Qantas brings Airbus A380 – and first class – back to Sydney-Singapore

By David Flynn, March 5 2018
Qantas brings Airbus A380 – and first class – back to Sydney-Singapore

Qantas is once again flying first class between Sydney and Singapore in the lead-up to Singapore replacing Dubai as the stopover point for its flagship QF1 Airbus 380 flight to London (and of course QF2 on the rebound).

The Ditching of Dubai happens on March 25 – one day after the launch of Qantas' non-stop Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights between Perth and London.

However, from now through to March 24, the superjumbo and it first class suites are rostered onto the daily QF81/QF82 service between Sydney and Singapore.

It's a bit of a downgrade if you're in business class, as QF81/QF82 move from the A330's Business Suite...

... to the A380's previous-generation Skybed II.

But the superjumbo brings first class back into the picture, with 14 of the well-appointed 'open suites' on every flight.

With first class relatively new to the route there's likely to be plenty of availability for upgrading from business class, and the ask is fairly low: a mere 25,000 Qantas Points if you're on a flexible business ticket, up to a still-bearable 31,500 on discount business class.

That's even more appealing if you lack Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum status, as this first class upgrade lets you start your journey at Sydney's superb Qantas First Lounge rather than the decidedly pedestrian Qantas Business Lounge.

Grab the Qantas points you need for that first class upgrade – or a riot of other upgrades and free flights – with  150,000 bonus Qantas Points when you sign up for the American Express Platinum Business Card; 100,000 bonus Qantas points on the Qantas AMEX Ultimate and AMEX Qantas Business Rewards credit cards; and 75,000 bonus Qantas Points on the Flying Kangaroo's own Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard.

If you're buying a Sydney-Singapore ticket outright, be sure to check the first class fares: we've seen quite a few dates over the coming weeks for QF81 when first class can be less expensive than business class.

For example: mid-week you can find a one-way Business Flex fare business class at around $3,950...

... while the First Flex equivalent lists at $3,241.

From March 25, things switch back around:

  • QF81/QF82 reverts to an Airbus A330
  • QF1/QF2 changes from Sydney-Dubai-London to Sydney-Singapore-London
  • QF5/QF6 – which is currently a late afternoon departure from Sydney to Singapore – is nixed in favour of QF1/QF2

Melbourne will also see a daily Airbus A380 darting to Singapore as QF35, with the option of a lazy six hours in the Qantas Singapore Lounge for passengers continuing onto London on QF1 shortly after midnight.

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.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 299

Which is better? The modern Business suites of the A330 with all its mod-cons, or the older Skybed Mk II with its much larger space, esp during day use. Which bed is more comfortable?


Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Have you used either product? The Skybed II does not have “much larger space”!! It’s basically PE that lies flat.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 299

I certainly have used both, many times. The Skybed by day has so much space that one can cross one's legs and still have someone walk across in front of you.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 149

That degree of hyperbole suggests you've never used the Skybed either!



08 Jul 2017

Total posts 23

The Skybed lacks flat horizontal work space when compared to the Business Suite.


The Business Suite lacks foot space when in lay flat mode when compared to the Skybed.

I'm happy to sit in either!

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 599

Premium economy? Wow. It wasn't that long ago that todays premium economy seats would have been the business class seats.

The Skybed II isn't the world's worst business class but these days it is far from being anywhere near the best, except for the amount of room in front of the seat I can't think of a single way this is preferable to the Business Suite. It's still okay for a daytime flight of course but I would rather have the Business Suite.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

IMHO I find the Skybed II slightly better for sleeping because I'm a toss'n'turn sleeper and given the absence of a footwell where the seats dovetail like they do with Business Suite I don't have any problems with my feet getting caught up in the footwell. Also, if you're in an aisle Skybed II, it's very easy to swing your legs straight off the bed and onto the floor, whereas in the Business Suite unless you're in a seat without a side console closest to the aisle you do have scoot up the bed and tuck your knees up to get your lower legs and feet clear of the footwell.

QF

04 Feb 2016

Total posts 4

The A380's skybed is a massive downgrade compared with the business suite on the A330.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

17 Sep 2017

Total posts 17

how come first flex is cheaper than business flex? and also, apart from the lack of direct aisle access and slightly less personal space, the Skybed mark ii on the A380 looks more comfortable and spacious when sleeping, and shouldn't be any problem during a day flight, so is it so much of a downgrade?

