Qantas is Australia’s largest airline. The Australian flag carrier has grown in popularity as an option for flying from North America to Australia directly, and for having one of the best First Class products available between the two regions.
While Qantas First Class offers a great product for long-haul flights, it’s also gained a reputation for becoming extremely hard to book one of these coveted seats with points.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Qantas First Class, including how to give yourself the best chance of ticking Qantas First Class off your list of aspirational aviation experiences.
The Qantas First Class Experience
While Qantas First Class is sure to be a very comfortable way to fly, the First Class journey begins well before you board the plane.
Qantas has a dedicated team called “First hosts” in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Singapore, and Los Angeles. Should you require any assistance, this team is available to help you at every step along the way.
For a comfortable check-in, there is also a dedicated First Class check-in suite in Sydney and Melbourne. Guests flying in Qantas First Class will enjoy priority boarding access in all airports via a separate lane.
Once checked in, the next step is making your way to one of the lovely Qantas First Class lounges, located in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, and Los Angeles.
The Qantas First International Lounge Los Angeles is often ranked as one of the best lounges in North America. The flagship lounges in Melbourne and Sydney both have LaGaia Unedited day spas, to help you feel refreshed and relaxed prior to your flight.
In fact, if you’re flying out of Melbourne or Sydney, Qantas First hosts will reach out to you the day before your flight in order to help you choose and book a complimentary spa treatment at one of the LaGaia Unedited spas.
There are four 20-minute complimentary treatments available to choose from, including facial elevation, a neck, shoulder, and scalp massage, a hot stone back massage, or a foot soak and massage.
All lounges have high-quality food options, with sommeliers on hand to educate and help you decide between Champagnes and some of the finest Australian wines to go along with your meal.
After relaxing in one of the lounges, the Qantas First Class experience continues once onboard the mammoth Airbus A380.
Despite a lack of a sliding door, which can be found on competing First Class airlines, the Qantas First Class seat still provides a great deal of privacy thanks to each seat’s spacious design.
Each seat can rotate from the original forward-facing position to face the window (if you’re sitting in a window seat) and the large 18” touchscreen entertainment screen.
If you’re seated in one of the middle seats, you can still enjoy a sense of privacy with the partitions. These are automatically raised during the flight, which blocks out exposure to the aisle on your left.
Each seat also has the capability of converting into a luxurious 6’9” bed. You’re sure to get cozy with Sheridan bedding, consisting of a 100% cotton woven throw, a duvet, a memory foam mattress, and your choice of pillows from the pillow menu.
As you prepare to ease into sleep, you can slip into your Qantas First Class pajamas with matching slippers. You’ll also have access to noise cancelling headphones and a LaGaia amenity kit.
Food and Drink
When it comes time to eat and drink your way through the skies, you’ll have a choice off of the Qantas First Class à la carte menu designed by Neil Perry, which showcases the best of Australia’s cuisine.
The Qantas First Class signature dishes are inspired by seasonality, and highlight local artisanal Australian producers. The menu also includes a number of premium plant-based options.
“Sommeliers in the Sky” are onboard and on hand to answer your questions about the available Australian and New Zealand wines. If you’re in the mood for something bubbly, you’ll be treated to a selection of sparkling wines, such as Taittinger Comtes 2008.
If you’re flying with a companion, you’ll also have the option of dining together, as each seat comes with a leather ottoman that’s large enough for someone to sit and join you for a meal.
Should you wish to stretch your legs and enjoy one of the many wines, spirits, or beers elsewhere on the plane, simply head up the stairs of the aircraft to the second level. Here, you’ll find a dedicated onboard bar and lounge, which is shared with business class passengers.
In the bar area, you’ll find a self-serve minibar with drinks and snacks, as well as a screen where you can watch movies.
The lounge is designed to make it easier to socialize with those with whom you’re traveling, or even to meet other passengers. Furthermore, there are tables with power outlets, which can be used to get some work done if you need a break from your First Class seat.
Qantas First Class Aircraft Cabins
Currently, Qantas First Class can only be found on the double-decker Airbus A380s. Located entirely on the main deck, each A380 has 14 First Class seats in a 1-1-1 layout spread out over five rows.
All five “A” window seats are located on the left side of the aircraft when facing the front, and are the most private, as they do not share an aisle with the four middle “F” seats when the partition is raised.
With slightly less privacy, the five “K” window seats on the opposite side share an aisle with the middle “F” seats.
