After spending the pre-flight time in the First Lounge, J and I boarded flight QF93, Melbourne to Los Angeles. We had used frequent flyer points to upgrade to Business class and therefore were on the upper deck of an A380.
I believe there is some reconfiguration happening but the plane we were on had three Business Class cabins, and we were in the middle one, in row 21, seats A and B.
The first thing that struck me, not only with each individual seat, but the cabin itself, is how roomy it is. There seemed to be space everywhere.
(and yes, I wear thongs on flights, they are comfy and easy to slip on and off).
The next thing that I noticed was the abundance of storage space. There are the usual overhead bins, and I believe the ones over the center seats are bigger than normal, then there is the seat back pocket which can comfortably hold books, iPad, bottle of water. There is also a separate water bottle holder in the seat and a small compartment underneath the IFE controller that is handy for smaller items such as camera and passport.
But for me, the most excitement was reserved for the bins underneath the window. Very handy if you like to keep all your belongings within arm reach, as I do. I had three of these that I could use, and they were very spacious. I thought I took a photo of one when it was open but don’t seem to be able to find it.
Obviously only the person on the window seat, and the person next to them (if they travelling together?) could use them, and the ones in row 20, in front of us, don’t actually open, so are pointless.
On one arm rest is the controls for the seat, foot rest and the in-seat massage.
The seats go down to fully flat, which make for a more comfortable sleep. The massage function is good, but I would have preferred it if there was some kind of light or something which indicated which setting was being used. I had no idea what intensity or mode I was using. Seat settings can be saved and there are buttons to go straight to flat, upright, semi-reclined or the dining option.
On the other side of the seat is the buttons for the IFE screen and the seat separator.
The TV button is supposed to pop the screen up but it wasn’t very effective. The seat divider is either up or down, there is no mid point and it doesn’t retract 100%, which is a bit awkward for couples in my opinion.
The remote control for the IFE has its own slot in the side of the arm rest.
You can see the small storage compartment below the remote which I said was good for cameras and passports. It is also handy for the amenities pack.
The remote has the controls for the IFE as well as for the overhead light and the button to call a crew member. I found it was relatively easy to use without taking it out of its slot.
Menus are found in yet another compartment, which also includes the safety card and inflight magazine.
The breakfast menus are filled out pre-flight and hung on a little hook on the seat in front for the crew to collect.
Before we took off Champagne was served. The menu claims they serve either Charles Heidsieckor Billecart-Salmon but when we asked we were told today’s bubbles were Tattinger. J asked about this later and we were told they were trialling Tattinger out of certain ports.
We were delayed taking off by a series of incidents, none of which were the airline’s fault. Firstly, due to the bad weather, the catering truck could only take certain routes around the tarmac and had gotten stuck waiting for planes that were engine testing and could not drive behind them. We couldn’t take off without food!
Then a passenger lost their passport. How they managed to do this between immigration and getting on the plane (you have to show your passport along with your ticket when you board an international flight) is beyond me, but it happened. I have no idea what the outcome was and whether this person eventually did board.
Then someone was ill and the cleaners had to be called to clean up. I think this was at the front of our cabin as when I went up to go to the bathroom there was a guy in a fluro vest asking questions and then it looked like they removed a whole seat. There were kids up there so maybe the excitement got a bit too much for someone.
We eventually took off and the amenities packs and pajamas were handed out.
The pack contains socks, earplugs, eye mask, tooth paste and tooth brush and a box with lip gloss, moisturizer and hand cream.
After we had got in the air we had a pre-lunch snack and another glass of champagne.
And yes, I will eat peas when they are wasabi peas, spicy little buggers!
Lunch was three courses and for entree J had the Yamba prawns with radish and zucchini salad and lemon dressing.
I had the roasted carrot and thyme soup with dill creme fraiche. Both entrees were really good. Bread was also offered which was nice, but I always find the butter too hard to properly spread.
For main course I had the hot, sweet, sour and numbing kurobuta pork, stir fried snake beans and fragrant rice. It was possibly an odd choice for me, as I have had Chef Perry’s hot and numbing dishes before and not particularly liked them. (All Qantas menus are designed by Neil Perry, of the Rockpool group).
I needn’t not have worried. this dish was awesome. Bags of flavour without being overwhelming with the spices or the numbness. Writing this now, I could totally go a plate of this for dinner!
Josh had the roasted chicken breast with celeriac gratin, snow peas, balsamic, pear and walnut jus. It was also good, but nothing was going to beat my pork dish!
For dessert, J had cheese and a fruit plate.
I had the apple and ricotta torte with cinnamon creme anglaise. It was a huge piece, but very tasty.
And I also two Valrhona chocolates.
Before and during lunch I had been watching movies. There is a huge selection of movies (at least 100), TV shows, news etc. If you can’t find something to watch there is something wrong!
Noise cancelling headphones are provided.
I wanted something easy to watch, something where I didn’t need to think too much. I went with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was quite a nice light movie. I then went for something not so light, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about a 85-year-old sushi master who is the oldest chef to ever receive a Michelin star. It was really interesting but hard work with the subtitles when you are tired and have had a few bevvies!
After lunch I needed a nap, so put the seat into the flat position, organised my pillow and blanket (provided on the seat on boarding) and went to sleep.
J also slept and we woke up roughly the same time and thought it would be a good idea to get something to eat.
Qantas offers a snack or refreshment menu that is available throughout the flight. We buzzed a crew member and gave him our order.
J then wandered up front to grab a drink from the self service bar. He must of run into another crew member because J came back without his drink, but the gentleman brought it down for him, and this is an example of how great the staff was; he saw we were both awake, and said “how you guys going, are you hungry, do you want something to eat?” We said we had already put in an order and he wanted to know what we ordered and we had a bit of a chat.
The staff were all excellent throughout the flight, friendly, relaxed but professional.
For our snack, we shared the toasted sourdough baguette with corned beef, Dijon mustard, gruyere and shredded red cabbage salad…
and the lamb and potato sheperd’s pie.
Both were excellent. J even commented that he would have been happy with the pie with a salad for lunch!
After more hours of napping, reading and finishing watching movies, the sun was starting to rise.
The crew started serving breakfast. This is served individually on trays straight to the passenger as everyone had already filled out the form with what they want. This means no carts in the aisles which is good, because people tend to be up and about at this time, going to the bathroom, getting ready for landing etc.
For breakfast I had juice, Jasmine tea, fruit salad, scrambled eggs, bacon, beans and vegemite toast
J had juice, coffee, fruit salad, vegemite toast and French toast.
All good, nothing outstanding but fine.
As stated before I thought the service and crew were great.
I know Qantas copes a lot of flak but I had no complaints about anything in regards to this flight.