The Definitive Guide to Qantas’ Direct Routes From The U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

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Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia, is a world-renowned airline. With some of the most well-known flights to the exotic destination of Australia, it’s no wonder that Qantas has received a very positive reputation in the aviation industry. Australia is a tourist destination like no other, and there aren’t too many ways to get there.

The airline is well-known for their ultra long-haul first class, which is one of the most aspirational first class flights in the frequent flyer industry. Additionally, Qantas has never had a jet fatality in its entire history and operates one of the largest hub-and-spoke route networks, which is hugely respectable.

Because Qantas operates this hub-and-spoke model, there’s going to be a lot less variability in aircraft and fewer last-minute changes due to operational and economic constraints.

Let’s look at all that Qantas has to offer to the United States!

Qantas Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Qantas is very consistent with their long-haul fleet size, and they operate these aircraft to/from the U.S.:

  • A380 (4-class)
  • 747-4 (3-class)
  • 787-9 (3-class)

Let’s take a gander at the route and aircraft table to get a better idea of key cities, cabin classes offered, and flight frequencies.

Qantas RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)QF 12A380First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL)QF 94/96QF 94: A380

QF 96: 787-9

A380: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

787-9: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

QF 94: Daily

QF 96: Weekly (Thursdays)

Los Angeles (LAX) – Brisbane (BNE)QF 16787-9Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
San Francisco (SFO) – Sydney (SYD)QF 74747-4Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
San Francisco (SFO) – Melbourne (MEL)QF 50787-9Business, Premium Economy, Economy4x weekly
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)QF 8A380First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Honolulu (HNL) – Sydney (SYD)QF 4747-4Business, Premium Economy, Economy6x weekly

The route network is very straightforward, so let’s look at our options for each cabin class.

Best Points to Earn to Fly Qantas

Qantas is a oneworld partner airline, which means you can use a variety of partner frequent flyer miles to book travel on Qantas. The first option that comes to mind is American Airlines, which can be earned directly from co-branded credit cards along with transfers from Marriott.

Additionally, if you are familiar with Alaska Airlines, which is one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world, you can get huge value with Qantas. Additionally, Alaska Airlines is partners with Marriott.

If you’ve got a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to British Airways Avios and Iberia Avios to redeem for Qantas flights.

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer Points, and Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles.

As far as American Express goes, you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and Iberia Avios.

For those loyal to Capital One Rewards, you’re eligible to transfer to Qantas Frequent Flyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 2:1.5 ratio.

Qantas First Class Options

Qantas First Class
Qantas first class receives rave reviews across the board! Image courtesy of qantas.com.

Qantas operates a first class cabin on U.S. flights only on the A380. This is considered to be their “flagship” seat, so you will be experiencing the best of Qantas when flying first class on the A380.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

Qantas A380 First Class Seat Map
Qantas A380 first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The seats are arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration, which is ultra-exclusive. These 14 seats all have a sort of partition, which makes it seem like you’re in your own pod.

Another carrier known to provide 1-1-1 seat configurations in first class is Cathay Pacific on the 777-300ER. However, with Qantas’ 1-1-1 configuration on the A380 superjumbo, you can bet that you’ll have tons of space to sprawl out.

The first class seat measures 22″ wide and 78″ in bed length. The width might not sound impressive — but remember that this is just the seat space itself, and that width is with both armrests up.

You’ll enjoy tons of space, arguably the best bedding in the industry, fantastic catering, and excellent service in Qantas first class. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as First Class Suites on Emirates or Singapore Airlines, but it’s still a consistent first class product.

The most peaceful seats will be the A seats; those seeking privacy should aim to reserve 5A, as it doesn’t experience any foot traffic (though the proximity of the galley may be bothersome).

You will be able to find Qantas first class seats on these flights to/from the U.S.:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 94
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)

Hot Tip: Want to know the best ways to book this fabulous first class seat? Check out our in-depth guide on the best ways to book Qantas first class.

Qantas Business Class Options

Qantas Business Class Boeing 787-9 Bed
Qantas business class 787-9 bed. Image courtesy of qantas.com.

Qantas has made some interesting decisions, particularly with their business class cabins. While their luxurious first class product is well-known, their business class products are mediocre for the most part.

This is where we get into the optimization of routes and aircraft to ensure you get the best seat possible! As noted above, Qantas operates these 3 aircraft:

  • 787-9 (best option)
  • A380
  • 747-4 (worst option)

The 787-9 has brand-new seats in a preferable configuration, which is why it’s our business class winner. There are 42 lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration across 10-11 rows. These seats measure 23″-24″ in width, 46″ in pitch, and 80″ long in bed mode.

