Qantas A380 premium economic system class flight assessment: Is it value it?

Fast take: With pleasant service, nice meals and a modern cabin, premium economic system on Qantas is a step up from economic system — however the seat has one main design flaw.


  • Scrumptious Australian-inspired eating choices
  • Genuinely pleasant service
  • Streamlined cabin and sharp seat finishes


  • Restricted legroom for many seats
  • Subpar floor expertise departing Melbourne
  • No inflight Wi-Fi accessible

As an Australian residing within the U.S. for the previous decade, I attempt to fly an Australian airline in a single route and a U.S. provider within the different for my annual go to Down Underneath.

In January, I flew Delta One Suites from Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX) to Sydney Airport (SYD) and returned in Qantas’s A380 premium economic system from Melbourne Airport (MEL) to Los Angeles.

Here’s what the total expertise was like flying Qantas premium economic system aboard my favourite plane, the Airbus A380 superjumbo.


How a lot does premium economic system price to guide on Qantas?

Qantas presents premium economic system tickets on its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 flights from:

  • Dallas Fort Value Worldwide Airport (DFW)
  • Daniel Okay. Inouye Worldwide Airport (HNL)
  • Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX)
  • John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK) (through Auckland)
  • San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO)
  • Vancouver Worldwide Airport (YVR)


Day by day Publication

Reward your inbox with the TPG Day by day e-newsletter

Be a part of over 700,000 readers for breaking information, in-depth guides and unique offers from TPG’s consultants

  • Sydney Airport (SYD)
  • Melbourne Airport (MEL)
  • Brisbane Airport (BNE)

This cabin shouldn’t be provided on the airline’s A330 flights from Los Angeles to Brisbane and Honolulu to Sydney (which switches seasonally between the 787 and A330).

The product is nearly equivalent on the 787 and A380, besides the 787 seat is one inch wider.

A tip: in case you are connecting to a different flight in Australia, Melbourne is the best of the three airports to attach; Brisbane is subsequent and Sydney is probably the most aggravating and time-consuming given the effort and time it takes to switch between terminals.

Here’s a pattern of round-trip money and award charges on Qantas flights from the U.S. mainland to Australia within the coming months:

Class Financial system Premium economic system Enterprise class First-class
Airfare  From $950 From $3,000 From $7,000 From $15,500
American Airways AAdvantage miles From 80,000 miles plus $108 in taxes From 130,000 miles plus $108 in taxes From 160,000 miles plus $108 in taxes From 220,000 miles plus $108 in taxes
Alaska Airways Mileage Plan miles (for bookings constituted of March) From 85,000 miles plus $108 From 110,000 miles plus $108 From 170,000 miles plus $108 From 260,000 miles plus $108
Qantas factors From 83,800 factors plus $225 From 162,600 factors plus $332 From 216,800 factors plus $391 From 325,600 factors plus $391

As you’ll be able to see, AAdvantage presents probably the most engaging redemption charges for many cabins (aside from Alaska being cheaper for premium economic system).


Versus Alaska Airways Mileage Plan, which you’ll see under.


The taxes payable once you use Qantas factors somewhat than American Airways or Alaska miles greater than double when flying economic system and greater than triple for premium cabins. For one-way redemptions, taxes are greater departing Australia somewhat than departing the U.S.

I used 81,300 Qantas factors plus 292 Australian {dollars} ($190) for my one-way ticket from Melbourne to Los Angeles in January. I booked this ticket six months earlier than departure.

Qantas releases award availability 353 days earlier than departure and reserves a bit of its premium cabin seats for its personal elite members. By the point American Airways’ and Alaska’s calendars open at 331 and 330 days, respectively, plenty of the premium award availability has already been snapped up.

Qantas then releases award seats in batches periodically (the timing is difficult to foretell) in addition to generally within the week earlier than departure — these are one of the best occasions to snag a ticket.

Associated: How far prematurely are you able to guide a flight?

I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay the taxes, incomes 3 factors per greenback spent. I might’ve used The Platinum Card® from American Categorical, which earns 5 Amex Membership Rewards factors per greenback spent on flights booked straight with airways or with American Categorical Journey, on as much as $500,000 of those purchases per calendar yr (then 1 level per greenback). Nonetheless, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has higher journey protections than the Amex Platinum.

