Qantas brings Airbus A380 back onto Sydney-Hong Kong

Qantas brings Airbus A380 back onto Sydney-Hong Kong

Qantas will unleash an Airbus A380 onto the Sydney-Hong Kong route between December 2017 and March 2018, with the flagship superjumbo offering first class suites to selected business class passengers.

The annual upgrade for Hong Kong – which delivers a wave of extra seats to cater for a marked uptick in travel across the extended summer season – will see a bit of a shuffle, so here's what you need to know.

From October 29 2017 through to March 24 2018, QF127/128 will switch from a Boeing 747 jumbo jet to an Airbus A330.

However, Qantas says that "on Mondays and Thursdays for parts of the season" it will swing back to being a Boeing 747.

Also from October 29 2017 through to March 24 2018, the other daily Sydney-Hong Kong service QF117/118 will move from an Airbus A330 to a mix of the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380. 

The superjumbo will specifically appear each day "during the Christmas peak" between December 10 2017 and March 1 2018, Qantas says.

Come March 25 2018, everything resets to the way it was.

A Qantas spokesperson said the the changes were "due to seasonal and operational requirements", and told to Australian Business Traveller that"impacted customers are being given the option to change their flight or be reaccommodated on the replacement services."

What this means for business class flyers

For most business class travellers, having your flight swapped from an Airbus A330 to either the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380 isn't ideal, because it sees the superb Business Suite of the A330, below...

... traded down to the decade-old design of the Skybed II seat.

You'll be moving from a well-appointed business class seat which converts into a wide and comfortable lie-flat bed with direct aisle access, a large video screen and plenty of personal space to, well, a seat which has none of those traits – and is tipped to be upgraded next year, at least on the superjumbos.

(One upside, however, is that unlike the Airbus A330s, both the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 offer premium economy seating.)

Fancy a free upgrade to first class?

That said, 14 business class passengers on every Airbus A380 flight will have the opportunity to swap that seat for this suite.

Qantas doesn't sell first class to Hong Kong, but rather than leave the first class cabin empty, it allows top-tier travellers to select a suite at the pointy end of the plane.

They'll have the same meals, wine and service as business class, but it's all done in a far more comfortable environment.

Chairman's Lounge members and Platinum One frequent flyers booked in business class are expected to see the first class cabin appear when making their seat selection – simply click anywhere between row 1 and row 5 and you're set.

(If you really want to make the most of this, check out our guide to choosing the best first class suites on the Qantas A380.)

I's not yet known whether Platinum-grade frequent flyers will also be able to assign themselves a seat in the first class zone from the time of booking.

However, roughly three days before the flight, any unoccupied first class suites can then be assigned to other passengers based on what Qantas terms their 'PCV' value – a secret, internal-only Perceived Commercial Value rating assigned to all travellers.

If there are still some empty suites on the day of the flight, you might see them appear on the seating chart if you go to check or change your seat – or you can ask at check-in or at the lounge in case there's a vacant suite still up for grabs.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

23 comments

  • Alan Su

    alansu

    17 Aug, 2017 08:05 pm

    Was just about to post on the forums.. booked into QF118 departing HKG on 3 Jan on an A380, seems like this year Platinum members no longer get to select First seats (Rows 1-5)... will have to take a chance in Row 11 and hope to select First seats closer to checkin.

    It's a shame because that was one of the great perks of flying the superjumbo between SYD/HKG on QF. Oh well.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • mviy

    mviy

    17 Aug, 2017 09:18 pm

    Yet more devaluing of Platinum. Where will it end?
    No member give thanks

  • zoomzoom

    zoomzoom

    18 Aug, 2017 03:21 pm

    Just fly CX, a much better product
    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    17 Aug, 2017 11:35 pm

    You should still be able to get an F seat closer to departure, unless all 14 F seats are taken by CL or P1 members, which would be fairly unusual.......
    No member give thanks

  • highflyer

    highflyer

    17 Aug, 2017 08:24 pm

    Such a shame. Was one of the draw cards and reasons for flying with QF on the A380 to HK during that time as a Platinum. Even that perk is being pulled away :(
    No member give thanks

  • Alan Su

    alansu

    17 Aug, 2017 08:28 pm

    Had I known those seats would be blocked I would have booked the CI/QF codeshare from TPE on the A350 and saved myself (a whole) $3 and a transit in HKG.. at least I get to try the CI A359 for a good 1.5hrs between TPE and HKG :)
    No member give thanks

  • highflyer

    highflyer

    18 Aug, 2017 02:22 am

    Very tempted to try this out next time... unfortunately i just don't really like the timings...
    No member give thanks

  • Shingi Sa

    davidzuo

    18 Aug, 2017 09:13 pm

    Definitely worth trying, especially its Song Dynasty decor - Scholar's Study, visually and uniquely takes you away from the modern day flying experience.
    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    17 Aug, 2017 11:34 pm

