Qantas First versus Business

Discussion in 'Qantas Frequent Flyer Program' started by Homer, Jul 12, 2006.

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  1. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Sydney, Australia
    I'm a very new member so forgive me for not (yet) knowing all the acronyms...and before I get to my question I just want to add my voice to all the new posters who say that this is a terrific resource; I am amazed by the amount of information that is contained within this forum and at the detailed knowledge of many of the members.

    Now here's the question....

    My wife, 5-month old daughter and I are in the process of booking a OneWorld Explorer in Business class travelling SYD-HKG-LHR-CDG-LHR-FCO-LHR-JFK-LAS-LAX-SFO-SYD in September/October. When we total up the cost of the airfares and the accommodation, etc, the price difference between J and F seems, well, not too bad. :)

    OK that wasn't a question. Here it is:

    As we will be doing the longest hauls on Qantas, is Qantas F that much better than J? For example, Qantas doesn't seem to have AVOD in F, whereas it has a (albeit reportedly a bit dodgy) version in J on some flights, and the F seats are criticised as "lumpy" by some reviewers - but then at least they are truly horizontal as opposed to just flat but on an angle like the Skybed seats.

    I was hoping some of you might be able to advise me on whether Qantas F is worth the upgrade cost from J? On our round-the-world fare it amounts to about $3,000 per ticket.

    (BTW I realise that this is a good problem to have :))
     

  2. aus_flyer

    aus_flyer Established Member

    Feb 15, 2005
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    Brisbane
    #2 aus_flyer, Jul 12, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
    Homer, welcome to AFF.

    I'll leave it to the more experienced F passengers to comment about their experiences, but I too am making the jump from J to F in an upcoming round the world ticket.

    One suggestion I would make is to make sure you really maximise the value of your ticket...

    For example, when you return to Sydney, don't just finish it there. Perhaps book SYD-PER (stop) and then PER-ADL-SYD. These flights don't have to be used straight away at the end of the RTW ticket - they can be deferred for use in the future. Not bad considering all you have to pay are the taxes and surcharges - to buy those flights you are normally looking at a couple of thousand dollars. Just be sure to check the rules about flights within Australia. There are restrictions on the number of stopovers, and the usual restriction of 4 segments applies.
     
  3. Standby

    Standby Active Member

    May 25, 2006
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    I've used both Skybed and F class. If I could afford it.... to use the Seinfeld line...I've been first class ,I can't go back ,I wont go back.
    The staff (who actually care) to pax ratio. the steak sanga..the PJs. If you can justify it go for it.The video eqmnt isnt avod but beside the options avail to J comes a pretty good video library.
    The skybed is damn good but the privacy of a a 14seat cabin and the service vs 20-30 plus in a cabin the experience ,whilst outrageious vs an ecy seat is damn nice..
    enjoy the trip and by all means as mentioned add on the most you can to get value
    cheers
     
  4. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
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    Welcome to AFF Homer :)

    It's a matter of personal preference as to whether or not it is worth it. First class travel is very nice, but there is less difference between business and first than between economy and business.

    Note that intra-europe flights don't have first, and intra-US flights (except QF on LAX-JFK which you aren't taking anyway) get first class on a DONEx anyway (on 2-class flights, which is most of them).

    So upgrading a DONEx to an AONEx is only for the longhaul sectors, but these are also the ones with the best first experience. With your routing you could sample first class on 3 of the 4 best in one world - QF, CX and BA.

    One point to correct your post. If an aircraft has AVOD it has it in all cabins. As pointed out, QF first additionally has a video player.
     
  5. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
    15
    Sydney
    Welcome to AFF Homer!

    Having only sampled F class once from HKG-SYD. I have to agree with Standby and the Seinfeld comment.. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to go back!

    If you can justify it, then I would do it at least once. I did a SYD-BKK-LHR-SIN-SYD in J class when my daughter was 4 months old. If we could have done it in F, we would. Travelling with a baby is difficult enough.. The easier it is on you and your wife, the more you'll enjoy the trip...And there's always that great feeling of turning left when you enter the A/C.

    Remember to request the seat with the bassinet as early as possible.. In F class I believe it is either 4A or 4K.

