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Qantas economy class offers surprising value if you know how to maximize your flight perks. From comfortable seats to exceptional service, here’s how to make the most of an economy flight on Qantas.
What to expect flying international economy with Qantas
As with many airlines, the Qantas flight experience can vary depending on elite status as a Qantas Frequent Flyer (the airline’s loyalty program) and itinerary. For the most part, your economy flights between the U.S. and Australia on Qantas will be similar to other major airlines in terms of bag allowances, boarding, seats and upgraded tickets. You can expect:
Bag allowance. When flying economy on Qantas between the U.S. and Australia, it depends on when your ticket was purchased.
Tickets purchased on/before March 25, 2021: The baggage allowance is two pieces, though additional pieces can be purchased (for around $150-$185 each). If your baggage weighs more than 50 pounds each, there will be an additional fee of around $65-$85 per bag depending on the direction you are flying.
Tickets purchased on/after March 26, 2021: You only get one bag (extra bags cost around $200-$235) and there’s a cap of 70 pounds per bag, even for overweight bags.
Boarding. Like most airlines, boarding is ordered according to Qantas Frequent Flyer status and the fare class of your ticket. For most economy class passengers, expect to be in the later groups to board your flight.
Seats. Economy class seats are reasonably comfortable, especially if you’re flying on the Qantas B787 economy class, with its above-average 32-inch seat pitch and a six-inch recline. Further, the international Qantas A330-200 economy class seat offers a spacious 2-4-2 configuration, a netted footrest and adjustable headrest. Qantas is in the process of refurbishing the A380s to include these more comfortable international economy seats as well. Beware, however, that seat selection in economy comes at an additional fee if you’ve booked a sale fare. Qantas offers sale, saver and flex fare values in all of its classes, including economy.
Upgraded economy tickets. Looking to elevate your experience a touch? Premium economy will get you there. Premium economy flyers get dedicated check-in, priority boarding, more spacious seats and noise-canceling headphones. You’ll also experience an improved dining experience and more attentive service in a semi-private premium economy cabin — a worthwhile upgrade on longer flights.
Ways to get good value
Book flight awards early — even on partner airlines
Arguably the best perk of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is that its flight rewards open early, meaning you’ll have first dibs on the Qantas economy class flights you want. The airline’s Classic Flight Rewards — any ticket booked with Qantas Points for flights with Qantas, a Oneworld member airline or an airline partner (like Jetstar Airlines) — open up 353 days prior to departure. This is an improvement from others, including Oneworld partner airline American Airlines, which provides availability only 331 days prior to departure.
Earn Qantas points from a variety of resources
As a Oneworld partner airline, you’re able to fly any of the member airlines and use your points on other alliance airlines. That means that if you often fly Alaska Airlines in the U.S., you can use the Mileage Plan points you earned via domestic travel for your Qantas flights.
Oneworld member airlines include:
Royal Air Maroc.
Other non-alliance airline partners of Qantas airlines include:
Air New Zealand.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
You can also earn Qantas points by spending on credit cards associated with transferable points programs. This includes American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy points.
Book short-haul flights with Qantas points
Qantas classic flight rewards are based on distance flown. Economy flights in zone one, which is between 0-600 miles, only run 8,000 Qantas points each direction. These distance-based flight rewards make it possible to find incredible value on shorter economy flights, especially for regional flights within Australia. And, after all, if you’re making the long trip from the U.S. to Australia, you may want to see more than one city while you’re down under.
For instance, you can fly to the sunshine coast near Brisbane from Sydney for a cheaper award flight; the distance clocks in at about 570 miles.
Don’t pack plane snacks
Save room in your carry-on for other necessities instead. Economy flyers enjoy some exceptional food on Qantas, along with Australian wine, other alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic drinks. Qantas also shines with a self-service section that allows you to enjoy additional drinks and snacks whenever you get a hankering during your flight.
Leave your toothbrush in your checked luggage
Passengers on select international flights get a little comfort kit — even those in Qantas economy class seats. Use the earplugs and eye mask to try and get some shut-eye before you touch down. The provided dental kit will also help you arrive feeling refreshed.
Bring your computer charger, but leave behind your power banks
A not entirely uncommon — but not nearly ubiquitous enough — perk of Qantas international economy flights is the presence of computer power access in addition to USB charging ports. While charging capabilities still vary depending on the aircraft, this perk, along with additional personal storage space in the Qantas B787 economy class, make for a more enjoyable long-haul economy experience.
The bottom line
Qantas economy class seats offer attractive legroom and seat width. Your best bet for further comfort is to fly economy class on a B787, with its even more sizable seats. With above-average food and a reputation for service, you can’t go too wrong with Qantas Airlines international economy flight.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card