05 May 2016

Total posts 631

Probably due to loads. If the loads of F are still light the cheapest fare bucket may be available whereas the cheapest J buckets are probably sold out by now.

MarkJohnSon Banned
MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 89

That explanation doesn’t make sense. They’re selling a superior product for less, the loads in respective cabins shouldn’t matter. As a Qantas shareholder, this is very alarming.

05 May 2016

Total posts 631

The loads do matter. The cheapest F fare buckets may well be cheaper than more expensive J buckets.


With high J loads the cheapest fare buckets will have sold out. Meaning than only more expensive fare buckets are left.

However if not many F seats have been sold the cheapest fare bucket may still be available.

It's supply and demand. QF will seek to extract maximum value from those who must fly in a nearly full cabin on a particular day to encourage those that are flexible to book into a different cabin or fly on other days. This strategy is effective at helping to make flights profitable.

Now, cheaper F buckets still being available is not a normal situation. Once passengers get used to F being available again on SYD-SIN (and there's the connecting SIN-LHR flight) it's likely that we won't see F seats being cheaper than J seats as often.

17 Nov 2011

Total posts 26

Well shouldn't first and business have the same fares then?

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1263

You're concerned about Qantas revenue management, considering the profits they have delivering? I think they know what they're doing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 46

Yes it does. If all the sale fares and early bird first buy discount seats are gone in business, but not one first seat has been sold, well of course first will be cheaper.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

It is definitely a downgrade all things considered but the Skybed isn’t terrible, especially if you are in one of the two inside seats.

05 Mar 2018

Total posts 3

Just flew the new Singapore Suites from SYD/SIN yesterday.


Qantas you are joking if you can compete with SQ in F.

Try to sell yoru F seats as Premium Economy to compete with SQ

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1263

Depends on what you define as competing? As a business, is it to make more money?

SQ only has 6 suites per flight, so its likely that they aren't serving all First demand in the market. In addition, QF's loyalty scheme is more useful to Australian flyers, and with 14 suites they can charge less than SQ if necessary to fill the jet.

If QF didn't think they could compete with SQ they would be selling these seats as business class and upgrading top-tier frequent flyers into them.

06 Jan 2017

Total posts 12

QF are upgrading the A380 shortly,then we can compare.

346
346

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2017

Total posts 87

I much prefer the Skybed II on the A380. But I know a lot of people who prefer the business suite. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. No point arguing about it all.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 92

When are qf’s a380s due for a refurb?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 443

Starts next year. The Skybeds will be removed and be replaced with the Business Suites. F will have new seat coverings etc but the infrastructure will remain the same.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Aug 2012

Total posts 23

I think the Skybed 11 on the A380 is maybe a better bed, however the the new business suite is far better for storage and practicality when in the seated position.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

It's been reported that Qantas will upgrade the A380's from 2nd quarter 2019 finishing the project end of 2020.

Like some here I ding the leg space excellent and sleep very well in SKY bed II but storage is annoying.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

Find not ding! Autocorrect!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jul 2017

Total posts 16

Great news for those of us wanting to fly RTW with QF in First out of Perth, all we need now is a decent plane up to Singapore instead of the 737 whose business class is awful!

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 621

You are delusional if you think Qantas is offering a true 1st rate 'First' class. It's a Business + product at best. The lavs, food, amenity kits, boarding process, and crew polish are well below 1st rate carrier standards. That we are carefree Australians who think less is more is a saving grace for Qantas. If you like Qantas 'First' you clearly haven't flown many, if any, 1st rate carriers in First Class. It's sad they still however charge premium fares and even sadder some actually pay for it.

I've flown Emirates, Qantas and JAL First.


Qantas have a perfectly reasonable First by international standards. Their suites are more spacious than Emirates, and I'd say their lounge food is better than EK First's lounge a la carte as well (sorry, but the EK First lounge needs to actually use more herbs and spices and seasonings in their cooking, I found it bland. If you're calling a dish "Korean" and can't taste any garlic or chilli you're doing something wrong). QF's First lounges in SYD and MEL also are substantially better than JAL's First lounge at Narita airport (can't speak for Haneda, which is apparently much better).