    Now fingers crossed that my F class upgrade comes through tomorrow night for LAX-SYD! :D
     
  6. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    To me it's a v subjective question; 1st class is nicer than business, indeed. What I would consider on an ATW ticket is that

    domestic AU is v lacking in 1st class and you'd be in business for them
    intra EU flights have v few 1st class options and you'd be in business for them
    Domestic US you get 1st class on the 2 class services anyway with a DONE
    Also, if you want to go to NZ or to Hawaii between US and Australia, then your intercontinental flights will be in business class anyway due to lack of 1st class on those routes

    If you choose to take a candy thief challenge, you could use miles earned from OZ-Europe to upgrade to 1st class on the transatlantic sector anyway for free if you travel on AA

    In most part, the AONE would be only getting a benefit over a DONE on the inter continent sectors. Do you feel that it is worth $3000 extra for that?
    Only you can make that decision on value.

    Personally, I would use a DONE, use miles to upgrade transatlantic and then come back via Hawaii ( getting 1st class to HAwaii and then just having a daytime flight to Australia ) . If you have spare QF miles I would then look to use the miles to upgrade HKG-LHR to 1st.

    Dave
     
  7. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Sydney, Australia
    Thank you all for the advice. I am leaning towards the upgrade to F and I will certainly be trying to add some domestic sectors in as suggested by several of you on returning to AU.

    Does anyone have a recommendation about whether it would be better to take the early morning Qantas flight (QF 29) from HKG-LHR or whether we should look at BA's or even Cathay's evening flight? We will be on BA from LHR-CDG-LHR-FCO-JFK.
     
  8. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    Take a daytime flight to London, much more civilised ; both QF and CX offer daytime services with CX leaving at around 09:45 and arriving in at 16:00. Makes for a nice connection to CDG to arrive in the evening. I find that I can avoid getting any jet lag and also , if staying at hotels , that the hotel you are going to will be able to check you in rather than arriving eary in morn and poss not having a room available. Also in HKG , you don't have the problem of no room from 3pm until the flight at around midnight

    If you plan to try n upgrade, take the QF flight obviously , otherwise I'd suggest the CX later in the morning. Given it being a day flight, I wouldn't be that bothered about upgrading to F. J is fine for a day service

    Dave

    Dave
     
  9. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
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    Welcome Homer.

    Getting back to your comment on AVOD, sometimes you are better off in F on an aircraft with no AVOD installed than one with it. On the aircraft with AVOD installed, it is in all classes, including F. F and J get the same programming. However, on a non-AVOD aircraft, the F seats have a video tape player and their is a library of around 100 movies you can choose from. And of course being a tape player in your seat, you can stop, start, forward, rewind etc as you please. You just ask an FA for the movie of your choice. The AVOD aircraft do not have the tape player in the seat.

    Personally, I really liked taking QF29 from MEL to LHR. I did not stopover on HKG. So I found I got some good sleep on the overnight flight from MEL to HKG, and then enjoyed the daytime flight HKG-LHR. It was a sensible time to arrive into HKG and was convenient for my connection to FRA.

    Note that your 5 month old will not know the difference between J and F, and I assume you are only buying two tickets and the infant travels without an assigned seat. The bassinet positions in the F cabin are seats 4A and 4K, so you will have to take seats 4A and 4E or 4F and 4K if you want to be adjacent. There is an aisle between you but those seats are still close enough to converse during the flight.

    Your itinerary does include quite a few flights with First Class availability, so that may be worthwhile. Many of my OneWorld Explorer itineraries do not have many 3-class flights so its generally not worthwhile for me.

    Note that when you transit in HKG, I would recommend heading to the Cathay Pacific lounge called The Wing. Its much nicer than the Qantas lounge and your Qantas F boarding pass is sufficient for access to the First Class section. There is a restaurant in the F section, and their breakfast selection is very good and better than what you will be fed on board. Try their Chinese Dim Sum for breakfast! They also have very good shower facilities there - try the Cabanas if you have time (bath).

