Safe and sound in my Qantas First Class suite, cruising towards back to my new home in the USA, I was relaxed and enjoying myself. The crew was there to make my flight as enjoyable as possible and Ahead of me was almost 8000 miles of open sky and 14 hours of bliss, luxury and pampering.
I was nicely settled into my seat with a hot towel and drink from the crew and the majority of other passengers (it was a full flight today, 100% in all cabins) were hitting the menu pretty hard. After my indulgent breakfast in the lounge, I was happy to delay my lunch for a bit and get some work done. Pretty easy to do with the suites since they have power at the seat and a gigantic tray table; big enough to allow you to spread out any files that you might be working on.
After a couple of hours of relaxing and working, I was ready to start my gastronomic journey. There is one signature item for Qantas First Class guests: The Neil Perry/Rockpool designed tasting menu. Seven courses of goodness with matching wines at each course as well (not that I was drinking).
The full menu was amazing; Seared Scallops with Cashew and Chilli Ponzu dressing; Roasted Beet Salad with Goats Curd, Rocket, Peas, Toasted Almonds & Balsamic Vinaigrette; and the main course of Seared Beef Filet, Green Beans, Potato and Cabbage Gratin with my choice of accompaniments. Getting hungry yet?
The flavors danced all over my palette, different textures, different sensations making it one of the best meals of my life… and it was at 38,000ft! As each course went by, I was filling up quickly and I needed a break. Luckily, the crew were happy to fulfill that request. Isn’t that what flying First Class is about? What you want, when you want it? If you need to space out your courses — no problem.
I decided on a 30 minute break between the main and cheese courses (which was out of order mind you because I prefer my cheese before dessert). Another 20 minutes between desserts (yes that is plural).
After my 2.5 hour lunch (yes it really took that long), I settled into to finish watching my movie of choice (The Aviator). When the movie finished I looked at the flight map; we had been in the air almost 5 hours! Time had flown by and I needed to try and get some rest.
The crew turned my suite into a bed; a fully flat, 7 ft long bed. With lambs wool mattress pad, comfy sheets and a soft doona (or a duvet for all you non-Aussies) made me feel right at home. Switch the lights out and I could swear I was in a hotel bed (apart from the occasional turbulence bounce). Even though I can never sleep on flights (even with a flat bed) I still managed a good bit of rest and for those who can sleep, I am sure it would have been like sleeping on a cloud.
Eventually, the flight started to come to an end, but before landing, it was time for some more food for breakfast (how I fit it all in, I do not know). I was still sitting in bed, with my feet up, watching a movie, and had a soft doona covering my legs while eating my pancakes and enjoying the coffee. It had already been a long flight but was I really ready to give this up?
As the flight wound down, everyone started to get ready for arrival into Los Angeles. The crew were doing their rounds thanking everyone, helping them with questions about arrivals. What did I do to stay entertained? I sat back and watched the skycam all the way until landing at LAX. I am glad I was watching, since I was able to see that our A380 had to crab its way in, battling strong crosswinds (30 kts at 1000ft) before landing on 25R, a mere 14 hours after leaving Melbourne. Funny how the time zones work, since we arrived three hours before we actually left.
It was the most amazing flight of my life. The experience, the food, the seat, the service all mixed in to make it a sheer delight and joy. To be a regular passenger in this, would be way too much — I couldn’t afford it!
Thankfully I paid for this flight with hard earned points. A normal one way flight could cost as much as $14,000, but I can also see if someone has the means, it being worth every cent.
NOTE: These stories were written on a flight that I set up myself using my own personal Qantas Frequent Flyer Rewards Points. All opinions are my own.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian AvGeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.|