Qantas first class guide: everything you need to know

Here is everything you need to know about flying Qantas first class in 2022: seats, service, how to upgrade, and more.

By Staff Writers, August 19 2022
Qantas first class guide: everything you need to know

Qantas first class – or as the airline brands it, Qantas First – is your ticket to a luxurious experience from start to finish, including spa treatments in selected lounges when departing from Australia, and a spacious open suite once in the sky. Here is everything you need to know about the pinnacle of the Qantas experience.

 

What is Qantas first class?

Qantas first class delivers the airline's highest level of service on selected international flights and destinations served by the flagship Airbus A380: these are Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, London and Los Angeles.

On the ground, you can expect speedy check-in and access to first class lounges, while in-flight, you can relax in a comfortable and private suite with a plush bed, fine dining and attentive service.

Qantas offers first class only on the A380 superjumbo, not on the Boeing 787 – but a new first class experience is planned for 2025 on board the ultra-long range Project Sunrise A350 jets, which will fly non-stop from Sydney and Melbourne to the likes of New York, London and Paris.

Five reasons we love Qantas first class

The best suite in the Qantas fleet

Nestled at the front of the A380's lower deck, the 14 Qantas First suites have a unique design which makes their lack of a sliding door – as featured in the flagship first class products of EmiratesEtihadSingapore Airlines and others – less an issue.

The wide, well-padded armchair faces forward for taxi, take-off and landing...

... but can then rotate towards the windows and video screen when you're ready to settle down.

Combine that with the shell-like walls wrapped around the seat and the result is a private cocoon for your 8-14 hour journey.

Around the seat itself is a fold-down snack table for pre-flight drinks and canapés, a garment hook, two air nozzles, and a literature pocket.

In first class, the Airbus A380's large windows are electronically controlled.
In first class, the Airbus A380's large windows are electronically controlled.

There's plenty of personal space, and the electronic window blinds let you shade or fully block the light – handy when it's time to sleep.

One of the best beds in the sky

Speaking of sleep, your first class seat transforms into a wide and spacious bed dressed with a luxurious Sheridan ensemble including an air foam mattress, crisp sheeting and a soft duvet, a combed cotton-woven throw and soft-touch bolster cushion, and a pillow menu with three styles to suit different comfort needs.

The absence of closing doors is actually a positive here, as you still have plenty of privacy but without feeling boxed in.

Quality onboard amenities

Upon boarding, you'll be handed a pack of Martin Grant-designed pyjamas and plush slippers, along with an amenity kit featuring quality skincare products from LaGaia.

There's nothing spectacular here, but everything is to a high standard, useful and well thought out.

Top-shelf Champagne and wines, elevated dining

As you'd expect, the inflight food and wine experience is leagues ahead of business class – although regular Qantas First flyers will agree that it's lost some shine over the years, and it's a clear second place against several competing airlines.

While the A380's Sydney-Singapore leg has a traditional three-course service after take-off and a light meal before landing, longer flights to London and Los Angeles have in the past featured a tasting menu where you can sample seven dishes "highlighting the finest of Rockpool and Qantas cuisine" with award-winning wines to complement each course.

The drinks list is decidedly better, with Qantas First usually popping open top-shelf Champagne – earlier this year that was Taittinger's Comtes De Champagne Grands Crus Blanc de Blancs 2008, which on the ground retails for around $400 a bottle.

Another unique attribute of Qantas First is that you can dine with your travel companion and share that inflight feast.

Highly-regarded first class lounges

In all four cities which the Qantas A380 and Qantas First flies to, there are Qantas first class international lounges with à la carte dining (the menu is designed by famed Australian chef Neil Perry), spacious shower suites and a very extensive bar list.

These Qantas First Lounges are found in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Los Angeles – with the stunning flagship Sydney and Melbourne lounges also boasting a LaGaia day spa with several lushly-appointed rooms and a selection of complimentary 20-minute treatments.

First class passengers enjoy their choice of appointment times (other Qantas First Lounge guests holding Qantas Platinum status or equivalent Oneworld Emerald status have to take their chance with a spa booking on a first-come, first-served basis).

