After stepping off a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on Qantas in premium economy class on the A380, I felt oddly refreshed. What I thought would impress me failed to impress me while what I thought would fail to impress me ended up impressing me.
Qantas A380 Premium Economy Class: My First Impressions
The Qantas A380 premium economy cabin is huge with 60 seats on the upper deck. I was able to snag 31K, a bulkhead seat, which opened up at check-in. This seat provided extra legroom, no one reclining in front of me, and access to storage under the window.
I figured I would not be able to sleep well because it was not a lie-flat bed, but I actually managed to sleep very well for about eight hours. Part of that was undoubtedly how tired I was, but the seat was very genuinely comfortable and most of all I liked how the footrest flipped out 90º from the bulkhead, creating a comfortable mesh canopy for my feet like a hammock. Somehow, I was able to side sleep in the fetal position with my feet and ankles resting on the footrest.
What also helped was the superb pillow and blanket, which was frankly far better than the business class blankets on carriers I frequent like SWISS or Austrian.
I knew Qantas has not yet installed internet on its A380 and while going 15 hours without internet is a long time, I was prepared for it and enjoyed watching movies while awake.
What failed to impressed me was the meal service. It wasn’t bad, mind you, and was nicely plated, but it seemed like it was just economy class food served in ceramic instead of plastic dishes.
The beef and vegetable dinner entree tasted like a cheap frozen dinner and the pre-arrival breakfast featured those nasty triangular hash browns that used to be a staple of my elementary school cafeteria as well as ham and mushrooms that were so processed they were inedible. There was no croissants or breakfast rolls loaded either.
But it wasn’t all bad. I asked a flight attendant if she could mix me up a makeshift Negroni with dinner (using Campari, gin, and the desert wine since there was no Vermouth) and it turned out quite well.
The mid flights snacks were also very good, especially the cheese toasties:
And the French Press coffee was also strong and flavorful.
Overall, this was a very good flight.
I have a feeling that had I been stuck in middle seat for the longhaul flight, my assessment would be less favorable, but 31K was excellent, the service was lovely, elements of the meal service like the mid-flight snack and coffee were great, and best of all I slept well.
I’m still going to fly business class when I can, but this was a very manageable experience.
Stay tuned for a full review with more info on the seating, IFE, amenity kit, lavatories, and other aspects of the service both on the ground and in the air.