Each money fares and points-and-miles redemptions for Qantas premium economic system embody free seat choice, two checked baggage as much as 70 kilos every and two carry-ons as much as 22 kilos every (should not exceed 30 kilos whole).

Checking in to and boarding premium economic system on Qantas

Qantas premium economic system passengers don’t obtain many precedence providers at their departing airport:

Lounge accessible No
Quick Monitor entry No
Boarding group After first- and business-class passengers and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire elite-status members, earlier than common economic system

When departing the U.S., you may also reap the benefits of TSA PreCheck for those who’re a member.

At 48 hours earlier than departure, Qantas opens up any blocked seats not taken by elite-status members or households touring with infants within the cabin’s first row, which means I might choose one of many bulkhead seats.


Twenty-four hours earlier than departure, I obtained an e-mail and textual content from Qantas to test in on-line, which was simple. I obtained my boarding cross instantaneously and added it to my Apple Pockets.

Then, I arrived on the airport 90 minutes earlier than departure to test my baggage.

Qantas worldwide flights function from Terminal 2 at Melbourne Airport, as do worldwide flights operated by all carriers. The departures corridor was below refurbishment on the time of my journey, which made for a cramped check-in space for all 4 cabins on an Airbus A380 departure to Los Angeles, to not point out an Airbus A330 flight to Singapore.

The Qantas worker checking tickets firstly of the premium economic system line verified that I used to be certainly flying within the cabin. They then requested me a couple of safety questions — as is customary for U.S.-bound flights — reminiscent of how lengthy I would been in Australia, the place I lived within the U.S. and if I would packed my very own bag. After affixing a sticker to my passport, one in all them directed me to a bag drop line for passengers who had already checked in on-line.

Once I noticed how lengthy the road was — I estimated at the least 30 individuals deep — I walked again and stated I might somewhat undergo the premium economic system lane. It was illogical to me that somebody who was diligent in checking in on-line to drop their self-tagged baggage could be made to attend longer than somebody who had simply turned as much as the airport to test into their flight. After a little bit of back and forth, they allowed me into the premium economic system line, which had nobody ready in it.

My frustration was amplified after I waited 10 minutes on the entrance of the road when the brokers working the 2 premium economic system counters invited 4 teams of economy-class passengers to test in earlier than me. This didn’t point out a premium expertise. That stated, the counter agent was pleasant and environment friendly in checking my baggage when it was lastly my flip.

Safety and immigration have been a breeze. Premium economic system passengers on most airways do not get lounge entry (Japan Airways is a notable exception). Nonetheless, I finished by the Centurion Lounge for a fast chunk to eat, due to my Amex Platinum card.

Then got here probably the most irritating a part of my journey expertise: the boarding course of.

Forward of a 12:30 p.m. scheduled departure, the screens stated the gate would open at 11:30 a.m. Once I arrived, I encountered a cordoned-off space with third-party Menzies Aviation safety personnel sitting down. There was no signage indicating to passengers that there could be a safety test nor that they need to wait, nor have been there any bulletins over the intercom.


Different passengers have been visibly confused and a few distressed on the lack of communication.

A protracted, snaking line via the center of the airport walkway shaped and quarter-hour later, the safety personnel began their secondary safety questioning of passengers. Then, cleared passengers have been crammed right into a small space that didn’t have sufficient seats for all passengers to take a seat down.

We have been caught on this space for one more half-hour with no bulletins over the intercom nor from the safety personnel earlier than passengers jostled with one another to move downstairs to the precise boarding space.

Ultimately, I made my approach onto the upper-deck jet bridge, the place enterprise and premium economic system passengers board, and the place there was one other five-minute wait to really step onto the aircraft.


The airport expertise appeared to be an unnecessarily aggravating hurry-up-then-wait expertise and mirrored poorly on the airline. We departed 40 minutes late however arrived on time to Los Angeles.

How comfy was premium economic system on Qantas?

