Airline review: Qantas economy, Sydney to London via Dubai

THE PLANE

Airbus A380

THE ROUTE

Sydney to London via Dubai

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer (oneworld)

CLASS

Economy,  seat 67D in a 3-4-4 layout 

DURATION

14 hours, 30 minutes to Dubai, and six hours, 50 minutes to London.

THE FREQUENCY 

Daily to London from Sydney and Melbourne, with one stop in Dubai.

THE SEAT

The pitch is 31 inches (78 centimetres) pitch and the width is up to 18.1 inches (46 centimetres).   

BAGGAGE

One checked bag up to 30 kilograms and one piece of hand luggage.

COMFORT

So here's my thinking on exit row seats: If you are lucky enough to have one, think about the person behind you, who doesn't. When I sit in an exit row, I hold off reclining my seat until the very moment I'm ready to sleep – with all that extra leg room, you are comfortable enough.

Advertisement

On this flight, I'm sitting in the row behind the exit row, and I am delighted that the man in front of me clearly thinks the same way, which makes my flight much more comfortable than it otherwise might be. Nonetheless, I still struggle with the lack of leg room.

My biggest issue, however, is my pillow. It is so overstuffed, I can't actually use it. There is also no room to tuck it away, so I eventually cram it into the already-crowded overhead compartment. On the second leg, the seat next to me is vacant, and I feel much more comfortable.

ENTERTAINMENT

No complaints here, with on-demand access to 155 movies, 400 TV shows and 900 audio CDs available on the 10.6 inch (27 centimetre) personal screen. Each seat also as USB and PC power ports. 

SERVICE

The crew on the second leg is much more helpful than the team on the first. Our part of the cabin is inordinately cold: within the first hour of the flight, everyone around me has put on every layer of clothing they have with them. When I raise the matter with the staff, they promise to turn up the heating, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

When I raise the issue again on the second leg, I receive a totally different response. The attendant explains that some planes are just colder than others. She turn up the heating, and distributes extra blankets to the affected passengers. Now, that's service.

FEEDING TIME

Food is plentiful on the long first leg. Apart from the main meal (a choice between osso buco and cold chicken salad), they come around twice more during the flight, once with hot dogs, another time with a leek quiche. The coffee and tea trolley also includes hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows.

The larder is noticeably barer on the second leg. Just after take-off we are offered a chicken wrap and, before landing, breakfast is served. The fresh fruit option runs out long before the trolley gets to us, so the hot meal, with scrambled eggs and sausage, is the only choice. The in-flight snack selection is also disappointing, with a choice between soy rice crackers (rather good) and sea salt and balsamic biscotti (very odd). And the hot chocolate has disappeared from the beverages trolley.

ONE MORE THING

Vanity kits are not provided.  However, when I ask for an eye mask and toothbrush and toothpaste, the staff are happy to oblige. 

THE VERDICT

I'm struck by the difference between the two legs. One is laden with food, one is not. One has helpful staff, one doesn't. But on neither one can I get a decent pillow.

Reviewed by Ute Junker, who  travelled courtesy of Insight Vacations.

Comments