There’s no such thing as a bad seat in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380 but as seasoned pointy end travellers quickly learn, some seats are better than others.
Where you're perched for that 13 to 24 hour journey to Los Angeles, Dallas, Dubai and London determines how much privacy you'll have during the flight, your view during the day, your chances at getting a good night’s sleep, and even noises that you’ll encounter from other passengers and from the galley.
We went exploring aboard a recent Qantas A380 flight to bring you the pick of the superjumbo's 14 first class suites.
The best Qantas first class suites for that ‘private jet’ feeling: 1A, 1K
On the world’s largest passenger aircraft with seats for almost 500 people, it can be a little hard to replicate the ‘private jet’ feeling that you'd normally get on the tiny upper deck on a Boeing 747.
Your closest bet on the A380 is 1A or 1K, as there’s a solid floor-to-ceiling wall ahead of you, and as the seat again swivels to turn away from the aisle, all you can see is the view, your dining table, footrest and entertainment screen.
On the downside, that blissful feeling may be interrupted when the nearby closet is opened and closed throughout the flight, and you’ll be passed by every first class passenger in your aisle on their trip to the restroom.
That said, you’re otherwise much less aware that you’re on a commercial flight than as you can’t see a large cabin – rather, anyone – ahead of you.
The best ‘cosy’ Qantas first class suite: 2F
While not one for the claustrophobic, 2F is the perfect spot if you like to feel cosy and tucked in, thanks to space given to the stairwell running between the main and upper decks.
You’re cocooned by walls spanning almost the entire suite, with a large privacy divider shutting you off from the aisle on the left.
If you’ve invited a travel companion to dine with you in the suite, they’ll need to watch their head when standing up – there are far better things than arriving at your destination with a throbbing headache.
The best Qantas first class suites for daytime flights with a view: 4A and 4K
If you’re flying during waking hours and want to take a break from the otherwise-great inflight entertainment, head for the ‘A’ and ‘K’ seats in row four.
These suites have an impressive three windows for taking in a little sightseeing…
… while passengers in the other rows have just two windows each:
You can also use the fixed touchscreen control to raise and lower the opaque shade and the full blackout blind, so you’re all set.
The most private Qantas first class suites: 5A, 5K
If privacy is paramount on your journey, we suggest you choose the window seats at the back of the cabin – 5A and 5K.
First class passengers generally board via the door ahead of row 1, and the lavatories are also at the front of the cabin – so before take-off and during the flight, your suite should only be passed by the crew heading to and from the galley at the rear.
As there’s no seat behind you, fellow travellers also won’t be able to peek into the suite from the rear as they usually can when the privacy divider is lowered...
Like all window seats, 5A and 5K rotate to face away from the aisle, including when the crew have made your bed to settle in for the evening or an afternoon nap.
You might encounter a touch more engine noise than you would further forward…
… but the A380 is a particularly quiet aircraft to fly on, so chances are you probably won’t notice the difference.
The aisle with the least traffic in Qantas first class: the ‘A’ seats
There are two aisles through the first class cabin – the right aisle is used by guests in the ‘F’ and ‘K’ seats, while the left aisle is exclusively for the passengers in the ‘A’ seats.
If you’re easily disturbed by people wandering about during the flight, opt for an ‘A’ seat where you’ll share an aisle with just four other travellers, whereas you’d have to contend with eight others over on the ‘F’ and ‘K’ side.
Passengers in the centre ‘F’ seats also don’t have lockers of their own, and instead share with the ‘K’ side:
There’s nowhere to store cabin bags within the Qantas first class suites, so ‘K’-seated passengers may be easily disturbed when the centre passenger opens a locker directly above their head.
The best all-round suite in Qantas first class: 3A
We’d peg 3A as the best all-rounder – you’re sharing that left aisle with only four other travellers and the crew, the overhead locker is virtually your own and you’re equidistant from both the rear galley and the forward closet and lavatories, making for a quieter journey.
Better yet, you’re poised to make a speedy exit whether the superjumbo pulls up at a true A380-style gate with three aerobridges, or a more traditional dual gate with only one aerobridge for each deck.
From 3A, there would only be only two people ahead of you in either direction, making for a perfect getaway when you’ve a tight onward connection or are heading straight to a meeting upon your arrival.
Light sleepers should avoid 5F
If you’re not great at sleeping on planes at the best of times – even in a fully-flat bed in Qantas’ luxurious first class – aim for somewhere other than 5F.
The seat looks innocent enough, but right on the other side of that rear wall is a refrigerator unit…
We’re told by the crew that most passengers don’t tend to notice any noise or ever-so-slight vibrations in that seat, but that the disturbance is often enough to wake very light sleepers.
There’s also the shared aisle to the right and the other aisle to the left, and although that left aisle can’t be accessed directly from 5F, the neighbouring suite in 5A doubles as bassinet seats to accommodate well-bootied babies.
While the bassinet wasn’t put to use on our flight, the passenger in 5F could unluckily wind up amidst a screaming infant and a humming refrigerator, which doesn’t make for a solid rest for even the heaviest of hibernators.
For light sleepers, we’d suggest 3A, or failing that, 3K.
Do you have a favourite first class suite aboard the Qantas A380, and if so, what makes it special? Share your thoughts in the comments box below!
More on Qantas first class:
- How to use Qantas frequent flyer points to upgrade to first class
- A Qantas degustation: sampling the A380 first class tasting menu
- Expert tips: make the most of the Qantas first class lounge
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