Qantas’ Secret A380 Charter Customer Is A Supermarket

Filed Under: Qantas

In June I wrote about how Qantas added a mysterious A380 charter to Orlando to their schedule. Specifically, they added the following flights, operating to Orlando on January 19, and returning from Orlando on January 24, 2020:

QF17 Sydney to Los Angeles departing 10:25AM arriving 5:15AM
QF17 Los Angeles to Orlando departing 7:30AM arriving 2:55PM

QF18 Orlando to Los Angeles departing 6:00PM arriving 8:20PM
QF18 Los Angeles to Sydney departing 10:35PM arriving 8:35AM (+2 days)

This raised a lot of questions as to who the charter customer could be. My initial thought was that it might have been a Flight Centre Global Gathering event. They’re the world’s largest travel agency, and every year they have a huge event, and in the past they’ve chartered an A380. However, the timing of this charter didn’t match their usual “Global Gathering.”

Well, we now know what’s going on. Qantas’ A380 charter customer is Woolworths, an Australian supermarket brand with nearly 1,000 locations. They’re having a huge sweepstakes where 116 lucky people will win a trip for four to Orlando.

To enter, people have to buy any three participating products and spend at least $30 at Woolworths. Then they need to look for their unique code on the receipt, which will be their entry.

As mentioned above, each of the 116 winners will receive a trip for four, meaning that there will be a total of up to 464 winners on the flight, and the plane’s total capacity is 484. It’s interesting to note how they’ll distribute the seats:

  • The first 16 entries drawn will each receive business class seats
  • The next 8 entries will receive premium economy seats
  • The next 92 entries will receive economy seats

That means first class is staying empty — I wonder if that’s actually the case, if they’ll surprise and delight people, or if the event organizers, photographers, etc., will all be enjoying first class.

This trip will include:

  • A five-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper Plus pass
  • Five nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • An exclusive Qantas experience, with chartered flights and transfers to Orlando

Obviously some people will be sitting in premium cabins, so I’ll be curious to see how they break that up.

Am I the only one who feels like this is a really awesome supermarket promotion? I mean, I feel like most of the time these promotions are for a single grand prize that’s for a five night stay at an all inclusive somewhere in the Caribbean.

In this case I can’t even imagine how much this is costing them. I imagine the charter flights alone probably cost close to a million AUD, and that doesn’t include the accommodation, park tickets, etc.

Furthermore, with 116 winners, odds are surprisingly good for a sweepstakes like this.

What a cool promotion!

(Tip of the hat to James)

  1. @Christy

    The destination is Disney World … just like it is a destination for anyone IN the United States who lives somewhere more exciting than Orlando, FL.

  2. @Lucky,

    As to how they are going to divide the business class seats, per the T&C’s:

    “The first 16 valid entries drawn will each receive a Business Class Prize. The next 8 valid entries drawn will each receive a Premium Economy Class Prize. The next 92 valid entries drawn will each receive an Economy Class Prize.”

  3. I am so excited for those lucky Aussies! Their theme parks are not that great. But they are coming in style and the hotel is out of this world! Bring lots of money for meals as Disney is expensive. Don’t worry, the Woolworths of Australia can afford this. Prices in their groceries are high.

  4. The promotion relates to the Lion King movie, so I would guess that Disney (not Woolworths) will cover the costs of accommodation and park passes.

    Really excited to see A380 in Orlando. It was one of the few airports that could accommodate the A380 before the plane’s first flight, since it had runway(s) and taxiways wide enough to handle a space shuttle landing if nearby Kennedy Space Center had an emergency shortly before landing (if weather was predicted to be bad, it would land at Vanderburgh AFB in California). Yet, to date, only one A380 flight has ever flown to the airport…the inaugural Emirates flight a couple years ago. It has seen a handful of A380 diversions for a few hours from Miami over the years.

  5. Wow! Woolworths of Australia not related to American Woolworths. Don’t worry, Woolworths of Australia can pick up the tab! Their prices are high!

  6. @ swag — Nope, it will fly back empty to Los Angeles, and then Qantas is adding an extra Los Angeles to Sydney flight, and the same in the other direction.

  7. This is part of the Australian supermarket wars; competition between the big 2 is super intense, and complicated in recent years by the arrival of Aldi, Cisco and some other German chains.
    I prefer to shop at the one with best cash back deals, even @ 1 or 1.5% rather than gimmicky promotions with a remote prospect of a free ticket to somewhere I don’t want to visit; but it’s nice for families with kids.