    In LHR you will be able to use the F lounges (Terminal 1 and terminal 4) which are both excellent. I particularly appreciate the JW Blue in the self-serve bar ;).

    The domestic USA flights will be the same if you by AONE4 or DONE4 as both book into A class. If you have the time, on an AONE4 fare I recommenced changing to JFK-LAX-LAS as the JFK-LAX will be a 3-class 767 aircraft with their Flagship service which is very nice compared with a one-stop 757 or MD80 option. Note there is no non-stop JFK-LAS with AA anyway, so you are going to have to connect somewhere (DFW, STL) so go via LAX and enjoy the comfort and service of the 3-class trans-continental service.

    You are heading in the right direction (West bound) to maximise the opportunity for daytime flights, so make the most of that. In fact, I would suggest considering your trans-Pacific return heading back SFO-LAX and taking QF8 LAX-SYD just for the flight timing, and of course being able to use the LAX T4 Flagship Lounge (very nice).

    Do you have both have Qantas FF status? If not, then I definitely recommend joining up with AAdvantage before the trip and doing the Platinum Challenge. You will be Platinum by the time you hit London and will have a significant AA mileage balance by the time you get home. And of course those AA miles represent better value flight rewards than QF for flights within and between Australia and NZ.
     
  10. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Thanks Dave Noble for the advice on taking the daytime flights. With the exception of SFO-SYD all our flights are daytime flights because that suits our baby. Also thank you NM, particularly for the tip on the bassinet positions. I've had a look on seatguru.com and I can see what you mean. Given that we are taking daytime flights and with the position of the bassinet, I am now swinging back to J.

    We are already confirmed in J for SYD-HKG and HKG-LHR - with the bassinet positions 11K and 11J. We are on request for the BA and AA flights, however these are much shorter so it is less of an issue. My travel agent at American Express must be having a bad morning because she's just told me that we have changed too many of our flights:!: Our QF flights have remained the same throughout and only the AA domestic flights have moved and even then we've just played around with a few days here and there.

    We are both QFF, I am an SG and my wife is an even lower NB. I suppose I will earn enough SCs to make WP on this itinerary so the AA platinum challenge is probably not for me?
     
  11. NM

    NM
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    But no reason why not to allow Mrs Homer to steal some candy along the way. Would she get any real benefits from QF Platinum status over the next year? The benefits of AA's better miles earn/burn rate may be more helpful if one or both (all?) of you want to take some Aus/NZ trips in the coming years, especially when include the saving of QF's fuel fines that they insist on having FF members pay for their free award flights (which AA does not charge).

    Depending on how many SCs you need to make Plat, its possible you could be Platinum in both QF and AA programs by the end of the trip. Or you may make it as far as Partner Gold, which will be of no use at all to you if Mrs Homer posts to QF (as she will also make QF Plat), so she could end up with Sapphire in both Qantas and AA programs, gaining the QF lounge, check-in, baggage allowance benefits as well as the AA miles benefits.
     
  12. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Thanks again NM. It has been a "quiet" travel year for me since the baby was born and as my QFF anniversary is December I still need 1,150 SCs to make Platinum. I'll probably earn another 80 SCs on domestic flights before we leave on the round-the-world ticket, and I've just added up my itinerary and it seems that I will earn 980 SCs for this trip. So I'll be close to Platinum by the time we get back and I'll earn the addition SCs easily before December.

    That means I can't assign any of my own flights to AA for the Platinum Challenge :(, however it looks like just assigning my wife's SFO-SYD flight to AA will be enough to get her to AA Platinum on the Platinum Challenge (7417 miles x 1.5 = 11,125.5 qpoints)?

    Would you mind checking my maths? :-|
     
  13. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    I would consider whether the benefit of having QF Platinum outweighs the benefit of the v cheap awards from AA Platinum.

    If you definately want QF Platinum, then go for it, but I suggest calculating the miles earned and seeing whether the value of the awards makes it worth sticking to OW Sapphire but on AA.