The Qantas A380 premium economic system cabin has 60 seats arrange in a largely 2-3-2 configuration in the back of the jet’s higher deck. The final two rows have fewer seats to accommodate a bigger galley on the left-hand aspect of the aircraft.

The cabin on the 787 is lower than half the scale, with simply 28 seats arrange in a 2-3-2 configuration in 4 rows.

The cabin and seats are slick and aesthetically pleasing with black, metallic-gray, ochre-red and brown tones.

As talked about earlier, I chosen 31K, a bulkhead window seat. The cabin was solely 30% full, so nobody besides these touring with a companion had anybody sitting subsequent to them, together with me.

This is the essential format of the cabin and seats:

Cabin format 2-3-2
Recline 9 1/2 inches
Seat pitch 38 inches for many seats; 42 inches for bulkhead seats
Seat width 19 1/2 inches on the A380; 20 1/2 inches on the 787
Display dimension 13.3 inches

There are a couple of seats to keep away from, particularly these towards the again of the cabin.

Greatest seats for {couples} Any pair of A and B seats in rows 31-36* or J and Okay seats in rows 31-39

*Simply remember that in case you are seated in 31B or 31J, the curtain separating the enterprise and premium economic system cabins could drape in your legs.

Seats to keep away from 37A, 37B, 39E, 39F, 40J and 40K as a result of restricted recline and proximity to the bathroom

38D as a result of proximity to the bathroom

My seat was straight behind one of many bathrooms, so I used to be nervous that passengers would possibly collect within the aisle close to me to attend to make use of the amenities. However it turns on the market was a wall separating it from the premium economic system cabin, so crowding wasn’t a difficulty.


On long-haul flights between the U.S. mainland and Australia, getting an affordable quantity of sleep is a significant component. Sadly, Qantas premium economic system doesn’t shine on this regard.

On my 14-hour flight, I used to be capable of sleep on and off, however just for about six hours. Admittedly, there was plenty of turbulence. Nonetheless, I discovered it tough to get into a snug place to snooze. With the pillow connected to the headrest, there may be little or no head assist to forestall your head from transferring backward and forward.

And whereas this plane has particular person air nozzles, which I placed on full blast earlier than dozing off, I wakened sweating and realized that the cabin crew had shut off the entire air nozzles after our meal service after they dimmed the lights.


The key seat design flaw is that for those who aren’t fortunate sufficient to be in a bulkhead seat with nobody in entrance of you (like I used to be) and the passenger in entrance of you reclines, you may really feel cramped. In the event you’re in a window seat, leaving your seat to go to the restroom might be tough with out performing some calisthenics.


Distinction this to the most typical and new A350-1000 choices from Japan Airways, that are shell-style seats that don’t encroach on fellow passengers’ area.

Air New Zealand presents probably the most legroom for those who’re flying to the South Pacific, with a beneficiant seat pitch of 41 inches. American Airways, Delta, Qantas and United Airways all conform to the trade normal of 38 inches. Of the 5 airways talked about on this paragraph, Qantas does have a tendency to supply the widest seats, although.

Air New Zealand premium economic system. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Regardless of the latest refurbishment of Qantas’s A380 fleet, the non-electric recline button means you may must manually push your seat into recline mode — and use some drive to drag it again up its upright place.


Most seats have an adjustable legrest with a type of mesh web on your ft, which does present some ergonomic aid.

Bulkhead seats have a special fashion of footrest, which folds up from the wall in entrance of you. I am 5 ft, 11 inches, and couldn’t stretch my legs out fully.

Transferring onto storage, you may have restricted choices for those who’re not in a window seat. The aisle and center seats solely have a small storage compartment connected to the seatback in entrance for a telephone, charger or earplugs.


Window passengers get a ton of area with the storage bins subsequent to the wall, which simply match laptops, tablets, toiletries baggage and books.


Within the middle console, there’s a small groove to put earbuds.


Regardless of the A380 being the biggest industrial plane within the sky, the overhead compartments are shallow, which means full-size carry-ons must be positioned on their aspect somewhat than upright, opposite to the route new plane are going.


