It's been a very long while since I flew Qantas long haul. My airlines of choice for travel to Europe are usually the Middle East carriers which offer a smooth one stop only options to most European major airports. Flying with Qantas means that I will have to take a 3rd flight to get to Madrid which is obviously not my preferred option as it represents a much longer transit time and forces the daunting and not always pleasant experience of having to go through LHR upon me.
This is just about my 350th sector on a Qantas service, but only the 3rd time I am flying on a Qantas A380. I am quite excited about this. The first leg of my long journey is from Sydney to Dubai. QF1 is the flagship flight of Qantas and is dubbed The Kangaroo Route. It used to be routed via Singapore but since Qantas entered in partnership with Emirates, the flight naturally goes via Dubai. QF1 is in fact technically returning to the Middle East as the flight used to make an intermediary stop in Bahrain between Singapore and London before the 747-400 came into service.
I am riding on VH-OQB today, the second A380 delivered to Qantas seven years ago (already!), named after Australia aviator and co-founder of Qantas Hudson Fish The city is visible in the background, as the airport is very close to the center of Sydney.
As covered in previous reports, Sydney Airport is under redevelopment.
Close up of the iconic Qantas livery (evolutionary designed specially created to be suited to the A380 painting requirements)
Virgin Austraila A330 in the background.
Traditional FR photo of the departures board
Plane spotting: A Jetstar 787 reading to taxi out
The sky is getting darker and darker
Ready to board. One aerobridge is dedicated to the upper deck of the aircraft, where the Premium Economy is located (back of the plane), Between Sydney and Dubai I will be seated in Premium Economy. This is my first ever Premium Economy experience
Unique seat configuration of the Qantas A380 fleet
We are ready to go, however a monster storm holds us at the end of the runway. We finally departs 45 min later.
A gorgeous view from the tail mounted IFE camera as our aircraft leaves the Sydney storm behind
it is a long flight to Dubai
To my surprise the seat is very comfortable. There is enough room not to touch my neighbour's elbow nor shoulder, which is luxury for me. Only drawback is that I am seating in the first row at the bulkhead thus no possibly to stretch my legs entirelly. On a positive note I have no one in front of me. The cabin is small and confined which gives a sense of privacy.
The IFE system is stored in the armrest (for every seat, not just front row seats), which I find quite disappointing as the monitor must be stored for take off and landing. As you know, these are the most interesting phases of the flight and always fun to monitor on the airshow (more so that there is a tail mounted camera!), Sadly I will not enjoy watching the take off in this powerful storm nor the interesting landing in Dubai… On a positive note the headseat is the same as those used in Business Class which is a bonus.
Soon dinner is served
and I must say my grilled barramundi filet is delicous.
The toilet is spacious and clean
The IFE is the same as the one found on Qantas short haul, however the choice of programme is much broader. The interface is quite intuitive and both screen touch and remote control can be used. I find the screen touch not always very responsive. Only one French movie amongst the selection, which is a little disappointing.
Long way to go…
Flying just over the 3 states border (New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland) which is called Cameron Corner.
After a good sleep a nice and tasty breakfast is served.
we are getting close to reaching destination
Well this is what I thought, but UAE Air Traffic Control has decided otherwise… We spend approximately 30 min in holding pattern, and have to abort our landing due to aircraft in front of us too slow to exist the runway…
Finally arrived, with a much longer flying time than anticipated (nealry 15 hours vs 14 hours scheduled). Seems that Dubai skies are very congested these days. The old rhetoric where infrastructures cannot cope with fast growing demand.
VH-OQB docked at Gate 24 in Dubai
To be continued with FR QF1 DXB/LHR
Sydney - SYD
Dubai - DXB
This QF1 flight was very interesting as I had the opportunity to fly in two different class, premium economy and economy back to back. Luckily I flew the longer sector in premium eco. The premium economy seat was comfortable enough for me to sleep about 7 hours which made the long flight go very quickly The cabin of the Qantas A380 is pleasant and comfortable, whether it is in premium eco or in eco. Crew on both class were friendly. The plane which is relatively new was in good condition. The IFE system is getting a little old. Unfortunately it is located in the armrest in premium eco, which means you have to stow it at take off and landing. Given the fierce competition amongst carriers, the QF IFE is due for a revamp in my opinion. All seats have a USB power outlet which is very useful. The premium eco cabin was full yet it still felt spacious and private enough. The eco cabin was not full, and having no one next to me made a huge difference as I could stretch and take a more comfortable position. All in all a very enjoyable experience (well I always enjoy flying to Europe so perhaps I am less critical....). Qantas product is solid in both class. Must admit I was very surprised by the premium eco product which is worth considering for long haul flight ex Australia to Europe. A great and cheaper alternative to Business Class. Lots of time was wasted in holding patterns, in DXB and LHR. Seems that DXB is becoming a very congested airport and air space. I could feel the pilot frustration through his announcement, saying the given estimated time of arrival would probably be blown away 30 min, and that this was his very own estimate (which proved to be accurate). Again a one stop journey through the Middle East or Asia is still a much preferred option to travel from Australia to Europe, versus a second stop over via LHR, CDG or FRA to reach a European secondary city such as Madrid.
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