Food and beverage: 9.5/10
I have travelled many times for business care-free before I had kids, but this was my first business class flight since then and I was interested to see how particular I would be to certain comforts. This was also my first A380 flight in business class and my benchmark has always been Singapore Airlines which I rate very highly in all areas. The trip I was taking today was from Melbourne to Los Angeles, a nice 14 hour flight.
In short, I was pleasantly surprised by my Qantas A380 experience and enjoyed the total package from the lounge to the aircraft experience to the smiles when I exited the plane. Although busy, the lounge was modern and relaxing with everything you could needed. On board, the food and service were fantastic and the staff attended to any request quickly and with a smile. The seat was comfortable and allowed for some sleep on the long flight and the movie choices were wide-ranging with many new releases. My only real negatives would be the cleanliness around my seat and the ageing nature of some areas of the plane but then again I wasn’t expecting it to be brand new.
The Qantas business lounge at the Melbourne international terminal is a good size, very modern and well laid out. I liked the funky ‘eating bar’ area where you could grab a classy bacon and egg roll and good coffee. Although it was busy (our flight was delayed 2.5 hours), the seats were comfortable and probably only lacked enough accessible power points for people trying to charge devices. The restocking of the food was a little slow but I had enough to keep me satisfied ready for my flight so no real issue.
Boarding the A380 into business class is always a fun experience going up the higher bridge and on entering the plane I was warmly greeted by a gentleman who asked how I pronounce my last name – everyone always gets it wrong and he was considerate enough to ask which I appreciated. A good start. Although I was used to a 1-2-1 ‘pod’ layout with Singapore Airlines, the 2-2-2 seat arrangement was well presented and came with all the gadgets and conveniences needed for a long flight. There was plenty of storage, a comfortable pillow and rug and I enjoyed the mattress that the flight attendant laid onto my seat when I did lay it almost flat for a sleep. My only disappointment would have been the fact the TV screen was a pull out version which meant I couldn’t start using it until after take-off.
The amenity kit was well equipped. It was supplied by Jack Spade and contained socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, mask, earplugs and travel essentials (cream, moisturiser & lip balm) in a nice dark blue and red bag. Something I will certainly keep and re-use. The attendant also came around offering some nicely wrapped but simple pyjamas which I accepted and I hadn’t received these on a flight except when in first class. My tip is to go 1 size bigger than you think!
The audio video on demand (AVOD) system was easy to use and had a great range of new movies, some only released in the past 3 months. Plenty of TV shows, music and games too. Although the viewing was adequate, I had expectations of a larger screen based on my other business class experiences and per my earlier comment it would have been good if the AVOD could be used earlier than only after take-off like many other airlines offer. Maybe that is just my need as a young Dad to get in as many movies as I can that are not kid movies!
The food menu was amazing on this Qantas flight and it was Rockpool inspired and designed by Neil Perry. After a nice hot towel and fresh salad, I started with the chicken, leek and chestnut pot pie and it truly was the best chicken pie I’ve ever had! The lamb biryani I ordered following that was a taste sensation and was a very generous serve (the photo size doesn’t do it justice). Although I skipped dessert so I could get some sleep, I would say this was the best plane food I’ve ever eaten and something I would be happy paying for at a high-end restaurant. I’d say even better than my Korean bulgolgi that I once loved on a flight to Korea! Drink options were good although noticeably no cocktail options, but I stuck to my staple bourbon and coke which was very generous and helped get me to sleep soon after. On multiple occasions, I was pro-actively asked by the polite crew throughout the meal service if they could get me anything else which was pleasing to see. And finally, the snacks I had mid-flight and the breakfast before landing was just as good, so overall I’d rate the food and service as fantastic.
All up a very good experience flying on the big Aussie kangaroo and one that I would happy to go back to again next time. Clearly the food was a stand-out, but these days I am all about the total experience and Qantas really did this well led by happy and attentive staff on a largely comfortable plane.
Anthony Riemann, Guest Contributor