Yes, the on-board food and booze by Emirates and JAL is certainly more opulent and often more rich/hearty. But some of us don't like caviar, and QF's champagne is certainly competitive with Emirates (albeit not JAL, but JAL is soon going to stop serving Salon champagne in First).

Sure, JAL has mind-blowingly-good service. Emirates is quite good too, but I certainly didn't find QF's service to be worse than Emirates.

As for the amenity kit, I'll grant you that QF's is inferior to JAL's (substantially... JAL has a great amenity kit in first), but honestly a lot of stuff in Emirates First's amenity kit just doesn't work for me and isn't that much use (I dislike the rose-scented skin stuff and the sleeping kit just is full of stuff I don't use).

But to dismiss QF First as "not really First" is just silly. The food is restaurant quality, the spaciousness is substantial, the bedding is excellent (and getting better), the champagne is competitive as is most of the spirits selection, the lounge is very good, and the amenity kit and loungewear is perfectly acceptable.

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 94

Are QF serving Tatinger Blanc de Blanc? That is a fabulous champers

Even better, they often serve Taittinger Comtes de Champagnes (which is Taittinger's cuvee de prestige).

05 Mar 2018

Total posts 3

here here totally agree

05 Mar 2018

Total posts 3

Typo. Meant Here here for "Joe's" comment.


I'd rate the following F in order of excellence on A380 that I've flown on a lot in last 3 years.

SQ
EY
EK
QR
LH
TG
MH
QF


28 Nov 2012

Total posts 94

A caviar service always gets me,

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 116

You cant seriously think MH is better than QF...

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 94

Oh give QF a break, they have turned around to profit. They upgraded the A330's and have PURCHASED 787-9's. The A380 will be refurbed in time.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 111

the number of you complaining ex Perth complaining of you only get a 737.please be thankful you get something we Adelaide lot do not get anything at all and have to fly to Melbourne to join QF35 OR QF37 OR THE EMIRATES EK405 codeshared as QF8405 going to Singapore and coming home is QF8404,QF36 AND QF38 with onwards domestic connection or fly to Sydney to get the QF1 RETURNING HOME ON THE QF2 with domestic connections both ways on Qantas.either that or we join velocity or any star alliance frequent flyer program and get points on singapore airlines and leave direct in and out of the state.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2013

Total posts 12

Well you certainly have plenty of options...none of them requiring a 5+ hour journey on a 737 😊

06 Mar 2018

Total posts 2

Should I bother to spend points and upgrade on QF81 on March 19 from Business to First? The First does look much better but it is a day flight??? All thoughts shared are appreciated. Thanks!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2514

Scott – I reckon it's a good deal at 25k points. Yes, QF81 is a daytime flight but the first class suite is so much better than the A380's business class seats. The meals are harder to judge because lately many of the A380 first class meals seem to be drawn from the business class menu, although the wines are definitely better if that's your thing. Finally if you don't already have Platinum frequent flyer status then the upgrade to first class will give you access to the Qantas first class lounge, which is superb and really rounds out the experience. For my money, all that for 25,000 points is a bargain.

06 Mar 2018

Total posts 2

Thanks David - appreciate the advise!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2014

Total posts 6

Having recently relocated to Singapore i was rather excited about being able to get to London direct with QF and maintain P1 - that said after checking out some of the prices vs other carriers I cannot justify the cost difference when in fairness the product is only as good or slightly lower quality than competitors

I saw a lot of rich “high school kids” here, some comments are sheer fun to read. True First flyers don’t brag about “SQ is much better” - high price tags are the norms for the wealthy, not tools used for showing off insecurity.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 111

IF ONE CAN AFFORD IT just do not show it off.I have flown SQ in all their classes and am not totally wealthy,my only times in their business class was in 2004 thanks to my aunt as i normally only fly economy.the people who think they are superior are so insecure.these are the people who would when we had a local car industry pay the extra ten grand for a baby mercedes or bmw when you could buy a calais or the equivalent ford or toyota for ten grand less to use one example,or will only buy swanky designer labels to describe what really pisses me off.


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