Whether you’re flying for business, treating yourself with a great fare or scoring a cheeky points upgrade, Qantas International Business Class delivers the goods.
Brisbane to Auckland is but a short, hop, skip and a jump across the Tasman with a flight time of around three hours on the way over and an extra 45 minutes on the return leg.
So is flying Business Class actually worth it?
I recently found out for myself.
The Check In
Brisbane International Airport continues to evolve as a great port to fly from or into with plenty of space to move through quickly and easily and an increasing array of dining and shopping options.
I’m here early and check in through the Business Class Priority check in area without a fellow travelling soul in sight.
Five minutes later, my bag is zipping off through the bag drop and I’m on my way through security with an express lane pass in hand. If you’ve got KarryOn only (get it?) you’ll speed through even faster than I did.
Flying business of course entitles you to sample the Qantas Business and First Lounge and continue your pleb free privileged flight experience in style.
The lounge here at Brisbane International has just undergone a multi-million dollar re-furbishment and opened it’s sparkly doors to great fanfare.
Described as ‘A stylish new space to relax, work and dine’, the new lounge is based on the carrier’s winning concepts in Hong Kong and Singapore with food and interior design influenced by the local regions.
For Brisbane this means taking inspiration from Queensland’s coasts and inlets with lots of natural light, cafe seating, low slung lounges and inset rugs featuring colours of the reef, sandbars and waterways.
It’s most definitely a very cool destination to kick start your journey onward to wherever you’re headed.
Read more about the lounge here.
It’s a quiet flight tonight and I get lucky with an empty seat next to me which is a nice bonus.
All up there are 12 seats in business on the 737 in a straight 2-2 configuration with around half of the seats taken on this sector.
Whilst the seat isn’t a lie flat bed compared to other Qantas aircraft and some of the airline’s rivals on this route, the Qantas Business Class seats on the 737 still have ample room to stretch out and recline in with a power connector and USB port to crank up your devices up in the air, get some work done or start writing that book or blog you’ve always been meaning to get round to.
After settling into my seat, Jade – one of the flight attendants introduces herself and serves me a glass of the ‘Take off’ champagne (I’ve named it that and tonight it’s Tattinger Cuvée Prestige Brut).
Jade is then followed by First Officer Andrew who says “Welcome back Mr Leedham”, hands me my New Zealand customs form and an express lane card for arrivals and chats with me for a good ten minutes about my trip and working in the travel industry.
This high level of personalisation is one of the little things I always love about flying Qantas.
It’s the lean in… The handshake, the spotless grooming, authentic smiles and charisma that flows effortlessly and instantly makes me feel welcome.
It’s not a ‘thing’ you can manufacture which is where many other carriers often struggle in their service delivery.
Food and drinks
Despite the short flight time the crew can still get a three course dinner away, so once we’re up in the air it’s time to dine with the Neil Perry á la Rockpool created Spring menu that began it’s service in early September.
As a Pinot Noir diehard I don’t waste a second in getting my order in to try the delicious 2010 Saint Clair from Marlborough in New Zealand’s South Island.
My kind of New Zealand welcome. Needless to say another couple of glasses follows for research purposes for this story.
My dinner begins with praising the little things. Like the warm sourdough bread with Australian Pepe Saya butter and the delish seared Tuna entreé, all served on iconic tableware designed by Australian legend Marc Newson.
Do I really care about these details? Actually I do – and i’m sure i’m not alone here.
Everything has been designed by someone, so why is it that so much stuff is designed so badly in the world? It does make a difference for me when something has been considered with the end user in mind.
It just feels… better.
For the main event I choose the Braised beef with potato, broccoli and gruyere gratin and wilted spinach and it’s outstanding. It’s tender and tasty comfort food and a testament to the ‘Restaurant in the sky’ ethos Qantas and Rockpool are so famous for. How do they make it taste so good up here?
When was the last time you complimented a flight attendant on your meal? Probably never? Me neither.
I do after this dish. It really is that good.
I finish the meal with a tasty cheese platter and yes some more Pinot Noir before kicking back with an ice cream and enjoying a movie (High Rise with Tom Hiddelston. I possibly could have fallen asleep. I don’t remember).
In Business you get a pair of nicer headphones (Not noise cancelling but you can plug them into your devices which is great as they have a dual adaptor) and a Kate or Jack Spade amenity kit that features luxury Australian-made ASPAR by Aurora Spa products.
The sweet orange lip balm is especially welcome for my dry lips (Must have been the Pinot) and has enough in it for me to take and use again after the flight. The bag itself is also a nifty little wash bag for future trips.
Screen wise you can tune in and drop out to the decent 12.1 inch (30.7 centimetres) screen and enjoy the the award winning OnQ entertainment system featuring over 100 of Hollywood’s latest, classic and iconic Aussies movies, 500 TV shows and numerous radio channels and games to choose from.
Super efficient, highly personable service, fantastic food and wine AND yes we were fifteen minutes early into Auckland. Does it get any better? I think not.
I’ve said it before, but Qantas’s point of difference is their high calibre service offering and meticulous attention to the details, a key foundation that the airline seems to weave consistently into the fabric of the entire flight experience.
When: Thursday 18 September 2016
Aircraft: Boeing 737 – Winglets
Route: Brisbane – Auckland (Operated by Jet Connect)
Seat: 2F Business Class
Flight time: 3hrs (Arrived 15 minutes early into Auckland)
The writer flew on a paid ticket and was upgraded to Business Class by Qantas
Have you flown Qantas Business Class recently Trans Tasman? Share your experience with us.
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