Flight Review: Qantas flight QF11 Sydney to New York in Economy

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If you want to fly all the way to the Big Apple with crew that offers an Australian accent, Qantas’ flight QF11 is the flight for you. QF11 is the only flight that operates from Australia and continues from the US West Coast all the way across to New York by an Australian based airline. The flight from Sydney to New York operates daily and flies from Sydney to Los Angeles on their flagship aircraft the Qantas Airbus A380 and continues from Los Angeles to New York on the Queen of the Skies the Boeing 747.

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Qantas flight QF11 still provides Australians with the best connection time to New York from Australia’s East Coast – that is when it is arriving on schedule. It also provides for passengers the easiest transfer between flights and access to the best lounges of any carrier operating through Los Angeles from Australia.

I have now travelled from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to New York on Qantas and can say that the service received in all classes on all aircraft is what you would expect of a leading international airline.

Read all our Qantas reviews on flights to America from Australia

The 20+ hour journey wasn’t helped by a 4 hour delay in Los Angeles

Our Verdict

Website: Entertainment:
Check-in: Dining / Meals:
Lounge: Staff:
Boarding:    
Seat: Overall: 3 and a half star overall rating

 

Inside Word

Route: Sydney (SYD) to New York (JFK) via Los Angeles
Airline: Qantas
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Airbus A380 & Boeing 747-400ER
Flight #: QF 11
Seat #: 32K & 43H
What’s Hot  
   Private cabin at the back of the A380 upper deck
   Being able to use the stairs at the back of the plane during flight to stretch your legs
   Fast departure from the plane from the upper deck of the A380
   Light loads in economy from LA to New York meant passengers could stretch out and sleep
What’s Not  
   The 4 hour delay in Los Angeles
   Not having a proper snack bar on the A380 Upper Deck
   Previous flight on QF15 in economy staff were far more attentive
  Snack bar not available on flight from Los Angeles to New York

Website

As I have mentioned previously in other Qantas reviews the Qantas website is one of the best websites I have ever used when booking either domestic or international travel. It is even better when comparing it to the other competitors offering direct flights to the United States.

On previous flights I had used the functionality to pre-order a meal out of Australia, in this case it would have been lunch on QF11, on this flight I did not bother as previously it had not been recorded, nor delivered correctly by the flight attendants on board.

Check-in

As Sydney is Qantas’ main hub for international and domestic operations, it has one of the better check-in set-ups of any airline operating our of Sydney. It has dedicated check-in counters and desks for its top-tier frequent flyers and First class passengers, business class passengers, premium economy passengers, economy passengers and kiosks available for travellers heading to New Zealand and other selected destinations.

Being a Platinum Frequent Flyer I was able to check-in at the secluded First Class check-in area which is located directly opposite the Express Path entry gates and is enclosed to increase the privacy for those checking-in for their First Class flights across the Pacific and to Dubai and London.

 Qantas First Class check-in area at Sydney airport

Check-in this morning was very quick, when I arrived no one was waiting and as I had no bags to check-in my seats from to Los Angeles and onwards to New York were confirmed, my boarding passes for both flights printed and I was presented with an Express Path departures card within 3 minutes of arriving at the terminal.

 Filling in departure documenation in the Qantas First check-in area

Related: What should you pack in your carry-on when flying to New York from Australia

Once I had my documentation I took a seat on the single lounges available which allows passengers to fill in their outward departure cards in comfort and privacy before heading through to Immigration and security.

QF11 Sydney to Los Angeles

Lounge

After using the new automated Immigration kiosks departing Sydney for the first time, and dropping my aforementioned green departure card in a bucket after the kiosk, I used the Express Path card and made my way through an almost non-existent security line and was airside of the terminal within 5 minutes of leaving the check-in area.

Sydney Airport has been undergoing a massive revamp of its duty free area over the last 6 months and the changes that have been made area vast improvement. Access from the security screening area through to the Qantas lounges is no much quicker and the overall feel of the terminal is much brighter.

 The new Sydney international airport duty free area

Once I made my way through the Duty Free area, I made a beeline to the Qantas First lounge where I was planning on getting some breakfast and work done before logging off for a blissful 14hours of catching up on TV and movies I hadn’t been able to watch in the past 6 weeks.

