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Qantas Business Class a Classy ACT

July 4, 2014 Headline News, Reviews No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Space available upgrades on airlines are like jigsaw puzzles. If you place the pieces correctly you get to turn left into “J” class instead of turning right into “Y”.   We had reached an impasse fitting the last few pieces into the puzzle prior to a recent trip.

Heading to Bangkok on QF 23, seats are available in J class I am told at the gate, but then comes the perennial sad news.   They have only catered for 26 passengers and I make 27 so I resign myself to turn right and head to 25C.  As we are pushing back, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place when the customer service manager whispers “I have a seat up the front for you, sir”.  Elation is the right word to describe my feelings at that time.  The gatekeeper had told my new best friend, Michael Charley, the captain of the crew,  the circumstances and by a stroke of luck caterers had included two extra meals not shown on the original manifest. Michael has been working with the national carrier for 26 years, has an infectious personality, a good sense of humour and enjoys his role.

I head up to 12B, an aisle seat, prior to take off and start chatting to my seat mate who works in the airline industry.QF's Michael and Jacqui

As we taxi I am offered a glass of Billecart-Salmon brut champagne, one of the best, which I gleefully accept to celebrate my escalation to the forward cabin.  As an afterthought, my seat mate graciously joins me although he doesn’t have anything to celebrate.

Seat pitch is usually mentioned in reviews but I’m not sure many flyers are riveted by the revelation of differences.  For the record, on this A330-300 seat pitch is 60”, 21.5” wide with 30 angle flat beds.  Economy has a seat pitch of 31” with a width of 17” and 271 standard seats.

A very comprehensive menu is provided with many delicacies all of which have been inspired by the culinary face of Qantas, Chef Neil Perry.  The quality and enterprise that goes into serving airline meals these days is certainly a far cry from the sad dishes served up a decade or so ago.  And a million air miles from the tired gruel served on the low-cost airlines.

For pre-dinner drinks you can practically name your poison, anything from Bloody Mary, G and T, vodka and ginger beer (a new one for me!!!) including top shelf Absolut, Bacardi, Beefeater, Chivas, Bundaberg, Jack Daniel’s and Jameson’ Irish.  Then there’s the cognacs and liqueurs, beers and fortified wines and the non-alcoholic and hot drinks, a veritable playground for wine and spirit aficionados.

I selected a 2011 Shaw & Smith Sav Blanc from an awarded selection of premium Australian wines to accompany the Vietnamese style salad and a main of grilled swordfish with a selection of cheeses and a café style coffee to finish off.

Following a pair of pre-meal G and T’s and a Sav Blanc with the meal,  thin mattresses were placed on all of the near flat beds on request and I certainly didn’t need any Ambien, Xanax or Dramamine to get some shut eye during the nine-hour 35 minute journey.

Noodles with stir fried mushrooms and snow peas, fried rice and barbecued pork and Trevalla and potato croquettes were served prior to our early arrival (15 mins early) at BBK’s Suvarnabhumi international airport.

Complimentary seasonal fruit, biscuits, chips and chocolates can be accessed any time during the flight.

I want to be in charge of the rosters next time I fly QF to make sure Michael and his offsider Jacqui are looking after us.  They are tops in the hospitality stakes and genuinely enjoy their roles and want to look after you.

The puzzle pieces didn’t fall into place as easily on the return flight as “J” class was full but amazingly economy had many free seats and you can see the competitors getting restless as the starter (steward) is about to shut the door and allow passengers to grab a better seat or two three or even four.  Four seats will give you a good night’s sleep certainly without having to use medication.  The beverage offering is very similar to Business class,  without the “real” champagne, and the food is plentiful, appetising, and tasty. The braised pork with garlic mash and garden vegetables was terrific and so was the four seater bed.

QF, like many of the full service airlines, is maintaining high inflight service standards in the face of the low-cost carriers whose abrupt flight cancellations and practice of dumping off-loaded passengers into sub-standard budget-hotels is considered norm.  QF’s published fares may appear a bit more than the cheap and cheerful operators but they do have regular sales and that’s when passengers can find some great prices on offer.

www.qantas.com.au

Written by : John Savage

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