Qantas trims first class to LAX as Sydney-Dallas A380 goes daily

By David Flynn, November 19 2015
Qantas trims first class to LAX as Sydney-Dallas A380 goes daily

Looking to fly Qantas first class from Sydney to Los Angeles – especially courtesy of a points upgrade from business class? Then from late April 2016 you'll want to avoid flying on Tuesdays.

As of April 26, Qantas is swapping out its Airbus A380 on the Sydney-LAX QF11/12 schedule for a Boeing 747 where the premium cabin tops out at business class.

The change happens on the same day that Qantas axes its afternoon Boeing 747 flights to Los Angeles.

However, there's a silver lining to the LAX first class cloud: the Qantas A380 service from Sydney to Dallas will toggle up from the current six days a week (Wednesday to Monday) schedule to a daily run, with that previously LA-bound superjumbo now slated for a Tuesday flight to Texas.

Passengers already booked in the A380's first class cabin for Sydney to Los Angeles on any Tuesday from April 26 onwards should contact Qantas to discuss their fee-free rebooking options, which including shifting to a Qantas or American Airlines flight one day either side of your original date of travel.

If nothing else, it's a good chance to try AA's international Boeing 777-300ER first class suites (below).

Read: Up close with American Airlines' Sydney-Los Angeles first class suites

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.

is this daily change or only affecting Tuesday

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 286

As stated: Only effecting tuesdays

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Affecting.

Tuesdays don't need to be effected, they happen spontaneously.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 139

Sounds like Qantas needs just one more plane to make things work.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1387

MH has two very low-hour A380s for sale. - with Rolls Royce engines as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

With a Qantas A380 refurb by the late next year maybe they could buy 1 or 2 and start with them. quite unlikely though

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2375

As far as I know Qantas has not announced any such A380 refurb...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

i know but its is quite inevitable that they will launch a refurb next year some time after a330s are finished

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1189

How is it quite inevitable? I highly doubt they'd be refurbishing their A380s any time soon. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

With respect why don't you think so?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Because whilst being great business suits for a long need to be replaced now. E and PE should get a refresh and every class should have the new ex3 entertainment system. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

F should either get a refresh or a complete make over as well

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1189

Alan Joyce has been quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald that there were no plans to install the suites on the A380, where business-class seats offer fully flat beds but the 2-2-2 configuration lacks aisle access for all passengers and is less private than the A330 suites.

"We think that product is highly competitive in the markets it is operating in," he said of the A380 business-class seats.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/qantas-believes-idea-of-fewer-larger-seats-will-fly-20141021-119c1a.html#ixzz3sAsELHmo 

Trans-pacific competition. Frankly, QF's A380 (and 747) product is dated, especially their business class. With Virgin and American both offering reverse-herringbone minisuites with direct aisle access, Delta offering normal-herringbone seats with direct aisle access, Air New Zealand for those willing to connect in AKL... On a purely hard-product level, even United are slightly better than QF in Business (United's Business seats have more amenity, a touch more privacy (arguably) and are more modern even though they also, like QF, lack direct aisle access).

Sure, when service becomes the big factor, QF is better than basically everyone except Virgin (whom I'd argue are just as good, perhaps even better, especially when the on-board bar is taken into account). QF is clearly the dominant player on the route, and serves MEL, BNE and SYD. But still, their position is not unassailable and they will eventually have to update their J product at the very least (perhaps even their F too, although that is more of a consideration for the Kangaroo Route market).

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 967

Some people assume that the A380s will be due for a cabin refresh soon given the timing of the new A330 seats, when the 330s refit is due to end and the age of the 380s.

VH-OQA is 8 years old, VH-OQM (the newest) is 4 years old. They'll start coming due for a new cabin fit out "soon", I just don't see it happening before late 2018 at the earliest.

The 787s will presumably get some version of the new A330 J and Y seats (and hopefully a new W seat).

I see the first batch of 787s arriving with new A330 like seats, the non ER 747s getting retired, some sort of deal with Airbus, Boeing and another airline to swap the 8 remaining A380 orders for some 777-8X, and then the A380s getting refit to new seats to match the 777 seats to phase in as the 747ERs get retired around 2021-23.

By 2025, I could see 787s and 777Xs as the main long haul with the newer 6-8 A380s on the Africa and South America flights (unless CASA has relaxed the ETOPS rules by then) and select flights to LAX, HKG and LHR to complement the Boeings.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 336

There is no OJM. The last is OJL

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

When they designed the cabin in the early 2000s, they most definitely would not have expected a 4-5 year design life. But the market has shifted sunstantially, the competition have a far superior product. Qantas don't have a choice. Don't expect them to be short selling their product in the media and to Av journo's in the mean time, it's their duty to endorse, promote and defend it as long as possible, but rest assured, it's happening.

All you arrow downers can revisit this post and hit thumbs up when it's announced! ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1189

Not gonna happen.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Agree, it's definitely going to happen. They'll have the worst hard business product on the LAX and LHR routes by mid next year.

09 Apr 2015

Total posts 20

United and Delta still fly SYDLAX. Just saying.

Riley stated that QF will have the "worst hard business product" by mid next year.

Sure, United and Delta both fly SYD - LAX. But Delta have herringbone seats with direct aisle access for all customers. United, on their 787s, have BE Parallel Diamond seats, which offer a touch more privacy and a bit more amenity.

Yes, QF does do better food and service than both of them. But Riley specifically said "hard" business product, i.e. the seats. And on that subject, Riley is correct. Hell, even Air New Zealand has better seats than QF (although their service and food aren't as good, but still pretty good... if NZ brought back pyjamas and high-end amenity kits in Business Class they'd be better than QF currently is on trans-Pacific IMO).