Read more: Review of the award-winning Qantas First Lounge in Sydney

As I arrived at the Qantas First lounge reception desk I enquired as to whether or not there were any spa reservations available, unfortunately only 2 therapists were working that morning and all the available appointment times has been secured. Disappointed, but not surprised, I headed to the restaurant area of the lounge and ordered a cappuccino, apple juice and the Rockpool signature breakfast, which as always was great.

 This mornings view from the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney

 The Rockpool Signature Breakfast with poached eggs

After finishing breakfast and sending some last minute emails I made my way over to some of the couches that lined the front of the lounge looking out over the tarmac, reclined the seat and got about 20 minutes rest, which was well needed as I had been averaging about 3 hours sleep a night prior to this trip.

 Departure board at the entrance to the Qantas First Lounge

Boarding

As I extracted myself from the reclined arm chair I made my way down to the waiting area at gate 8 and arrived just as the secondary security screening, which is conducted for all US bound flights from Australia, was commencing. Rather than waiting with the hordes while they were processed I headed back into duty free to see if there were any gifts for my kids I could pre-purchase and pick-up on my return in 3 days time. After 10 minutes of not finding anything worth putting on hold till I got back I headed over to a now empty pre-screening area and quickly made my way through to the gate lounge area, where it seemed all of the passengers were waiting to board, whilst no one was sitting on the chairs.

 Waiting board QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles

Knowing that we still had about 10 minutes before they would open boarding (at the earliest) I took a seat. As I sat down an announcement was made that boarding wouldn’t begin for another 20 minutes and that passengers would be called by cabin, then seat number. At which point group of middle-aged travellers all looked at me as if I had some kind of intuition and followed my lead and sat down.

Boarding eventually began 7 minutes behind schedule at 10:52 when First, Business and Premium Economy passengers, as well as Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers were called to begin boarding via their dedicated lane.

I made my way through the crowds and after realising my final dreams of an operational upgrade had been dashed, I made my way to the upper deck of the A380, through the Business class cabin, through the Premium economy cabin, and settled into seat 32K.

 Qantas economy cabin on the A380 upper deck

Once boarding was complete, and we were waiting final clearance to push back from the gate, the flight attendants distributed menus for the flight and a bottle of water for each passenger.

 Bottle of water distributed before take-off

 Our view as we taxi towards the end of the runway

 Sydney CBD and Harbour Bridge shortly after take-off

 Flying our over Sydney’s Middle Harbour and leaving Australia

Seat & Cabin

Seat 32K on the Qantas A380 is the first row of economy on the upper deck of the A380. When Qantas originally purchased and configured its A380 the entire top floor of the double decker jet was to only include business class and premium economy seating, however as the GFC hit and the number of passengers willing to pay for the premium cabins dwindled Qantas made the decision to remove some of the Premium economy seating and replace them with an intimate economy cabin for the top economy fare class and top-tier frequent flyers.

You might also be interested in: Best seats in economy when flying to New York from Australia

Normally I would choose an aisle seat for any long-haul flight in economy, however on this occasion when the chance to get seat 32K arose I was willing to take a gamble knowing that I would have greater legroom at the front of the cabin and being seated directly in front of the bulkhead that divides economy and premium economy, plus added to the fact that on the Upper Deck of an Airbus A380 each window seat has its own small locker to keep personal items within easy reach.

 Seat 32K on Qantas A380 with side storage locker

The seat itself is a pretty standard Qantas international economy seat, providing approx 17.5 inches of seat width and normally about 31inches of pitch from the seat in front. As mentioned as I was in the bulkhead seat I did not have any seats in front of me and enjoyed the extra leg (knee) room.

 Bulkhead and legroom on QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles on the A380

 Bulkhead and glimpse into Premium Economy from row 32

That being said I certainly prefer to be able to fully stretch my legs during the flight, and at over 6foot tall, I was unable to do that whilst I was in my seat, but thankfully I was able to, relatively easily, get into and out of my seat without disturbing the gentleman sitting in seat 32J.

