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Flying The Kangaroo Route – QF A380 First Class  
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 197 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flying The Kangaroo Route – Qantas A380 First Class LHR-SIN-SYD (w/pics)

Australia had always been a country on my wish list to visit, but until recently I had not given serious thought to planning a holiday there. With the advent of the BA sale and some very attractive upgrade prices to First on both BA and QF, our annual summer holiday was secured. We would be flying out with QF on the A380 in First via Singapore, before spending some time in Sydney, moving up to Cairns, then down to Melbourne for a week, before finally flying home from Sydney with BA in Club World via Bangkok. The three domestic flights would be on QF to take advantage of my oneworld Emerald benefits, but the crazy prices for Business led these three sectors being booked into Economy. In both SYD and MEL we would be staying at the InterContinental hotels with Club access, and in CNS at the Shangri-La, again with Club access.

As is usual, we travelled up to London the night before our flight, and thanks to an (almost) on-time First Great Western train (on which we passed the Reading Festival, which could be heard quite clearly through the train) we made the connection to the Heathrow Express with a comfortable few minutes to spare. Although our flight to Sydney would be departing from T3, we had chosen the Sofitel at T5 as our base for the night thanks to its ease of connection to T3 via the HEx, and the quality that the Sofitel provides when set against most of the other LHR hotels. After negotiating the crowded lifts at T5, where people continue to be stumped by the lack of call buttons, we arrived at the Sofitel. There was a short wait whilst I fumbled for my phone and tried to find my A-Club number, which enabled the receptionist to upgrade our room from a Classic to a Superior, also giving us a complimentary drink voucher, which unfortunately went unused due to lack of time. After settling in to our comfortable, well decorated and spotlessly clean room, we headed back over to the terminal for a bite to eat. We also spent some time at the Dennis Stone exhibition in the Expo gallery at the Southern end of the check-in area. For those unfamiliar with Dennis Stone, he is the longest resident photographer at Heathrow, with a career spanning almost 65 years. The exhibition made very interesting viewing, and we happily took a complimentary copy of his book as a memento of our visit.

The next morning we were up early, and in T3 by 08:30, thanks to a wholly unintentionally well-timed HEx departure from T5.


Terminal 3 forecourt on this sunny late August morning

We dragged our suitcases over to Zone G, where the BA and QF First check-in area is located, tucked away in the far left hand corner of the zone. I think the designers of this area have done a great job in creating a relatively exclusive area in what can be an absolutely heaving terminal in terms of passenger numbers. There are 6 or so desks divided equally between BA and QF, and two separate comfortable seating areas behind screens. It is rather like the old First check-in area in T4, only smaller. The single QF check-in agent checked us in efficiently (there was no queue), giving us directions to Fast Track security and to the lounge (not that directions were needed, but it was a nice touch). A couple of lovely yellow First tags were attached to our checked bags, and I hoped that they would yield the desired result 22 hours or so down the line at Sydney baggage claim. Incidentally, I had attempted online check-in with QF the day before, but the computer said no, not unsurprisingly considering this was booked as a BA codeshare.


BA/QF First check-in area


BA/QF First check-in area

With check-in completed, we made our way upstairs and through the Fast Track security channel, which had quite a little queue. A proactive BAA security chap noticed the growing Fast Track queue (for the single Fast Track scanner) and directed us and several other fellow passengers to an almost empty ‘normal’ scanner, where a typically officious female guard dealt with us. Much unnecessary shouting later, and we were through into the duty free maze that comprises 99% of T3 (that’s what it feels like, at least).

Our first stop was the BA Galleries First lounge. Modelled on its T5 equivalent, the T3 lounge manages to pack most features into a smaller space fairly successfully, but just doesn’t have the same airy feeling as the T5 lounge thanks to the low ceilings and small windows of T3. We initially made our way over to the First Dining Room, which is included in the T3 lounge in the absence of a Concorde Room, and has a great view of some of the T3 gates and across the Southern runway to the Cargo Terminal. The First Dining Room provides restaurant-style dining after 8pm for First passengers only, but before that time anybody within the lounge can use the area. On this occasion it was all but empty, and I politely accosted a waiter and ordered from the general lounge menu a full English breakfast, which whilst not the best quality, was perfectly acceptable and unhealthily tasty.


