Qantas, Business Class – A 330-300: Brisbane to Hong Kong

Folie1 INTRODUCTION
It is time to start the long journey home. Today I shall be travelling from Brisbane to Hong Kong, where I will spend two nights before I continue to Europe.

GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Transport:
Taxi.
Journey time: 25 minutes.
Fare: AUD40.- My flight this morning will be leaving at 10:50. So I have enough time to have one last tasty breakfast at the hotel. My taxi arrives to pick me up at 08:30. IMG_5839 IMG_5840 IMG_5841 IMG_5842 CHECK-IN
Location:
Rows 9 and 10.
Counters: There are four dedicated Business Class counters, all of which are staffed. There is a bit of queue for check-in at the Business Class counters this morning. This is mainly due to a large family of Chinese travelling with a hideous amount of luggage. There are boxes, suitcases and trolleys all over the place. And kids. Everywhere. What is more, I suspect that of the eight people standing there, only about half are in fact flying. The others are just there to add to the general chaos. IMG_5844 IMG_5845 My suitcase is checked in to Hong Kong and labelled with a priority tag. The check-in agent prints my boarding pass and hands me an express card to get me through the fast track at security and immigration. I will also have to complete an embarkation card. From check-in I head for departures, which is clearly marked by a huge yellow arch. I pass through the arch and go down stairs, where the security check and immigration take place. IMG_5846 IMG_5847 IMG_5849 The Qantas lounge is located opposite gate 80. Currently the airport is undergoing reconstruction. But everything is clearly signposted.

LOUNGE
Location:
Airside, one floor up from the departure gates.
Type of Lounge:
Dedicated Qantas lounge.
Facilities:
A large selection of hot and hold dishes and drinks, work stations, toilets, showers
Internet:
– The lounge is fairly small and rather crowded when I arrive. Apart from my flight to Hong Kong, there is another A 330-300 heading for Singapore, a Boeing 747-400 bound for Los Angeles and there is also the Cathay Pacific flight which, presumably, also uses the Qantas lounge. The lounge offers some good views of arriving aircraft, which glide past the terminal before eventually touching down. IMG_5850 IMG_5851 IMG_5852 IMG_5853 The lounge has all the amenities one can expect. Moreover, I am somewhat surprised by the generous breakfast offerings in the lounge, which certainly put the SWISS Senator lounge in Zürich Airport to shame. IMG_5854 IMG_5855 IMG_5856 IMG_5857 BOARDING
Priority Boarding:
Available and adhered to. Boarding for the flight starts about forty minutes before departure. There is a separate queue for Business Class passengers and status card holders. The first call is for families with children, followed by Business Class passengers, and then passengers sitting in the rear Economy Class cabin. IMG_5859 IMG_5860 IMG_5861 IMG_5863 IMG_5864

CABIN
Configuration:
2 + 2 + 2
Seat: The Qantas seat may not necessarily look very attractive, but it is very comfortable as a seat and bed. When fully extended, it is of the angled lie-flat type – although the angle is not uncomfortable. The hard back of the seat is very high, so once you extend the seat into a bed, you feel as though you are lying in a cocoon. It is very private for a Business Class seat. In addition, there is also a privacy screen on every pair of seats. However, I tried it out and I really must say it is mostly useless because the screen is simply too small. It is also superfluous because once you are in the lying position, you would have to lean up anyway to take a look at your neighbour. Apart from a pillow and blanket, Qantas also provides a thin mattress to place over the seat, and once the aircraft is airborne and the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off, the crew pass through the cabin asking passengers if they would like to have the mattress placed on the seat. Perhaps the seat’s biggest drawback is the complete lack of storage space for your personal belongings, which is inconvenient. There is a holder for magazines in the side of the back of the seat, but this is not even wide enough to place my tiny MacBookAir 11’ in.
Pitch: 60 inches.
Width: 21 inches.
Facilities: Reading lamp, magazine holder, electricity outlet.
Length as a bed:
Audio and Video: Touchscreen AVOD – there are about thirty films available to choose from. However, the selection is a bit odd. IMG_5865 IMG_5866 IMG_5868 IMG_5869 IMG_5875 IMG_5879 IMG_5889 IMG_5873 IMG_5876 SERVICE
The service on this flight is excellent and restores my faith in Business Class flying, following my really crap experience with Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. The crew are all quite senior and very friendly and very professional. Before we depart, the vanity kits are distributed. A menu has already been placed at every seat before the passengers start boarding. IMG_5878 IMG_5877 IMG_5882 After take-off, the inflight service manager – ISM (M., please note the funky abbreviation, nearly as good as the POC…) introduces himself and the crew. He addresses every passenger by name as he distributes the landing cards for Hong Kong. IMG_5884 IMG_5886 IMG_5887 IMG_5888 IMG_5891

THE MEAL
Welcome drink on the ground:
Choice of orange juice, water or champagne. IMG_5874

Hot towel before the meal: Served while still on the ground. IMG_5880 Pre-meal drink: Ginger Ale, served with a packet of cashew nuts and pretzels. IMG_5892 IMG_5893

Choice: Three starters, four main courses, four desserts. IMG_5894

Type of meal: Lunch. IMG_5895 Meal:

  • Salad – Garden leaves with balsamico dressing.

