Qantas flight QF1 is the airline’s flagship “kangaroo route” from Sydney to London via Singapore. Departing from Sydney each afternoon, this Airbus A380 service takes around 24 hours to cover the 17,176km to London.
Are you flying on QF1 from Sydney to London? This guide explains everything you need to know to maximise your experience and have an enjoyable flight!
Qantas Flight QF1: The Aircraft
Qantas flight QF1 is served by an Airbus A380 with 14 First, 64 Business, 35 Premium Economy and 371 Economy class seats (in the old configuration). Wireless streaming entertainment via the Qantas entertainment App is not available, nor is in-flight internet, but there are individual Panasonic in-flight entertainment screens available at every seat.
The Qantas A380 fleet is currently being progressively refurbished. Some aircraft feature the new configuration, while others still have the older-style seats. The cabin upgrades are due to be completed at the end of 2020.
You can tell which type of aircraft you’ll be flying on by checking the seat map. The old configuration features a small upper-deck Economy class cabin (rows 32-36) and a 2-2-2 configuration in Business. The new configuration has a 1-2-1 configuration in Business class and a larger, 60-seat Premium Economy cabin.
The Qantas A380 Economy class seats are 18 inches wide, have a fairly standard 31 inches of seat pitch and are laid out in a 3-4-3 configuration. Currently, there is also a small Economy mini-cabin at the rear of the A380’s upper deck. This is a great place to sit as it’s a bit more private, there is more space (especially by the windows, as there are side storage bins) and it’s a 2-4-2 layout. But the upper deck Economy cabin is being removed during the ongoing Qantas A380 refurbishments.
In the older A380 configuration, the best Economy seats are 71D, 80A, 80K, 35J/K and the other exit row seats.
Read more: The Ultimate Qantas Economy Seat Guide
Qantas A380 Premium Economy is a comfortable way to fly. Premium Economy has a 2-3-2 layout, and each seat has 38 inches of pitch with a reasonable recline. The current Qantas A380 Premium Economy seats are of the older generation…
But these seats are currently being replaced with the same new Premium Economy seats found on the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners…
The current Qantas A380 Business Class seats are the second-generation SkyBed seats, configured in a 2-2-2 layout on the upper deck. These seats convert into lie-flat beds, but they are starting to show their age.
These seats are being replaced by the more private Qantas Business Suites, similar to those found on the Qantas 787 fleet.
There are 14 private First Class suites ensconced in the pointy end of the Qantas A380’s lower deck. There are five rows of seats are in a 1-1-1 layout. Many frequent flyers prefer the “A” window seats on the left hand side as these are the most private – but there are no “bad” seats in First Class!
Getting an Upgrade on QF1
If you’ve booked your ticket with Qantas (i.e. you’re booked under the “QF1” flight number – and not with one of the seven airline partners to codeshare on this flight), it is possible to upgrade from most fare types using Qantas Frequent Flyer points. However, the cheapest “Economy Sale” fares are ineligible for upgrades, and it is not possible to upgrade from a Classic Flight Reward booking to First class.
Here is the number of Qantas points required for a Classic Upgrade Reward on flight QF1:
|Economy Classic Reward||Premium Economy||41,400||61,000||98,100|
|Economy Saver||Premium Economy||34,100||47,600||81,700|
|Economy Flex||Premium Economy||10,900||15,200||26,100|
|Economy Classic Reward||Business||58,800||87,200||135,100|
|Premium Economy Classic Reward||Business||39,200||58,800||92,600|
|Premium Economy Sale||Business||29,900||42,000||71,900|
|Premium Economy Saver||Business||27,200||38,200||65,400|
|Premium Economy Flex||Business||24,500||34,300||58,800|
You can request an upgrade online, and you’ll find out whether you’ve been successful up to 7 days before the flight. Qantas Frequent Flyer members with the highest status get priority in the Qantas upgrade lottery, so it can be difficult for Bronze and Silver frequent flyers to upgrade using points – especially on this very popular route.
If you’re flying all the way from Sydney to London, you would need to request an upgrade either for both QF1 sectors (Sydney-Singapore and Singapore-London) or neither sector. You cannot elect to upgrade only one of the sectors. That said, it is possible that your upgrade request could be unsuccessful between Sydney and Singapore, but still clear for the Singapore-London leg. In this case, you’ll only be charged for the upgrade on the second segment.
The airline may also invite you to bid for a Qantas Bid Now upgrade using a mix of points and cash, although this is only offered on flights where the premium cabins are unlikely to be full. QF1 is such a popular flight that it’s rare to see an empty seat in Business or First Class.
Sydney Airport Lounges
If you’re flying in Business class, or have Qantas Gold status, Oneworld Sapphire status or a Qantas Club membership, you can use the Qantas International Business Lounge at Sydney Airport. This is an adequate lounge with buffet food, a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and showers. But if you’re eligible to use the Emirates Lounge instead, this will remain a superior option until the Qantas Business lounge is refurbished in around two years.
If you’re flying in First, have Qantas Platinum or Platinum One status, or hold Oneworld Emerald status, you are eligible to use the excellent Qantas First Lounge in Sydney. This lounge offers a-la-carte dining, great runway views, a spa and excellent service. If you’re flying on QF1 in First Class, be sure to ask for a spa appointment when the First Class host calls the day before your flight.
The Singapore Transit Experience
Upon arrival in Singapore, all passengers are required to disembark. Do not leave anything on board as the aircraft will be fully cleaned during the transit in Singapore. You’ll have around an hour at Changi Airport before your flight commences boarding again. Beware that you will need to pass through security screening again at the gate, before you re-board the flight.
If you’re eligible for Business class lounge access, the Qantas Singapore Lounge offers plenty of showers and some good dining options.
Platinum & Platinum One frequent flyers, as well as First class passengers, can use the Qantas First Lounge in Singapore which opened in November 2019.
If you’re eligible, you may consider visiting the Emirates Lounge instead. The British Airways Lounge is also available, and is a great option in the early evening – but can get crowded late in the evening when QF1 passes through.
If you’re flying in Business or First Class, you can also visit the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge in Singapore which opened in January 2020.
Depending on your ticket, Qantas may allow you to stop over in Singapore at no extra cost (other than a small difference in taxes). This can be a great way to break up the very long trip between Australia and Europe!
Once the Singapore transit is over, your new London-based cabin crew will welcome you on board the second sector of QF1 from Singapore to London (which happens to be Qantas’ only current fifth-freedom route).
In-Flight Meals on QF1
The meals you’re served will depend on your class of travel. But all passengers are served a full meal after departure from Sydney, followed by a light refreshment before landing in Singapore. A late dinner is then served after departure from Singapore, followed finally by a full breakfast around two hours before arriving in London.
In the meantime, snacks and drinks are available upon request. If you’re in Economy, there is a self-service snack bar at the back of the A380 lower deck. So you won’t go hungry!
The Kangaroo Route
The QF1 route from Sydney to London is historically known as the “kangaroo route”. Today, modern technology makes it possible to fly to Europe with just a single refuelling stop in Singapore. But this wasn’t always the case. Back in 1957, Qantas Super Constellation aircraft would take around five days to fly from Sydney to London with fuelling stops in Darwin, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, Kolkata, Karachi, Bahrain and Istanbul!
Qantas now already flies non-stop from Perth to London as QF9/10. By 2022, Qantas is aiming to reach the “final frontier” of aviation by flying non-stop from Sydney to London – a mission it’s calling Project Sunrise.