Qantas A380 Dallas Flight Schedule Loaded — No Award Space Yet

Last week Qantas announced that they will be launching A380 service to Dallas starting later this year. Qantas isn’t taking delivery of anymore A380 aircraft, so they were able to make this work by strategically retiming some of their current A380 flights and reducing A380 service to Hong Kong. This will be the furthest A380 flight in the world, so it will take two aircraft to operate the daily service.

Dallas-to-Sydney

While the change in equipment on the route was announced last week, they said that the schedule would only be updated as of May 14, 2014. By the miracles of timezones it’s already May 14, 2014, and Qantas has updated their schedule to reflect the A380 service.

Why is this potentially exciting/why should you care?

  • Qantas is historically really stingy with premium cabin award space to/from the US, so the hope was that this would translate into some additional premium cabin award seats as soon as the schedule was loaded.
  • Since they’re changing the route from a 747-400 to an A380, that means the route will now feature first class, which it previously didn’t. The hope of course is that they make some A380 first class award space available, as it’s so tough to come by to/from the US that it almost seems impossible.

Qantas-A380-First-Class
Qantas A380 first class

I promised I’d stay on top of this and provide an update as soon as I saw something. And Qantas did indeed update the schedule to reflect the A380 just a few hours ago. The 747-400 had to stop in Brisbane on the westbound flights, and the schedule no longer shows that, as the flight will now be nonstop in both directions.

Interestingly Qantas shows the A380 loaded, but doesn’t actually show first class inventory. As of now business class is the highest cabin offered.

Qantas-Inventory-Dallas

If you look at the seatmap you’ll see the first class seats on there, though they’re all blocked off.

Qantas-First-Class-Seatmap

So this leads to two possible conclusions:

  • Qantas hasn’t yet gotten around to adding first class inventory. That’s the most likely explanation. They may not have decided how they want to price the cabin yet or what fare classes they want to load inventory in (only full fare first class, discounted first class, etc.). After all, they literally just updated the aircraft on this route.
  • Qantas doesn’t plan on selling first class on the route. This is highly unlikely though theoretically possible, I suppose. Back when they first started 747-400 service on the route they actually had a first class cabin, but they didn’t sell it (it was as they began reconfiguring their 747-400s without first class). Then they just sat elite passengers in the first class cabin. So theoretically it’s possible they plan on doing that here, though I highly doubt it. The marginal cost to operate a first class cabin is really low, and even if you just have people upgrading from business class, you’d still come out ahead.

And really “big picture” the bad news is that Qantas doesn’t seem to have opened up much additional business class award availability on the route.

My hope, of course, was that as soon as the schedule was loaded we would see a couple of first and business class award seats per flight. That was my hope, not what I was realistically expecting.

Pessimistically I think it’s worth noting that Qantas doesn’t take a very active approach to award inventory management. They don’t seem to actively add premium cabin award space, and even if not a single seat is sold in first class a day before departure, you’ll rarely see them load more space.

Optimistically, however, I would note that airlines loading award inventory due to schedule/aircraft changes often isn’t “live.” So it could very well be that it will be loaded in an hour, a day, a week, or… never.

I’ll keep monitoring, and if I notice any major developments I’ll be sure to post again.

Comments

  1. I just noticed the lack of F inventory, but I am not so sure it is an accident. As you note, there is precedent for not offering First Class on the route, even when operated by a three-class aircraft.

  2. Unlike for us, there’s no one at Qantas who’s thinking “oh hey we just added a first class cabin maybe we should open some award space”. Nope, hasn’t crossed their minds yet. One day, someone in the office will suddenly say Oh Yeah, let’s open some award space. And then it will appear. But maybe not. It’s a manual, not systematic process.

  3. They did in fact add some bus cl award seats to this flt. I booked a seat. FYI: DFW-SYD is 16 hrs 50 min direct!

  4. Actually, don’t think QF knows the flight time. Qantas.com lists 17h55m. KVS shows 16h55m and 16h50m.

  5. Interesting. I got an alert from Expert Flyer this morning and was able to hold 2 business class seats for next year, so there was some new business class space that was released with this.

  6. Hope F space opens up. Not offering F would be really strange, IMHO. If there are extra seats on the plane, use them 🙂

  7. I took QF93 from MEL to LAX in Feb in first cl. I talked to probably 80% of the people in F. I was the only one on an award ticket! The cabin was completely sold out. One person pd $12,000 RT, another $15,000 RT, another $14,000 RT , there were several people on paid bus. cl tickets that upgraded to first using miles (their bus cl fare was $8000+ RT) First cl and bus cl was 100% occupied. As Ben has previously mentioned the Australia-USA routes are EXTREMELY PROFITABLE for Qantas.

  8. People do pay big bucks to fly to OZ! I did F on Qantas last year LAX SYD. Honestly It was the worst F product I have flown. I would not get all worked up over Qantas unless you want non-stop. Personally I would rather take Cathay via Hong Kong or Emirates from Dubai.

  9. Wait – what? I just did a check and Seat Guru says the 747-400 on Qantas isn’t lie flat ? My hubby is flying this route end of May/June I called Qantas and asked which planes had the new product and they said all the 747’s had been upgraded? What’s the deal he has to fly to Brisbane like it was 1988?

  10. @ Nick — They’re in the process of upgrading the 744’s, and I believe Brisbane-Los Angeles should have the new product. Seat Guru isn’t always on top of updates, unfortunately.

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