    You'll still be able to do it closer to the time of departure, unless EVERY F seat is taken by a CL or P1, which is unlikely, to say the least.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Nathan Jordan

    nathanjordan

    17 Aug, 2017 09:33 pm

    The Qantas PCV is very similar to the Marketing Value indicator of H/M/L5-1 used by Westpac. Low (L5-L1) generally indicates either a new, previous or virtually worthless customer with no or few products, Medium (M5-M1) are solid customers with several transactional & at least one lending &/or insurance product, whilst High (H5-H1) represent the highest profit margin for the bank, often with either a private banker or a corporate relationship.  
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Teejay Cal

    Theresnormissin

    17 Aug, 2017 10:02 pm

    Must be a seriously large number of Platinums making it hard for the P1's to get the seats in the pointy end. It also suggests there may be a rather large number of P1's, and if that's the case I can see why the new restrictions if they are having trouble accessing preferred seats. It is dissapointing though, I was waiting for the A380's to swing on to these routes to book a two seats at the pointy end and now I'm not sure it's worth the risk. I wonder if Qantas' new value algorithm takes into account one world flyers from other schemes?
    No member give thanks

  • Teejay Cal

    Theresnormissin

    17 Aug, 2017 10:46 pm

    Edit: I've given it a bit more thought... Assuming these seats are not filled by those in the very upper echelons of the FF scheme. I find it particularly gualling that my potential to access to those seats is then further being decided upon by the PVC. I don't believe that preferential treatment should be given between Platinums ff's just because one may be rated as a better value proposition than the other.
    No member give thanks

  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    17 Aug, 2017 11:17 pm

    I guess some Platinums are more Platinum than others...
    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    17 Aug, 2017 11:38 pm

    I suspect the problem is that Plats were booking ALL the seats in F fairly early, leaving none available for P1s who booked closer to the date of flight. This gives CL/P1 pretty much guaranteed F seats, so matter when they book, and then leaves the remainder to be swooped upon by Plats a few days out.
    Member who gave thanks

    James Barker

  • Teejay Cal

    Theresnormissin

    18 Aug, 2017 07:31 am

    Aye I can understand that aspect of the new arrangements, if I was a P1 I would reasonably expect to have access to those seats. But the suggestion that any seats remaining will then not be made available to everyone at platinum level on an equal basis is my specific issue.
    No member give thanks

  • Colster

    Colster

    18 Aug, 2017 09:35 am

    I have a booking on QF128 on the 6th of Jan which has just changed from the A380 to the A330. I chose the A380 due to the greater number of J and W seating as I am trying to upgrade 4 PAX, but now the change has made this far more difficult. Will QF change me to QF118 without charge now that it's an A380? (I'm a lowly platinum)...
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew Laughlin

    Axl

    18 Aug, 2017 03:54 pm

    Is this thread the verydefinition of a first world problem? We booked to HKG a few months ago (plat FFs, and we book and pay J for international leisure travel several times a year, using points for First upgrades if available), and were thrilled to snaffle seats in the First cabin.  Plane changed back to A330 yesterday - we're still thrilled because business suites.  It's not like anyone has been downgraded!
    No member give thanks

  • Rodney Cox

    sapper13

    18 Aug, 2017 04:39 pm

    I wonder when QANTAS will consider their shareholders as PCV customers and start up-grading them to the pointy end; instead of the 'high value' Platinum FF members who probably achieved their status at taxpayer expense eg used their business flying as a tax expense.
    No member give thanks

  • David Bird

    Daveyb

    18 Aug, 2017 11:46 pm

    Any plans for A380 service from MEL-HKG/SIN?
    No member give thanks

  • mviy

    mviy

    20 Aug, 2017 08:58 am

    Supposedly that will be flown (along with SYD-SIN/HKG) when there is seasonal demand after the scrapping of the A380 service to LHR late March. Though they could decide to just use it for SYD flights.

    In the likely event refurbishments of the A380 fleet starts late March (or soon afterwards) if they get the timing right to not do the refurb during peak periods they would need to do something with the A380 freed up.
    Member who gave thanks

    Daveyb

  • Troy Green

    troyg

    12 Dec, 2017 08:17 pm

    I’m a QF platinum member, booked today and was able to select from 1st seats on the HK A380 service.
    No member give thanks

  • Rob Williams

    will2rob

    14 Feb, 2018 10:05 am

    I was able to select an F class seat upon upgrading from PE to J for a flight later this week. I also booked straight into F class for flights in July. I'm a Plat.
    No member give thanks

  • Rob Williams

    will2rob

    14 Feb, 2018 10:09 am

    I just noticed that the article says the A380s are only flying this route until 25/3/18. My flights in July on QF127 and QF128 are definitely showing A380
    No member give thanks

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22 Jul, 2019 05:48 am

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