Flight Date: 05Apr2013–After two days of record-breaking cold in London, I could hardly wait to board my flight for sunny Dubai. For this leg of my journey I had a few choices: British Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Royal Brunei and Virgin. As I had never flown on a Qantas A380 I thought I would give them a try. I’m very glad I did.
My flight with Qantas started out on a good note. First class check-in is located at Section G of Heathrow’s Terminal 3. I was greeted by a very friendly customer service representative who processed my bags and boarding pass.
After security, I went directly to the British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge. The lounge is huge and although there were quite a few passengers, it didn’t feel busy or cramped.
Along with various drink, snack and buffet stations throughout the lounge, there is also a special invitation only restaurant where passengers are offered a full meal service as well.
My ticket evidently allowed me access so I took advantage of this nice perk. The lounge staff was friendly and courteous. I only had an appetizer and a glass of wine as I wanted to save my appetite for the in-flight meal.
The Galleries lounge has everything you need: showers, spa, business center, free Wi-Fi, as well as the aforementioned food and drink choices. Not as exclusive, perhaps, as British Airways Concorde Room at Terminal 5, but all-in-all a well-appointed haven.
Boarding was called and I walked the short distance from the lounge to Gate 1. I was greeted warmly and escorted to my seat: 5K.
A friendly crew member asked if he could stow my carry-on for me and immediately offered a nice glass of champagne and canapés. I could tell right away that this flight was going to be a pleasant one.
There are 14 seats in first class on the Qantas A380 situated on the main deck in a 1-1-1 configuration with five window seats on either side and four in the middle. Qantas uses an understated palette of grey, beige and black for the interior. It is a tad on the drab side in my view, but just slightly.
The seats must be locked in place facing forward for take-off and landing. During flight, they can be swiveled into position at an angle. In this position you can recline the seat to a full 180 degree bed or invite your travel partner over to join you for drinks and meals in the companion jump seat.
Right before take-off, dinner menus were distributed and I looked forward to sampling the extensive Aussie wine selection…and sample I did!
I’m getting ahead of myself here (when I think ‘wine’ I get a bit discombobulated). I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup as a starter and the Seared Gilt Head Bream for the main dish. OK, now back to the wine. The flight attendant in charge noticed I was studying the wine list in earnest. He offered that I try all six! Of course I accepted, but only in the name of ‘in-depth research’ mind you…
Of the six varieties, the Bay of Fires Sauvignon Blanc and the S.C. Pannell Shiraz-Grenache were especially memorable.
The in-flight meal left me in somewhat of a conundrum. I can’t fault the excellent service or wine selection, however the silverware Qantas uses looks like something straight from an Outback campsite: flat, stackable, scratched and well, ugly.
The food as well was underwhelming at best. I’ve had better tomato soup out of a can; the fish was greasy and yet dry at the same time. Vegetables were overcooked and under-seasoned.
In hindsight, I should have eaten at the BA Galleries Lounge instead.
Decided against dessert and went for a glass of port and the cheese selection instead.
Feeling a little tipsy by this time, I thought I had better call it a night. The Qantas A380 first class bed is comfy with ample shoulder and leg room. The A380s are really quiet and it didn’t take me long to fall into a restful sleep.
I had instructed the crew not to wake me for breakfast and I was able to get almost five hours of uninterrupted bliss.
What immediately impressed me on this flight was the in-flight crew. While in first class you expect a certain level of service; the crew on my flight today was outstanding with just the right mix of friendliness, professionalism, attention to detail and fun. The seats, while not the best, are comfortable and roomy with a nice size monitor and easy-to-use controls. Amenity kit had everything you need: eye-mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, shaving kit and the various skin creams and lip balm. The in-flight meal was the only let-down and I really hope Qantas steps up their game in this area. If they do, they will be hard to match as their ground and in-flight crews are truly world class.
More information on Qantas first class
Qantas A380 First Class Photo Gallery