Looking for a good Economy seat to Australia? I found it – seat 71D on a Qantas A380
This is a Reader Report by Dan Knous
The most miserable night of my life was spent on a United 747 from LAX to SYD a number of years ago. I was in the middle of their 3-4-3 economy seating (United did not honor my Air New Zealand aisle seat assignment). No legroom, big people on either side of me, it was terrible. I was determined to never let that happen again.
Last fall I planned another trip down under to ride a motorcycle across the outback and began looking for a good, affordable seat. When my wife and I travel internationally we usually go business class but she would not be along on this adventure and I did not feel it was worth paying $3,000 for premium economy or $9,700 for business.
A little research led me to Qantas and seat 71D. This seat on Qantas A380’s has twice the normal pitch of a standard economy seat. The seat in front of 71D has been removed to allow emergency access through the floor to a crew rest area down below.
I am a couple inches over six-feet tall and Qantas’ 31-inch pitch in economy is just not enough for me. Seat 71D is on the aisle and when I first sat down it was great to be able to get into and out of the seat without the usual gymnastics imposed by the seat in front of you and the armrests. (See above)
Qantas sells this seat for a premium on top of the regular fare – an additional US$275. Total price for my travel OKC-DFW-SYD-PER and return PER-MEL-LAX-OKC was about $1600, a little over half the cost of premium economy- plus I had more legroom.
DFW-SYD is a long 16+ hour flight but I was able to actually stretch out and sleep, cross my legs, easily stand up and move about. Wow! The only problem I had was a few times during the flight other passengers intruded into my space from the aisle.
Qantas did a good job with food service, snacks, and drinks all night long. I used the video screen on the seat in front of me to track flight progress and watched several movies on the screen at my seat. 71D is about a half-inch narrower than a standard seat due to the tray table installation in the armrest but this was not a problem for me.
In Perth I joined a group of 30 fellow motorcycle riders on small-displacement Hondas on a trek across the outback to Broome, Western Australia. We rode 3,500 km. (about 2,100 miles) in nine days, camping out each night in remote outback towns. It was a great ride across some of the most remote real estate on the planet.
My flights home were all on time, pleasant and uneventful. I again had seat 71D from MEL-LAX and on all my flights had the good fortune to have an empty seat next to me.
Thanks, Dan! That’s an outstanding Trip Report with excellent practical info and personal experience. Just what we are looking for in Reader Reports!
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