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We recently flew business class from Melbourne to LA onboard Qantas's new Dreamliner.
The boarding process was swift and simple from the Qantas business class lounge as we were taken by lift to the boarding lobby.
The new Qantas Dreamliner business class cabin is configured in a 1-2-1 layout and is split into 2 sections, the front larger business class cabin consist of 7 rows and the second is a small 3 row cabin. With the galley kitchen splitting up business class into the 2 cabins, rows 7 and 10 both receive significant disturbance from the galley, and would best to be avoided.
The business class seats alternate between having your side table/storage compartment on your left side or right side. This alternating style means that in the middle 2 seats, even numbered E seats, and odd numbered F seats are protected with the side tables being on the aisle side providing more privacy, and odd numbered E seats and even numbered F seats have their side tables in the centre of the plane, providing easier access to the aisle. Window seats are configured with odd numbers having the table on the aisle side, an even numbered rows have the table on the window side.
Upon boarding the Dreamliner and finding our seats we were handed pyjamas, and an amenity kit, one of the Qantas Art Series, filled with ASPAR products was waiting at at the seat (it appears the amenity kits are unisex now). Incoming passenger cards were also handed out.
Supper service started soon after takeoff and was seemingly designed designed as a light meal considering the late night departure. The menu doesn’t specifically list the wines or beers onboard but all staff were significantly trained around serving wines and can suggest options selected by the Rockpool team to suit your meal choice.
3 dishes on the menu were highlighted as ‘Sleep Sooner’ and are able to be served faster, however, the meal was still served some 90 minutes after departure and the arrival of a sleep sooner meal [the poached chicken salad] didn’t seem to come any earlier than other offerings received by passengers around me. There is no entrée with either the supper or dinner, other than a green leaf salad and sourdough or grain bread, on both occasions the salad was received a good 15-20 minutes before the main and it seemed as if it should be eaten first but usually I’d have eaten a salad as a side along with the main. Dessert with supper was very basic but the baked custard with rhubarb compote served with dinner was much nicer. Overall the meal service is just a touch slow, presentation is nice but it’s relatively simple fare.
After eating I decide to convert my seat to a bed and settle in for the night. A comfortable duvet and mattress topper are provided, and I was able to get a good sleep. The footwell area seems a bit wider at the knees than the A330 product, I’m not sure if it specifically is but I felt comfortable sleeping on my side and back.
Overall the service throughout the flight was outstanding start to finish. The perfect blend of personal, attentive and polished. 2/3 through the flight I pressed the call bell, via the entertainment system, and was met with a smile to order a plate of fruit and a coffee. So often you feel like you’re bothering flight attendants if you order off the mid-flight menus, but that was certainly not the case on this occasion.
The biggest improvement in the Dreamliner business class suites over those on the A330 business is the AVOD entertainment system. Resolution and viewing angle is significantly improved and you can tilt the screen down which is ideal when in a reclined or flat position. Screen swipes are perfectly responsive and the moving map feature is very cool and a good selection of entertainment is offered.
The other change with the suites is the divider between the middle 2 seats which is smaller and can now be retracted. The design is far better, especially for travelling couples. I was travelling alone and in this instance the divider still provided ample privacy.