Entrance to BA Galleries First, seen from within the lounge


Entrance to the First Dining Room within the BA Galleries First lounge


First Dining Room interior


First Dining Room interior


View from the First Dining Room


View from the First Dining Room


Breakfast in the BA Galleries First lounge

After breakfast, we left the lounge and headed along the corridor a little to the relatively new AA Flagship lounge. The entrance to this lounge is behind a rather secretive sliding door to the right of the Admirals Club main reception. There seemed to be a lot of faffing about with security questions for AA passengers, which I didn’t quite get the point of considering the lounge is after security screening. Regardless, we were approached and directed over to the main desk to be checked into the lounge, and then the Flagship entrance guardian swiped her magic card and let us into the palace. At least, that’s what the entrance felt like. In reality, the AA Flagship lounge is a rather dismal place - I had fully been expecting this, but just wanted to briefly visit in order to see whether the rumours were true. I can confirm that they are. The lounge décor was typically American, and looked rather old-fashioned, even though the lounge has only been open in its refurbished state for a few months. The food and beverage selection was truly dismal for an international first class lounge, with nothing more than cereal, a few cold items and pastries for breakfast. The lounge’s only redeeming feature was the great close-up view of an American triple-seven parked right outside the window. Apologies for the lack of pictures from the AA lounge, but I was rather put off by the security at the entrance and there were CCTV cameras prominently evident throughout the lounge – a lone picture from the dreary washroom will have to suffice as proof of my visit!


AA Flagship lounge male washrooms

Our next stop was the brand new CX First Class lounge, now located down the corridor to the A380 gates, rather than in the pokey upstairs area next to the shopping mall where it used to be located. Up in the lift, and we emerged into a bright marble-clad reception area, with the washrooms, showers and Business Class lounge to the right, and the First Class lounge around the corner to the left. We were greeted by the receptionist and directed over to the F lounge. I was really quite impressed by the physical space of the lounge, the great view and the décor, but the food selection (mid-morning) was really no better than the AA lounge. I also found it strange that pax in the F lounge had to wander out to reception in order to visit the washrooms or to have a shower. Overall, however, it is certainly a vastly superior lounge to AA’s, however, and I have no doubt that during ‘proper’ meal times, or perhaps closer to CX departure times, the offerings would be much improved.


CX First Class lounge entrance, seen from within the lounge


CX First Class lounge


CX First Class lounge


CX First Class lounge view


SQ A380 seen from within the CX lounge


BA 747


IB A321


IB A321 close-up


IB A321 even closer close-up!

Once I had finished watching with great interest the close-up arrival of an Iberia A321 at the gate right in front of my seat, we headed along to the A380 wing of T3 to see if our aircraft had arrived. There was no Qantas A380 in sight, but instead a QF 747 sitting basking in the morning sun, with a growing complement of cabin crew waiting in the gate area. My heart skipped a bit, thinking that this was our aircraft, and continued beating a little faster than usual all the way back to the BA lounge (incidentally passing Sharon Osbourne on the way, who had just been shopping in Chanel). I immediately asked at the reception desk to see if there had been an aircraft change, but the BA lady was unable to assist, and instead directed me to the office next door to Guest Services in the F lounge. I knocked on the door and the charming Qantas First Host welcomed me by name upon seeing my BP and assured me that QF31 was still being operated by the A380, and that the 747 I had seen was operating the service to MEL via HKG. Phew! The First Host was really fantastic, and made sure we were comfortable in the lounge and checked that we didn’t need anything else. Really superb, I have to say, and I have emailed Qantas to complement her.


Refectory area at the rear of the BA Galleries First lounge, adjacent to the First Dining Room


BA Galleries First


BA Galleries First


BA Galleries First


Looking towards the Coffee House area opposite the Kids Zone


BA Galleries First, adjacent to the Gold Bar


Gold Bar


Champagne Bar


Champagne Bar with Galleries First directions


Champagne Bar detail

We left the BA lounge in good time, and got to Gate 1 just as general boarding was getting under way. The miserable, and I mean really miserable, gate agent did not utter a single word to us or even look away from talking to her colleague as she scanned our BPs and handed them back to us. Unfortunately, this is the kind of (no) service that I have come to expect not just at LHR, but across the UK. Once inside the gate lounge, we made our way over to the left hand door (with the airbridge connected to Door M2L), where there was a huge queue for Economy pax. Business and Premium Economy were boarding from the right hand door, with the airbridge connected to Door U1L, and had a similarly sized queue to the Economy line. As we bypassed the queue and headed towards the desk rather uncertainly, the First Host spotted us and motioned for us to come around the desk. She then personally escorted us along the airbridge to the door of the aircraft, and, turning left, escorted us to our seats – 2A and 3A.

