Changi Airport Oneworld Qantas Travel

Qantas restarting Singapore – London with Airbus A380s in June

Qantas will route its Sydney-London flights through Changi Airport again from 19th June, using Airbus A380s, which should also see the airline's Singapore First Lounge reopen its doors.

If you were wondering when the last Qantas Airbus A380 departed from Singapore you’d have to look back all the way to 23rd March 2020, when QF2 departed to Sydney, having touched down in Changi from London a couple of hours earlier on its regular routing between Europe and Australia.

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That was, of course, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic’s major effect on air travel globally, and even home carrier SIA then flew its final A380 passenger flight back into Changi only a week later.

Thankfully the world is a different place today, with travel picking up fast and both Qantas and SIA already flying their superjumbos on passenger routes again.

Qantas will join Singapore Airlines as the second airline to reintroduce A380 flights at Changi Airport in June. (Photo: Jakkrit Prasertwit)

Good news is that we’ll see the return of Qantas A380s through Changi next month, all of which are decked out with the oneworld carrier’s latest cabin products, on non-stop flights from Singapore to London and Sydney.

With the return of First Class, it should also mean the shutters being lifted on one of the airport’s most elegant pre-flight pads – the much-lauded Qantas Singapore First Lounge.

Qantas A380s return to Singapore

On 19th June 2022 the ‘red roo’ will bring its Airbus A380s back to Singapore Changi Airport, with a reinstatement of its daily Sydney – Singapore – London QF1 service, which returns via a reverse routing as QF2 from the following day.

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Despite being due to operate via Changi since March 2022 using Boeing 787-9s, this service is currently flying via Darwin instead. That’s a decision Qantas put down, in part at least, to Singapore’s testing policy for transit passengers.

At the time, those heading to the UK from Australia would have been required to take an expensive pre-departure COVID-19 test only to satisfy Singapore’s transit requirements, then been relegated to Changi Airport’s lacklustre transit ‘holding pen’ on the return journey, because the UK was on Singapore’s ‘naughty list’.

Singapore fixed those issues only a week later, which was interesting timing following the Qantas complaint, but it was too late for QF1/2 – the decision had been made.

Thankfully the Singapore stopover is finally being reinstated, and will also coincide with a welcome return of the four-class Airbus A380 on QF1/2 services, from 19th June 2022.

Sydney London
Flight Schedule
(19 Jun 2022 – 29 Oct 2022)

QF1
A380
Days
M T W T F S S
SYD
16:55
SIN
22:15
SIN
23:45
LHR
06:35*

* Next day

London Sydney
Flight Schedule
(20 Jun 2022 – 29 Oct 2022)

QF2
A380
Days
M T W T F S S
LHR
21:05
SIN
17:25*
SIN
19:30*
SYD
06:10**

* Next day
** Two days later (e.g. depart LHR on Mon, arrive SYD on Wed)

Qantas will become only the second airline to reinstate A380 flights from Singapore since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, with Emirates, British Airways and Lufthansa all yet to do so, opting to serve the Lion City with smaller jets for the time being.

Qantas has longstanding “fifth freedom” traffic rights between Singapore and London, making it one of only three carriers permitted to carry passengers solely between the two cities on non-stop services (the others being British Airways and Singapore Airlines, neither of whom require these rights on this city pair).

Travellers can fly Qantas A380s non-stop solely between Singapore and London from mid-June, a so-called “fifth freedom” traffic route

Qantas A380s have the following layout, accommodating a total of 485 passengers:

  • 14 First Class seats (1-1-1)
  • 70 Business Class seats (1-2-1)
  • 60 Premium Economy seats (2-3-2)
  • 341 Economy Class seats (3-4-3)

The seat map can be downloaded here.

Qantas A380 cabin products

In common with Singapore Airlines, one thing COVID-19 has allowed Qantas to do is ensure all ten of its A380s returning into service are fitted with the latest cabin products, first introduced a few months before the pandemic hit.

Qantas A380s were stored in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock)

The new cabins actually debuted on the QF1 London-Singapore-Sydney flight on 1st October 2019, but relatively few passengers got to enjoy it on a handful of aircraft before the entire superjumbo fleet had to be grounded only months later.

In Business Class the A380s feature the airline’s latest version of the popular Thompson Vantage XL Business Class seat.

