There are times when I like to get to the airport early. This usually involves having some sort of lounge access so being able to shop, have a massage and then pop into a lounge to use the internet and have a shower before getting on a plane is comforting. There are even times when I think I could stay even longer in the lounge and when they call the flight I think "Oh no!" and wonder if I could do a Kath and Kel Knight and spend more time at the airport.
After a refreshing shower and a glass of sparkling mineral water, I make my way from the Qantas business lounge to the gate which is a little distance away or a good six or seven minute's walk and board the flight. There is no separate business class queue for check in until you get to the plane where you turn left to go to the business class section and there is no first class on this plane. It's an Airbus 330-300 and I'm sitting in seat 2F and seats are laid out in a 2x2x2 configuration. They're not exactly designed for privacy as the rows are effectively next to each other and fortunately I know the person I'm travelling with because there is no partition between the two seats.
The mostly male slightly older crew are very helpful and courteous throughout the flight. I'm offered a glass of champagne and then I ask for pyjamas which they bring out straight away. This is a 30 seat business class cabin so there is some wait for the bathrooms at times. Australian newspapers are offered and the entertainment doesn't commence until when we are in the air. Noise cancelling headphones are provided and they hand out the Florence Broadhurst patterned amenity kits which are being phased out for Kate Spade ones.
Before we settle down, they offer to put mattresses on the 21.5 inch wide seats which is a nice touch as it helps to smooth out the bed when you sleep on it. It's an 8 hour flight so by the time that you finish eating, you often just have a small amount of time to sleep before you are woken. They also hand out pyjamas and a bottle of Evian to everyone at this stage. They take our orders for the food from the Neil Perry designed menu and because we're leaving from Bangkok, I go with the Asian selections rather than the Western as I find that that often leads to having a better meal as they are produced on the ground at the point of origin.
Prawn hot and sour soup
The prawn hot and sour clear soup has a nice amount of spice in it as well as little pieces of whole straw mushrooms and prawns which are perfectly textured and delicious. And the Virgin Mary offered is excellent.
Beef Penang curry with Thai Basil, fragrant rice and bok choy
I was for a moment tempted by the idea of a Reuben sandwich as my dinner but I decided to go with the beef penang curry which has thin slices of tender beef and a spicy rich sauce and plenty of Thai basil and kaffir lime. It was served with jasmine rice and tiny baby bok choy.
Green leaf salad with balsamic vinaigrette
The salad was simple but the dressing added much flavour. There were two types of bread that were served with it: wholegrain and plain white which got very dry very quickly once they were exposed to the air.
Yogurt panna cotta, orange and hazelnut trifle
There was just one choice for dessert whereas with other business class cabins, you can get a bit of everything on a plate, particularly the cheese and fruit. My travelling companion Lisa asked for a piece of papaya on her cheese plate and I asked if it were possible to try some cheese and they explained that they were given a very limited number of desserts and that they would come back and give us some if they had some left over which they did although Lisa hadn't finished hers so I had part of hers (sorry no picture of the cheese plate). If anything I think the crew were a tad embarrassed at not being able to grant the request as most business class services will offer passengers any and all options for dessert. The yogurt panna cotta is actually very nice and has a thin layer of sponge at the bottom, a creamy sweet yogurt panna cotta topping and then a sweet orange layer with toasted hazelnuts on top. It's also a very large serving and I'm unable to finish it try as I might.
We were then offered a square of Valrhona Jivara chocolate and were left to peruse the entertainment section. The entertainment selection is excellent with about six things that I want to watch but alas no time in which to watch them as I'm getting tired and am aware that because of the time difference, we will be arriving in Sydney at 3.30am Bangkok time which I've become accustomed to. I recline the bed which is an angle lie flat bed which stretches out flat but when you sleep, you're at an angle which isn't great for sleep. I think I get a few hour's sleep until we are woken for breakfast.
Usually breakfast is served two hours before landing but we're grateful that they wake us just one hour before landing which allows us an extra hour sleep. We're offered a citrus fruit salad with yogurt which to be honest I didn't really go for as I like the idea of having different fruit in a fruit salad and not just pomelo and orange.
The ham and cheese croissant isn't bad but as it's very flakey it is not very practical to eat propped on the small plate as the crumbs go everywhere. There's a rush on the bathrooms because breakfast was served close to landing but I'm not complaining because that extra hour of sleep was wonderful to have and before we know it, we're landing at Sydney airport.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you change into pyjamas when you fly? And do you try and maximise sleep or do you try and eat and watch as much as possible?
NQN tested out the flight as a guest of Qantas