Every seat has two USB-A charging ports, one within the armrest together with a headphone jack, and one within the leisure display screen. The columns between seats have a common energy plug, so that you might need to share with a neighbor.

The 21-inch-wide fold-out desk deploys manually from the armrest, and I discovered it sturdy when consuming and watching exhibits on my iPad.


Every seat has a soft-yellow temper gentle, elevating the cabin’s atmosphere upon boarding. Nonetheless, they shine fairly brightly when the cabin lights are turned off.


Two devoted bathrooms for premium economic system passengers are in the back of the cabin. They’re each a normal dimension and don’t provide any particular facilities. Given my flight was fairly empty, there was by no means a anticipate the restroom.


Facilities in Qantas premium economic system

Ready at my seat was an extended, rectangular pillow, a blanket, an amenity equipment, primary noise-canceling headphones and a bottle of water.


The Qantas-branded noise-canceling headphones are largely efficient and are the standard I would count on in premium economic system; nonetheless, they’re the identical ones given to business-class passengers, who usually complain that they’re flimsy.


The amenity equipment is a welcome contact, with a Qantas-branded felt case and eye masks in addition to low-cost, skinny socks, a miniature toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm and earplugs.


The blanket is fabricated from half-recycled materials and is the thickest blanket I’ve encountered within the skies. I discovered it very comfy, however as talked about beforehand, I overheated when there wasn’t sufficient air circulating close to me.

The seatback touchscreens are affixed to the seat in entrance of you and measure 13.3 inches diagonally, and have crisp decision.


Bulkhead seats have barely bigger 14-inch touchscreens that fold out from the middle console. Take care when touching these as they’re all the time on (even when stowed away) and run very popular.


The Qantas inflight leisure system is gentle on new releases however sturdy on classics, blockbusters from the previous few years and superhero motion pictures. There have been solely 13 motion pictures within the Australia part. TV collection are supplied by a partnership with Paramount+ and HBO, that includes well-known hits like “Sport of Thrones,” “The White Lotus” and “Fellow Vacationers.”


There was no flight data or maps accessible on my flight, so I had no concept of our up to date time of arrival or flight statistics.

Whereas most Qantas home flights on Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 plane provide free, limitless Wi-Fi to all passengers, worldwide flights don’t provide Wi-Fi. This can be a severe drawback of flying Qantas, with American Airways, Delta and United all providing Wi-Fi on their Australia flights.

How was the meals in Qantas premium economic system?

Ready on the middle console after I boarded was a one-page drinks menu with:

  • Glowing, white, crimson and dessert wines (though the glowing wine was the one one which listed the precise product)
  • Some enjoyable aperitif choices, together with a bloody mary and Campari and soda
  • A variety of mid-tier spirits, together with Absolut vodka and Beefeater gin
  • Australian beers (once more, these have been unspecified)
  • The usual nonalcoholic choices of juice, espresso, tea and Coca-Cola comfortable drinks

The meals menu was within the pouch on the entrance of my seat, so I didn’t discover it till later.

I used to be warmly welcomed by one of many two cabin crew members staffing our cabin with the selection of water or glowing wine. I selected the latter, which was Lane Lois Glowing Blanc de Blancs NV from South Australia, which retails for about $16 per bottle.

I overheard one other passenger asking for a ginger beer as a substitute, and the cabin crew fortunately obliged, indicating their flexibility.


Thirty minutes after takeoff, I used to be served a beneficiant portion of smoked almonds.


I additionally requested Qantas’s signature aperitif, the Sky Spritz, white wine and glowing water infused with plum and finger lime botanicals. I might solely get midway via the 8-ounce can of the candy beverage earlier than transferring on.


Forty minutes later, by which period I used to be fairly ravenous, I used to be served my total meal on a single tray.

The Greek salad starter was recent, with crispy cucumbers and juicy tomatoes.

Passengers had the selection of three mains:

  • Rooster salad with historic grains, spinach and cherry tomatoes
  • Wagyu beef with horseradish potato mash
  • Risoni (often known as orzo) with mushroom sofrito

I selected the final possibility (the plant-based one), which was flavorsome however might have been bulked up with some extra protein, reminiscent of lentils or chickpeas.