The Business Class seats on new Qantas A380s are similar to the newest version on its Boeing 787s. (Photo: Qantas)

What is different is that Qantas Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s don’t have the A380’s lounge area, ideal for a mid-flight change of scenery or meeting, or to dine with a partner, friend or colleague.

This area also includes a self-serve bar, and is shared with First Class passengers.

Speaking of First Class, there’s no such option on other Qantas aircraft, with this 14-seat cabin exclusive to the airline’s superjumbos.

Qantas A380 First Class picked up a refresh in the 2019 update. (Photo: Qantas)

Despite its age, the Qantas First Class product is quite innovative. We’ve flown it a couple of times (see our review) and while it doesn’t boast fully enclosed suites or double beds, it still holds up strongly against many competitors.

Qantas Singapore flights

London and Sydney aren’t the only Qantas routes you can travel on from Singapore.

Here’s how the carrier’s network looks from 19th June 2022 to the end of the northern summer season, with flights also available to Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

Singapore Schedule
19 Jun – 29 Oct

Destination Total
Frequency
Aircraft Flights
Brisbane 3/wk A330 QF51/52
London 7/wk A380 QF1/2
Melbourne 4-5/wk A330
QF35/36
Perth 5/wk A330 QF71/72
Sydney 7/wk
7/wk
A330
A380
QF81/82
QF1/2

Qantas Singapore First Lounge

Arguably the nicest airline-operated lounge at Singapore Changi Airport, the Qantas First Class facility in Terminal 1, won rightful praise when it opened its doors in late 2019, only to have to close soon afterwards due to the pandemic.

Skylight reading zone in the Qantas Singapore First Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

While no firm date has been confirmed, we would expect the airline to reopen its Singapore First Lounge to coincide with the reintroduction of the First Class cabin on both the London and Sydney routes from mid-June 2022.

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Following the formal launch event we attended in early December 2019, where we were among the first to tour the lounge, sample the ambiance, and try out the à la carte food options in the restaurant, we visited later the same month for a full review as regular passengers.

The standout at the lounge is its restaurant, serving up a wide selection of local and international dishes pre-COVID.

Dining is an elegant affair at the Qantas Singapore First Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The menu for the reopening is likely to be less extensive than before in the initial stages, but pre-COVID some fantastic dishes were being served including a grilled skate, signature laksa and the Qantas First Lounge staple salt and pepper squid.

Grilled Skate at the Qantas Singapore First Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There are also fantastic shower suites, each of which include an impressive artificial skylight to help you adjust to a new time zone.

Shower suite. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Here’s our short video walkthrough of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge, including some key highlights such as the shower suites and dining experience.

Once the Qantas First Lounge in Singapore does reopen, it will be available to:

Passengers flying on a Qantas or Emirates flight, or on a oneworld member operated flight:

  • in First Class; or
  • in Premium Economy or Economy Class and holding Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status, Emirates Platinum Skywards status* or oneworld Emerald status**.

* Qantas or Emirates flights only
** Qantas or oneworld flights only

Passengers flying on a Jetstar flight (coded JQ or 3K):

  • holding Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status.

Currently all lounge-eligible Qantas and oneworld passengers can use the Qantas Business Class Lounge at Changi T1 prior to their flights, which reopened on 3rd December 2021.

Award rates

You can redeem award seats on Qantas flights using Qantas Frequent Flyer miles, Emirates Skywards miles, Asia Miles, or any oneworld frequent flyer currency.

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Here are the one-way redemption rates in First Class, if you’re lucky enough to find any award space in this cabin.


First Class
(to/from SIN)
  Sydney
London
QFF 102,600 142,300
BA 82,500 144,250
Asia 87,000 110,000
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is EKtrans.png 96,000 150,000
150,000 225,000

Here are the one-way redemption rates in Business Class:


Business Class
(to/from SIN)
  Perth Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane
London
QFF 57,000 68,400 94,900
BA 38,750 62,000 108,250
Asia 30,000 61,000 70,000
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is EKtrans.png 52,000 64,000 104,000
70,000 100,000 150,000

These compare to the following KrisFlyer saver award rates on Singapore Airlines:

  • 36,500 miles (PER)
  • 62,000 miles (SYD / MEL / BNE)
  • 92,000 miles (LHR)

As you can see, Asia Miles provides the best value in Business Class for Qantas redemptions.

Here’s how it looks in Premium Economy:


Premium Economy
(to/from SIN)
  Sydney
Melbourne
London
QFF 51,300 71,700
BA 40,000 70,000