This review of Qantas Premium Economy and Qantas Business Class and how an upgrade can help with jetlag was updated on August 2018.
Flying to Australia from London is no easy feat, and choosing the right airline is just one part of the puzzle. The thought of an economy seat is daunting, you never know if Premium Economy will make that much difference and an upgrade to business or first might break the bank. It takes at least an entire day and wreaks havoc on your senses passing through multiple time zones and landing ‘ahead’ of time.
While the end destination is filled with excitement, the journey itself is often filled with dread.
When I took my first trip to Australia, I had only ever been in the air for no more than 13 hours. From London to the giant island down under (Melbourne to be exact), it would require two lengthy flights of seven and thirteen hours – in this case with Qantas, via a short stopover in Dubai.
- 1 Does a Flight Upgrade Help Ease the Symptoms of Jetlag?
- 2 Qantas Premium Economy Review – Arriving Into Australia at Night
- 3 Qantas Business Class Review – Landing in the UK during the Day
- 4 What Extras Do You Get With an Upgrade to Qantas Premium Economy and Business Class?
- 5 Final Verdict on Flying Qantas?
Does a Flight Upgrade Help Ease the Symptoms of Jetlag?
There are many ways in which you can minimise the effects of jetlag and counteract the groggy first few days in Australia as your body adjusts. Advice includes not eating too much on the flight, ditching the caffeine, limiting alcohol intake, to avoid sleeping on any ‘Eastbound’ flights (i.e. Europe or Southeast Asia to Australia) and avoiding big activities while getting outside as much as possible on arrival, for your body to easily adjust to its new time zone.
However, there is always the question about whether an upgrade on a long haul flights helps and if the extra cost is worth it?
The Qantas A380 flies from London to Melbourne with one stopover (either Dubai or Singapore), carrying 484 passengers on is double-decker system comprised of 14 First class suites and 371 Economy seats on the bottom deck and 64 fully-flat Business class beds and 35 Premium Economy seats on the upper deck.
Moving one class up to Premium Economy, or two to the ultimate comfort of Business, meant that I limited the time lost on-ground in Australia to jetlag. Comfort and being able to have a proper sleep are absolutely worth the extra expense. The jetlag from flying to Australia was the worst I’ve ever had, and if you can help lessen those effects, do so. It’s not a country you want to lose time in.
Qantas Premium Economy Review – Arriving Into Australia at Night
Since I was flying to Melbourne and landing at 11pm at night, I was advised that it was best to sleep on the leg to Dubai and stay awake for the 13 hour duration from Dubai to Melbourne in order to get my body adjusted and ready to sleep an entire night upon landing.
While we all dream of flying Business Class everywhere, an upgrade to Qantas Premium Economy class helped ease the long flying time pain on the lengthy section of the journey. Larger, roomy seats with extra incline, more leg room and a higher quality of food and drinks selection, meant a more comfortable atmosphere in which to relax.
You are welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, presented with a multiple-choice three-course menu, and can order snacks and drinks throughout the entire flight. A good choice when you have to force yourself to (ideally) stay awake for 13 hours.
Qantas Business Class Review – Landing in the UK during the Day
Leaving Melbourne in the evening, the journey would be a switch – sleep on the way to Dubai and stay awake on the Dubai to London leg to adjust to UK daytime. In this situation, a decent sleep is essential to prepare the body for the ‘backwards’ adjustment.
Not only does Qantas Business Class conjure up great expectations of a wonderful sleep, but also you have access to the Qantas Business Lounge at the airport (including the stop-over) with a decent selection of hot meals, snacks and beverages (alcohol included). On the flight itself you have access to a small relaxation lounge, complete with magazines and self-service snacks and refreshments.
I think flying Business Class should be the standard for all long-haul flights in relation to health and wellbeing and not just ultimate comfort, but it might be a long time before we ever arrive at that scenario. However, being able to go from seat to bed in a matter of seconds (in what feels like your own miniature hideaway) is a second-to-none experience when spending almost a whole day in the air.
What Extras Do You Get With an Upgrade to Qantas Premium Economy and Business Class?
Priority Passenger Status
Qantas flies the biggest plane – an A380 – to Melbourne, and so you can only imagine the time it takes to board and disembark all passengers. Upgrades include priority check-in and boarding, and priority disembarkation (that I would pay for just to get through passport control more quickly).
Extras for Work and Play
In-seat power to get work done? Check. Noise cancelling headphones for a better in-flight entertainment experience with over 100 movies and 500 TV shows to choose from? Check. In Premium Economy power plugs are still shared between seats, whereas Business has a power port per passenger and an added USB port. Those little added conveniences make for a more enjoyable (and productive) flight.
A More Enjoyable Dining Experience
Your three-course meal is served with silverware and on a white tablecloth – a touch of luxury on a super long flight and one that I wasn’t expecting! Both upgrade classes serve a menu created by top Australian chef, Neil Perry (whose famous Rockpool restaurant we visited in Melbourne), wines from the renowned Yarra Valley and a special blend of Four Pillars Gin created exclusively for Qantas. These are all must-see places in Victoria, with the flight providing a taster of what I came to later experience on my Road Trip in Melbourne and beyond.
Qantas Business Class Amenity Kit
I’ve seen some amenity kits from flights that don’t light my fire, but getting a Kate Spade (of Jack Spade for the boys) bag on a Qantas flight is a stylish bonus, complete with Aspar mini toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and the much-needed eye mask (in case you were not sleeping well enough already). Another special touch is the comfy Qantas Pyjamas, which you will want to change straight into!
Flight Crew Service
Now, I have no doubt Qantas crew in Economy are just as cheery and helpful, but the crew on both legs of my Premium Economy and Business flights went above and beyond. They were always upbeat, talkative, helpful, offered tips about their home cities in Australia, and were there to make up for bed for you when you needed it. In fact, they were such a big part of our flight experience that we actually felt emotional to have each group leave at every crew handover.
Final Verdict on Flying Qantas?
If you come across an upgrade deal take it.
If you are pondering if the extra few hundred pounds is worth it, think about how this helps you not lose time on the ground in Australia due to the heavy effects of jetlag and the extreme tiredness from all that time spent in the air.
However, one thing to remember is that you pay for a better experience overall – those little extra touches and very special service are also an unforgettable part of the start of your trip in Australia, and some which help to ease the pain of sadly having to leave.