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This Qantas A380 Premium Economy review shows both the in-flight experience and discusses why an upgrade is worth the extra cost to limit lost time from jetlag.
Flying to Australia from London or any European city is no easy feat; choosing the right airline is just one part of the puzzle. It takes at least an entire day and wreaks havoc on your senses, passing through multiple time zones and landing ‘ahead’ of time.
Flying to Australia on Qantas Premium Economy made a huge difference in minimising jetlag on arrival and not losing time on the ground exploring. Flying home in Qantas Business Class meant not feeling hammered from a long Australia trip and getting back to normal from the considerable time difference.
Usually, a long-haul flight requires a lot of planning and decision making. The thought of a cramped economy seat is daunting despite the more attractive price, and you never know if an upgrade to Premium Economy will make that much difference, and a business class seat might break the bank. While the end destination is exciting, 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 Melbourne, it would require two lengthy flights of seven and thirteen hours with Qantas, via a short stopover in Dubai.
So, was the Qantas A380 Premium Economy offering worth it?
- Does a Flight Upgrade Help Ease the Symptoms of Jetlag?
- Qantas Premium Economy Review – Arriving Into Australia at Night
- Qantas Business Class Review – Landing in the UK during the Day
- What Extras Do You Get With an Upgrade to Qantas Premium Economy and Business Class?
- Final Verdict on Flying Qantas A380?
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 overeating on the flight, ditching caffeine, and limiting alcohol intake.
It extends to avoiding sleeping on any ‘Eastbound’ flights (i.e., Europe or Southeast Asia to Australia) and avoiding significant activities while getting outside as much as possible on arrival for your body to adjust to its new time zone quickly.
The Qantas A380 flies from London to Melbourne with one stopover in Dubai or Singapore. It carries 484 passengers on its 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 comfort of Business meant I limited the time lost on-ground in Australia to jetlag. Comfort and proper sleep are 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 where you want to lose time.
Qantas Premium Economy Review – Arriving Into Australia at Night
Since I was flying to Melbourne and landing at 11 pm, 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 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 prolonged flying time pain on the lengthy section of the journey. Larger, roomy seats with extra incline, more legroom, and a higher food and drink selection meant a more comfortable atmosphere 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. The right 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, decent sleep is essential to prepare the body for the ‘backwards’ adjustment.
Not only does Qantas Business Class conjure up great expectations of excellent sleep, but also you have access to the Qantas Business Lounge at the airport (including the stopover) 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 concerning health 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, 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 to get through passport control more quickly).
Extras for Work and Play
In-seat power to get work done? Check. Noise-canceling 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 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 unique 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 Victoria.
Qantas Business Class Amenity Kit
I’ve seen some amenity kits from flights that don’t light my fire, but getting a Kate Spade (or Jack Spade for the boys) bag on a Qantas flight is a stylish bonus. It comes complete with Aspar mini toiletries, a 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 the 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, and helpful, offered tips about their home cities in Australia, and were there to make up for bed for you when you needed it. They were such a big part of our flight experience that we felt emotional to have each group leave at every crew handover.
Final Verdict on Flying Qantas A380?
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 severe 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 exceptional service are also an unforgettable part of the start of your trip in Australia and some help to ease the pain of sadly having to leave.
I wish I would have upgraded! I flew from Melbourne to Guatemala, and it wrecked me, plus my luggage got lost in Hawaii 🙁 Luckily I had a ton of podcasts on my phone so I stayed up the entire time, It still took almost three days for my body to adjust. You don’t realise how far Australia is until you get down there!
As an Australian who regularly flies Qantas I couldn’t agree more with your review ! – so true and these upgrades make it a lot easier to deal with jet lag and arrive at your destination with a spring in your step despite the distance. Great post X
A great review there – got me dreaming, totally felt on the plane! Long-hauls are terrible but it sounds like you had some proper chill time (and did some work too). If I am to go to Australia again soon I’d definitely look at upgrade options. Or at least – read more anti-jet lag tips.