As I arrived at my seat was covered with the usual assortments found on Qantas international economy, pillow, headphones and a blanket which was wrapped in plastic to confirm(?) its cleanliness. As I took my seat I placed my larger carry-on bag in the overhead locker and managed to squeeze my briefcase into the side locker next to my seat. To ensure that it fit I had to take some of the bulkier items out including my noise-cancelling headphones and iPad, which wasn’t an issue as I was planning on using them almost immediately.

 Qantas international economy on the Qantas A380

One of the drawbacks of sitting in the first row of economy in any of the sections on a Qantas A380 or Boeing 747 is that the in-flight entertainment screen forms part of the seat and is stowed via its retractable arm for take-off and landing, which makes Qantas’ gate-to-gate IFE unusable for those seated in the front rows. Another issue I found was that remote for the entertainment system was embedded into the armrest of the seat, and being a larger male, found that my hips / top of my thigh would at change the volume or the channel I was watching whenever I tried to re-adjust my sitting position to get a little more comfortable.

As I had now come to expect from Qantas as that there was no amenity kit provided for economy class passengers, which I continue to find disapointing. On this flight however I was able to actually find that passengers have access to the usual items available in an amenity kit, however these are now stoked at the in-flight self-serve bar located on the lower level at the rear of the cabin. There was also a small amount of amenities available in what seemed to me a magazine rack / holder located next to the galley of the Upper Deck servicing Premium Economy and Economy.

 Small amenity area at the back of the A380 upper deck containing arrival cards, magazines, pens and amenity kit items

The bathrooms on the A380 are some of the biggest available in commercial aviation, partly due to the overall size of the aircraft, but also due to the fact that they are such a new aircraft designs are able to make the most of the available space. Another benefit of being in the upper deck on the A380 the quality of amenitites in the bathrooms are of a higher quality, including the handwash and the availability of cloth towels instead of paper towels with which to dry your hands. It’s only little things but they do give a much different impression.

 Hand cream and hand wash in the bathrooms servicing economy & premium economy

 Qantas A380 bathroom

 Qantas A380 bathroom

Entertainment

I have covered the entertainment on Qantas international flights between Australia and Los Angeles a number of times in previous reviews, and I am happy to say again that it lived up to my expectations. I generally use my time in the air as a chance to relax and unwind and take full advantage of the disconnected state that is flying at 38,000 feet and not have an internet connection, and catch up on the TV shows that I have missed or movies that I didn’t get to see in the cinema.

 Entertainment screen in row 32 on the Qantas A380

One of the downsides of sitting in a bulkhead seat is that the entertainment unit is generally fixed to the seat via an extendable arm which needs to be stowed for take-off and landing, which means that I was unable to take advantage of watching any of the Qantas movies or TV shows until about 6 minutes after take-off when the seatbelt sign was extinguished. Another factor that frustrated me was that in addition the the IFE control being placed on the inside of the armrest, the headphone jack was also next to the remote control which also meant it was very easy to dislodge the headphones from their socket, which isn’t ideal when you are watching a suspensful thriller.

 Premium Economy Cabernet blend after introduction from the Customer Service Supervisor

The quality of programming that Qantas is investing in of late is on the serious improve, with more and more big name content providers being available including HBO, I found a great show called The Agent which follows the lives of 4 Sports Agents trying to find and recruit the next big name for the NFL in America. After finishing The Agent I went on to watch The Big Short, which was very interesting as my wife worked in the finance industry during the 2008 GFC, Spectre and Sicario, both were also great.

I also spent a large amount of time just walking around the upstairs economy cabin and the economy cabin on the lower deck to stretch my legs. I am a big fan of the amount to space there is available at the rear of the economy cabin on the lower deck of the A380, and I did notice a steady stream of flight attendants coming around, whether or not it was just a feature of service, or if it had anything to do with the US TSA edict that no one is allowed to congregate on the plane on flights bound for the US.

Dining / Meals

Shortly after take-off flight attendants walked around the cabin offering guests a welcome drink which was Bickfords Signature Drink. About 30 minutes after take-off the Customer Service Supervisor came by and welcomed me aboard and thanked me for my loyalty and offered to get me a glass of wine from Premium Economy. I graciously accepted a glass of the Cabernet Blend which was being offered in the Premium Economy cabin.