And as for SYD - LHR it depends on whom you want to connect with, but SQ, CX, JAL, ANA, Emirates, Etihad, China Airlines (on the 777-300ER) and EVA Air (on one of the jets with Cirrus seats) beats QF on the hard product.

Qantas are a great airline. Really, they are very good. But their hard product is currently behind the times and needs an upgrade. Qantas is currently improving their product substantially and I salute them in doing so, but they aren't flawless.

Criticism of QF isn't being a hater. I like QF. I've had great service on QF (FAR better even on triangle routes than even Virgin America, who are the best of the US domestic carriers). But I think you'd agree that their product is not cutting edge any more, and that if they want to retain their position their product needs to improve.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jul 2014

Total posts 110

Really suprised Qantas haven't:

A. Ordered the remaining A380 on order from Airbus and/or,

B. Made an offer to MH for their 2 surplus birds.

Qantas PAX loadings on thier A380 routes are now really booming (thanks to EK and AA tie ups) and with the high levels of utilisation, coupled with try to balance 747 / A380 routes which leads to inconsistant products, 2 additionals in the interim would help with ther longer view to replacing the 747s altogether.

Regardsless of the 787 future, the A380 carries high loadings, DFW, DXB, SFO, LAX and potentially HKG need big birds.

"Really suprised Qantas haven't:

A. Ordered the remaining A380 on order from Airbus and/or,

B. Made an offer to MH for their 2 surplus birds."

The A380 is a great craft, but I doubt QF will take more A380s.

A380s are good for focused-hub operations, but with the Dreamliner purchase (and their generous number of options and purchase rights) it seems pretty obvious to me that QF want to provide more point-to-point services. Instead of SYD, MEL and BNE passengers getting on the SYD - DFW jet, Dreamliners from BNE and (for example) 777-8s from SYD and MEL could increase overall capacity to DFW.

Additionally, the A380 can't actually return from DFW at full load... the aircraft is weight-restricted on the way back to Australia so it isn't operating as efficiently as it could. A 787-9 could do BNE - DFW relatively easily, and ditto for 777-8s from SYD and MEL.

Sure, the A380 does carry high loadings. But so would the 777-9, which would carry only about 100 people less than QF's current A380 and be more economically viable on a wider number of routes. From what I know, the A380 is only really a super-efficient plane if the plane is filled, and given how demand can fluctuate seasonally and even on a day by day basis (HKG especially), there probably are not many routes where QF can consistently have A380s on in a profitable manner.

And as QF use the 787-9 to establish more point-to-point services and varied routes, we can expect QF's A380 flights to become less crowded (ceteris paribus). The new route to SFO, for instance, will clearly take at least some pax off the LAX flights.

Like I said, the A380 is a great aircraft. But that doesn't necessarily mean its the right aircraft for Qantas.

 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 967

QF has 8 A380s remaining on order. They have to decide next year what they are going to do with them.

QF got a number of 747s 2nd hand from MH before. They had a number of issues and spent a lot of time in the hanger. With that experance, its unlikely QF will want to get more 2nd hand aircraft from MH.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Convert them to a320neos to add to the 99 for a complete Qantas/Jetstar narrowbody fleet

"QF has 8 A380s remaining on order. They have to decide next year what they are going to do with them."

That's possible. Alternatively, they may want to lease an additional A380 or two, just for a few years. That would allow them to refresh the A380s they own without having to alter the schedule/pull one out of service, make the SYD-LAX service consistently A380, and phase out the 747s more quickly.

On the other hand, they make take a few of their additional A380s (probably 2 at most) and pay for Airbus to make them the higher gross weight version, which could do SYD-DFW without having to be load restricted. But frankly I can't see this happening.

So my money is on QF deciding to lease additional A380s in the event they decide to expand the A380 fleet. But frankly, when it comes time for fleet renewal, I doubt QF will remain with the A380.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 553

The other option is to convert the A380s to the A380NEO which may have better economics than the 777-9 and delay them to 2025 and lease couple of HGW versions to fill out the roster in the interim. QF likes the idea of a 777-8 for long range so they may take 779s and 8s instead of A380NEOs, but price and economics will have a big say here if it is to overcame having a mixed fleet which QF does not like but SQ and CX seem to be quite happy with. A long range A350-1000 may also be on the books but a long shot. All come down to price as they are all comparable, with maybe the A380NEO a nose in front on economics but it does have  capacity risk.

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 125

The other problem with the A380neo, of course, is that Airbus hasn't actually announced if they're going to build it yet!

I have to say, AA's first class suite looks pretty good. With a full door and a privacy screen, some cooler styling and added amenities (makeup mirror, larger screen etc..) I'd think it would make a very compelling design with a roomy feel.

At the moment, though, it just is far too open.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1189

Right. So basically like Emirates. 

Emirates? The Emirates First suite is fully private. However it is also rather compact and doesn't offer a sense of being spacious inside.

Of course the Emirates suite has more amenity than this AA product (makeup mirror, bigger screen, mini-bar etc) but it is also significantly smaller (mostly in terms of width).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

About time QF bought some new planes. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

Agree

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 553

Nick there are eight coming.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

If there is one consistent thing you can always rely on with Qantas is inconsistency. 

26 Nov 2015

Total posts 1

Travelled on QF010 3 weeks ago and had an excellent chat with Customer Service Manager.  His words - "Expect to hear good news soon about major upgrades to the A380 business and first class product.   I am convinced Qantas are doing this to ensure a closer alignment between their respective products on what appears to be a very successful code share operation.  Going on EK420 A380 to Perth next week in business and returning early January ex Melbourne on QF9 so another opportunity to compare


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