The business class experience with Qantas starts well before the plane takes to the skies. The first taste arrives when you skip past the economy queue and straight to the invariably short line for the select few. Then you’re whisked through customs, via an express lane, and into the Qantas lounge. On my recent trip to New York, I went one step further and experienced the best Qantas have to offer with a visit to the International First Lounge
Qantas International First Lounge
Aussie chef Neil Perry (the genius behind the Rockpool restaurant empire) has influenced the menu heavily. Front and centre is the very finest local produce. My breakfast was as good as you’d expect from the best Sydney cafes; possibly better. The eggs were superb and the bacon was freshly cooked to a perfect crisp. The wine list is long and inspiring, too. It wasn’t quite past midday, so I forsook the wine …and instead, indulged in a few neat Ardbeg whiskeys. This got me right in the spirit for the hours of travel ahead.
I was short on time and so missed the opportunity to book a complimentary spa session. From what I hear, the experience is well worth arriving a little earlier for your flight. I’ll put it in the list for next time.
The architecture of the lounge is about as good as I’ve seen for business class travel, too. Light sweeps through the lounge and the earthy wood and lush greenery combined with the sweeping roofline create a wonderful sense of contemporary luxury which sets the tone for the journey ahead.
Flying Qantas Business Class
Any flight that sees you head up the stairs rather than to the back of the cabin is usually going to be a pretty fun experience. Qantas certainly don’t let you down here. The chairs on the A380s are amongst the best in class. My first thought was the chair was almost too large, though as I gloriously stretched out on the mini-mattress that was made for me a few hours later, this thought quickly disappeared.
Down-to-earth Australian service is a feature of Qantas and it’s evident throughout the journey. It starts with a glass of champagne on arrival and continues as cabin crew introduce themselves at various points, even offering a shake of the hand.
The food and wine selections, again inspired by Neil Perry, were hard to fault. But it’s the small things which really say Qantas: the iconic pyjamas, the quality of the wine on offer, the spacious upper deck cabin layout which offers maximum privacy for each occupant.
My flight to New York, though diverted to Auckland for some unplanned maintenance, was about as good as you can get for such a long hop. Yep, the experience up top with Qantas really is about as good as you imagine when waiting to fly.