 Bickfords Signature welcome drink aboard QF11

Menu’s for this flight were distributed just prior to pushing back from the gate which meant I had plenty of time to peruse the meals on offer. As with most Qantas flights from Australia to the United States, QF11 offers passengers a lunch shortly after take-off, meals and snacks throughout the flight and a choice of a hot or cold breakfast about 1 – 2 hours prior to landing.

 The menu for economy passengers on Qantas flight QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles

On today’s flight from Sydney to Los Angeles passengers in the economy cabin had the choice of:

  • Chipotle pulled pork, bean and apple salad with coriander and lime dressing;
  • Spice crusted kingfish with chermoula eggplant, capsicum relish, green beans and rice pilaf; or
  • Beef and pepper pie with potato galltte, carrots and crushed peas

All meals were accompanied with:

  • Garlic bread
  • Apple crumble
  • A choice of Australian reds, whites & sparking wine
  • Premium Australian beers
  • Gin & Tonic, Bloody Mary or Vodka and Ginger Beer
  • Peppermint Tea, Hot Chocolate, Tea or Coffee

And finished with:

  • Lindt chocolate ball

Lunch was served just under an hour after take-off and I chose the Beef and pepper pie, and whilst the crushed peas looked like they had been run over with a semi-trailer the meal was fantastic. It smelt great as it was served, everything on the plate was full of flavour and the garlic bread almost stole the show with the amount of flavour it had.

 Qantas has improved the presentation of meals in its economy cabin significantly over the past couple of years

The entire lunch service was completed in just over 30 minutes which is due in no small part to the size of the cabin, which in mind was great, as it allowed me to recline my seat (something I don’t do until after the meals have been cleared – do unto others…) and get stuck into catching up on some TV.

 Today’s choice: Beef & pepper pie accompanied by a garlic roll and Coke Zero

 Lunch on QF11 was finished with an Apple Crumble

 The Beef and Pepper pie was very tasty, even though the peas son’t look like it!

 The end product of a tasy lunch

About 2 hours after lunch had been cleared I got up and went for a walk around the cabin and made my way down to the lower deck where I found the self-service bar which to this day, I believe is one of the greatest improvements made to the economy experience of any airline in the world. In the self-service bar I also found that Qantas offered its amenity kit content for all passengers as individual items, allowing passengers to take them as they desire. After stretching my legs I grabbed a packet of M&M’s and made my way back to up my seat and returned to watching Spectre.

 The upper deck cabin on the Qantas A380

 Whilst the stairs at the front of the plane (from Business Class down to First Class are straight), the stairs at the rear of the aircraft are curved.

 Safety gate at the top of the stairs

 Drink section of the Qantas A380 snack bar at the rear of economy

 Fresh fruit, ice tray, cups and water dispenser

 Qantas economy cabin (lower deck) on QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles

At approx. 4pm Sydney time I rang the call button and requested a Coke Zero and it was promptly delivered within 3 minutes to my seat, which is another massive advantage of being seated in the Upper Deck, the service is far quicker than on the main deck.

 Mid flight drink service

About 2 hours later the cabin crew did a quick snack run which included chocolates, nuts and fruit. I took a bag of M&Ms and a Tim Tam (I lost count of exactly how many I had during the flight – which is probably not a good thing!).

 Sun setting over the Pacific

 Snack bar (AKA The great wall of Tim Tams) on the Qantas A380 lower deck

Just before 7pm Sydney time the crew offered all economy passengers a more hearty snack which on this flight was an oven heated panini – which I found to be delicious. Unlike on my previous flight in economy on Qantas (QF15 from Brisbane to Los Angeles) which was almost inedible, was a very nice change.

