QANTAS: A380 returns to service Tuesday 11 January
Yep, that’s correct, 3 days a week, an A380 will be flying between Sydney and Los Angeles in less than a fortnight. Qantas wasn’t expecting to bring them back to the sky – other than for crew training – until June 2022, so they will be back in the air nearly 6 months early.
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Why the early return?
The SMH is reporting that the early return of the superjumbo to the skies is due to the pressure on 787 pilots flying into Brisbane, where they have to complete a 14-day quarantine according to Queensland health regulations before flying again. Bringing back the A380 means fewer flights while maintaining capacity, and shifts the burden from 787 pilots to A380 pilots. Qantas has about 70 Brisbane based 787 piots.
Brisbane to LAX – now with First Class
So the good news is that you can now fly on the passenger preferred superjumbo between Brisbane and LAX. Even better, reinstating the A380 to international flying also means Qantas now has at least one First Class service in the air in the re-modelled version of the A380. Passengers will delight in the restyled Business Class, Premium Economy, and onboard lounges in these updated interiors.
If you are a premium status flyer already booked in Business on the B787, Qantas may contact you and offer you a seat on one of the 14 First Class suites as a complimentary upgrade. It doesn’t look like they are offering First Class for sale.
The downside is that services reduce from daily on the 787 to 3 times a week on the A380 with one additional Boeing 787 flight, making it a 4 instead of 7 days a week service. Capacity won’t change though, given the A380 can hold about twice as many passengers as the B787.
Other effects of 787 pilot shortage
Melbourne to Los Angeles and London flights are also being affected by the Brisbane quarantine restrictions on pilots. Melbourne to London will drop from daily to around 4 flights per week, and Melbourne to Los Angeles, with drop back from 4 to 3 per week. Given the way people are cancelling travel plans due to omicron – re-accommodating travellers from cancelled flights doesn’t sound like a problem.
90% vaccination will herald Queensland changes
Queensland health authorities say that once 90% of northerners and double vaccinated, expected in late January, the quarantine restrictions will change, allowing Qantas to resume its previous 787 schedules
A380 future flights
Current plans have Qantas restoring the A380 to the Sydney to London route via Singapore from 19 June. Qantas is planning to have 6 of 12 planes back in Australia by the end of 2022, and another 4 back in service by early 2024, with the final 2 being ‘surplus to requirements.”
If you are already booked from Brisbane to LAX and have high status with Qantas, then you might be in for a treat – one of the lucky 14 offered an upgrade to First for that 14-hour flight. On the other hand, flying into an omicron pandemic is not my idea of fun.