Handy tips on flying first class with Qantas

Reserve a first class spa appointment

Jetting off in Qantas first class from Sydney or Melbourne? A dedicated Qantas First Host will ring you the day before your flight to set your appointment at the lounge's day spa.

If you don't happen to have a working mobile number attached to your booking but still want to reserve your place the day prior, then you can try dialling up Qantas directly on 13 13 13 or +61 2 8222 2439 for the main contact centre.

Alternatively, try calling the Sydney (+61 2 9952 9516) or Melbourne (+61 3 8336 4640) domestic Qantas Clubs, which might be able to transfer you to the First lounges.

Speed through the airport with premium check-in

With a ticket on Qantas First, you can spend less time queuing up at the airports by heading for the dedicated first class check-in counters at all Airbus A380 destinations.

A bonus for first class flyers from Sydney: the Qantas First check-in area opens at 5am, so you can check in for your flight and even drop off your bags as early as you'd like, meaning you can spend even more time relaxing in the lounge rather than being stuck in traffic.

Check-in when it suits you at Sydney.
Check-in when it suits you at Sydney.

Visit the A380 upper deck lounge

As comfortable as Qantas’ A380 first class is, we highly recommend you spend some time out of that seat and in one of the two new lounges at the very front of the upper deck.

The deep green leather couches, wood panelled walls and low lighting invokes a bit of a 'cocktail lounge' vibe, and you can order from a menu of snacks, light meals and drinks, including signature cocktails such as an 'Australian Negroni' with mountain pepper and river mint.

Also open to business class passengers, it's still usually a quiet area and a great place for a change of scenery during a long flight. Chill on the sofas with a drink from the bar fridge, and perhaps read a book or chat with fellow passengers.

Getting a first class upgrade on Qantas

It's only possible to upgrade to Qantas’ first class cabin from a paid business class ticket, using Qantas Points – but not Emirates Skywards miles or the points from any other airline program. Otherwise, short of buying a first class ticket with cash, your other option is to book the ticket outright with Qantas Points or other eligible airline miles.

Use your Qantas Points

Here are the Qantas Points needed to upgrade your paid business class ticket to first class.

Upgrades to QF First Discount Business Business Flexible Business
Sydney to Singapore 34,100 points 30,600 points 27,200 points
Singapore to London 47,600 points 42,900 points 38,200 points
Melbourne, Sydney to Los Angeles 61,600 points 55,300 points 49,100 points
Sydney to London (QF1/2 all the way) 81,700 points 73,500 points 65,400 points

Qantas international upgrades are all waitlisted and prioritised according to frequent flyer status, so a Platinum One member has the best chance for an upgrade compared to a Gold member, for example.

While you can also upgrade using a combination of points and cash via Qantas’ Bid Now Upgrades, these will only be considered once all Classic Upgrade Reward requests have been confirmed, so the best option is to try book the flight outright with frequent flyer points where possible, for a guaranteed seat. 

Best first class seats on Qantas

All Qantas Airbus A380s now flying have been given a multi-million dollar makeover which sees the  Marc Newson-designed first class suite refreshed with new seat coverings and larger HD video screens (the real improvement is in business class, with the superjumbo swapping its old Skybed seats for Qantas' latest Business Suites).

But the revamped Qantas First suites are almost identical to the original ones, and maintain the same 1-1-1 layout spread across the first five lower deck rows. 

Qantas' Airbus A380 first class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.
Qantas' Airbus A380 first class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.

Seats 1A-5A exclusively use the left aisle, while seats 2F-5F and 1K-5K both share the right-hand aisle, below. Hence, it's advisable to choose an 'A' seat for greater privacy.

View of Seat 4A.
View of Seat 4A.

However, these suites are all fairly private when everyone is seated and you won't easily spot other fellow passengers unless you're walking around.

'F' and 'K' seats share the same aisle.
'F' and 'K' seats share the same aisle.

The long privacy shields on the left of the 'F' seats automatically raise once the flight is cruising.

