flight tests

Travelling business class: Brisbane – Singapore with Qantas QF51/QF52

Did someone work out how to use teleportation yet? – is usually what my Hubby asks right after stating: I’m not flying anywhere ever again. It’s the same after every flight and to be honest, I’m a bit tired too. Everyone who flew long haul at least once knows it’s not fun when you have to sit for 10 hours or so, without much legroom, eating not-so-good airplane food, trying to catch up on sleep and be nice to that person behind you who’s pushing their knees into your back… There is also usually no way to look good after such a trip and enjoy the first day or two of your holidays. Yes, we’ve all been there.

Well, last month we’ve had our first near-teleportation experience – no science fiction involved!

Route: Brisbane – Singapore – Brisbane
Time: over 7 hours each way
The trick: Business Class instead of Economy

Brisbane – Singapore, QF51, Boeing 747

Welcome Mrs and Mr Kozmic, would you like some champagne before we take off? – can I start all my flights with some champagne, please? And while we waited for that (no longer than 2 minutes) I looked around – lots and lots of storage, very generous legroom and some of my favourite magazines waiting to be read. Together with champagne, we were given lovely Kate Spade bags with toiletries, different looking for Man and Woman, menus designed by Neil Perry and were introduced to our flight attendant (who, small world indeed, turned out to be not only lovely and attentive but also Polish-born like us).

It was the first time we were on board of 747. I read many comments about the upper deck being less comfortable and that any bumps on the way are more likely to be uncomfortable for those seated there. That’s why I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea of getting seats up there. But thankfully I didn’t change it! Let me get this straight – seating on the upper deck, especially when you’re on the back, will make you feel like you’re on a private jet. Just a few seats (2×2 configuration), almost nonexistent aisle traffic and silence. Bumps? Didn’t feel them.

What I did feel though was that great back massage, that comes built-in in the chair. It also almost put me to sleep so after a while I decided to check out the lie flat option and have a little afternoon nap.

I was enjoying that “little flying restaurant with beds” so much, that I absolutely forgot I’m in a plane and was quite surprised when the client service manager came to me with the update: Mrs Kozmic, we’ll be landing in about 25 minutes.

Seats: 15K & 15J, upper deck

Singapore – Brisbane, QF52, Airbus A330

Would you like a glass of champagne? Of course, I couldn’t resist starting the flight with some bubbles. And I felt it was much needed as the flight we boarded was the least favourite kind: the red-eye – departing late at night and landing very early in the morning.

We were seated in the middle row (2x2x2 seat configuration) and the first thing I noticed was that storage space is not A330’s forte (especially in the middle row). We were glad we don’t travel with lots of carry-on baggage.

Right after take-off, we changed into soft, 100% cotton Qantas-pyjamas, our clothes were hanged in a closet and mattresses were put on our seats.

Quick supper service, followed by tea and everyone was ready for some sleep. Earplugs, that are part of the amenity kit we received, came in handy as there was someone walking on one side or the other all the time.

We hit some turbulence and had to put our seat belts on, but that actually helped me to sleep better, I guess I like to be rocked to sleep. What did wake me up was a smell of fresh, warm pastry and I wasn’t wrong with that guess – just a few moments later I was offered a lovely croissant and a smoothie-like mango & coconut energiser. The next thing I know – we were in Brisbane.

Seats: 2E & 2F, middle row

Qantas Sleep Service

There is not only a seat that you can adjust to a comfortable position, or even lie down totally flat but also a mattress placed on the seat by cabin crew (which happens as I leave for just a few minutes to change into my comfy Qantas pyjamas).

After supper, we’re also being offered a cup of T2 Wellbeing Tea for better sleep. And then there is nothing else left to do than snuggle under a purple quilt and sleep your way through the flight.

Inflight dining

As the first flight was during lunchtime and the second at night, we experienced 3 kinds of meals: breakfast, lunch and supper.

From all the dishes we managed to try, the cream of mushroom soup with thyme croutons from the small plates section is a clear winner. It had a really nice, silky consistency and tasted like something that could be served in a fine-dining restaurant. We also tried: salad of roast capsicum, goats cheese and balsamic dressing (dressing unfortunately overpowered the capsicum and cheese); chicken schnitzel and swiss cheese toasted sandwich with coleslaw; herb-crusted lamb rack with white onion puree, thyme roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach; pumpkin arancini with tomato sauce, pesto and parmesan (I loved the generous parmesan topping); and fruit platter & baked orange custard with pistachios for dessert.

White table cloth, ceramic tableware, good quality cutlery and the professional way the dishes were presented made it all feel more like a small restaurant (and once again fooled me so much I almost forgot I’m 12000m above sea level).

If you like to dine with good wine, there is also a long, impressive wine list.

Lay flat vs angle lay flat

There are two kinds of Skybeds available in international business class:

  • Second generation Skybeds, that allow you to lie totally flat (available on A380 and reconfigured B747). We also had a feeling the massage function was much more refined on this one.
  • First-generation Skybeds (available on A330 and non-reconfigured B747) have a slight recline, according to Qantas website – of 9 degrees. That doesn’t sound like much, but in the reality makes a huge difference. I was constantly sliding down the bed, especially during turbulence, and it was painful for my legs to lie in that angled position. It doesn’t feel natural.

If you plan to sleep comfortably on your flight I suggest checking which type of Skybed is available and choosing flights with the second generation ones is possible.

Other things I liked:

  • Fast Track vouchers for immigration handed at check-in and before arrival, helped us to skip all the queues
  • separate lane at the check-in and boarding
  • power + USB in every seat
  • noise-cancelling headphones
  • personal favourite: space. I love to wear dresses, and this was the first time I did feel comfortable wearing one on a plane. There was enough space between the rows and I didn’t have to make any acrobatic positions to get out of my seat, even seated by the window. Definitely safe to travel in a dress.

Business class upgrades courtesy of Qantas. All photos and opinions are my own.

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  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    One word. Awesome!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    It looks amazing! Qantas has definitely upped their game…that lamb! Although Singapore Airlines still do a great (if not the best) Business Class, I definitely wanna give Qantas a go now 🙂

  • Reply
    Jonathon Symes
    August 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Two comments:

    1) Regarding Upper deck: Imagine how lovely it was to choose upper deck economy back in the mid eighties when Qantas flew from Bali to Sydney. I did this for two years whilst working there and feel rather bad for not sharing my little secret
    2) Eating, not so good airplane food. Having tasted the luxury of First, Business and Cattle class, I believe that in over thirty years of flying, I have done nothing but, enjoy my food; and no dishes, well done Qantas and SIA!

  • Reply
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