etihad or even Cathay Pacific, it's actually not as much about the seat to me because I like the 'open suite' concept, but the Qantas first class f&b has really dropped off over the years. QF First used to have a fantastic menu all round plus an amazing degustation menu, these days several of the first class dishes are also in business class and the degustation is more a sampler of the standard dishes instead of something really special. The service is still great, I find QF F crew will go above and beyond, and I think that in the end people don't fly SYD-SIN or SYD-HKG in first class for the meals as much as for the privacy and exclusivity compared to business class, and the better seat of course. This won't be the case as much when the Business Suite comes onto the A380s but the smaller cabin and more space and 'intimacy' will still have strong appeal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1387

On the menu MELflyer not much has changed. Comparing F and J menus from 10yrs ago there was significant overlap of dishes, maybe only 1 or 2 exclusively for F.

The difference is in the plating, and the quality of the wines.

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 25

Bugbear for me... b grade wines in QF F, food served so poorly plated (sloppish), the scuffs and worn patches on the seats, poor quality carpet after all these yrs etc etc etc. Oh- the service is def on the downward trajectory. Unsure why but its happening.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 443

The cabin "privacy" isn't a good enough reason to be gouged $15000 - $180000! "Intimacy" is debatable.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

obviously you didn't fly with any other airlines first class if you dare to compare this inferior product to them-try Emirates,Etihad or the best Singapore than you will be bleating a different tune!I flew all of them more than once and I know the difference which is light years away!!!!

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

I’ve flown QF A380 F a few times to USA and I’d say it’s like staying at a decent Sheraton or Westin, crew have always been excellent and I love the seat and bedding. But a Four Seasons or Park Hyatt it definitely is not and I think this is probably where Singapore & Emirates are pegged at especially their F&B which are outstanding on both.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 81

Whilst I agree that there are elements of the QF F product that have stagnated over the last few years (or gone backwards in some of the examples given already); the catalyst for product innovation is often competition:
*North / South America is only competing with others who offer J as the top cabin - AA, US, DL, VA, LA etc

*HKG has no other competitor offering F cabin.

*SIN is the exception with multiple daily F options from SQ, (plus single daily BA to SYD, and EK to MEL). But that is more about feeding QF1 connections through to LHR anyway.

The harsh reality is that QF probably don't need to do anything new and groundbreaking when you compare their F offerings against most others on their A380 routes; and when they can also sell a F codeshare flight on EK for example.

The innovation battleground is probably in the next-gen business products, and will be interesting to see what eventuates out of Project Sunrise, and to whether there will still even be a F product at QF when the A380 goes (if not before then).

Until then, can somebody please give Seat 1A on VH-OQL a spray of WD-40. Had that on 2 of my last 3 flights and the squeaking is bloody annoying (yeah, I know, first world problems.....)


Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

03 Jul 2017

Total posts 17

i just went first class to hong kong on the singapore A380 and it was the new first class suites up stairs.

it was brilliant as well as the service and the food.The large tv and arm chair is just so good i doubt it if QF will ever out do Singapore airlines in any class?

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 87

Whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of the QF cabin product, changing from a 787 to an A380 is a large increase in seats - almost double. You would imagine that either some people are being turned away from Dreamliner flights just before the change takes place, or else there would be quite a few empty seats just after the transition.


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