Flying on the “world’s most experienced airline” can raise a lot of expectations. However, as far as Qantas is concerned, this statement may be overkill when and if one submits to the world of today’s media. From serious safety incidents that spiked several others that I like to call media-induced, all the way to the airline’s very own Australians voting it to be the worst of the bunch. As a matter of fact, during the post-nineties era, I have rarely heard anything good about this airline. Long were the days when the world believed that Qantas is the safest airline in the world.
But they are a Oneworld member and to me, that says something. Furthermore, they are positioned out in the middle of no where, and for an airline this big that has succeeded in the non-reliance of networking passengers from one end to another via a midpoint is by far the clearest indicator of how powerful this airline is.
Today the A380 made its second home at Qantas, offering an attractive product that has caused a bit of an unattractive stir. Naturally one can only compare with the offerings of Emirates and Singapore Airlines, two of Qantas’s worst enemies, and the famed vomit-green seats just don’t seem to do it for many. I beg to differ on the other hand, and would like to give this airline a try.
Welcome to my 15th Trip Report,
This TR will cover my flight on the Qantas A380 from Sydney to Singapore in Economy Class.
This is the second portion of my trip to Sydney and Singapore. After spending several days in Sydney, I had planned to visit Singapore on my way back to Abu Dhabi. I have been to Singapore when I was five years old, so that doesn’t really count now. After constantly hearing about how perfect this place is, perfect to the point that it’s utterly weird to many people, I was very curious to see what it was all about.
In selecting the flight, I had several conventional options and several interesting unconventional ones to choose from. There was the Singapore Airlines A380 which was quite intriguing, but at the same time gave me no loyalty credit. On the other hand, there was Japan Airlines and Qantas, both of which I am entitled to Oneworld mileage accrual. JAL was possible through purchasing two separate one-way tickets, which was a hassle at that point, so Qantas along with its A380 was a no brainer this time.
Tuesday April 21st 2009
After a fantastic stay in Sydney, it was time to start my journey back home. The thought of that reminds me of a holiday’s end. However, I still had the stopover in Singapore to look forward to, so it wasn’t so bad.
As usual, I wanted to take it slow and spend a ridiculous amount of time at the airport before my flight, so I left the hotel at 11am. Grabbing a taxi after checking out, I arrived at Kingsford Smith International Airport at 11:35am. Having about five hours before my flight departed, I was in no rush.
I decided to try and check-in so as to rid myself from my suitcase. At 11:45am I stood in line for check-in and when it was my turn, I was advised that check-in for QF31 does not open until four hours before departure. So I had almost an hour to kill before returning and thought I would grab a bite to eat at the food court.
At 12:30pm I returned back to the check-in desks, and stood in line again. Soon enough it was my turn and I approached the Qantas agent who warmly greeted me as I handed her my ticket, passport, and Marco Polo Card.
“Is the flight full this evening?”
“Yes the flight is very full… oh you are flying on the A380 tonight”
“Yes I know, that is the main reason for traveling today”
“Fantastic, is this your first time?”
“No, I flew on the Emirates A380 before”
“Oh that must have been a great experience! .. Well I hope you will enjoy your flight with us today”
Spot on Qantas! A very nice start to my experience with them.
By 12:40pm my suitcase was on its way to Singapore, and my passport, ticket, and boarding pass were handed to me. It was now time for some airport sightseeing.
I found Sydney Airport to be quite dull and very basic. It was definitely no comparison to any world-class airport, but I do know that it is managed by a solid company. It reminded me of a typical American type of airport, with basic architecture and usual facilities that are all available, but in a simple and subtle way. It was boring! I did like the airport’s observation deck however, and spent some time there as well.
At around 2:10pm I went through immigration and security and by 2:20pm I was airside. It was interesting to note that immediately after immigration and security you enter into the duty free shopping area. You do not even get a chance to walk to get to it.
Arriving close to Gate 9, I found it to be barricaded off and no one was allowed to enter it until some time before the flight boards. It seemed like the gates in that area were high-security gates as taking a look inside the area revealed several security check desks lined up.
At 2:40pm the aircraft pulled into the gate, and more people began to crowd the seating area close to Gate 9.
At around 3:25pm, the holding area was opened and security let everyone in. I proceeded to the holding area and took a seat. By 3:45pm the crew appeared one by one with their new uniforms and cat-walked their way into the aircraft.
At 3:55pm, a pre-boarding announcement was made calling for all families with children, passengers requiring assistance, and unaccompanied minors to board the aircraft. This was followed by a boarding call for premium passengers at 4:05pm and a general boarding call according to row numbers for Economy Class at 4:15pm.
The boarding system for the Qantas A380 is different to that of Emirates for obvious reasons. There are two entrances that connect to three aerobridges. One entrance is for First and Economy passengers that connect to two aerobridges, one being for First and one for Economy. The second entrance is for Business Class and Premium Economy that connects to the upper-deck aerobridge.
I got up, gathered my belongings and stood in a short queue before arriving next to a Qantas agent who took my boarding pass, tore off the large portion for her and handed me back my stub.
“Enjoy your flight sir”
Walking through the Economy Class entrance, I found two Qantas cabin crew standing right in front of the aerobridges, welcoming passengers, and guiding them to their respective aerobridge.
“Good evening sir, please proceed this way to board the aircraft”
“Nice camera! .. Feel free to take as many pictures of the aircraft before boarding if you like”
I arrived at Door 2L and was greeted by a very pretty Australian crew who was welcoming passengers on board.
“Welcome on board sir, your seat is 86H, please proceed this way and to the right”
By 4:20pm I was on board.