  8. It would be kinda cool to see an A380 at MCO. Pity its not going to be around for a few days, though I can imagine the aircraft spotters will be out looking for it to land.

    As far as Woolworths promotion goes, it might actually be Disney picking up the tab, or at least part of it. Lion King plus the relatively new new Star Wars exhibits – promotion a go-go. That said, I wonder how much it would cost to charter an entire A380…? 🙂

  9. @CAROLYNNE LOREK, have you even been in Australia? Because I lived in the USA for two years and found the overall cost for groceries to be quite comparable… except, in the US once you get to the checkout you have to add more for tax!

  10. @Lucky, Woolworths and Qantas are quite close as business partners so perhaps some of the cost for the flight might be offset in other ways (cross promotions and so forth)

  11. Hi Ben, Woolworths are FF partners with Qantas as their only competitor Coles is in partnership with VA. Still a cool idea. Wonder if Coles will hire a VA bird ?

  12. @Lucky this is just another shot in Australia’s supermarket wars. Woolworths (nothing to do with the old US Woolworths stores) and their competitor Coles are basically a duopoly although there is now a presence from Aldi, Costco and smaller local chains as well. They are the only two Australian supermarkets that make it into the world’s largest retailers. They pretty much run competing pricing & promotions and as we also have basically only two major airlines, Virgin and Qantas, they also divide along the same lines.

    A further point is that Woolworths is Qantas main partner for FF points and if you take a look back at the recent restructure of the QF FF program, it is all about activating the millions and millions of Woolies (not that they name them specifically) & banking customer points rather than appealing to the existing top of the line exisiting QF customer. I imagine Woolworths would be QF’s main customer for points purchase & so the new program will enable those grocery shoppers to actually use their points for flights.

    Both supermarket chains regularly do promotions around movies that involve action figures, collectibles and of course a small number o sweepstake trips but this looks like the next step. So for this promotion QF picks up the flights, Disney the theme park and Woolies the rest – good split all around.

    I imagine the pointy end will be filled with Woolies, Disney and QF executives.

  13. @JetAway~ Woolworths Australia is nothing to do with Woolworths in the US, or anywhere else in the world.

  14. Correction needed. Flight Center is not the worlds largest travel agency. They are not even in the top 5.

  15. @CAROLYNNE LOREK I second what Dennis has said as my daughter, son-in-law & their 4 children live in the US & they have not found much difference in grocery prices there vs prices in Australia

  16. From the promotion Terms and Conditions, the maximum value of the prizes is $3645485.68 AUD – a hell of a lot.

  17. Yes, I have been to Australia twice and in my opinion food, clothes, alcohol are more expensive than U.S. I really watch my prices.

  18. I wonder if this is taxable income under Australian law. I have refused prizes in the past because the valuations were so much greater than the true cost.

    This is why you won’t see me on Wheel of Fortune. There’s that, and they want effusive contestants, not dullards.

    Can you imagine after winning the “$8000” trip to the Bahamas the contestant asks to give it back?

  19. @losingtrader
    Most of the world does not tax prizes or gambling winnings. It is not earned but chance.

  20. @losingtrader
    In Australia, winnings from contests or gambling are not subject to income tax, unless it is part of your profession – e.g. you are a professional gambler. Any income you make from any hobby (incluidng gambling, entering contests, going on game shows etc) is tax-free, at least until you start doing it professionally. And yes, there are a lot of cases about when someone becomes a professional gambler.

  21. @losingtrader

    Lottery proceeds used to be taxed back in the 70’s from memory, but then there was a successful argument in court that if the prizes were taxed, then the entry cost should be a tax deduction in earning that prize money. Didn’t take long for the Aust Tax Office to work out the deductions would cost more than the revenue they received, so the policy was changed to only be charged on professional gamblers.

  22. Hi I was actually one of the lucky ones to win this trip. And oh boy what a trip it was expertly organised and we had so much fun. Yes we had to go thru customs at LA and waited around for 4 hours then reboard we were lucky to get on the top floor tho still in economy. The Lodge was terrific and all the theme parks was a life experience. We had these arm bands that were ‘fastpass’ so didn’t have to line up for the big rides. Sons came back with star wars light sabers and so many great memories. I can’t thank Woolworths enough for such a great holiday, they have me as a customer for life!

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