Privacy isn't an issue, even in these wide-open suites. Those shields automatically raise at cruising altitude.
Privacy isn't an issue, even in these wide-open suites. Those shields automatically raise at cruising altitude.

Since all the seats are virtually identical, it's hard to make a bad choice in first class.

For those travelling together, it's best to have seats one in front of the other in the 'A' seats, or perhaps directly across each other in the 'F/K' seats for easier access and conversation.

The most private of these 14 suites is considered to be 2F, which known to many travellers as the ‘Harry Potter’ suite due to its location – 2F is tucked away “under the stairs” which lead to the A380’s upper deck.

The Harry Potter suite below the stairs in Qantas ' A380 first class cabin.
The Harry Potter suite below the stairs in Qantas ' A380 first class cabin.

Once the divider to the left is raised, this is a highy-private haven and it certainly beats the Boy Wizard’s cramped cupboard at 14 Privet Drive.

Qantas Project Sunrise A350 first class suites

The next big upgrade for Qantas first class will be on the non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ flights from Sydney and Melbourne to cities like London, New York and Paris, due to take off from late 2025.

Those globe-striding A350s will treated high flyers to luxurious fully-private suites with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair and personal wardrobe in a layout of two 1-1-1 rows.

First class on Qantas' forthcoming A350 aircraft may become one of the best in the sky.
First class on Qantas' forthcoming A350 aircraft may become one of the best in the sky.

On top of that, each Project Sunrise A350 will feature what Qantas refers to as 'Wellness Zones' - dedicated spaces for passengers in all cabin classes to stand and stretch, which will undoubtedly become popular areas during these ultra-long journeys.

Qantas first class FAQs

Does Qantas have free inflight internet?

No, Qantas does not yet offer inflight internet on any international flights, including those on the Airbus A380s with first class.

However, ongoing development of a global satellite from Qantas partner Viasat aims to see it fully operational by 2024 and certainly in time for the launch of Project Sunrise flights in 2025.

Does Qantas first class have pyjamas?

Yes, Qantas offers Martin Grant-designed pyjamas in first class. They can be a little on the 'form-fitting side' so unless you're of average build, consider asking for one size up.

Can Qantas first class be booked with points?

Yes, Qantas first class can be booked with Qantas Points, Emirates Skywards Miles, and the points/miles of all other Oneworld and partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), American Airlines (AAdvantage) and Alaska Airlines (MileagePlan).

FmD
FmD

25 Jun 2019

Total posts 2

Flew Qantas First from London to Sydney last June and I was very disappointed. Crew were not trained on the product (mostly apply to the London to Singapore British Crew), food was "just fine", and the wine selection was mediocre to say the least (except for the Comtes De Champagne Grands Crus Blanc de Blancs, which is the one-trick pony of the menu). Having flown First to Australia paying less at Emirates, Malaysia and Cathay (North America to HKG, as they don't fly F to AUS), I can safely exclude Qantas First from future trips. Those are all far superior products.

I couldn't agree more and whether you are paying for the ticket or use points to upgrade to First with Qantas I have always found they are charging for a very expensive First but are actually providing a very disappointing and below par Business or Premium Economy if you must compare with Qatar or Etihad. There is no luxury in either Business or First with Qantas, the only good thing are the lounges in SYD and MEL and it all stops there. It is an overpriced, overrated and underwhelming product and service, if I am to pay so much money I expect the very highest levels of comfort and luxury and an unparalleled service and QF lacks badly in all those areas both in biz and first. I have even experienced greater service from CX travelling economy! These days I'd much rather spend my money on Qatar, Etihad for international travel and Virgin on domestic biz class travel but never again will I set foot on any QF flights....

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 53

QF1 to london and EK back in F. to say the diff was stark would be an understatement. the qf hard product is abysmal and the food+service horrendous.  thanks but no thanks going forward.

09 May 2016

Total posts 16

Have to agree across the board with FmD. Will add. LAX to Mel First Qantas. OK Recently Stockholm - Mel First on Emirates no comparison. Sorry Qantas.