While you’ll still enjoy a fair amount of seclusion no matter where you sit, Seats 1A–5A afford you the least amount of disruption. With the bathroom and the stairs located at the front of the aircraft, Seat 5A is where you’ll most likely find the most highest degree of privacy.
Note that Seat 2F, located at the very front in the middle row, provides a cocoon-like experience. Its unique location right under the stairs has earned it the aptly-named moniker of the “Harry Potter suite”.
If you’re flying with a companion, you’ll want to choose the seats designated “F” and “K” that share an aisle. Alternatively, you could always join your companion’s suite by utilizing the ottoman, or you could enjoy more time closer together in the A380’s onboard lounge.
If you’re flying solo, you’ll want to choose one of the five “A” window seats, or perhaps you could live out your dream of being Harry Potter for the trip and choose Seat 2F.
Note that Qantas is set to unveil a new First Class cabin on the Airbus A350-1000 in 2025, as part of Project Sunrise.
Upon its launch, which is for nonstop ultra-long-haul flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York, London, Frankfurt, and Paris, the cabin will feature sliding doors, separate sitting and sleeping areas, and an overall elevated experience.
Qantas First Class Routes
At this time, the only options are between Sydney and Los Angeles, Sydney and Singapore, and a fifth-freedom flight between Singapore and London.
Qantas has curtailed its First Class routes for the time being. In the past, First Class had been offered on flights between Sydney and Dallas Fort Worth, Sydney and Hong Kong, Melbourne and Los Angeles, and Melbourne and Singapore.
Hopefully, the number of Qantas routes offering First Class will be expanded in the near future to revert to previous levels, and we’ll certainly see the return of more First Class routes once Qantas takes delivery of its new Airbus A350s.
How to Redeem Points for Qantas First Class
Alas, redeeming points for Qantas First Class is notoriously difficult.
Even though Qantas is a part of the Oneworld airline alliance, they don’t often release First Class awards to be booked with points from partner airlines, even if there are unsold First Class seats the day before the flight.
To complicate matters even further, Qantas points aren’t easy to come by. And even if you are able to save up a large stash of Qantas points, redeeming them for Qantas First Class doesn’t always prove to be the best value.
The Qantas Frequent Flyer loyalty program uses a distance-based award chart to determine how many Qantas points are required to book a First Class classic reward seat.
For example, a First Class flight between Sydney and Los Angeles costs 162,800 Qantas points as a First Classic Reward, and a flight between the shortest distance of Sydney and Singapore costs 102,600 Qantas points as a First Classic Reward.
While these redemption options aren’t terrible, the reality is that you’ll have a hard time finding Qantas First Class classic reward availability.
Rather, you’ll likely be left with having to book either a First Class “Saver” or a First Class “Flex” fare through Qantas, which can range from 700,000–2,900,000 Qantas points for a one-way flight in First Class.
Instead, you’ll want to keep your Oneworld partner points accounts ready in the event that Qantas ever does release First Class award seats.
If there is availability, then one of the best options is through Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. In theory, a one-way Qantas First Class flight can be booked for just 70,000 Alaska miles between North America and Australia.
What’s more, you won’t have to pay any fuel surcharges, and you can always book a free stopover if all flights are with Qantas and/or Alaska Airlines.
Other loyalty programs from Oneworld airline members, such as JAL Mileage Bank, British Airways Avios, and American Airlines AAdvantage, can also be used to book Qantas First Class flights.
You’ll have a hard time finding award space to begin with, so be sure to pounce on the opportunity if it presents itself to you, which by all accounts is a once-in-many-years kind of occurrence.
Qantas First Class Award Availability
The best way to search for Qantas First Class award availability is to look 330+ days out using the American Airlines search function.
American Airlines allows you to specify direct First Class award flights in your search, showing one month of availability at a time. Without having to create an account, you can use this to quickly search a year’s worth of award space for the seemingly-impossible Qantas First Class flights.
Note that when searching through the results, you’ll likely encounter American Airlines First Class flights if you’re searching for flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, as in the above screenshot. Be sure to check each date that you find availability to determine which airline is offering the flight.
Flying Qantas First Class is an exclusive luxury known by a lucky few. However, if you are able to find the coveted award space, you’ll be treated to one of the better First Class experiences out there.
From complimentary spa treatments before your flight in Melbourne and Sydney, to one of the best North American lounges found in Los Angeles, you’ll be relaxed and ready before your long-haul flight on the double-decker Airbus A380.
Onboard, the time will fly by as you enjoy world-class food and top-shelf drinks, and you’ll be able to enjoy them by yourself in the comfort of your seat, with a companion, or in the company of others in the dedicated onboard lounge.