Review: Qantas First Class A380, Los Angeles – Melbourne

This post is one chapter on our trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne with The Great Ocean Road, exploring The Yarra Valley and the beaches of The Gold Coast via Qantas First Class. This trip was booked using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Qantas First Class, Airbus 380, Los Angeles – Melbourne

“The Qantas First Class Suite is about as sumptuous as you can get for a long night flight over the Pacific Ocean, and easily a first choice amongst the carriers that service Australia from the United States”

We left the lounge at about T-60 and headed down towards the gate. Instantly after leaving the lounge, it was back to the land of screaming children. Dependent on your mood, this was a good or a bad thing.

We wandered through the Bliss cosmetic store where we both picked up a few things and headed down to Gate 154. Both the Qantas A380 flights of the evening (Sydney & Melbourne) were departing from gates side by each. Thankfully, there was a separate line for first class as there were probably over 80 persons in the business class line.

Qantas Airlines
QF 94 – First Class (P)
LAX – MEL (Los Angeles International Airport – Tom Bradley International Terminal – Melbourne International Terminal 2)
July 7, 2019
10:40 PM – 7:30 AM + 2
Booked: Airbus 380-800
Flown: Airbus 380-800

The boarding was a bit of organized chaos as they appeared to start loading some of the lower economy row numbers which clogged up the jet bridges. First Class had it’s own jet bridge tonight, which was again really appreciated.

On Board Qantas First Class on the Airbus A380:

We found our way on board and into suites 2A & 3A. I booked these suites well in advance being on the private side of the cabin. The first class cabin is in a 1-1-1 configuration and makes for a very spacious and private seating area. There are no doors on the suite, but based on the design, there isn’t ever anyone looking into your space at any time.

As we settled in, the flight announcements came from the captain, announcing a 15 and a half hour flight time down to Melbourne, via Honolulu, Vanuatu and Fiji waypoints with a planned arrival on shed-jewel.

A pre-departure beverage was offered. I asked if the good champagne was available and indeed it was. I don’t know if this is the usual course of business but they were loading the terrific Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs from the bottle. It was slightly off cold but I wasn’t complaining with a bottle like this. A small appetizer was also dropped off.

Martin Grant Amenity Kits:

The amenity kits and pyjamas were also dropped off. The pyjamas were Martin Grant, which I actually took with me and used throughout the rest of the trip. The kit was of reasonable quality with some useful items.

The First Class jet bridge was pulled back at about T-30 with a full 14 of us in First tonight.

While we were awaiting the loading of the rest of the aircraft, I ran upstairs to take some lounge photos while it was still lit. I assumed we would be going dark for the rest of the flight given that it was an overnight flight.

Back downstairs, our steward came around to introduce himself in addition the manager Clint who dropped off immigration cards and fast track cards for us for Australia.

We had a very long taxi over to the north runways. The LAX airport was designed before the Boeing 747 so special efforts were made when the A380 started service here. These included escort cars on the taxi-way’s thanks to the wide wing span of this wonderful jet.

The take off was nice and gradual; among the most elegant of the commercial civilian aircraft in the sky.

Food and Beverage on Qantas First Class: A Full Three Course Midnight Meal

I opted for another champagne once we were airborne. Since I had gorged myself in the Qantas LAX lounge, I went with a lighter dinner once airborne which started at about 12 midnight. The Qantas menus are inspired by Australian Celebrity chef Neil Perry, who has now been creating menus for them for more than 20 years.

There were also some reasonable wines. Unfortunately, due to the late hour, it isn’t like you’ll spend a whole lot of time getting through all of them, unless you are an insomniac wine drinker.

I started with Potato and Leek soup with chive crème fraiche, along with mesculin salad with aged balsamic and sourdough bread. I paired this with the “The Lane” Gathering Sauvingon Blanc Semillion 2017 from Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

I closed with a cheese plate with assorted accompaniments. The cheese included cheddar, hard blue cheese and brie.

Qantas First Class Sleep Bedding:

“The bedding was among the highest quality I’ve ever had in the sky and felt much better than fellow One World Member British Airways First Class and of higher quality than the Star Alliance category leader Lufthansa First Class”

I had the bed made up and went to change into the pyjamas. The pjyamas were actually quite comfortable. A Large / Extra Large was one size, and it was just right fitting a 6ft 2 inch frame. I took a Relax and Sleep around 1 AM and slept for a good solid 9 hours. It took me a little while to get to sleep, but once I got accustomed to the environment, I didn’t want to get up. It was probably among the best bedding that I have had in the sky. It was much better than British Airways First Class and probably better than my most recent last Lufthansa First Class.

I woke up as we were over Noumea with still 4 hours to go. I opted for another glass of the Tattinger Champagne, which was now perfectly chilled having been in the fridge for 10 hours.

The Second Service: A Full Breakfast

Around 2 hours before landing, the crew came around to take the breakfast order. I started with Neils Healthy Museli with toasted apple bircher and walnuts, yoghurt, along with poached eggs, irish bacon and baked beans, along with a croissant.

Since we weren’t driving on arrival, we ended up continuing on with the Taittinger champagne until the plane ran out. My guess is that they had loaded 3 bottles since we were among the only ones drinking it with any regularity. We ended up with Duval Leroy champagne for the last glass or two.

We had a slow but direct approach into the Melbourne Airport. It was the first time I touched down in this port of entry into Australia. I’ve always previously arrived to Australia at Sydney Kingford Smith.

There were quite a few international flights arriving at this time and any rushing for the custom’s immigration stamp was met by waves of traffic from other flights. Qantas did offer a fast track card, but the Melbourne airport seemed to be quite disorganized. Having e-passport readers, half the people were queuing for these machines, the line dragon at the express arrivals wasn’t all too interested in allowing us to proceed into Fast Track despite having an “invitation”. We were eventually waved up the Fast Track lane. The Australia Border Police didn’t stamp our passports. That was great that we were able to save valuable passport space but at the same time, there was no souvenir for us despite having to visit at the counter. We had codes printed on our customs cards and MrsWT73 was sent into secondary as they were training dogs in additional to filming the Australian version of Border Security.

We met our Blacklane driver who was able to transfer us to the Westin Melbourne without any issues. It took about 35 minutes by car.

The Bottom Line on Qantas First Class Service to Australia:

“Qantas First Class is easily among the most comfortable ways to get to Australia”

Qantas First Class is an absolutely fantastic way to get to Australia. The highlights were the larger seat, the terrific first class lounges and the great bedding on board that allowed for a solid nights rest. The low points were the late night of the flight, and the slow and outdated in flight entertainment system which is due to be upgraded.

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