 Toasted Chicken Panini as presented from the crew

 The Chicken Panini snack was very nice and quite filling

After watching another couple of movies it was that time of the flight again when the smells of breakfast begin to fill the cabin. At about 11:15pm (Sydney time), almost exactly 2 hours till wheels down, the crew began the breakfast service on today’s flight. The choices for breakfast on overnight Qantas flights in economy are generally pretty basic, either a hot breakfast or basic continental. This morning I chose the hot breakfast which included:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Potato rosti
  • Roasted tomatoes
  • Mushrooms

Each meal was accompanied by:

  • A warm homestyle muffin
  • Traditional Greek yoghurt with granola

 The hot breakfast option on QF11 just before descent into Los Angeles

The breakfast on this flight was an improvement on the last breakfast I had prior to arriving into Los Angeles on Qantas, however that being said, it was more of a placeholder meal until I could get something more substantial in the Qantas First Lounge at LAX airport.

As soon as the meals were collected I headed straight to the bathroom to change and freshen up, before the other passengers even had their meal trays removed.

After getting changed I re-packed my bag, changed my Australian currency over to the folding green stuff, filled in my arrival documents (which is always an exciting time for me) and then decided to listen to my playlist on my phone for the final hour of the flight whilst I watch the sun rise over the wing.

 Sunrise over the Eastern Pacific Ocean about 30 minutes before arrival

Staff

In general the staff on flight QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles were polite and professional yet seemed to lack any willingness to engage with any of the customers, that I could see. I spent a significant amount of the flight out of my seat either walking around the cabin, standing at the rear of the Upper Deck or down on the lower deck near the self-serve bar and bathrooms and multiple times I tried to engage different staff members in converstaion however each time I felt that the staff were merely going through the motions.

Service throughout the flight was attentive, however I noticed that maybe because the cabin was far smaller than on the main deck, crew did not come through nearly as often to offer drink refils or snacks as I had experienced on QF15 from Brisbane to Los Angeles 6 weeks earlier.

At the beginning of the journey I did receive a welcome from the Customer Service Supervisor, which is common for Platinum Frequent Flyers however again unlike on other flights I felt very much that she was merely going through the motions without doing anything other than the absolute bare minimum.

General Impressions and Overall Thoughts

The service on today’s flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was professional without being warm and generous, which I had experienced on QF15 a couple of months earlier. The A380 certainly lives up to the expectation of being flagship of the Qantas fleet, it was a very comfortable ride, even when travelling in economy. The real plus was being seated on the upper deck which included quicker service. I particularly enjoyed being able to easily walk up and down the stairs at the rear of the aircraft for added circulation on the long flight.

Seeing as it was the first time I had flown in a bulkhead seat on the A380 I was excited to see what it would offer. I was thrilled with the extra leg room (especially as I am over 6 foot tall) however the inability to full extend my legs was very frustrating, however I did find it quite easy to get out of the seat without disturbing the passenger next to me so that was a plus.

There isn’t any doubt in my mind that the quality of the A380 wins over the ageing Queen of the Skies, the Boing 747, when comparing the two Qantas aircraft options when flying from Australia to the US, and as luck would have it, today I would be flying both as my flight from Los Angeles through to New York would be on QF11 operated by a Boeing 747.

 Qantas A380 lower deck bathrooms and snack bar

 Top of the stairs leading down to the lower deck

 At the rear or the economy cabin on the Qantas A380 upper deck next to the galley

As we touched down in Los Angeles I quickly fired up my phone to see if I had any credit left on my previous Verizon pre-paid mobile hotspot which I had purchased 6 weeks earlier, and as luck would have it, there was just enough credit left to check whether or not the my flight from LA to New York’s JFK airport was on time or not. As I used Google to check the flight timings I thought there must have been a mistake as the departure from Los Angeles to New York on QF11 was showing a delay of 4 hours – which hardly ever happens, it is normally the return that is delayed by that much, and I tried to confirm via Flight Tracker whether or not the inbound flight from Brisbane was on schedule or not my credit ran out and I was left in the state of not knowing.

As is pretty standard with flights landing into Los Angeles with onward connections the Customer Service Manager made the announcement that confirmed my dread, that the inbound flight that would be operating the LA to NYC leg, QF15 from Brisbane, had departed Brisbane 4 1/2 hours late due to some mechanical issues. The crew had tried to make up as much time as possible in the air but were still delayed by over 3 hours. It was at this point I was so very happy to have lounge access, as it would allow me to at least get a decent (4th) breakfast of the day, a shower and if I was lucky enough to get one of the comfy chairs in the Qantas First Lounge at LAX that over looks the terminal with a great foot rest that makes you almost feel like your in your own bed.

