Photo: Qantas
Photo: Qantas

I was looking forward to returning to the Qantas brand as it had been many years since I had flown with them. This is a luxurious business class service with a lot of the trims you expect up the front of the plane, and with a fresher crew or maybe some more attention to detail it could be a fantastic service. Overall the flight was pleasant and comfortable with some definite highlights.

Route: Tokyo to Sydney

Aircraft: Qantas Boeing 747-400

Flight Time: 9 hours 35 minutes

Check-in: Once open the queue moved very quickly considering the flight was full and the initial line-up was long. The ground staff were apologetic about the wait, and proceeded to check me in, polite and professionally.

The Lounge: Qantas Lounge Narita International Airport

Very stylish with comfortable club chairs and an emphasis on space and luxury. The buffet was fresh and constantly topped up. I started with some sushi which was as good as you would get in Tokyo, followed by some very tasty mini quiches. Plenty to choose from in the drinks department with bar facilities and a well stocked fridge of beer and soft drinks. Good wireless connectivity separate to the airport and a great selection of newspapers and magazines kept me entertained. Having travelled all day to Narita from Shikoku I found the clean showers a bonus.

Punctuality: The flight departed & arrived on time.

Seat and Cabin breakdown: Business Class Seat 2B. There are 58 Business Class seats with 2-2 in the front section zone A followed by 2-3-2 in zone B. Upper deck is Zone C. I found zone A very spacious and with almost no foot traffic there was a sense of privacy.

No need to worry about seat pitch as it is a full flat skybed, but the nitty details are that it’s a 203.2cm (80in) seat pitch and bed length. You almost need a manual to operate the buttons it really is quite daunting to the first time user (me). Your legs stretch right out and then there are 12 arrows on the remote control to play with corresponding to different lumber & leg regions. The back massage feature gave me a shock when I first activated it by accident but it was quite pleasant. When you want to kick right back you can disappear into your pod for privacy & less noise. You are also provided with ear plugs & noise cancelling head phones which impressed me.

The cabin was clean and tidy although my overhead locker had a broken latch making it a bit difficult to close.

Baggage Allowance: 32 kilograms for checked baggage, 2 carry-on-bags at 7kg per bag.

On-Board Entertainment: In-seat screens in front of you with a selection of over 500 entertainment options, including more than 60 movies from the latest blockbusters to more refined art-house flicks. Add to that more than 250 TV programs along with CDs, games, and radio programs and I was kept rather busy during the flight.

Service: Very attentive with four mature staff members, who offered me the choice between champagne, water or juice immediately upon boarding. I went for the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne whilst the crew took my coat to hang at the nose of the plane. What a great service, except for the mix-up on landing when I was returned a very expensive-looking coat that actually wasn’t mine…whoops.

The Morrissey Qantas pyjamas were a comfortable treat, and combined with the well equipped amenity kit designed by Florence Broadhurst and containing Malin + Goetz skincare products, I might as well have been preparing for bed in a five-star hotel. (Qantas have recently upgraded these to exclusive Kate Spade New York and Jack Spade amenity kits.)

Food and beverage service: Being an overnight flight I experienced dinner and breakfast. You are encouraged to fill out your breakfast order from a menu very similar to one you hang on your door at hotels. I kept it simple with muesli, yoghurt & fresh fruit. Unfortunately I was served the wrong breakfast and realized that my tea was indeed a hot chocolate.

Pre-dinner drinks with Santos roasted almonds were served, and the drinks list is impressive: from aperitifs like a bloody mary to a fine single malt whisky. The Dinner menu created by Neil Perry is extensive and absolutely delicious. I started with the tuna tataki with cucumber and edamame salad with sesame and ginger dressing – a taste sensation. The main of seared snapper with tarragon butter was a little dry and disappointing in comparison.

The wine list featured many award winning wines but unfortunately my NZ Marlborough Savignon Blanc wasn't chilled enough and became tepid very quickly. My glass was then left empty for the rest of the meal and I found it took a while for the staff to bother to clear away my finished meals.

Flight Frequency: Daily from Sydney to Tokyo

Summary: Flying Qantas was like coming home to an old friend or family. It was a comfortable and pleasant experience which is what you want on an overnight flight. The cabin crew may have been a little tired as there were a few mix ups and they seemed to lack of attention to detail. I wasn’t made to feel ‘special’, which I expect when flying business class, but the overall comfort and luxurious cabin made up for the lack of human care. I would definitely chose to fly with Qantas again.

Qantas Boeing 747-400

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