Flying from Sydney to the US with Qantas

Back in April '09, I blogged about Flying from Sydney to the US but just recently had the opportunity to fly over to Toronto via Los Angeles to attend a sales conference and training course.

Fortunately, I was booked on Qantas Premium Economy and was upgraded both ways to Business Class on the SYD<>LAX legs [those who traveled with me would know there is a story there but I'm not going to go into that online].

I'm a big fan of the First Class lounge at Sydney Airport, winner of numerous design awards. This really just sets up the flight to Los Angeles nicely as you can check-in (I was there around 8.30am for a 10.15am flight), wander on up to the lounge, enjoy a nice breakfast and get onto your flight stress-free.

I flew on a B747 on the way over to LA and ironically was seated next to a colleague. That really did make the trip a whole lot more enjoyable as you can chat where as things can often be... frosty... when seated next to a complete stranger. If you can get the seat, row 11 is awesome - it's the first row in the bubble. Whilst the windows up there in the bubble are useless (as I need to bend over 2ft to see out) the window seats up there are best due to the storage bins next to the seats meaning you aren't up and down like a yo-yo during the flight.

On the return flight, I was on an A380 which has a lot of pluses. It is definitely a lot quieter than the B747 and the new seats are better for a raft of reasons: fully flat, more leg room meaning you don't have to pole vault over the passenger next to you to get out and the screens are in the armrests as opposed to the seat back in front of you. But there are some drawbacks... Firstly, it takes a while to load the plane due to the number of passengers. Secondly, I think the cabin service isn't as good - I think the primary reason for that is in the bubble of a B747 there are two crew members for the 22 passengers vs the A380s 72 passengers that share the business class staff throughout.

Interestingly, I didn't recall seeing any V Australia planes at LAX. When I last checked their business class fares to the US, they were significantly cheaper than Qantas and that doesn't seem to have changed one bit - looking for flights departing on 6 Sept '09 and returning on 16 Sept yields a price of $6328.82 vs $13632.70 (Delta were $9,597.92 - right in the middle).

The same gap didn't exist for Premium Economy fares, $3339.82 vs $2975.70, but the reasons for that are interesting. Firstly, V Australia didn't have a deal available for one leg which really is a price hike. Secondly, whilst the direct flights to LAX weren't available on Qantas for the 6th, the flights on the 5th were and both legs were really cheap (Delta doesn't offer a Premium Economy product on the SYD<>LA route).

That would seem to indicate yields on Qantas' Business Class seats to the US have picked up.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:05 AM,


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