Qantas Vs United : Australia to U.S.

Discussion in 'Qantas Frequent Flyer Program' started by inpd, Oct 29, 2005.

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  1. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005

    I'm traveled Qantas from Australia to the U.S.
    about a dozen trips from the early 90's till
    last year. Always flown economy as I'm an
    Aussie living in the U.S. now and fly back
    to see family and friends.

    This year around Qantas's fares over
    the Christmas period were quite high
    (>$1300 per ticket) but United had a
    great deal for only $900.

    Question #1 is:
    What are the differences between flying
    UA and Qantas on the LAX to Melbourne

    I've already purchased the tickets, I just
    want to know what to expect!

    I will be traveling with a new baby and
    United very nicely bumped me up to
    Economy Plus bulk-head row seats
    so I can potentially use the baby
    wall mounted bassinet (if its available).

    Question #2:
    What is economy plus bulkhead seats
    like on united. Is there lots of legroom
    or only a little. The united agents I talked
    to, couldn't tell me!


  2. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    Economy is economy in any flight and as you have flown so many similar sectors previously you would be aware of the confined area, however, I flew UA 12 months ago with my two kids to LAX (Disneyland) and was lucky enough to be placed in economy plus on both legs. I usually fly QF but like yourself, not when I can save AUD$800 with a UA family package deal. I think we were in row 30 in econ plus, and having flown UA on other trips also up the back I can confirm that there is more leg room, and with a new baby you (and I presume your partner) should have plenty of leg room especially if there is no one in front of you reclining.
  3. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    Thanks. Seatguru did confirm there is more leg room
    in economy plus (I'm in 36F,G)

    However, how do United and Qantas generally stack

    For example, I know that Qantas has:

    a) Personal entertainment systems even in Y class
    b) Serve 2 decent meals (used to be 3 in the 90's)
    c) Flight attendents are quite good given they are working
    15 hours.
    d) Fly newish 747-400LR (nice planes)
    e) Free and plentiful booze :)
    f) Give toiletry bags even in Y class etc.

    How does United stack up with regard to the
    above and other items that Qantas provide.
    I'm kind of amazed (and a bit skeptical)
    that United can be so cheap and have an
    as good product as Qantas. The actual fare
    is only $600 but add in $100 tax and
    $90 fuel surcharge each direction and you
    get $900. Qantas fares started at $1300
    for those awful tickets where you have
    to spend the night at SYD and then get
    a connecting flight to MEL in the morning!
    I am flying just on the shoulder season
    (early December and returning just after
  4. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    Well, UA does not have individual screens

    IME of merkin carriers, 2 meals will be served

    UA uses 744s

    Plentiful booze available for a mere USD5 ish per drink

    I don't think toiletry bags will be provided

    Y+ will guarantee you better legroom than going on QF will

  5. cssaus

    cssaus Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Something else to keep in mind, I think you'll also find UA's Mileageplus FF program is somewhat more generous and easier to redeem awards with compared to QFF.

    I recently redeemed two business class seats with UA on Singapore Airlines and it took less than a 10 minute call to fix up. My travel agent tells me that when she has to organise upgrades for customers she says UA are far more easier to get along with compared to QFF.
  6. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    Mileage Plus is more generous; when travelling QF, collecting to the AA scheme can be worthwhile for the same reason

    Getting upgrades with QF has always been easy ime and now they can be requested online, I think they have to win hands down for simplicity

  7. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    I can vouch first hand for UA's FF program. you need 25,000 points
    in one calendar year to quality for premier status and then become
    eligible for upgrades to Economy plus. I did one trip to Europe
    (from the U.S. that's only 12,000 points) and because of at the
    end of my Australian trip I would get another 16000 points they
    upgraded my Australia seats to Economy Plus even though
    technically I am not a premier member when I begin the

    However, I still don't know what to expect regarding the plane,
    service all the stuff I mentioned earlier. Eerily there are no detailed
    flight reviews of UA839 or UA840 apparently on the internet!
  8. cssaus

    cssaus Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    I've not really had the opportunity to experience flying in Economy with UA on the 839 or 840 flts but as a tip for the LAX-SYD flt, because of the time that the flt leaves, I would thoroughly recommend that you go and have yourself an early dinner at a restaurant of your chosing before heading out to the airport rather than enduring the expectation of what the meal service is going to be. I fly the route in Business Class (I buy a B class tkt and upgrade to business for 15,000 miles) and I still make sure I have a sit-down meal of my chosing in a nice restaurant before making the flt. That way when I get on the flt I tell the FA I don't wish to have a meal and try and go off to sleep.

    As has been discussed in other threads, try and get yourself an aisle seat in the centre block, it might just make the flight that little bit more comfortable.

    In general, the flight attendants on the UA flt do try and make the flt comfortable for you and I've very rarely encountered the attitude problem that one often hears about on QF.

    At the end of the day, if you can get an Economy Plus seat pre-assigned then I don't think things will be all that bad for you.
  9. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    I have only flown UA to USA, and admittedly business or first. I have always found the crew helpful and friendly. I originally flew UA as it was employer preference, but have found connections, FF program, etc to make it worthwhile.
  10. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005

    Thanks for your comments.

    I found a detailed thread exactly on this topic at

    Half the people think that United is a OK, the other half hmmm!

    What I did find out is:

    a) Booze is free (contrary to what an earlier poster stated)
    b) No personal IFE system just five movies on a big screen
    c) Economy plus seating provides more leg room that Qantas
    d) Meal service in quantity (i.e. 2 full meals) is equivalent to
    QF and ANZ but quality wise not as good
    e) Service can be hit and miss (I've always had good service on QF)
    f) They fly older 747-744
    g) Price tends to be cheaper than Qantas.

    When I get back I'll do a decent comparison
  11. robertz

    robertz Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Atlanta, GA, US
    Not sure how patriotic U are, but for me, (Aussie living in US) there's no better felling than looking out of LAX and seeing a Qantas bird with its red tail and knowing you will be Australian soil even before leaving the terminal.

    That for sure is worth a couple of $$$ as well.

  12. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    I'm as patriotic as the next guy, but:

    Base fare: US$900 for UA versus US$1300 for Qantas (Christmas period is always expensive)
    Infant in lap fare: US$100 for UA versus $250 for Qantas (qantas charge the fuel surcharge for infants!)
    UA gave me a preassigned seat in Economy Plus

    I'll see how it goes, as I get older spending a few extra bucks
    for better service is something I now do even though when I
    was younger I swore I would never do it!

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