The true spotlight of the meal was the right sourdough bread with a crunchy crust and spongy middle.

The cheese was tangy however the crackers have been sadly stale.

Lastly, the cream cheese-topped carrot cake was deliciously moist and was adopted by a Lindt chocolate ball.

After sleeping, I ordered an oat milk latte (which was a deal with to have the ability to take pleasure in on a flight) and each midflight snacks. The reuben grilled cheese toastie was flavorful however a bit soggy, and the spinach and filo pastry was crispy and scrumptious — and really salty, as I anticipated. (Do you know airplane meals tends to have extra sodium as a result of as much as 30% of your tastebuds are deactivated if you end up within the air?)


On provide within the galley have been self-serve snacks, together with potato chips, dried fruit and nuts.


Lastly, a prelanding, breakfast-style meal was served 90 minutes earlier than our 7:50 a.m. landing in Los Angeles. There have been two selections to accompany a banana and oat muffin:

  • Sizzling breakfast: Spinach and feta omelet with bacon, sausage, baked beans and potatoes, and fruit salad
  • Continental breakfast: Toasted muesli with strawberries and your alternative of milk, and a fruit plate

I selected the latter, and it was unremarkable, however at the least a light-weight method to finish the flight and properly offered on the airline’s china.


The 2 cabin crew members who took care of our cabin couldn’t have been extra pleasant and easygoing. They confirmed a real curiosity in every passenger, asking them the explanation for journey and fascinating with their solutions.

I did have a considerably brusque interplay with a stand-in cabin crew member whom I requested for midflight snacks as I walked again from the bathroom via the galley. I appeared to have caught them off guard with this request, as they have been visibly aggravated and complained that that they had simply woken up from crew relaxation and had so much to do. Whereas it might need been greatest for me to return to my seat and press the attendant name button, it was unprofessional and off-putting to be handled dismissively. It was telling that the one that (promptly, I will say) served me the snacks at my seat was a special crew member.

As somebody who likes to remain on high of their hydration recreation, particularly on long-haul flights, I used to be upset that the crew ran out of water bottles three hours earlier than touchdown, although they did refill my glass a number of occasions.

Would you suggest Qantas premium economic system?

Qantas premium economic system options a gorgeous cabin with scrumptious meals and (largely) cheerful service. Nonetheless, the seat design can really feel cramped, there isn’t a Wi-Fi (which could be a blessing and an obstacle), and the bottom expertise in Melbourne is disjointed.

On my annual go to to Australia, clearly, I desire to fly on a lie-flat seat in enterprise or firstclass to get a strong sleep and revel in extra space and privateness. Nonetheless, premium-cabin award area to the South Pacific shouldn’t be simple to return by and redemption prices could be excessive, so premium economic system is a largely worthwhile compromise.


Qantas has taken a battering from the Australian (and wider) public over the previous few years as a result of public relations missteps, company points and employee complaints. As a lot because it pains me to say this as an Australian, their onboard product has develop into much less aggressive, and their once-solid popularity as Australia’s flag provider has deteriorated.

Qantas tends to cost barely greater than its opponents for premium economic system money fares from the U.S., and at this level, I do not assume it is justified, so I might select American Airways, Delta or United as a substitute.

You probably have American Airways AAdvantage miles, Alaska Airways Mileage Plan miles or one other Oneworld mileage forex, look into the choice of flying American Airways from Los Angeles to Sydney or Dallas Fort Value to Brisbane (beginning October with refreshed cabins).

An alternative choice is to fly Fiji Airways with a free stopover in Nadi utilizing Alaska miles, however they do not have premium economic system, so that you’d want to make use of extra miles for a business-class ticket.

General, I hopped off the aircraft at LAX with a dream and my cardigan … but in addition weary and able to be off the flight. I will not be speeding to fly Qantas premium economic system once more quickly — particularly as a result of likelihood is I would be cramped right into a non-bulkhead seat with the passenger in entrance of me reclined for greater than 13 hours. Because it was, although, at the least I had loads of private area, and will admire the Qantas touches like these amenity kits and the Aussie-sourced menus.


Associated studying:

Related Articles

Back to top button