The best seats in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380

The best seats in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380

There’s no such thing as a bad seat in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380 but as seasoned pointy end travellers quickly learn, some seats are better than others.

Where you're perched for that 13 to 24 hour journey to Los Angeles, Dallas, Dubai and London determines how much privacy you'll have during the flight, your view during the day, your chances at getting a good night’s sleep, and even noises that you’ll encounter from other passengers and from the galley.

We went exploring aboard a recent Qantas A380 flight to bring you the pick of the superjumbo's 14 first class suites.

Also read: How to use Qantas frequent flyer points to upgrade to first class

The best Qantas first class suites for that ‘private jet’ feeling: 1A, 1K

On the world’s largest passenger aircraft with seats for almost 500 people, it can be a little hard to replicate the ‘private jet’ feeling that you'd normally get on the tiny upper deck on a Boeing 747.

Your closest bet on the A380 is 1A or 1K, as there’s a solid floor-to-ceiling wall ahead of you, and as the seat again swivels to turn away from the aisle, all you can see is the view, your dining table, footrest and entertainment screen.

On the downside, that blissful feeling may be interrupted when the nearby closet is opened and closed throughout the flight, and you’ll be passed by every first class passenger in your aisle on their trip to the restroom.

That said, you’re otherwise much less aware that you’re on a commercial flight than as you can’t see a large cabin – rather, anyone – ahead of you.

The best ‘cosy’ Qantas first class suite: 2F

While not one for the claustrophobic, 2F is the perfect spot if you like to feel cosy and tucked in, thanks to space given to the stairwell running between the main and upper decks.

You’re cocooned by walls spanning almost the entire suite, with a large privacy divider shutting you off from the aisle on the left.

If you’ve invited a travel companion to dine with you in the suite, they’ll need to watch their head when standing up – there are far better things than arriving at your destination with a throbbing headache.

The best Qantas first class suites for daytime flights with a view: 4A and 4K

If you’re flying during waking hours and want to take a break from the otherwise-great inflight entertainment, head for the ‘A’ and ‘K’ seats in row four.

These suites have an impressive three windows for taking in a little sightseeing…

… while passengers in the other rows have just two windows each:

You can also use the fixed touchscreen control to raise and lower the opaque shade and the full blackout blind, so you’re all set.

The most private Qantas first class suites: 5A, 5K

If privacy is paramount on your journey, we suggest you choose the window seats at the back of the cabin – 5A and 5K.

First class passengers generally board via the door ahead of row 1, and the lavatories are also at the front of the cabin – so before take-off and during the flight, your suite should only be passed by the crew heading to and from the galley at the rear.

As there’s no seat behind you, fellow travellers also won’t be able to peek into the suite from the rear as they usually can when the privacy divider is lowered...

Fold away your inflight entertainment monitor and you can look straight in...

Like all window seats, 5A and 5K rotate to face away from the aisle, including when the crew have made your bed to settle in for the evening or an afternoon nap.

You might encounter a touch more engine noise than you would further forward…

… but the A380 is a particularly quiet aircraft to fly on, so chances are you probably won’t notice the difference.

The aisle with the least traffic in Qantas first class: the ‘A’ seats

There are two aisles through the first class cabin – the right aisle is used by guests in the ‘F’ and ‘K’ seats, while the left aisle is exclusively for the passengers in the ‘A’ seats.

If you’re easily disturbed by people wandering about during the flight, opt for an ‘A’ seat where you’ll share an aisle with just four other travellers, whereas you’d have to contend with eight others over on the ‘F’ and ‘K’ side.

Passengers in the centre ‘F’ seats also don’t have lockers of their own, and instead share with the ‘K’ side:

There’s nowhere to store cabin bags within the Qantas first class suites, so ‘K’-seated passengers may be easily disturbed when the centre passenger opens a locker directly above their head.

The best all-round suite in Qantas first class: 3A

We’d peg 3A as the best all-rounder – you’re sharing that left aisle with only four other travellers and the crew, the overhead locker is virtually your own and you’re equidistant from both the rear galley and the forward closet and lavatories, making for a quieter journey.

Better yet, you’re poised to make a speedy exit whether the superjumbo pulls up at a true A380-style gate with three aerobridges, or a more traditional dual gate with only one aerobridge for each deck.

From 3A, there would only be only two people ahead of you in either direction, making for a perfect getaway when you’ve a tight onward connection or are heading straight to a meeting upon your arrival.

Light sleepers should avoid 5F

If you’re not great at sleeping on planes at the best of times – even in a fully-flat bed in Qantas’ luxurious first class – aim for somewhere other than 5F.

The seat looks innocent enough, but right on the other side of that rear wall is a refrigerator unit…

We’re told by the crew that most passengers don’t tend to notice any noise or ever-so-slight vibrations in that seat, but that the disturbance is often enough to wake very light sleepers.

There’s also the shared aisle to the right and the other aisle to the left, and although that left aisle can’t be accessed directly from 5F, the neighbouring suite in 5A doubles as bassinet seats to accommodate well-bootied babies.