Axl
Axl

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Mar 2016

Total posts 17

QF1 SYD - LHR on 15 August - the long-awaited return to international travel, so we treated ourselves to First (previous First flights have been upgrades).  What the other airlines don’t have are the dedicated, friendly and professional staff on the ground and in the air who make flying with Qantas a joy.  They’re attentive without being obsequious, and nothing is too much trouble.  The new product feels luxe and the bed(ding) is a great improvement on the previous iteration: a soft, comfortable dream that didn’t get too hot.  My only suggestions for improvement are better storage/stowage options for larger tech (laptop/tablet) around the seat and more convenient placement of the charging points (I pulled the charger out twice with my foot getting up from the seat).  Note also that the Taittinger Comtes has been replaced with Ayala Le Blanc des Blancs, and the tasting menu was not on offer.  

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 388

Sure, Qantas first class isn't in the same league as Emirates or SQ, but it's still pretty good in my experience. The first lounges are great, I don't have a problem with the 'open suite' design, love the bedding, and the crew are always top-notch. I do think the menu needs a rethink, it's a bit tired and overly fancy. The old 'degustation' menu from years back was true First indulgence, much better than the modern tasting menu.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 144

"Overly fancy" is a very apt description of the menu. I couldn't agree more with you. I can also add 'overly pretentious' after scanning seasonal menus, and mostly failing to comprehend most of the exotically named and described menu items. One practically requires complete fluency in Provencal French, Neapolitan Italian, and the North African dialect of Arabic to penetrate the linguistic wall of salad, entree and dessert descriptions! And for all that high-end  pretentiousness, did you know the humble steak sandwich with chips is the most popular item according to QF cabin crew?? We need less ponytail man 'inspiration' and more 'real' solid food.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2014

Total posts 23

Been rusted on QF fan upgraded to first once and other than for the crew and first lounge the product was underwhelming... recently flew SQ suites and we'll you know the answer...they serve the QF champagne served on board in the private room in Singapore, Krug and DP on board. I have to admit the SQ breakfast was average and no meal served on the red eye out of Singapore. Much much easier to get redemption outright or upgrade on Krisflyer. QFFF great program for earning points may even give points for scratching yourself but redeeming for a business or first ticket ex Australia rare as hens teeth!

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 23

They have removed the Tattinger it’s now Duval-Leroy. My seat belt was jammed so badly that I had to me moved for take off then the CSM had to totally dismantle the seat to finally fix it. Should never have been cleared to be used. Beds great though. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2020

Total posts 1

I've done quite a few of these and today they have Ayala Blanc de Blanc 2014 which retails at about AU$120. That's quite a long drop from the Comte de Champagne, Blanc De Millenaires, Cuvee Winston or even Grande Dame. I hope it is a temporary blip QF.......

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 23

Last week it was 2002 vintage Duval Leroy. Not bad but not Compte standards 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 102

There has been a dramatic reduction in the quality  of the onboard F food and wine product. The tasting menu is no longer available like the article suggests. The vintage champagnes are "budget Grand Marque". The mains are J class standard. The designer breads and good butter and the miniscule blob of caviar on the 2 canapés, the major product differentiator.

A recent menu posted on Flyertalk this month shows the traditional flagship Chardonnays (Leeuwin Art Series, Tolpuddle, Oakridge 864) replaced by an entry level J Woodlands "centenary" (spin to match, the defining feature of AJs style) coming in at under AUD 35 when the advertised return SYD-LAX fare on the Qantas website is 22k!!!

The description of food and wine on the Qantas website suggests an entirely different airline. I would have more respect for Mr Joyce if he were honest about this cost cutting and owned the fares charged did not reflect the soft product of other carriers.

Flying  QF 11 on 26/8 in F (shedding points prior to changing over to SQ with Virgin for domestic travel) booked before F and will report back. The lure of FF status that has many of us hooked has certainly lost its sheen for me.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 374

Colleague once said to me that Qantas First is like flying a decent Sheraton or Hilton, but it’s not a Park Hyatt or Four Seasons and that’s where it needs to be to be truely First class.

