Airline review: Qantas A380 economy class to Los Angeles

Flight test Qantas Los Angeles to Sydney


Los Angeles to Sydney 


Airbus A380-800 


Qantas Frequent Flyer/Oneworld Alliance 


Economy.  For an extra $180 I have purchased an Upper Deck Emergency Exit, seat 35D



We arrive 15 minutes early after a 14 hour, 40 minute flight.


Qantas operates one daily A380 flight linking Sydney and Los Angeles, returning from LA at 22.10 and arriving at 6.10am two days later.  An additional direct return flight uses a Boeing 747 aircraft. 


While $180 buys an ocean of legroom, the armrests on my central aisle seat are immovable.  But its 44cm width is sufficient. Economy upstairs, located at the back behind Premium Economy, has only 16 seats.  In the last two rows, where I sit, there are no seats to one side where the toilet is situated, making for a 0-3-2 layout. 


Two checked bags up to 23kgs, one carry-on up to 7kgs plus one garment bag.


A large gap in front of row 35 allows me to fully extend my legs while sleeping.  I'm located beside the toilet and two rows in front of the galley which means extra noise and at first other passengers passing in front of me to reach the washroom. The proximity to the galley fridges means that, even though I am wearing three layers, I still feel cold.


As it's an emergency exit seat my entertainment system is stowed in the armrest for take-off and landing and can only be operated using the touch screen.  On the A380, the Q system has more than 1500 entertainment options and includes a smattering of new release movies.  I watch Alex Gibney's fascinating doco We Steal Secrets about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on either side of a decent sleep and find the system easy to navigate.  An older fellow passenger complains, however, "that you need a PHD to drive the thing".


With only 16 Upper Deck Economy seats to manage, the two principal cabin staff we encounter are unimpressive.  One is super garrulous, loud and borderline over-familiar and the other grumpy and short on people skills.  


The hot supper served an hour into the flight (close to midnight, local time) is adequate but my Massaman curry main is bland.  An overnight goodies bag including pretzels, a fig bar and honeycomb crunch is welcome though and the breakfast omelette decent enough.


This is my first flight on an A380 and I feel the benefit of the reduced cabin pressure on board, arriving more refreshed than usual after the long flight.  However, on a walk-through of both decks, cabin temperatures seem to vary wildly and it is most chilly at the back, upstairs.


No better than average despite the extra outlay on an emergency exit seat.  Some cabin staff on this flight need to behave more professionally.  

Tested by Daniel Scott who flew courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.