Flight Number: QF 10
Departing: London Heathrow LHR 12:45
Arriving: Dubai DXB
Operated By: Qantas
Class: Business (J)
Type: Upgrade from Flexible Economy
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A380-842 VH-OQH
Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
Frequent Flyer Points Earned: 3400
One week before the flight I chose to place my bid for an upgrade from Flexible Economy to Business Class, normally this would be cutting it fine, though I had been watching ExpertFlyer from three weeks prior to see how many seats were still available; I’m a window seat person and was waiting to see if one would become available, in the end it didn’t 😦 none the less though I managed to snag a seat in the front, smaller section of Business class. A word of warning, when you place a points upgrade from Economy to Business with Qantas be sure to deselect the “If no Business class seats are available place a bid for Premium economy” option on International flights, even though its for less points I don’t think it is worth it.
In total it cost me 15,000 points from Flexible Economy though if you were in standard Economy it would cost 24,000 points each.
Qantas didn’t allow me to check in for this flight on-line, nor was I able to book the chaffer service as it was a points upgrade. I’d recommend to make sure to get to the airport early and head straight to the check-in desks. Despite this though, when I arrived the line for economy was short with business and first not having to wait. The process was seamless, with the lady at the business desk welcoming me with a smile and printing my pass in good time; I hate it when they circle parts of your boarding pass, I know how to read!! Luckily, she didn’t. From there it was a short walk to the priority security screening.
Surely we’ve all heard of those stories about how long and arduous everything at LHR is, security is no exception; having said that, it didn’t really seem that bad though.
Qantas customers in First or Business Class or those with Platinum One, Platinum or Gold QFF status flying on a QF Flight or Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire holders are able to access the British Airways Galleries Club T3 lounge with one guest whereas Qantas Club members and their guest must use the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge.
As a Business Class passenger, I headed for the British Airways lounge which was easy to locate, once through the long corridor I was greeted by a British Airways employee at the door where my boarding pass was scanned. Once past some oddly placed seating in a small corridor, you walk through a large seating area with a buffet along the wall which was well stocked.
The Lounge was pleasant, it was clean and staff were quick to pick up plates and glasses though looked disinterested and not in a mood to talk at all! The view wasn’t all that bad even though the windows are a bit small and don’t let much light into the lounge, mind you its always cloudy in London!
From the lounge, it was a 5 minute walk or 4 minute travelator ride to gate 1. Shortly after arriving at the gate boarding began.
Boarding began on schedule with passengers called up by class. As Premium Economy is located directly behind Business class on the A380, it seemed quite busy in the main Business cabin with lots of passengers trying to pass to get to PE; other than that the process was smooth with passengers greeted with hello Mr…, hello Mrs…. with drinks served to our seats quickly.
Despite missing out on a window seat, 13E proved to be a good choice, it was in the smaller more quiet Business cabin and there were plenty of flight attendants to cater to everyone’s needs. The good thing about being in the middle (E or F) is that no one will climb over you to get to the aisle. Below is the Seatguru diagram of the Business Cabin…
Despite row 13 being highlighted in yellow, there was barely any noise from the galley behind and the bathrooms were no bother as it was closer to the galley than the cabin as there was a coat closet between the seat which acted a bit like a sound barrier; that coupled with the curtain being drawn made the cabin quite for sleeping. A word of warning though, aisle seats in row 11 (B,E,F,J) will experience some light from the ‘Qantas-Couch’ area at the front of the A380 as the lights in that area are not dimmed and may become annoying when someone moves the curtain to pass through the cabin.
The above photo is of seat 13E with blankets and pillows for the flight, note that the headphones are my own but a set is supplied which can just be seen to the left of the pillow.
The Qantas A380 Business Class seat reclines to a fully flat bed and coupled with what I think may be the softest duvet in the Business Class skies made for an easy and more than satisfying sleep on the seven hour trip to Dubai. The seat also features a massage function with different settings which make for a really refreshing wakeup.
As per usual, the cabin crew were attentive and intuitive, always coming around to check on you, asking if you wanted a drink or if there was anything they could do for you. The intuitive attendant working my row saw that I had reclined my seat to almost horizontal whilst watching a move after the cabin had been dimmed for sleeping, during that time I went to the bathroom and as I returned he kindly said “Mr …. your bed has been made, would you like an ice cream to complement your movie?” It was such a nice gesture, instead of me asking to have it done and feeling bad, the attendant kindly used his own initiative and made it for me. Some of the crew members were even keen for a chat when they noticed me having a drink on the ‘Qantas Couch’, they were really nice but what really got them was that I was travelling without my parents!! They had a good laugh with me about that!
After 7 hours it was time to leave the plane at Dubai, it would be continuing to Melbourne though I wouldn’t. I really enjoyed the flight and the crew were very professional throughout. An international upgrade is the best way to use your points as opposed to a domestic upgrade considering that it only cost me 15,000 from flexible economy for seven hours compared to 10,000 for the 5 hour domestic flight from Sydney to Perth; the International Business Cabin is by far better than the domestic equivalent though Qantas are improving their A330-200 & -300 cabins to meet the high standards, if you were flying a 737 I would highly recommend saving the points for another day.