Qantas trims first class on Melbourne-Los Angeles flights

Qantas trims first class on Melbourne-Los Angeles flights

EXCLUSIVE | Qantas will reduce the number of Airbus A380 Melbourne-Los Angeles flights in early 2018 to just three superjumbo services each week in a move which will also trim availability of first class suites on the trans-Pacific route.

From February 12 to March 24 2018, Qantas will fly the A380 between Melbourne and LAX only three days each week, with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner picking up two days of the QF93/QF94 service.

This will run alongside the six-day-a-week schedule of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on QF95/QF96.

A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that these changes are “to better match capacity with demand during the non-peak travel period”, with the Airbus A380 resuming daily Melbourne-LA flights from March 25 2018 – two days after Qantas axes its daily Melbourne-Dubai-London Airbus A380 flights in favour of the new non-stop Boeing 787 service between Perth and London.

While the superior business class of the Boeing 787 will be a win for travellers booked into the premium cabin, first class flyers booked onto the Melbourne-LAX superjumbo on those 'missing flights' will become collateral damage in the cuts.

Qantas says that passengers already booked in first class on the affected flights will be bumped back to business class and offered a refund of the fare difference between the two cabins, or a refund of the Qantas Points difference between business and first class if travelling on a reward booking.

Alternatively, they can change their date of travel at no charge to one of the days on which the A380 will be flying, or travel to Sydney on the date originally booked and take a first class berth on the daily Sydney-Los Angeles A380 service.

Qantas plans to re-assign the Airbus A380 to higher-demand routes during February and March. In previous years this has seen Hong Kong take up the superjumbo as a seasonal service.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

26 comments

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    6 Jul, 2017 01:20 pm

    Bit by bit QF are moving to remove First Class from all AU ports except SYD.  There is no doubt that at some point First won't be offered out of MEL on any service; whether that means no A380s or refitted A380s, I don't know.  

    I assume at the same time the First Lounge will also go; hopefully it is refitted and becomes the new Business Lounge replacing the current dungeon though space may be an issue.
    No member give thanks

  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    6 Jul, 2017 01:40 pm

    I doubt they'll remove the A380 from MEL - LAX completely, unless they get enough 787 to provide a double daily service most days. Other than small off-peak periods, it's an incredibly popular service that usually has high loadings. Next year, with retrofittings and new aircraft will undoubtedly see a lot of metal changes!
    Also highly doubt they'll remove the F lounge from MEL - there'd be an uproar!
    No member give thanks

  • RK

    Ryan K

    6 Jul, 2017 02:00 pm

    The return of VA's MEL-LAX service may be hurting QF here. With UA's non-stop 787 service also under way, there could be too much capacity on this route. 
    No member give thanks

  • lind26

    lind26

    10 Jul, 2017 11:18 am

    I just tried the UA service last week, no complaints, they have lifted their game.
    No member give thanks

  • RK

    Ryan K

    10 Jul, 2017 12:44 pm

    Which class did you travel?
    No member give thanks

  • lind26

    lind26

    24 Jul, 2017 10:16 pm

    Just economy, it was jam packed, service was good
    No member give thanks

  • CQ

    MEL Traveller

    6 Jul, 2017 02:03 pm

    This is good news for Business Class passengers - the 787 has much better Business Class seats than the A380. 
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    6 Jul, 2017 02:51 pm

    Thank you for the positive comment.  Nice to see for a change.  
    Member who gave thanks

    Frogga

  • Alex Moris

    Alex Moris

    6 Jul, 2017 02:04 pm

    Qantas first class is like business class on top airlines like Singapore, Emirates, Qatar.

