No matter whether you’re flying for business, treating yourself with a great fare or scoring a cheeky points upgrade, Qantas International Business Class continues to deliver.
Boarding the Qantas A380 in Dubai is a breeze, especially if you’ve been slumming it up in the vast Emirates lounge (accessible to all Qantas First, Business or Qantas Club passengers) as you can toddle straight out of the lounge and into Business Class thanks to a connected aerobridge.
So five minutes later i’m fiddling around with all of the seats’ many options and getting comfy with the customary ‘welcome aboard’ glass of champagne (tonight it’s Tattinger), to get me in the mood for some quality spoiling.
As the in-seat massage feature starts to work its magic I figure I’m in quite possibly the world’s safest pair of hands tonight as our captain is the famous Richard de Crespigny.
If you’ve never heard of de Crespigny, he’s the captain who came to fame in 2010 by safely managing to land the stricken flight QF32 on one engine back in Singapore with 470 passengers and crew on-board after the other three of the A380’s engines had shutdown upon take off.
In the travel industry de Crespigny has understandably become something of a legend with his own book and numerous corporate speaking gigs to tell a remarkable story of bravery, resilience and leadership at many travel conferences (a couple of which I have been lucky enough to attend).
With 40 years of flying under his Captain’s belt, De Crespigny is also quite possibly the biggest A380 nerd of them all, and so after introducing himself with the usual laconic pilot banter he moves on to entertaining ditty’s about the A380 such as the cost being $20 million for each Rolls Royce engine and the random fact that every eight seconds an A380 engine sucks in as much air as a human does in a lifetime.
He manages to bring a few smiles from my fellow weary passengers as his repertoire builds, even at this late hour.
Once we’re smoothly up in the air its time to recline.
The Marc Newson designed, second generation skybed reclines fully to lay flat and ensure you get some decent rest within your own cocoon esque pod. At 6ft 5” someone like me is always going to put any seat through it’s paces but at two metres long it’s just big enough even for me to stretch out and get some quality Zzz’s in.
The turn down service is a nice addition too with a doona (or duvet if you’re English like me) laid out and set up for me by the crew while I slip into the famous Qantas pajamas in the rest room. Made from 100% cotton they’re actually really comfy to sleep in as opposed to some airlines sweat fest polyester versions.
Food and drinks
On this late night sector (departing 02:29 Dubai time) it’s the Rockpool crafted supper menu on offer with smaller plates such as the signature Schnitzel sandwich, Mezze Plate or cheese platter to choose from.
Most of my fellow travellers are more interested in getting some eyeshot on the relatively short seven and a half hour hour sector so as soon as the cabin lights go down it’s lights out literally for many.
I’m still feeling quite hungry and order the warm Schnitzel Sandwich, mezze plate and a glass of Pinot. It’s delicious comfort food, perfect for this late snacking hour.
I also order my breakfast for when I wake by filling out the menu card in advance. The breakfast in ‘sky’ bed choice is a varied hot and cold one and I choose a mango energiser along with the hot scrambled eggs, sausage, hash brown and a warm croissant as well as a latté, which is surprisingly good having being brewed at 35,000 feet.
After a decent sleep it’s hearty fare to wake up to that sets me up nicely for stepping off the plane at Heathrow on a freezing cold February Sunday morning at 6am.
Plug in your supplied noise cancelling headphones and tune into the decent 12.1 inch (30.7 centimetres) screen with 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.
You’ll also receive a Kate Spade or Jack Spade amenity kit which features luxury Australian-made ASPAR by Aurora Spa products. The sweet orange lip balm is especially welcome for my dry lips and has enough in it for me to take and use again after the flight.
There’s plenty of Australian and international newspapers and magazines to read and if you feel like stretching out some more, there’s a small ‘business lounge’ area at the front of the plane to socialise or catch up with a colleague in.
Aside from the quality Australian sourced products, for me the key point of difference Qantas offers is the crew and the level of highly personalised service they offer. It’s hard to fault and this flight was no exception.
Professional, attentive and genuinely friendly they’re a down to earth bunch that epitomise the spirit of Australia. No other airline can offer that same feeling and it’s a point of difference that Qantas naturally seem to weave further into the fabric of the entire flight experience.
That ‘Feels like home’ sentiment seems to stay with you wherever you go when you fly with Qantas.
When: Saturday 28 February 2016
Aircraft: Qantas QF1 Airbus A380/800
Route: Dubai – London
Seat: 13D (Aisle)
Seat Config: 2-2-2
Flight time: 7hrs 30mins
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