Each of these seats features direct aisle access as well. Here’s what the seat map looks like:

Qantas 787-9 Business Class Seat Map
Qantas 787-9 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The 42 business class seats are organized into 2 mini-cabins with a lavatory and galley in between them. Since there’s another lavatory and galley located at the front of the aircraft, the best seats are most likely going to be 12K, 11A, and window seats in rows 3, 5, and 7. These seats will protect you from noise and motion in the walkways.

You’ll be able to find these business class seats on the 787-9 flown on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 96
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Brisbane (BNE)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Melbourne (MEL)

In second place is the A380 business class, though it doesn’t even come close to our winning seats on the 787-9. Unfortunately, Qantas chose to offer business class in a 2-2-2 configuration on the A380, which means not all seats have direct aisle access.

Still, if you’re traveling with a companion, you might not mind. Here’s what the seat map looks like on the A380:

Qantas A380 Business Class Seat Map
Qantas A380 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There are 6 business class seats in each row with a 2-2-2 configuration. Each of these seats are 21.5″ wide, 78″ in pitch, and 78″ when reclined to fully-flat beds. These business class seats are significantly narrower than the business class seats on the 787-9, and they’re also a bit shorter in bed mode.

For the most privacy possible, try to reserve seats in row 12. If you’re traveling alone, 12A or 12K would get you as far away from cabin noise as possible. Row 11 is close to the galley and onboard bar, so there might be quite a bit of commotion in that area.

Remember that this business class seat on the A380 is offered on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 94
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)

Our last place Qantas business class seat goes to the 747-4. The layout isn’t consistent, but for the most part you’ll see a 2-2 configuration (with the possibility of an unfortunate 2-3-2 configuration).

These business class seats are 21.5″ wide and 60″ in pitch, which is significantly shorter than the A380 business class seats. There are 2 business class cabins on the 747-4: one on the bottom level in the front, and one on the top level in the nose of the aircraft.

Here’s what the top level business class cabin looks like:

Qantas 747-4 Business Class Seat Map 2
Qantas 747-4 business class seat map at the upper deck nose of the aircraft. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

This particular cabin is arranged in a 2-2 arrangement. The next cabin, on the lower level, is arranged as follows:

Qantas 747-4 Business Class Seat Map 1
Qantas 747-4 business class seat map lower level. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

As far as ideal seat choices, notice that row 5 has 1 seat on each side by itself. It would absolutely want to grab those first (5B and 5J). If those were taken, I’d shoot for seats in row 1, right at the nose of the plane. These seats don’t see any foot traffic at all, so your experience will be more private.

The 747-4 is flown on these routes:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Honolulu (HNL) – Sydney (SYD)

Bottom Line: There are huge differences in business class on Qantas, making it important to know which plane is flown on which route. When flying in Qantas business class, do everything in your power to fly on the 787-9, followed by the A380, and the 747-4 in last place. 

Qantas Premium Economy Options

Qantas 787-9 Premium Economy
Qantas 787-9 premium economy. Image courtesy of ausbt.com.au.

Premium economy is a solid product to experience on Qantas, though each aircraft utilizes a slightly different layout.

The 787-9 is the first premium economy product we’ll look at here. With a seat width of 20.5″, pitch of 38″, and recline of 9″, the 787-9 offers one of the top premium economy products in the world.

On top of that, the 787-9 is a new aircraft, so these seats are brand new as well. They’re configured in a 2-3-2 arrangement as shown in the following seat map:

Qantas 787-9 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
Qantas 787-9 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best premium economy seats on the 787-9 are in row 20 — there’s an incredibly generous amount of legroom.

You’ll find the 787-9’s premium economy seats (Qantas’ best) on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Brisbane (BNE)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 96
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Melbourne (MEL)

Qantas’ runner-up in premium economy is the A380. Here, premium economy seats are slightly narrower, but they also have slightly more legroom. These seats are 19.5″ wide with a 38″-42″ pitch.

The A380’s premium economy cabin contains 5 rows, each with 7 seats abreast in a 2-3-2 configuration, for a total of 35 seats. Here’s the seat map:

Qantas A380 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
Qantas A380 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are undoubtedly 24A/B or 24J/K — these exit rows seats will give you a nearly unlimited amount of legroom.

Find these A380 premium economy seats on the following routes:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 94

Finally, the 747-4 has Qantas’ least preferable premium economy seat. Seats are relatively standard for premium economy at 19″ wide and 38″ in pitch, and the 38 seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration:

Qantas 747-4 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
Qantas 747-4 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best seats, but I would put seats 39 J/K at the top since they’re as far as possible from the lavatories and galleys.