While the bassinet wasn’t put to use on our flight, the passenger in 5F could unluckily wind up amidst a screaming infant and a humming refrigerator, which doesn’t make for a solid rest for even the heaviest of hibernators.

For light sleepers, we’d suggest 3A, or failing that, 3K.

Do you have a favourite first class suite aboard the Qantas A380, and if so, what makes it special? Share your thoughts in the comments box below!

More on Qantas first class:

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin 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!
 

37 comments

  • drgmarshall

    drgmarshall

    24 Nov, 2014 08:58 am

    I've often wondered what the whirring sound is which comes from behind and above seat 5L.  It's not loud, but its intermittent nature means it becomes annoying once it is noticed.  

    No member give thanks

  • Jedinak K

    Jedinak K

    24 Nov, 2014 11:19 am

    hydraulics probably

    No member give thanks

  • QFcrew

    QFcrew

    24 Nov, 2014 09:01 pm

    Its from the refrigiration  ( chiller ) units that keep the contents of the meals carts cold. Avoid 5F and 5K if you are a light sleeper.

    Member who gave thanks

    DCW

  • Dejan Narat

    DCW

    15 Nov, 2016 06:23 pm

    Yep spot on, Exactly that. Its the chiller 

    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    24 Nov, 2014 09:57 am

    For me any seat in First would be good enough :-)

    No member give thanks

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    24 Nov, 2014 12:21 pm

    So glad you prefaced the article with "There’s no such thing as a bad seat in first class on the Qantas Airbus A380" because that's what I immediately thought when I saw the article headline!

    No member give thanks

  • princess fiona

    princess fiona

    24 Nov, 2014 01:11 pm

    Great article Chris, I agree with most of your points.

    Two small things :

    5K isn't a bassinet seat, 5A is the only bassinet. The overhead lockers above 1A and 1K are smaller than the others due to the shape of the aircraft. Passengers with lots of carry on might want to figure that in.

    Member who gave thanks

    ab

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    21 Jan, 2015 11:53 am

    Well spotted Fiona! Cheers for that, we've tweaked our guide accordingly.

    No member give thanks

  • Joshb

    Joshb

    24 Nov, 2014 01:54 pm

    I always select 1A if I can, there is nothing better than being at the front of a plane with only the pilots in front of you. 

    I am a relatively heavy sleeper so I don't find the closet door just in front of the seat a problem.

    What's louder for me is the storage drawer where the mattresses/quilts etc are under the stairwell. However they're not used unless people are making/unmaking beds which is all usually at the same time. 

    No member give thanks

  • ted wja

    tedwja

    24 Nov, 2014 04:30 pm

    boring looking 1st class....

    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    24 Nov, 2014 09:54 pm

    5K must be the upgrade seat.  I only ever go first on an upgrade, and they always seem to put me there unless I get in ahead of time and ask to go further forward (in which case 1A and 1K are often available).

    But of course, there are no bad seats...

    No member give thanks

  • henrus

    henrus

    25 Nov, 2014 10:20 pm

    Has AUSBT tried out/reviewed Qantas first online to read?

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    21 Jan, 2015 12:01 pm

    Hi henrus, I've only just spotted your comment as I was travelling when the article went live, my apologies!

    We don't have a single traditional 'flight review' of Qantas first class (although it's certainly on the to-do list) – instead, we have separate articles on each aspect of the service which allows us to write in much more detail:

    Enjoy!

    No member give thanks

  • henrus

    henrus

    23 Jan, 2015 12:21 am

    Thanks

    No member give thanks

  • Bob Doyle

    RD

    26 Nov, 2014 11:49 am

    I was thinking about getting a points upgrade for my wife and self on next trip to London. It seems though that you can't really sit side by side, excepting space for guests in suite. This isn't really the same as being able to chat from time to time without moving to one or the others suite.

    Have I missed something?

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    26 Nov, 2014 06:18 pm

    Hi Bob – you're quite right, there is no side-by-side seating in Qantas' A380 first class... the best you can do is be in F and K seats which are adjacent, in either side of the aisle, and then have your wife join you on the 'companion' seat for dining or what-not. 

    No member give thanks

  • Bob Doyle

    RD

    26 Nov, 2014 07:13 pm

    Thanks David, I may stay in Bus......

    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    15 Nov, 2016 11:48 am

    My wife, I expect, on reading this would be demanding first over business!

    Sadly she is stuck next to me in PE on our good days.
    No member give thanks

  • Marc

    Marxx63

    26 Nov, 2014 05:10 pm

    I had a perfect experience in 2A last week to LA. The difference with business on my next flight on board a BA 747 from Sao Paolo to London felt like business/economy! 

    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    27 Nov, 2014 10:22 am

    Its Thursday 27th morning and I have just come off QF2 from LHR and I was in 3K so I was curious to read this piece. Disagree with much of it - the private jet feel for 1A/K how can that be when it gets the most traffic being at the front of the cabin, and the overhead bins are the smallest. You say 3A/K has 3 windows well I as I said I was in 3K and there was control of only two windows, you said 5A/K are the private ones, how can that be when they are just in front of the galley. You say 3A/K are the best, yes I'd agree BUT I don't get the point regarding light sleepers in those seats. If you're a light sleeper why go there?