    Virgin Australia business class to US routes and Emirates, Qatar for European routes and Singapore for Asian routes. 👌👌
    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    6 Jul, 2017 08:47 pm

    What rubbish. QF First is waaaay better than Business on Emirates or Singapore. Clearly you don't fly on all three airlines.
    Member who gave thanks

    Frogga

  • Adam T

    AT

    6 Jul, 2017 10:12 pm

    Absolutely agree John. QF F is my choice when I can. 
    Members who gave thanks

    Frogga, QFcrew

  • 2527

    2527

    7 Jul, 2017 03:10 pm

    totally agree particularly with regards to Emirates Business - once you get passed the glossy look there is a lack of substance! Singapore has the consistency of service that I haven't seen bettered.
    No member give thanks

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    7 Jul, 2017 04:01 pm

    Absolute BS Alex. QF First is good, better than QR First (A380) and in my opinion EK First. SQ First is sweet and EY First stumps them all. To say Business on SQ, EK & QR outdoes QF First is just lame. You're not in the air enough my friend to make that call. Give the Roo respect when it's due.
    No member give thanks

  • THR

    THR

    9 Jul, 2017 10:09 am

    With respect, he didn't say that their business outdid Qantas First, but that they are equivalent. 
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    6 Jul, 2017 02:05 pm

    Clearly the A380 was too big for Qantas. 

    Does this mean First Class ex. MEL is doomed? I'm not entirely sure about that. I do think, however, whatever replaces the A380 will be much smaller and will have a First Class offering that's no more than 8 seats. Personally I'm wagering QF will take 777Xs and have 6 First seats in a similar layout to Emirates' new/upcoming first product. 
    No member give thanks

  • lind26

    lind26

    10 Jul, 2017 11:16 am

    I suspect First class in the long term from MEL is doomed
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    6 Jul, 2017 02:17 pm

    So for 5 weeks, between the 3rd and 4th 787s arriving, they'll be using all 3 787s on MEL-LAX while displacing some A380 services.
    No member give thanks

  • eamond

    eamond

    6 Jul, 2017 03:57 pm

    Got to love some of the armchair CEO's jumping to conclusions without even thinking in the business sense.

    It looks quite straight forward to me that Qantas is simply trying to maximise its profit through better assignment of capacity - remember the date that MEL-LAX lose much of its A380 services coincide with 2018's Chinese New Year rush (for 2018 it's on 18 Feb), Much of the available capacity is already sold and for many of the flights during that period B class is already the lowest(!) as I'm writing this.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    6 Jul, 2017 04:59 pm

    Cutting A380s from Melbourne was very obvious. The next step in  a couple of years will be to go double daily to LA maybe after DFW with 789s. Then the A380s will be out of Sydney and the 787s mainly out of Melbourne.
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    6 Jul, 2017 05:05 pm

    "or a refund of the Qantas Points difference between business and first class if travelling on a reward booking." - LOL!!! There is no such things like award booking in Business MEL-LAX on QF metal! I have a check and found only few and all of them via HKG by CX!
    No member give thanks

  • GregXL

    GregXL

    6 Jul, 2017 05:32 pm

    The upside could be an earlier start to the A380 upgrades.
    No member give thanks

  • E63AMG

    E63AMG

    6 Jul, 2017 08:07 pm

    Yep you'll probably see QF re-route those A380's onto MEL/SYD-HKG services. The MEL P/C lounge is a big and important investment and not one that QF is looking to close!  
    No member give thanks

  • PaulST

    PaulST

    7 Jul, 2017 03:57 pm

    I had noticed far better award availability on MEL-LAX than SYD-LAX so I suspected there were less pax on that route. A lot of lower status pax seem to get points upgrades on that route too (myself included when I was a Bronze 3 years ago).
    No member give thanks

  • traveller90

    traveller90

    8 Jul, 2017 07:07 am

    Interesting reading above, QF is there for the $ - brand loyalty is second. The fact is that P costs the airline and J is the money maker, thus the 789 is the winner over the A380. Don't get me wrong, I am for a P cabin on the large wide bodied aircraft anyday, the airline accountants are unfortunately not. QF P is a good product, but is a cost to the airline. Good-bye P and hello J. Simple!
    No member give thanks

  • colin

    gsx

    8 Jul, 2017 09:16 am

    Did anyone also notice that QF95 has also been trimmed from its advertised 6 days a week to 4 days a week from 8th Feb - 25th Mar, sounds like they are jiggling 789's to fill the a380 changes.   all that PR doesn't last very long.
    No member give thanks

  • Yota Takeshima

    japanair772

    11 Jul, 2017 09:34 am

    Bye Bye A380! 
    I'm only going on those 2 days when I'm flying to LaX on a787
    No member give thanks

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21 Jul, 2019 11:28 pm

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