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.
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.
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
will cover my flight on the Qantas A380 from Sydney to Singapore in
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Qantas Economy Class Check-in Area
Salad: Did Not Want To Stuff Myself
Before The Flight
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.
Standing In Line For Check-In
“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.
My Boarding Pass
Etihad Check-In Desks
Qantas Ticketing Desk
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.
My Aircraft (VH-OQC) Well Before My
Etihad Airways (A6-EHH) A346
Qantas B744 (VH-OEH)
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.
Duty Free Shopping
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.
Barricaded Gate Area
At 2:40pm the aircraft pulled into the gate, and more people began to
crowd the seating area close to Gate 9.
Pulling Into The Gate
London & Singapore Bound
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.
Gate 9 Holding Area
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.
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.
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
evening sir, please proceed this way to board the aircraft”
camera! .. Feel free to take as many pictures of the aircraft before
boarding if you like”
The Big Beast
Walking Through The Aerobridge
Arriving At Door 2L
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
By 4:20pm I was on board.
Flight No.: QF31
Routing: Sydney - Singapore
Scheduled Departure Time: 04:25 PM
Actual Departure Time 04:40 PM (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:30 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 10:35 PM
Equipment: Airbus A380-800
My seat was located at the
very last row on the lower deck of the aircraft, so I got to see all
the different colored seats on my way.
Deep Red Seats
The Infamous Green Seats Which
Turned Out To Be My Favorite!
The cabin looked outstanding!
The mixture of the colored fronts with the black back of the seats was
an amazing contrast. The seat itself was also very comfortable, and the
seat pitch was great.
My favorite part of the
aircraft however is the self-service bar located in the back of the
cabin. I found it to be smart, secure, and very useful.
Self-Service Bar Area
Another nice feature was the
availability of the menu on the IFE screen, in addition to a journey
planner, which is a simple, yet very useful guide to the in-flight
service. This may all seem boring, but little touches like these can go
a very long way, especially in Economy Class.
At 4:30pm the captain made an
announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing
to Singapore and that our flight time this evening was 7 hours and 15
minutes. The seatbelt sign was then switched on, and the cabin crew
made their final preparations before departure.
Pushback occurred at 4:40pm,
and a departure announcement was made by our German Customer Service
Manager. This was followed by the safety demonstration which included
both a display on the IFE screens and also a manual one by the crew.
This I found to be quite confusing.
After our taxi to the runway,
we took off ever so quietly at 4:58pm, and were on our way to SIN
As we reached cruising
altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the cabin crew were
released to prepare for the service.
Inflight Service Commenced With A
Hot Towel Service
Followed By Menus & Water
The cabin crew seemed very
cheerful and were very friendly with everyone. They were especially
attentive with the elderly passengers and treated all of them were
great care. This flight reminded me of the old days during the eighties
when I used to fly Lufthansa across the Atlantic.
Shortly afterwards, special
meals were distributed, and this was followed by the main trolley
service for the rest of the passengers.
“Tonight we are offering the
lamb instead of the fish that’s listed on the menu, and chicken. What
would you like to have sir?”
“I’ll have the chicken please”
“Anything to drink with that?”
“Tomato juice please”
“I have Bloody Mary mix, is
“That’s perfect. Thanks”
My Chicken Meal
The meal tray looked very nice
however, the meal itself in its entirety was quite bland in taste.
After I was done eating, my meal tray was collected, and I was
beginning to feel sleepy.
About three hours into the
flight, I woke up to a hot drink service that consisted of a choice
between hot chocolate of peppermint tea, in which I decided to have the
tea. I was quite pleased with this service, as it felt a little homey,
and quite unique to my previous experiences.
Hot Chocolate & Peppermint
My Peppermint Tea
As the crew were by my side,
the aircraft encountered some turbulence that caused some sudden
shaking. As a result, some of the hot tea on the trolley spilled on me.
The crew was extremely apologetic and immediately went back to the
galley to bring me some towels to dry up. Also, 30 minutes later she
returned to me to apologize once again and make sure that everything
I dozed off for a little more,
and woke up about 1.5 hours before arrival into Singapore. I decided to
pay a visit to the bar area in the back, and also to the lavatory.
Bar Area Offering Quick Salty
& Sweet Snacks, Fruit, And Drinks
After returning to my seat,
the cabin lights were turned on and the cabin crew were preparing for
the refreshment service. Special meals were distributed first before
the main trolley service for the rest of the passengers.
Special Meals Distributed
Main Trolley Service
“We are just coming in to
Singapore, and we are offering a refreshment service. We have penne
pasta with pesto and roasted vegetables”
My Meal Tray
Another Bland Meal
After the meal service, my
meal tray was collected. I then decided to give the IFE a quick try and
discovered that Little Britain was available. I also noticed that the
IFE selection on Qantas was not your conventional mainstream
collection, but more of a style with an edge. Setting EK’s
ICE aside, which we all know is the best, I think Qantas’s IFE is my
second favorite; it’s just different!
The Computer Says No!
At 10:05pm Singapore local
time, the captain made an announcement to inform us that we were about
to start our initial descent towards Changi International Airport. He
also advised us that touchdown was estimated to be at 10:35pm.
The cabin crew collected the
headsets, and made their final preparations for landing. Strangely, the
seatbelt sign was only switched on at 10:30pm, a mere five minutes
With one of the smoothest
approaches that this aircraft is known for, we touched down at Changi
at exactly 10:35pm local time, bringing this flight to an end.
After a quick taxi to the
gate, the engines powered out and the seatbelt sign was switched off.
All passengers got up, gathered their belongings and prepared to
Overall, I was very satisfied
with the product that Qantas has offered on the A380. The service was
efficient, the crew was friendly, and hardware was great, from the
seats, to the cabin, and especially the IFE. I realize that things may
be different on their older 744’s for example, but I was definitely
impressed with the A380 product. My only minor gripe was with the
tasteless and generic food that was offered.