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Winner February 2012
The winning user review for the February 2012 Seatplans.com competition for the prize of a LAT 56 Red-eye carry-on case.
Remember to review your next flight on seatplans.com for a chance to win a prize.
In April of 2011, I took a flight from LAX to MEL (QF94) and then made the return trip in May, which was QF93 from MEL to LAX. I had also taken this route in 2010, but on a 747 and while it was comfortable and food and service were impeccable, there were a few things that really needed to be changed in order for it to be perfect.
Once again, I found the service was amazing. All of the flight attendants, the captain and the first officer were more than polite and warm and welcoming. On my way over, I had taken a flight on a nasty AA jet from Boston to LAX since I live on the east coast. So when I got to LAX, all I wanted to do was board a nice jet and sleep. I had heard good things about the A380 and had done my research...since it only flew on Wednesdays and Fridays on this particular route, I wanted to make sure that this is what I really wanted. I decided to go for it because it probably wouldn't be any worse than the 747.
The first thing I noticed is how bright the cabin was. I didn't feel like I was in an old, dark jet crowded with people squished in like sardines. The height of the ceiling made the 21 foot wide cabin seem even bigger, which really helped. I got seat 77K on purpose because it is a window seat and has the back against a wall. It is in front of a galley, which has the snack bar. Despite being in front of a galley, the noise and light did not bother me at all. I was quite sick on the flight over to MEL, due to bad food choices.
The passenger in my row (I had a seat next to me that was empty) was gracious enough to let me out quite a bit, and at about 5:30 in the morning LAX time, which seemed to be quite dark where we were and everyone was sleeping, the Flight Attendants actually offered me some coffee, and sat and chatted with me about this and that for about half an hour. They also did everything they could to help me feel better and kept checking on me to make sure I was ok. The food I had eaten previous to the flight was what caused my sickness...and the lack of food for so many hours combined with what I ate was what did me in long before the flight started. However, Qantas was understanding and when the food carts came, they made sure I got my food first so that hopefully I would feel better.
Unfortunately, it didn't make me feel better, but it had nothing to do with Qantas's food and everything to do with the crazy long journey I was on and the bad food choices before taking off.
The food on board was great. There are always two options and there's always plenty of food. I have found that some of the delicacies such as the cookies in the "Q" snack bag are fabulous. The fruit served in the morning is always fresh and the food served did in general seem quite appetizing and not bad for economy level food.
The flight itself was SMOOTH and quiet. I absolutely loved how smooth and quiet the A380 was. When we took off, I barely felt the runway or the speed and once in the air, it didn't even feel like we were moving. They were careful to announce when we might hit some turbulence, but that was very rare since we flew so high up. Landing on both flights was smooth and seamless...I didn't even know we had landed...it was that smooth. I was very impressed by the pilot's skill and care, and the smoothness of the jet itself.
As for the seats...well, it's economy so what do you expect. I'm an average 5'4" girl with a solid build and a little extra fluff but not a lot. I have pretty wide hips though lol. I found the width of the seat to be a little limiting and I didn't like the armrests being so solid, although understandably if they weren't, people's legs would splay and hit other people's legs. But at 18.2 inches wide, that's not very wide. But...it's economy. I found the leg room to be pretty nice. There is a little net for your feet and I used that quite a bit when sleeping and I have to say it was fairly comfortable and did make it feel less burdensome than having my feet on the floor.
Being that I was against a wall, I threw my laptop bag behind my seat as there was lots of room, and I probably shouldn't have, but I did just to open up some leg room. It was awkward to get it afterwards, but hey it's a 15 hour flight and people do lots of awkward things when they're done lol.
The bottom of the seat slid forward so it was more like reclining than just the seat going back. I found that to be much nicer than the seats in the 747...but some people don't like it. Not sure why. The elbow room (literal elbow room, between my elbow and the window) was excellent. Maybe too good. Everyone had so much room between their seat and the window, that the pillows, blankets and whatever else they'd propped on the window to help them sleep ended up falling out behind them...several times I caught a pillow or blanket from the person in front of me. I of course didn't have this issue as there was no one behind me.
In flight entertainment...downright GOOD. So much selection! I love music and I wanted music to help me sleep so I found the perfect stuff and it put me right to sleep. Yes, SLEEP. Even when I was sick, I finally got some sleep. When I felt like watching something, there was an excellent variety of TV shows and movies to choose from. If that didn't satisfy me, there were games to play...but I wanted to be polite to the person in front of me so I didn't play them as some of them required touching the screen a lot. Overall, I couldn't have asked for better IFE.
The only issue I faced is that the IFE system offers in flight internet and in flight texting for a fee. Because I was bored and I wanted to try it, I decided to try to send a text to my friend who was picking me up. The system doesn't work yet, so when I slid my card (yes, there is a place to slide your credit card, in the remote I believe) it didn't do anything, and thus, I couldn't send the text, or get internet for that matter. I asked the flight attendants about it, and they responded that when it came out initially, they had some issues with it, and had to renegotiate terms so it would be unavailable for a while. From what I have heard, in flight internet is returning to select flights in Business and First, but not yet to Economy or Premium Economy. Aside from those issues, I had no other issues with the IFE.
Let's see...what else can I think of? Oh yes, the ceiling height was enough that I could fully stand up where I was seated without bumping my head on a bin. Also, the aisles were wide enough that even when a cart was going through, there was ample room. Two people could easily pass each other in the aisle and I never bumped anyone. The flight was smooth enough that I didn't need to hold on to any seats either, which was a problem I had had on the 747.
The lavs were about as expected. Usually they were pretty clean and didn't look like 500 other people were on the same flight. There were enough of them that it was not crowded in the morning before landing and I had adequate space and time to freshen up.
The snack bar was a definite improvement to nothing on the 747. It had small drinks, fresh fruit, and various snacks all available throughout the flight, free of charge and fully accessible. Although the "Snack on Q" bag was good, a 15 hour flight calls for a fair amount of fluid as well as a snack here and there to keep going...and the snack bar did just that.
Overall, an A+ experience considering it is after all economy seating. I couldn't have asked for better service, food, or IFE. Of course I wanted more room. But who in economy doesn't? I understand that when I take economy, I'm going to be limited by the space I'm given and I feel bad for anyone who is larger or taller. But aside from the space, everything was amazing on both flights, and I am leaving in 10 days to do it all over again, same seat, same jet, same routes. I wouldn't consider taking any other airline on this route.