Qantas brings back Airbus A380 first class to Hong Kong

Qantas brings back Airbus A380 first class to Hong Kong

Qantas will offer first class between Sydney and Hong Kong this summer, making the 14 suites on its seasonal Airbus A380 available to well-heeled high flyers who want to luxe it up on the 9½ hour journey.

The superjumbo will replace a Boeing 747 on the daily QF117/QF118 service from 1 December 2018 through to 28 March 2019.

While Qantas regularly rosters the Airbus A380 between Sydney and Hong Kong during the peak summer months to handle the higher holiday travel load, during those periods the superjumbo’s first class suites are usually treated as business class seats rather than being sold on a first class ticket.

This allows savvy Platinum and Platinum One travellers to upgrade their seat from business class to first class by choosing any spot in rows one through five on the advance seat selection screen, although of course they’re still served the same meals and drinks as their colleagues on the upper deck. 

However, in a show of confidence and facing sharpened competition on this popular route, Qantas will now sell first class as its own product – something the airline has not done for many years.

A spokesperson for Qantas told Australian Business Traveller that these primo passengers would enjoy a similar level of food, drinks and service as on the Airbus A380 first class cabins on the Sydney-Singapore-London and Melbourne-Singapore flights.

Sydney-Hong Kong return first class fares are currently showing on sale from $4,888, which is less than some of the airline's current A380 business class fares – making this a smart move, as long as you move fast.

If you do book first class on Qantas' Airbus A380, we suggest suites 1A and 1K for that ‘private jet’ feeling; 2F if you want a cosy nest; and 5A and 5K for maximum privacy. For the best view on the daytime flight to Hong Kong, opt for 4A and 4K, but on the overnight return leg, light sleepers should avoid 5F.

Read our expert guide to the best seats in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380

While Cathay Pacific makes three of its four daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights on its Boeing 777-300ER flagships, the airline relies on a three-class version of the Boeing 777 which tops out at business class rather than the long-range models which include a small first class cabin of six open suites.

A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific told Australian Business Traveller that while the airlines "continually reviews our offering in the market based on customer needs and commercial requirements, currently we don't have any plans to introduce First Class from Australia to Hong Kong."

An estimated half-million passengers shuttle between Sydney and Hong Kong every year, with seven daily flights split between Qantas, Cathay Pacific and as of July 2018, Virgin Australia.

Also read: Sydney-Hong Kong business class – Cathay Pacific vs Qantas vs Virgin Australia

In related news, Qantas will also schedule its Boeing 787 Dreamliner onto flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Hong Kong in a staged rollout commencing 13 December, 2018.

Read more: Qantas begins Boeing 787 flights to Hong Kong

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.


  • Paul Coniglio


    24 Jul, 2018 05:02 pm

    I like this idea!
    No member give thanks

  • THR


    24 Jul, 2018 05:31 pm

    Just managed to secure an award reservation on 1 January from HKG --> SYD. Looks like there is availability other days too.
    No member give thanks

  • PaulST


    24 Jul, 2018 06:06 pm

    Great news, although I'm surprised that there's the demand. A mate (qf bronze) was able to select the first class seats with his business class ticket a few months ago and he said that there were a max of 3 other pax. He snagged 5A on both SYD-HKG and HKG-SYD flights.
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  • andrew84


    24 Jul, 2018 06:47 pm

    either someone's already jagged the 29/30/31 in both directions, or it actually stops 28 March.

    also not showing on AA as award yet
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  • THR


    24 Jul, 2018 09:12 pm

    I called AA to ticket it.
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  • eminere


    24 Jul, 2018 07:11 pm

    Called it. ......
    Member who gave thanks


  • 11sjw


    24 Jul, 2018 08:10 pm

    Just wish they'd give PER QF67&68 back!
    No member give thanks

  • S


    24 Jul, 2018 08:37 pm

    Same here! Surely it’s gotta be on the cards soon
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  • hutch


    24 Jul, 2018 08:44 pm

    Pretty hard to bring back PER - HKG flights, until the extra runway is finished, as QF don't have slots
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  • Himeno


    25 Jul, 2018 11:44 am

    There won't be more QFi flights at PER while the airport is fighting them over terminals.
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  • Stuart Roberts

    Stuart Roberts

    25 Jul, 2018 05:31 pm

    From the pics, it doesn't look much more than business class on Etihad or Singapore.
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  • THR


    25 Jul, 2018 09:23 pm

    For 50,000 AA points, compared to 40,000 for business, it's still a pretty good deal.
    No member give thanks

  • petrhsr


    28 Jul, 2018 03:56 pm

    Etihad is over. Finished. Kaput. Cut to the bone. Don't waste your money.

    No member give thanks

  • koji


    26 Jul, 2018 01:56 pm

    Tried to search availability of first class via ba and cx. Both showed first cabin is not available in qf128. Anyone tried via them or aa and succeed?
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  • andrew84


    26 Jul, 2018 02:19 pm

    suggest you check again - loaded in at least 1 of those 3 systems right now.
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  • koji


    26 Jul, 2018 02:43 pm

    I just tried several days in March. Showing either fully booked or cabin not operated.
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  • Chris


    29 Jul, 2018 12:11 am

    Hi David, just a comment on the use of “summer” in the article. I know the dates are explained later in the article but Australian summer and HK summer are at different times of year so it adds a level of confusion.
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  • David Flynn


    29 Jul, 2018 12:58 pm

    Hi Chris: yes, however as Australian Business Traveller is primarily for an Australian audience we use Australian seasonal references (if we ever refer to a northern hemisphere season we identify it along the lines of "northern winter" etc).
    No member give thanks


22 Oct, 2018 02:10 am


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