Service timing

Below you will find a detailed overview of the service with the timing of the service correlating with Australian Daylight Saving Time from our departure in Sydney.

  • Gate open 10:35
  • Boarding scheduled: 10:45
  • Actual boarding: 10:52 (premium cabins & top tier frequent flyers)
  • Scheduled departure: 11:30
  • Actual departure: 11:57
  • 11:21am – menus distributed
  • Expected flight time announced of  12 hours 46 minutes to Los Angeles
  • 11:35am – water bottle distributed
  • 11:57am – push back
  • 12:20 – wheels up
  • 12:26pm – seatbelt sign off
  • 12:32pm – Bickfords signature welcome drink
  • 12:58pm welcome from CSM and offered a glass of wine from Premium Economy
  • 1:14pm – lunch service begins
  • 1:41pm – lunch cleared
    • Tea coffee offered
  • 3:45pm – walk downstairs
  • IFE watched throughout the flight
    • The agent
    • The Big Short
    • Spectre
    • Sicario
  • 4:07pm – Called for a Coke Zero
  • 6:09pm – snack service
  • 6:56pm – Panini service
  • 10:46pm – smell of breakfast begins to fill the cabin
  • 11:12pm – lights on
  • 11:18pm – breakfast delivered
  • 1:13am – wheels down

Immigration & transit

As I have mentioned earlier one of the benefits of being seated in the upper deck economy cabin on Qantas’ A380 ensures that you are off the aircraft quicker than 80% of the economy passengers seated below you, even though your seated at the back of the plane.

 Shortly after arrival into LAX and taxiing to our gate at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal

Once off the plane there was a sizeable queue at the ESTA Visa Waiver kiosks now operating at Tom Bradley International Terminal. The queue was longer than I have seen it for a while, which I believe is due in part to more and more US based airlines being routed through TBIT for their arrivals such as American Airlines flight 73 from Sydney to Los Angeles which arrived just before our flight.

Related: Connecting through Los Angeles on Qantas: what you need to know

I was through the kiosk and immigration check within about 25 minutes of reaching the gate and the seatbelt sign being turned off. A recent change that has been made by Los Angeles World Airports is that QF11 bags are now delivered via one of the old carousels which is tucked away to the right hand / Southern side of the baggage claim area. Which was great because even though I wasn’t collecting any bags I was able to make my way through the baggage reclaim area specifically set up for QF11 passengers and by pass a very long line of other passengers who were waiting for their customs clearance.

As I made my way past the baggage carousel I made my way through to the connecting flights area where passengers with checked baggage could easily re-check their bag(s) for their onward flights with Qantas or American Airlines. I simply walked straight through and out into the general arrivals area and made my way up to the security screening area on level 3 of TBIT at LAX. Much to my relief there was virtually no queue this morning even though there were a  couple of flights departing around the same time as the scheduled departure of QF11 to New York.

 Looking out over terminal 4 (American Airlines) from Tom Bradley Terminal in LAX

After the obligatory removing of shoes, belts, hats and jackets and making my way through the 360 degree scanner I quickly made a beeline for the Qantas First Class lounge located on level 5.

 Gate to paradise at LAX – The entrance to the best lounge in North America – The Qantas First Lounge LAX

Once I was welcomed to the lounge, and offered an apology for the delay, I headed down to the back of the lounge to find the shower attendant and took a very refreshing shower.

 Shower at the Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport

 Shower suite in the Qantas First Lounge in Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

As our revised boarding time was scheduled for 11:30am I decided I would have something to eat, get some work done and then hopefully get some sleep in one of the arm-chairs, with the help of the eye-shade I kept from the plane and my noise-cancelling headphones.

 Buttermillk Pancakes, cappuccino and an apple juice in the Qantas First Lounge for breakfast

 Nice to have a half decent coffee after a long flight

 The dining section of the Qantas First Lounge LAX

 Enjoying a quick snooze while I wait for my delayed continuation of QF11 from Los Angeles to New York

I managed to doze on and off for about an hour and a half at which point was about 20 minutes before boarding. After checking with the desk that the inbound flight had arrived and that there wasn’t going to be any more delays I decided to leave the sanctuary of the lounge and go for a walk around the awesome “Great Hall” of Tom Bradley International terminal before arriving at the gate just before boarding.

