Seat: 12E (Business Middle Aisle Upper Deck)
Departed: 20.01 (Scheduled 12.35 SYD)
Arrived: 19.42 (Scheduled 13.00 DFW)
Duration: 14 hour 49 minutes
Distance: 13,804 kms
This was the second leg of three flights to get to Bogotá, Colombia. The first flight was a domestic flight Melbourne to Sydney which was first cancelled and my replacement flight was then delayed. First flight was delayed by 6 hours as a result of Sydney Airport only using one runway due to windy weather.
This flight was almost the reverse of my previous Dallas to Brisbane flight taken back in February 2013 which was slightly shorter distance at 13,363 kms compared to this flights 13,804.
Airport Check In
Airport Check In actually occurred back at Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport in order to travel on QF442 Melbourne to Sydney (in business class review here) to position for this flight. I checked my bag in at Melbourne Terminal 1, which is the Qantas terminal for domestic flights, for both the domestic and international flights.
While Qantas Domestic Check in is focused on self service kiosks there are still a few staffed check in counters (located near entering to Terminal 2 for international flights) which I used.
On arrival into Sydney Airport Domestic Terminal 3 at Gate 8 I quickly went to Gate 15 which is the International Transfer gate so you can use a Qantas courtesy bus that takes you across the tarmac. I only had to wait 4 minutes for the bus as the service was expanded due to sorry many passenger arriving late into Sydney.
As I was travelling in Business Class I got to use the Qantas Melbourne Domestic Business lounge (review here).
In Sydney I got access to the Qantas Sydney International First Lounge due to Qantas listing me as a Platinum member. I only got to visit the First Lounge for around 8 minutes so no review but it is an awesome lounge so regretted not getting to really use before such a big flight.
Before accessing the Gate area you need to pass an additional security screening run by or on behalf of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I was randomly selected for additional question likely due to be a single male passenger.
We boarded from Gate 8 using priority boarding which for international flights actually works and I got to skip the large queue and board on the upper deck.
The Seat and Facilities
Qantas A380 Business Class seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. The seats are 21 inches (53.34 cm) wide and have 78 inches (198.12 cm) of legroom. There is also individual USB and power points for each seat.
You can fully recline the seats in your seats private shell to fully lie-flat mode. When fully flat, your head is inside the shell of the seat, which provides some privacy. There are also dividers between the seats. There is also a pop up 12.1-inch touchscreen.
I selected the middle aisle seat as that meant I didn’t have anyone either stepping over me or me stepping over them that you would have with a window seat.
You put a thin ‘mattress’ or chair covering over the seat to make it more comfortable. The seat turns into a bed which is almost lie-flat. While this is a large enough space and I did find it useful for sleeping somehow I did wake up with a sore neck but that’s probably due to me more than the seat.
My seat was in the upper deck forward Business class cabin. There was three rows of four seats so twelve in total. All but 2 seats were occupied in this cabin. Usually this cabin is reserved for higher status qantas members.
There is also a small lounge area on the upper deck which basically isn’t used by passengers although I did use it for about 20 minutes on this long flight sitting down on comfortable chairs having a drink and reading some articles form the magazines provided in this area.
Finally for this forward business cabin located at the back there were 2 toilets allocated (which are also used by the cabin immediately behind us). These are very small spaces, likely the same as economy class. There were regularly cleaned but maybe could be a little bigger to reflect business class cabin.
The amenity kit was handed out before I had settled into my seat it contained:
- Relax & Hydrate Travel Essentials (Hand cream, face moisturiser and lip balm)
- Ear plugs
- Tooth brush and toothpaste
Meals and Drinks
In business class you are offered a pre departure water (still or sparkling) or wine.
Additionally for select intentional routes Qantas offers a pre-flight main meal booking service in Economy, Premium Economy and Business (but not First), the services opens up 7 days from departure. For this flight Qantas offered 4 main options (large plate) and 3 entrees (small plate). I choose the:
- Entree: Pork and shiitake dumplings with pickled cucumber and spicy black vinegar and sesame dressing
- Main: Seared Humpty Doo barramundi with tamarind sauce, gai lan and jasmine rice.
The main meal, which on the original flight would have been lunch but served on the delay as dinner, was served 30 minutes into the flight. The full menu is here.
These meals also come with a salad and bread service along with drink options. You also have desert options I choose ice cream.
The main meal service was delicious, very filling and lots of taste with what I ordered
You pre order breakfast within the first 3 minutes of the flight. I was served breakfast 1 hour and 45 minutes before landing. This meal was being served around 5.30 pm Dallas time but without the delay would have been closer to 11 am local arrival time.
For breakfast I selected a orange juice, croissant (which was very large), free range scrambled eggs with bacon, sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes. Nice warm and filling breakfast.
Throughout the flight you can order warm and cold snacks (which I didn’t), order drinks (which I did but not alcohol) or go to a small self serve food area with chips, drinks, biscuits and chocolates.
The service was excellent. The chief flight attendant introduced herself to all ten passengers in this forward business cabin. Staff regularly checked in with you to see if you wanted anything and on the occasions I did request an item it arrived promptly.
The Qantas Entertainment System is available via the pop up 12.1-inch touchscreen and had an extensive range of movies (including Premiere, Marvel, Disney, and Classic movie selections) and TV shows (with most shows having a complete season to binge watch).
I actually used my own device to watch some movies instead of the entertainment system and sleep a lot of the flight (not a reflection on the entertainment section). I did set up a music selection to listen to for an hour however.
The entertainment system allows you to track the flight in real time but not external cameras.
The flight was very smooth. I was just very happy to have made it. Whatever turbulence was mild and very brief.
On arrival at 19.42 (local time) at Dallas Fort Worth Airport you have to clear immigration and customs. I had Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ETSA) Visa Waiver so went to that line which moved okay but was long and had multiple sections including using a self service kiosk to answer questions and have your photo taken. I cleared immigration at 20.14 so just over 30 minutes.
At baggage claim my bag eventually came out at 20.48 so just over one hour after landing. I was one of the last bags out despite the first class labels (due to Qantas membership). However I was just happy my bag made it after the very tight connection back in Sydney.
The A380 is a breast of a plane, very large but also very quiet. The Qantas business class seats are good but starting to be a little dated for a premium airline but they will be upgrading them over the next year. The lack of direct aisle access for all business class passengers is disappointing but an upside of getting a window seat (and therefore having to step over another passenger to get out) is the extra storage space which is a nice addition.
The Qantas flight attendants were first rate, the meals very tasty with a good selection. The cabin was in good condition and was maintained well though out the flight. the lengthily delay was unfortunate but not really Qantas’ fault due to Sydney Airport restrictions.
A very good way to fly to USA.