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

QF1 Syd/lhr Jul 31. Comparatively overpriced and food very mediocre. My soup was in a one inch bowl, lukewarm and salty and the accompanying inedible bread ,black and hard as a rock. Drinks ok. Bedding great. Service good. Partitions next to A aisle not raised for hours so got glare of TVs from opposite row. So many better products out there and much cheaper. Neil Perry should look at Qatars menu and presentation for some inspiration

Currently on QF1 and completely underwhelmed in F. 

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 205

The bed.  You upgrade to QF first long-haul on points for the bed.  It’s fantastic.  The rest, take it or leave it.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 144

Actually, no. We upgrade to, or pay $$$$ for QF First for the ENTIRE package. Not just a bed. I can understand the frustration of the vast majority of comments here. Underwhelming product = frustrated customers.

The bed was, to be fair, superb. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 85

Ha...!!! Looking forward to travelling later in the year to LHR etc and hoping for an upgrade to F for the bed.  

SYD lounge is probably the best globally, let's be honest EK @ DXB is not that interesting, and for me the food on the ground before departure is more important and then sleep while flying. Also, past service in other lounges including SIN has been awesome.

When it comes to seat choice I prefer 5A as it has some additional space for storage.

Tip for flying in F - sleep...

21 Aug 2022

Total posts 1

Flying on the QF11 today , Piper Heindsieck Rare Millesime 2002 , no disappointment there , and a 2016 Leeuwin Estate Art Series on offer . Crew outstanding so far .

31 May 2018

Total posts 11

Have to agree with others and their take on first class with qantas. My experience was similar and as mentioned above, the crew had no familiarity with the product offering at all. From Los Angeles to Syd the flight attendant even said she had not even looked at the menu after looking very confused when I asked for a dish from it. Really sloppy. 

I recently flew QF1 from Syd in first. I do love the beds - the most comfortable one I have flown on.

A few things have changed from what you have written. Firstly (and I was really disappointed) they no longer call you the day before your flight to book a spa treatment. You get an automated email that basically says the spa is busy and when you get to the lounge please ask if there is any availability. I commented to the front desk about how disappointing this “cost saving” initiative is versus the call you used to get pre Covid. I’m not sure why this cut was made - it seems petty to remove this for premium passengers.

Little things were also absent while on the plane - no hot towels at all through the entire flight. I could not remember if Qantas did that but for first class to not have this seems very odd to me.  They no longer provide hand sanitizer or anything on board as well. I had my own but again with most people now travelling on board with no mask on the Singapore to London leg (I wore the entire flight - good habit to keep I think) it seems odd to not encourage everyone to sanitise their hands.

Food was quite good but no longer the “wow” factor. Anyway that was my recent experience I thought I would share. But biggest call out is cuts to calling you for the spa. 

I recently flew Syd to LHR in first. They no longer call you the day before for the spa. You get a very generic email saying that the spa is busy and when you get into the lounge ask about availability - I let the check in team know this was an odd cost to cut! Cutting out personalisation! No hot towels on board for entire flight , food is quite good, bed still great

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 133

Here is my recent notes from a trip in F:

 QF12 - LAX>SYD April 30

Melissa in First cabin was amazing

Other staff ok, but Melissa really stood out.

New cabin is nice, but there are some issues.

Lighting is just terrible.

Couldn’t dim the reading light.

Dining light doesn’t rotate enough.

Overhead lights poorly aimed.

Seat massage functions reduced.

All privacy screens not raised after take off.

Cabin lighting not 100% functional. Some sections had stuck colours.

Amenity kits are quite poor now. Basically business kits. Nothing first about them at all.

Food was ok, but presentation and overall experience was not First. Nothing like it used to be which is sad.

It’s time to enhance the toilets too. These are not First anymore, they are business.

Can we get a HD tail camera please???

LCD screens are actually ok. Next version of first these need to be 32”!!!

First needs its own movie selection with way more movies and TV shows. Or allow me to plug my laptop in to watch on the screen.

Entertainment selection was poor! It’s for teenager’s! Too much horror!


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