QF11 from Los Angeles to New York

 The spectacularly designed TBIT at LAX

 Northern pier of TBIT at LAX

Boarding

As with most delayed flights (especially those over a couple of hours when most of the passengers have already been travelling for 17+ hours) most people were anxious to get on the continuation of flight QF11 from LAX to New York.

 LAX TBIT gate 134 lounge area

Business, Premium Economy, Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers were called to board at their leisure through the dedicated lanes while the remainder of the economy cabin was called by rows.

 LAX departure board showing our 3 1/2 hour delay

I quickly boarded and got my self settled, making sure I got on early enough to secure enough room in the overhead bin for both of my bags as I couldn’t store them under the seat in front of me because for this flight I was going to be sitting in the very first row of economy, with only a  bulkhead in front of me.

As I took my seat I saw that the two seats next to me were empty, and my usual pre-flight economy class routine kicked in, where I began praying that no one would be seated next to me. My hopes were growing by the minute as the two seats remained empty until the very end of boarding when two girls travelling to New York for a university exchange took their seats next to me.

 Greeted by an emprty row of seats

About 10 minutes after boarding had commenced the Customer Service Supervisor, Aldo, came by to introduce himself and we had a very brief chat about my plans and some of the things he liked to do on his very short stopover in New York.

Seat / cabin

The Qantas Boeing 747 I was due to fly to New York on was one of the many now re-configured to reflect the flagship A380, meaning that in terms of seat comfort and design it was exactly the same as that I had experienced on the A380 from Sydney to LA. As I was one again seated in a bulkhead the in-flight entertainment screen was located in the arm-rest which meant that again I didn’t have access to the entertainment system until the seatbelt sign had been turned off inflight.

 Qantas Boeing 747 economy cabin for QF11 from Los Angeles to JFK

The legroom was however better on the 747 compared to the upper deck of the A380. This is due in part to the seat which I had been assigned was the aisle seat on the window side of the plane, 43H, was only partially covered by the bulkhead in front which meant that I have almost unrestricted legroom – all the way into Premium Economy

 Legroom for seat 43H extended past the bulkhead into Premium Economy

Again the frustration of sitting in the bulkhead was that there was limited seat width as the entertainment unit was built into one side of the chair with the tray table located in the other.

 Legroom for seats 43J and 43K

While the cabin itself was in pretty decent shape, it is clear that it’s not quite as spacious in terms of some of the similar features that are available on the A380, specifically the self-serve bar area, which is available on QF11 from Los Angeles to New York but is no where near as significant as on the A380.

Meal

Originally this flight was due to leave at 8:30 in the morning and as such was catered with lunch due to its early evening arrival into New York, however due to the delay the same catering meant that instead of enjoying lunch as we flew across the North American continent it turned out to be more timed towards dinner.

Given the delay and the fact that almost the entire plane has connected through from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane the crew wasted no time in getting service underway. Within 10 minutes of taking off we were distributed menus for the lunch / dinner service.

 Menu for flight QF11 from Los Angeles to New York’s JFK Airport

Lunch options for the flight from Los Angeles to New York offered the following choices:

  • Lemon chicken salad with edamame, feta, quinoa and Caesar dressing
  • Cheese tortellini with tomato, basil and parmesan cheese
  • Seared fish with oriental sauce, steamed rice and stir fry vegetables

Each choice served with:

  • Ciabatta roll
  • Passionfruit cheesecake
  • Valrhona chocolate

And a choice of beer, wine, spirits, juice and soft-drinks to accompany the meal.

For today’s flight I chose the cheese tortellini which was ok without being great, overall the meal was a definite step down from the catering on the Sydney to Los Angeles leg of QF11.  I have found this often to be the case with Qantas, the complexity of the menus, particularly in Business class and Premium Economy are the same, however the catering out of Los Angeles and New York (on the return flight QF12) is simply not nearly as good as the Australian catering.

