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November 21, 2013 / oneworld82

Back to Australia for a night: AKL-MEL on Qantas business class

Qantas is really a premium airline. It might be losing money, it might be facing ruthless competition from low-cost carriers, but even among all the difficult times, Qantas has retained its aura of exclusivity, class and – in its premium cabin – luxury.

My long journey back home started with an Auckland – Melbourne flight in business class, which gave me the chance to savor what was going to come up the day after on my Trans-Pacific flight on Qantas First Class.

Since Qantas joined forces with Emirates, the company started offering complimentary limo service to its First Class customers to/from the airport. As I had an overnight connection in Melbourne, I got three free pick-ups with my itinerary: from Auckland to the airport; from Melbourne’s airport to the Grand Hyatt; and to my hotel back to the airport again.

I booked my transfer online, making sure I left enough time to visit the lounge in both Auckland and Melbourne. I received no call or email confirmation, but sure enough my driver was in front of the Hilton at 4pm sharp.

Limo to the airport

Limo to the airport

The driver was friendly and polite – certainly professional. Within 45 minutes we were dropped off at the airport, and I proceeded to the dedicated Qantas premium cabin check-in area. I was not expecting a separate area for Qantas premium passenger, but it was certainly welcome. Also, immigration is cleared right there inside this check-in lounge, which makes going through immigration a breeze. Well done QF!

I'll go this way today

I’ll go this way today

Nice check-in lounge

Nice check-in lounge

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After going through security I headed to the Qantas lounge. It was fairly crowded, but I was still able to snag a seat and get some (decent tasting) food and a beer. Overall, the lounge was good and the food selection not bad at all – definitely better than many Aadmirals Clubs I have been throughout the US and comparable to some BA Galleries I had visited before.

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Flight QF8761, AKL-MEL

Aug 21st, 2013

6:50p – 8:50p, B737-800

Business Class, Seat 2A

Our flight was on time. I proceeded to the gate with the last wave of passengers, and proceeded through the priority line into the plane, a new B738 whose business class DID have TVs on the back of each seat! Score! Legroom was very good, TV screen big. A set of headphones was distributed as well – not bad for a short 3 hour flight!

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After sitting down, the purser came by to greet me and to offer me a pre-departure drink. She cracked a couple of jokes and then moved on, which was great for me as I do not like empty chit-chatting, but she spent a lot of time with some older folks that porbably are regulars on that route. I think it’s verty important grooming your elite customers, and I give kudos to the flight attendant for that. As pre-departure drink, I just got some water.

Pre-Departure water

Pre-Departure water

Business Class cabin

Business Class cabin

Take off happened on time, and once airborne the other FA serving the cabin came by taking meal and pre-dinner drink orders. I asked for a Campari Soda, a favorite of mine. The FA apologized and said that no Campari was loaded on the flight, only to come back a couple of minutes after saying that they indeed had Campari on board and that she was not aware of it since she usually does not fly this route. Great service! The drink came with a bag of nuts.

The dinner menu read as follows:

MENU

FROM THE BAR

Roasted nuts

ENTREE

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Crumbs

MAIN COURSES

Salad of Roast Chicken, Mixed Grains and Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Grilled Salmon Fillet with Fennel and Olive Caponata, Cauliflower Puree and Green Beans

Roasted Pork with Spiced Braised Red Cabbage, Crispy Potatoes and Sauteed Apples

Warm Bakery

Selection of Seasonal Cheese served with Accompaniments

Kapiti Ice Cream served with Almond Thins

Whittaker’s Chocolate

My nice Campari & Soda

My nice Campari & Soda

About 20 minutes afterwards, dinner service started.

French onion soup kicked the meal off. The soup was actually very tasty, not too salty, perfectly flavored. I liked how it was served from a thermos, meaning that it wasn’t heated on the plane but actually made on a real kitchen pre-departure.

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As main, I opted for the salmon. This was well-cooked and tasty. Not Michelin-star worthy, but still good. The pictures I took are pretty dark, but I still hope they give you a good idea of the meal.

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I had some good Australian white with the meal – I must say that Qantas’ wine selection never disappoints. The meal service proceeded smoothly and the time elapsed between different servings was just right.

Then, dessert came. I couldn’t decide between what ice cream and cheese, so the flight attendant gave me both options to try. There’s no need to say that – at that point – I was already full. Both offerings were satisfactory – especially the ice cream which tends to be of superior quality on Qantas!

Cheese

Cheese

Ice cream

Ice cream

To top off the meal, I had a cup of coffee.

Flight went on pretty smoothly – I watched “Epic”, which was entertaining enough – and around 9pm we landed in Melbourne. Although I was flying in business class I was not handed a priority line card, but fortunately enough the immigration line was quick (as well as custom’s). My bag didn’t take long to arrive, and once I cleared customs I found my limo driver waiting for me to take me to my hotel for the night – the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. The ride was smooth, the driver professional, and the overall experience with QF Business Class on this segment excellent.

On to the next chapter!

One Comment

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  1. travel mug / Sep 22 2014 6:32 pm

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