    Dave
     
  14. NM

    NM
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    SFO-SYD will indeed do the trip. So will SYD-HKG-LHR. If doing the Plat challenge, then in my mind the best benefit comes from earning not only the status but also the miles (candy). Will she use the benefits of QF Gold status in the next year? Or would enough AA miles for a couple of return business class trips to NZ or PER (with no fuel fines to pay) be of more benefit to her, knowing that her AA Plat status will also get Qantas Club access, business class check-in etc?
     
  15. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    The answer is obvious - I have already signed my wife up to AAdvantage and I will register her for the Platinum Challenge and assign her member number against all the flights (except for LHR-JFK which is on BA).

    This should probably be a new thread, but we were originally flying JFK-ORD-LAS and then, later, LAS-LAX before LAX-SFO. However NM said:

    Well I tried this but there are no A class seats on AA from JFK-LAX on (or around) the date we want to fly on 3 October (yes, that's 2½ months away). There are some F class seats available, but as we are on a OneWorld Explorer fare we would need to pay extra for these seats. So we are waitlisted for A class seats.

    Does anyone know if there is a good chance of successfully waitlisting for A class seats on this route or is it so unlikely to pay off that we would be better off going with our original JFK-ORD-LAX plans?
     
  16. NM

    NM
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    If you are buying a business class OneWorld Explorer (DONE4) then you don't get to book into A class on the 3-class AA trans-continental flights. They have D class so that is what must be booked. I made the JFK-LAX recommendation when you were considering an AONE4 fare.

    You could look for D class on QF108 JFK-LAX, but the arrival into LAX is late in the evening so you will want to overnight at LAX before heading to LAS.

    Note that there are very few flight options JFK-ORD. Most AA flights from New York to ORD depart from LGA, which is not a problem if you have been on a stopover at JFK. Transport to LGA is similar to JFK, and LGA will give you more flight options if you or your flight are delayed for any reason. There are more flight options between JFK and DFW. If you are QF Platinum by then (sounds like you won't be), ORD is a nice place to connect as they have a Flagship (First Class) Lounge. ORD and DFW both have Admirals Club lounges that you can use as a Qantas Gold member.

    When travelling with an infant, I would be looking for flights operated by AA's widebody aircraft (767, 777) where possible as they will have the most space and facilities for your comfort.

    I would still take a D seat on AA's trans-continental non-stop daytime service on a 767 JFK-LAX rather than a MD80 or 757 option via ORD/DFW. But for QF status earning, its only seen as business class while the 2-class aircraft via DFW or ORD will post as First Class points and status credits. So a bit of swings and roundabouts. So in the end I would probably go with the schedule that suits best for travel with an infant (sleep patterns).
     
  17. Homer

    Homer Established Member

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Thanks again NM. I hadn't requested an A class fare from JFK-LAX, but it turns out that my travel agent was trying to book this fare type because our other US domestic fares were on two-class services so she was used to booking A class. She was very surprised when I rang her to tell her she should be booking a D class fare as the JFK-LAX service is a three-class service. So thanks for that information. :p

    We can be flexible with our itinerary so we will stop over in LAX before going on to LOS and that will enable us to travel in D on AA's trans atlantic service as you suggest.

    I will also think hard about your suggestion to head back to LAX from SFO and take QF8 home.
     
  18. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Doh - if you'd kept quiet you may have gotten away with 3-class domestic F.
     
  19. Homer

    Homer Established Member

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    Perhaps, though we were only waitlisted in A so it's not as though I gave up any actual seats....:)
     
  20. NM

    NM
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    Hey, it worked for me once. I had booked an AA codeshare on CX HKG-LAX (to get the QF status bonus that is not paid for CX flights). That segment went missing from my booking, so I called the travel agency and the international expert was not available. One of their other agents (usually does domestic bookings) said she could see it was missing and put it back in. She noted all my other AA flights were booked into A class so did the same for that one. I noticed a few days later when doing the seat allocations with the original agent and CX had given me 4K. I said that would do fine and moved quickly onto the next flight's seat allocation :mrgreen:.

    I was expecting it would be picked up with the ticket was issued, but it was not. And then I was expecting it would be picked up at Check-in, but it was not. Then I was expecting the boarding pass to be rejected at the gate reader, but it wasn't. So I sat back and enjoyed the CS F service for 14 hours :cool:.
     
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