 Lunch on QF 11 is served

 Cheese tortellini with tomato, basil and parmesan cheese

After lunch was cleared we still had about 3 hours till we were due to land in New York.

Most of the passengers were either already asleep (before lunch was even served) or quickly drifted off either during their meal or shortly after. As I went for a walk around the cabin I was surprised to see how many half eaten meals were still on passengers tables, or where they had been cleared by the cabin crew but the table remained in the lowered position.

You may also like: Arriving in New York on Qantas, what you can expect

Entertainment

During my walk around the back of the cabin I noticed that on this (relatively) short flight the snack bar at the very back of the cabin had been modified to hold the items found in the amenity kits rather than any snack items, which I found disappointing. Especially as lunch was served so quickly into the flight with about an hour to go (which turned out to be 7pm New York time) I was getting hungry again and would have enjoyed a small snack prior landing.

 Snack bar is replaced with amenity kit items for the flight across the US

 More amenity kit items – where are the Tim Tams?

After listening to some songs on my phone whilst I generally mulled around the back of the cabin I returned to my seat with to try and get some work done. Surprisingly I managed to get the next 12 months of cash flow forecast completed for my business, and it didn’t put me to sleep!

 Soaring high above American mid-west

 Qantas Boeing 747 economy cabin from the rear of the plane

 Qantas Boeing 747 economy cabin from the rear of the plane

I had very little use of the in-flight entertainment on this flight, with the exception of the in-flight map to keep tabs on our progress and watching a quick show whilst eating lunch, as we made our way across America.

 Briefly using the in-flight entertainment system during lunch

Staff

The staff on this flight did their best to keep out of passengers way, which is generally how I find crews on Qantas flights between Los Angeles and New York, instead of being a constant presence, they allow passengers to rest, relax and sleep as much as possible seeing as the normal timing of flight coincides with the dead of night back in Australia.

That being said I was extremely impressed with the service given to two families sitting in the middle bank of 4 seats directly next to me. Directly on the other side of the aisle to me, a mother was travelling with a very small (maybe 4 month old) baby and the crew did all they could to help, seeing as the baby was amazingly (and thankfully) asleep for almost the entire flight except for boarding and disembarkation. Another family sitting right next to her, a mother, father, toddler and an infant, were also taken care of really well by the crew with the attendants genuinely making the effort to help out in any way possible.

Overall impressions

Apart from the delay, which Qantas did a very good job in managing and communicating from the inbound arrival flight of QF11 from Sydney, to the Qantas Host in the lounge and finally the flight and cabin crew on board, I was happy with the level of service you would expect to receive on a long-haul economy flight with a leading international carrier.

The day after my arrival into New York I received a personalised email from a manager of the Qantas Customer Care team to further apologise for the delay from Los Angeles to New York and asked for any feedback that I had regarding the delay. I used the form provided to pass on my thanks for how well the crew handled the siuation both on the ground and in the air to New York. I am not sure if this is something they provided to every traveller, or because of my level of Frequent Flyer status, either way I was happy to be appreciated and provide the opportunity to provide feedback.

Related: Complete transfer guide from JFK Airport to Manhattan

(brief) Overview of service

Due the my increasing tired state I was not as vigilant in taking notes of all the aspects of this flight, so below is a very brief overview of the timings involved in Qantas flight QF11 from Los Angeles to New York, all times are US Pacific (Los Angeles) Time.

  • Boarding gate 134
  • 11:30am – boarding commences
  • 11:45am – Intro from Aldo
  • 12:06pm – push back from the gate
  • 12:34pm – wheels up
  • 12:46pm – menus handed out
  • 1:19pm – lunch served
  • 13:52pm – lunch items cleared
  • 14:15pm – walk around the cabin
  • 14:55pm – back to my seat to do some work
  • 17:10pm – wheels down in New York
  • 17:35pm – waiting for a taxi to take me to Manhattan
Jase is the founder and editor of VisitingNewYork.com.au. His passion for New York runs deep, after purchasing a New York travel guide while in high school, it's been a love affair ever since. Having visited over 20 times for work and pleasure he decided to start VisitingNewYork.com.au to help other Aussie's who are planning their own New York adventure to ensure they get the most out of their trip to the greatest city in the world.

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