    No member give thanks

  • Sevae

    Sevae

    5 Sep, 2015 10:27 am

    I flew QF2 in 4A this week and was pretty happy with the location of that seat. Both legs were full with 15 pax. If I fly the A380 again I would take 5K, no traffic heading toward toilet when busy like it was. Just something trivial, the seats are designed poorly to the extent that more than half the passengers sit with their feet up on the seat in front waiting for takeoff, wish I could attach the pics. I do have to say that QF extremely comfortable and service very good but overall experience still underdone compared to SQ for first class. :-)

    No member give thanks

  • JoanJet

    JoanJet

    28 Nov, 2017 09:55 am

    crosscourt. Was looking back over this post. Why make up stuff to disagree with? He did say 4A and 4K have an impressive 3 windows, and pointed out the rest have 2. Good reminder to read the content before commenting. Are you sure you were in 3K? 2K also has 2 windows. And for what it's worth, I always go for 3A, if available.
    No member give thanks

  • moecat

    moecat

    30 May, 2015 03:10 pm

    Can  you suggest the best seat in First on the EK A380

    No member give thanks

  • Ann Callahan

    Ann Callahan

    12 Feb, 2016 01:31 pm

    Can anyone enlighten me as to which are the best seats for a couple. The seats in first class are offset rather than directly adjacent to each other. Also some seats have a barrier on the aisle side while others do not.  

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    12 Feb, 2016 01:45 pm

    Hi Ann, this question has already been asked here – you'll find an answer above. :)

    No member give thanks

  • MaxineF

    Maxinef1

    15 Nov, 2016 08:02 am

    My sister and I flew LAX/MEL in 3K & 4K - she joined me on the Companion seat for dining and a chat and we enjoyed our own space for the remainder of the flight, mainly spent watching movies on the great 'big' screen or chatting with the amazing and attentive crew! Both seats were fabulous :-) We flew Business on the MEL/LAX leg in adjoining seats and, not surprisingly, much prefer 1st for the added sleeping comfort - it's a shame to sleep away the 1st Class experience though but hard not to when the bed is so comfortable! 
    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • obanpointer

    obanpointer

    15 Nov, 2016 09:59 am

    FYI seat 2a is always the first to get booked out, most popular = best? when travelling alone I prefer the A seats, 1 a too close to toilet, 5a too close to economy, pick of the bunch are 2-4a in my view, having travelled in this cabin innumerable times
    No member give thanks

  • GoldCanyon340

    GoldCanyon340

    15 Nov, 2016 10:22 am

    2A is always my first choice.  Second choice: 3A.
    No member give thanks

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    15 Nov, 2016 01:40 pm

    Well Done Chris. Without being too cocky I've sat in many of these seats and I think you're on the money. But I would say i prefer to be closer to the galley. It's always easier getting the Comtes. Cheers!
    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • rufusfly

    rufusfly

    15 Nov, 2016 02:13 pm

    Bevan  Does Qantas serve Comte on first class ?
    Member who gave thanks

    BevanMcBevan

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    15 Nov, 2016 02:23 pm

    Absolutely! Tattinger Comtes de Champagne (Blanc de Blancs) is an absolute ripper. They also do Pol Roger 'Sir Winston'. Living the life I prefer the Comtes. Keep in mind if you are leaving LAX or DFW they won't open the 'First Champers' until wheels up. So skip the offer of Champers until then. Sir Humphrey would too.
    No member give thanks

  • rufusfly

    rufusfly

    15 Nov, 2016 02:27 pm

    I understand why you like up the front.  Cheers
    Member who gave thanks

    BevanMcBevan

  • Simulate Aero

    simulate

    15 Nov, 2016 06:10 pm

    I avoid 1A and 1K at all costs. The flight attendants seem to have little consideration for noise when during the night they need to access the storage units in front of row 1 and then slam the doors shut. In my experience this happens at random intervals all night and does not provide for a restful night.
    No member give thanks

  • LoveToFly

    LoveToFly

    16 Nov, 2016 12:15 am

    have 3A on  Mel - Dub return (via Syd and LHR for status credits) at Christmas. Looking forward to the journey.
    No member give thanks

  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    16 Nov, 2016 01:30 am

    I really wish you hadn't told everyone about 3A! That's my favourite seat for my SYD-LAX and SYD-DFW runs!
    No member give thanks

  • Susan Ramsey

    SusanR

    1 Jan, 2017 11:25 am

    I just reserved 4A for my next flight SYD > DFW for the extra windows, and being on the more "private" left side of the plane. Thanks, Chris!
    No member give thanks

  • Heath

    heathcor

    7 Feb, 2018 09:45 pm

    am flying return syd-lhr in april and am currently placed in 4K/3K... 5A is available both ways... after watching a recent video review in this seat and commentary above would you swap seats given the greater privacy of the seat and aisle A...? I understand it backs onto galley; is used for baby seat though no other preferred seats are available on the A side (apart from 1A that doesnt have good reviews)... appreciate views please... thanks...
    No member give thanks

Guest

22 Oct, 2018 02:10 am

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×