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Jan 22, 2013

Qantas beats Emirates by $100 in Paris trial booking

The Qantas-Emirates offers are now bookable on line. So far they differ on important things like price, comfort and convenience. Buyer beware, especially when it comes to $6000 one way economy fares to Paris!

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It’s only day one of bookings on services jointly offered by Qantas and Emirates and different consumers will no doubt get different results in their fare comparisons.

In this exercise both sites were searched for a return flight between Sydney and Paris in June in economy, and the essential preference was to fly on A380s, since the Emirates 777 is a cruel but no longer unusual punishment at 10 across seating in the 777-300ERs it offers along side its A380s on the route.

(Emirates economy on the A380 is great. Go for the seats in the forward cabin where everyone else puts first class.)

First up, Qantas won on price. It offered a total of $2106 return, split $1046 outbound and $1060 inbound.

Emirates conducts its booking process differently, and the offer at the end was a total $1912 plus $294.38 taxes (hello ACCC that’s not how it is supposed to display fares) making $2206.38.

However the Emirates process also stuck the Skyward miles earned and bonus offers on the fares offered in all classes onto the display, and all looked good if you are into points and status.

On the Qantas site it did look like a work in progress. The old Air France code share from Singapore was still on display but with no seats available in economy unless you paid more than $6000 for a fully unconditional fare for which you were carried on board atop a palanquin born by nubile amazons which of course the airlines always insist they aren’t really offering, and I mean Y class fares that cost more than J class and are supposed to be weird artifacts of the booking rules.

Actually I think such economy fares are deliberate attempts to catch the stupid, but that’s just my suspicious mind. No?

Anyhow the Qantas site did offer the Emirates A380 out of Sydney at 9.10 pm into Dubai at 5.40 am next morning connecting to the 8.20 am to Paris, arriving 1.30 pm local time, both assigned QF code share numbers properly identified as such.

Had I wanted to fly on the Qantas A380 to Dubai on its way to London as QF1 I could have left Sydney at 4.05 pm and arrived in Dubai at 12.35 am the next morning and waited until 4.30 am for a 777 to Paris offering perdition in economy, or hung out for the 8.20 am A380.

There is nothing in Dubai airport to encourage a prolonged stay in the terminal, other than having to fly 10 across in economy in a 777.  Qantas also offered an epic 17 hour flight to Dubai via Bangkok on an Emirates 777. No thanks.

Coming back from Paris, Emirates now has a late night A380 departing 9.50 pm and arriving Dubai at 6.20 am with a three hour wait for the Qantas A380 operating QF2 which will arrive in Sydney at 5.10 am the next day.

This was a 55 minutes faster connection than waiting for the 10.15 am Emirates A380 to Sydney.

The Emirates site had a whole sentence in red letters qualifying the Qantas code shares as subject to government approval.

However, and this can be a big factor for a small number of passengers according to Qantas research, the Emirates flights all have quite cheap and from past experience quite good on board internet connections, while Qantas has disabled the same system which is built into its A380s.

Personally, I’d rather fly the Emirates A380 all the way both ways to Paris via Singapore, and not stop in Dubai.  Which is impossible. Wait, I can do that, on a Singapore Airlines A380, going over, but would have to change to one of its A330s or refurbished and still nine across configured 777-200s on the way back, or even a -300ER if lucky.

Unless I stopped over for a day in Singapore, and then took one of two night time A380 departures to Sydney. Singapore is much more interesting than its airport, and its airport is much better than Dubai’s, at least at the moment.

Choices, we are spoiled by choices.

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