New York, NY — Qantas, the Australian airline, remains committed to First Class service on its trunk routes, according to an official of the airline who spoke with Elite Traveler during a visit to New York.
Rohan W. Garnett, Vice President, Leisure Sales, North America, said the company has recently re-introduced First Class service on its Hong Kong flights. Due to the weak economy, Qantas has been operating some of its four class 747-400s (First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy) by selling only Business, Premium Economy and Economy and using the First Class cabin to provide business class service.
Garnett said there have been no changes to the First Class product on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A380s which now feature a daily service from Los Angeles. He also said the airline remains committed to continuing with First Class service on routes served by the A380. No decisions have been made on configuration for Boeing 787s when the new plane enters the fleet.
A 15-year veteran of the airline who also spent time on assignment to partner British Airways, Garnett said the airline remains focused on offering a high-quality First Class product. “If you’re in it, it’s all or nothing,” he said.
Roundtrip First Class tickets from the U.S. to Australia run as high as $25,000, and the airline starts the experience with First Hosts who meet customers curbside, escort them to check-in and then personally bring them through priority security and to the lounge.
In Sydney and Melbourne, Marc Newom-designed lounges feature full concierge service, an a la carte restaurant with Neil Perry menu and a Payot day spa.
The First Class cabin on the A380s has been very popular with 14 suite-style swivel seats that convert into an 83.5 inch long bed. The seat includes an ottoman that converts to a companion seat, electronically controlled dividers for maximum privacy and a 17 inch Panasonic entertainment screen with over 1,000 on-demand entertainment programs.
Business Class on the A380 features an enhanced version of the 747-400 seat that also converts to a fully flat bed with an 80 inch length.
Garnett said the airline’s flights to Buenos Aires and San Francisco on its 747-400s will continue to be sold in three classes with no decision yet on when First Class will be offered again. “We review it on a route by route basis,” he said.