IMG_5897

  • Starter – Blue cheese, walnuts, baby beans and tomato salad with pickled onions. The starter is excellent, it is very tasty and flavourful. The blue cheese goes really very well with the walnuts, which seem to be slightly caramelised and sweet.

IMG_5898

  • Main course – Roasted eggplant and silverbeet lasagne with cucumber, tomato and feta salad. The main course takes quite a while to arrive, in fact by the time I receive my dish, my neighbour has nearly already demolished his plate. But the flavours of the dish are really excellent. The combination of the hot vegetable lasagne with the cold cucumber, tomato and feta works really well. There is also a vinaigrette with the dish which works rather nicely.

IMG_5900

  • Dessert – Selection of cheese served with accompaniments and a glass of sweet wine. After the main course I have some cheese, there is a blue cheese and a Camembert. The cheese is served with a selection crackers, a date and some fog bread.

IMG_5901 IMG_5902

  • Bread selection – A choice of sourdough or wholemeal bread.

The set up of the meal service is interesting in that there is no tray. Instead, the crew place a tablecloth and then a napkin with the cutlery rolled up in it a side plate for the bread and the side salad. The dressing for the salad in added by the cabin crew before serving, and there is a choice of two different dressings. With the meal I just have still water to drink. All in all this was a really good airplane meal. The tastes and combinations were interesting, especially the main course was unusual. I only have to complaints really, if I may. First of all, the service takes ages to begin after take off and when eventually it does, it takes a very long time to complete the whole service. The other point is the cutlery. Good heavens, I know it is Alessi design and all that, but who on earth picked that stuff for Qantas? The cutlery sits badly in the hand and apart from all that, it just looks ugly. I finish the meal with a cup of mint tea, which is served with a small Valrhona dark chocolate stick. IMG_5903 IMG_5904

After the meal I settle in for a nap and only awake three hours later as the second service begins. IMG_5899

SECOND SERVICE
The second service starts fifty minutes out of Hong Kong. It is simple but effective. I rather liked it. Basically there are three dishes to choose from. Each one is served in one of those boxes they normally use in Chinese take-aways. I know it may sound a bit strange, but I thought it was rather a good idea. And it is very tasty too. I have the Rigatoni Arrabiata with green olives, capers, broccoli and Parmesan. Delicious! IMG_5905 IMG_5906 ARRIVAL
By the time we reach Hong Kong, the sun is already setting. There is a lot of haze in the air today. Even so, it truly is a very beautiful approach and we descend over some of the outlying islands of Hong Kong. IMG_5908 IMG_5910 IMG_5912 IMG_5913 IMG_5919 GETTING INTO TOWN
Transport:
Hong Kong Airport Express.
Departs from: Terminals 1 and 2.
Frequency: Every six minutes.
Journey time: 24 minutes to Central on Hong Kong Island, with intermediate stops in Tsing Yi and Kowloon.
Fare: HKD100.- To reach the city, I take the Hong Kong Airport Express to Central, from where I will continue my journey to the Hotel Indigo using the MTR. Note that the ticket machines do not accept credit cards. If you are out of cash, you will have to purchase your ticket at the counter, which normally has quite a queue. IMG_5920 IMG_5921 CONCLUSION
This was a very enjoyable flight with Qantas from Brisbane to Hong Kong. The crew were not even overly friendly. But they were competent and they did their job properly. The food was very tasty, with good sized portions too. I also very much liked the seat, at least from the comfort perspective. Now if only there were more storage space… This flight really was in stark contrast to my previous experience on Malaysia Airlines in Business Class on my way from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane.

This entry was posted in Airbus A 330-300, Business Class, Qantas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Qantas, Business Class – A 330-300: Brisbane to Hong Kong

  1. Paul. says:

    Nice review. Qantas has almost finished refurbishing their A330 with completely new seats , cabins. Lots storage and fully flat. I use them a lot to Asia on business. I agree service can take a while but like BA, AF ect their crew to pax ratio is much lower than say GA or the gulf behemoths. Just wanted to point out the head FA is a CSM, cabin services manager!!! Cheers.

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