Qantas Business Class : Bangkok to Sydney on a Boeing 747-400 QF24
Over the recent summer and school holiday period Qantas scheduled a Boeing 747-400 on it's Bangkok flight instead of the usual Airbus A330-300. I happened to be travelling the route during this time and although I was booked in economy I decided to do a points upgrade to try out the business class service on the jumbo! I received an sms to my phone confirming the upgrade. the day before and was able to select my preferred seat right away on Qantas.com.
I left the Sofitel Sukhumvit a little after 2pm and I arrived at the airport quite early at about 3, plenty of time for the 5.15pm departure. Check-in was completed quickly and I was handed an express departures card along with my boarding pass for the flight and for the onwards connecting flight to Cairns. The express pass came in very handy as the passport control queues were rather long, mostly packed with holiday makers heading home from a Christmas break in Thailand.
I decided to make use of the Qantas-Emirates partnership by going to the Emirates lounge instead of the Qantas one. I was welcomed into the lounge but told that no departure announcements would be made, which was fine by me. I was glad I had gone there as it was very relaxing with only about 4 other guests at the time.
|Emirates Lounge Bangkok - Dining Area
|Lounge food and Veuve Champagne
As it got closer to the departure time I decided to head over to see what the Qantas lounge had to offer. Once upon a time there was a First Class lounge here that was shared with British Airways but since Qantas no longer operates a Joint Service Agreement with BA the lounge's have gone their separate ways. At the time of the Qantas departure the BA First lounge is closed, meaning all guests are accommodated in the Qantas Business Class Lounge.
|Qantas Business Lounge Entry - Bangkok
|The lounge Surroundings
|Looking towards the buffet
Feeling restless, I decided to head to the gate early to have a look at the aircraft before it was time to board. It was departing from gate G2 which is quite close to the lounge.
|Approaching the gate I see the familiar shape and colours of a Qantas Jumbo
Today's flight was being operated by VH-OJI, a rather senior member of the fleet at just over 23 years old! She has been flying the globe for Qantas for the whole time.
|Qantas 24 to Sydney - boarding soon!
Eventually it was time to board the old bird and I was at the front of the line, eager to settle in with a glass of champagne!
|There is something very special about the nose of a Boeing 747 parked up against an airport terminal!
The nose section is a great exclusive cabin normally used for First Class and I had especially chosen to sit there to enjoy the 'nose seating' atmosphere. My seat today was 1K.
|Looking out at our neighbour - an Uzbekistan Boeing 767
This is one of the older Qantas skybeds so it is not a fully flat seat, instead it is an angled lie flat. This is quite similar to what Thai Airways offers on its Boeing 747 on the same route, so whilst it is old, it is still relatively competitive when you compare it to Thai. There is audio video on demand with a good selection but the screen is rather tiny.
Whilst everyone was boarding a glass of champagne was offered along with an amenity kit. The kit was actual an old first class kit as apparently they had run out of business class ones. The flight attendant then advised us that there was no pyjamas available, NONE AT ALL. I was pretty annoyed about this as I had worn tight jeans and a button up shirt and had anticipated getting changed into the PJ's for sleeping. Apparently the crew for the inbound flight from Sydney had handed them out despite it being a daylight flight. There was no stock in Bangkok so we had to go without. It meant an uncomfortable flight for me and I lodged a complaint with customer service upon my arrival. Had I known that would happen I would have either dressed differently or brought another pair of pyjamas in my carry on.
Anyway, we departed on time and made a departure to the south with a beautiful view of the setting sun out of my window...
|Time to get comfortable
The menu was distributed:
Sorry the picture is not very clear. I placed my order and then never heard from a flight attendant again for about 1 hour 30 minutes. By that stage I would have hoped to be almost finished my meal but instead we only just began 2 hours into the flight. This is completely unacceptable on an overnight service where the meal should be completed quickly to allow people to maximise their rest. I've noticed Qantas crews take a huge amount of time to get the meals out compared to Thai and other carriers. It is something that needs to be improved on.
|First Course - Soup
The presentation is something Qantas does get right though. They do not serve the meal on a tray like Thai, instead everything is placed individually on the table. My pumpkin soup was very nice. I had a glass of white wine to go with it. It comes with a side plate containing a basic salad and some bread.
|Second Course - Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich
|Dessert - Black sticky rice with coconut and mango
Overall a decent meal but by this stage it was over 3 hours into an 8.5 hour flight which meant about 4 hours of sleep remaining. Not really good enough Qantas, Thai have dinner over and done with in under 2 hours generally. Anyway it was time for a sleep and a flight attendant came around with the seat covers to use as a kind of mattress to even it out. I slept quite comfortably on it with the quite thick and good quality duvet that was available.
I had no intention of bothering with the pathetic breakfasts Qantas offer on flights ex-Asia so I didn't wake up during the initial breakfast service, electing to stay asleep a bit longer. But when I did wake up with about 60 minutes remaining the flight attendant did offer me breakfast even though most people had finished. I accepted and was presented with this:
Here we have some fruit with a spoonful of yoghurt, a small quiche and a warm muffin. It came with a breakfast smoothy which was tasty, however the muffin was dry and the quiche was average. It was all very 'ok' and not what I would expect on a business class 9 hour sector at breakfast. Qantas - PLEASE FIX THIS. You need to offer an option of a full hot breakfast service with all the trimmings to those who want it. Thai and Cathay both manage it - why can't you?
|Nudging 1000km/h on the speedo
|Welcome to Australia
We made our way to the south of the airport and made a few left hand turns before Qantas 24 glided in over Botany Bay for a smooth and on time arrival on Sydney's runway 34L.