Since the premium economy seats on the 747-4 are the smallest and the cabin is least preferable, this aircraft takes last place in our premium economy rankings.

If you find yourself in premium economy on a Qantas 747-4, you’ll probably be flying one of these routes:

  • Honolulu (HNL) – Sydney (SYD)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Sydney (SYD)

Qantas Economy Options

Qantas 787-9 Economy
Qantas 787-9 economy. Image courtesy of smh.com.au.

Qantas economy is our last option, and there are still quite a few differences between seats on the 3 aircraft. Here’s how we’re ranking the seats:

  • 787-9 (best option)
  • A380
  • 747-4 (worst option)

The economy seats on the 787-9 measure 17.2″ in width and 32″ in pitch. This pitch is an inch longer than that of its competitors, though the seat is narrower by 0.3″ — and a 6″ recline makes for a comfortable flight as well.

On the 787-9, there are only 166 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. The seat map looks like this:

Qantas 787-9 Economy Class Seat Map
Qantas 787-9 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

I think the best seats in this layout would be in rows 40 or 46 due to extra legroom. Just be sure to avoid 46A and 46K because the exit door will encroach into your space.

These economy seats can be found on:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Melbourne (MEL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL) on QF 96
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Brisbane (BNE)

Our second choice for economy seats is on the A380 – they’re slightly wider, but slightly shorter in pitch. There are 371 seats in the gargantuan A380, mostly arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The economy cabins on this aircraft are so large that we need 2 images to show the seat maps. Here’s the main economy cabin:

Qantas A380 Economy Class Seat Map 1
Qantas A380 economy class seat map main cabin. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The second and smaller economy cabin is located behind the premium economy cabin on the upper deck:

Qantas A380 Economy Class Seat Map 2
Qantas A380 economy class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There are 3 seats you should aim to reserve on the Qantas A380 in economy: 71D, 80A, and 80K due to extra legroom.

The 747-4 is our last choice for economy. These seats are identical in dimensions to the A380, but we ranked the 747-4 last place because there aren’t any clear “preferential seats” that will enhance your travel experience significantly.

Here’s what I mean:

Qantas 747-4 Economy Class Seat Map
Qantas 747-4 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

You may choose exit row seats, but for some people, the increase in noise activity in your surroundings might not be worth it.

The best suggestion I can give is to reserve side seats in rows 70-72, since there are only 2 seats per row. If you’re traveling with a companion, you’ll have more space to spread out.

The seats in this cabin layout are found on these routes:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Honolulu (HNL) – Sydney (SYD)

Bottom Line: Overall, the economy seats can be slightly different in size; what’s more important is selecting the few seats that are clearly better than the rest (especially on the A380).

Final Thoughts

As we’ve demonstrated in the above sections, your Qantas travel experience will vary dramatically depending on which plane you fly.

The A380 has the sole first class product, which is reputed to be astonishingly good.

But Qantas’ business class, premium economy, and economy products are hands down better on the 787-9.

Unfortunately, the 747-4 doesn’t offer any particular advantage, except maybe route offerings if you aren’t open to positioning flights to optimize your flight experience.

All in all, now you know the complete route network, aircraft offerings, and cabins of service on Qantas flights to and from America.


Featured Image: Courtesy of ausbt.com.au

FAQ

What's the best way to book Qantas first class?

Using Alaska miles and American Airlines miles are a favorite in the travel community. You can use 115,000 AA miles one-way or 70,000 Alaska miles one-way!

Other methods include Oneworld partners like Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.

For more info and a step-by-step guide, check out our detailed guide on the best ways to book Qantas first class.

What's the best way to book Qantas business class?

Alaska Airlines charges only 55,000 miles each way from the U.S. to Australia. It’ll cost you 80,000 AA miles for the same route.

Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific both use a distance-based award chart, so your mileage will vary depending on your exact routing.

Want to know the best ways to book Qantas business class? Check out our guide.

What are the best ways to book Qantas premium economy class?

Alaska Airlines and British Airways are among the few options you have to book Qantas premium economy. Alaska charges 47,500 miles each way, whereas British Airways charges variable award pricing.

What's the best way to book Qantas economy class?

Alaska Airlines charges 42,500 miles each way, AA charges 40,000 miles each way, JAL charges 60,000 miles round-trip, and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles charges 40,000 miles each-way.

Some other options include British Airways Avios and Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels, thanks to his love for travel hacking. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. Within 2 years, Stephen has earned millions of points and miles, enjoyed several business class cabins, and stayed in luxury hotel suites in 14 countries.

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