Date: August 2010
Route: London Heathrow [LHR] (T3) – Singapore Changi [SIN] (T1)
Flight: QF32
Type: A380-842
Registration: VH-OQF
First Flight/Delivery: 2009/2010
Seats: 2A, 3A
Class: First

I was soon welcomed by name by one of the two male flight attendants in First, who offered me a pre-departure beverage, almonds and/or olives, a sleep suit and Georg Jensen washbag. The differences from Business immediately began to show, with the wrapper removed from the sleep suit and handed to me the correct way up – it’s the little things like this that count and separate an adequate from a good set of cabin crew. I placed the sleep suit and washbag on the ottoman in front of me, joining the blanket and full-size pillow already placed there. As I settled in, I looked around the slowly filling up cabin (with all 14 seats eventually being occupied) and started to familiarise myself with my suite.


The entrance to paradise (photo taken in-flight)


Looking towards the cockpit (photo taken in-flight)


Ottoman and IFE screen


Magazine pocket and cocktail tray


View across to the K side of the First cabin


View across to the K side of the cabin (privacy screens rise after takeoff in the middle seats)


Pre-departure orange juice and almonds


Washbag and PJs


Washbag and PJs


Slippers (rather rubbish, to be honest)


Excellent washbag contents

The Qantas A380 First Suite features a detachable touch-screen ‘suite controller’ conveniently located adjacent to the seat, which operates practically all of the suite’s functions, including the 15” IFE touch-screen (with automatic opening/closing), automatic window blinds (which can also be controlled by the touch pads below each window), lighting (of which there are numerous choices) and of course the various seat positions. For takeoff and landing, the seat faces forwards (with a shoulder seatbelt, in addition to the more usual lapbelt), but during cruise, the seat turns 45 degrees and can then extend into a fully flat 6’6” bed, which is almost 30” wide at the shoulders. My flight attendant came by to top up my drink and then gave me a guided tour of the suite, making sure I was happy with everything and assuring me that if I had any problems, just to press the call button. He advised that for operating the IFE, it was probably simpler to use the older-style hand-held controller hidden in the armrest (the same as Business) rather than the touch-screen suite controller, and indeed it was much simpler. I was also advised by a friendly well-travelled Australian gentleman a couple of seats behind that it was fine to keep my carry-on suitcase under the ottoman, and indeed this was fine also! As our A380 neared boarding completion, I was aware of a gentleman arriving to Seat 1K, who was evidently a member of one of the sports teams sponsored by Qantas. I have no idea who he actually was, other than he was wearing his team colours of green and yellow (I think) and seemed to have got an upgrade, judging by the late arrival and some mention of previously being in Business. Unfortunately, 1K’s seat motor decided to completely pack up early into the flight, resulting in another passenger volunteering to swap seats with the sports chap (presumably after some hefty compensation had been agreed).


Suite controller


Seat adjustment options


Lighting options


Flight path showing on the suite controller – handy when watching the IFE


Stowed alternative IFE controller


Alternative IFE controls/phone


Stowed large meal table


Two handy storage lockers


At Gate 1, LHR T3

With an estimated flight time of 12h20 to SIN given by the captain, my empty glass was quickly collected as the cabin was secured and the FAs demonstrated the shoulder belt to those unfamiliar with it. This belt was really rather restrictive, and I was glad to release it once we had lifted off. Pushback was at 12:10, followed by a lengthy but powerful takeoff roll from Runway 27L. Takeoff was made much more interesting than usual by being able to watch the aircraft’s progress from the tail camera feed. Qantas doesn’t require the IFE screen to be closed for takeoff or landing in First, but they do in Business – I presume this is something to do with the escape options from the seats in the event of an evacuation.

With the seatbelt sign extinguished, canapés were offered (delicious) along with another drink, and not long after a flight attendant was bringing around the leftover canapés – needless to say that I didn’t refuse a second helping! Shortly the Cabin Services Manager (CSM) for the LHR-SIN leg came around the F cabin, introducing herself to every passenger and having a chat with each person. She was really personable, and made everybody feel welcome – another compliment email sent to QF! As the cabin settled down, I fired up the IFE to check out the movie options, settling for Green Zone, which turned out to be a pretty good film. Throughout the flight the IFE system didn’t crash or even think about crashing once – take note BA!


Second orange juice and canapés


Automatic window blinds, at half-level


Privacy screens raised in-flight

Menus were shortly handed out, with the FA apologising for the photocopied sheet handed out in place of the proper menu – apparently they hadn’t received the proper menus yet, but the photocopy looked like it had been copied directly from the proper menu (ie. same font and layout), so I was unsure what the exact problem was. The lunch menu on today’s LHR-SIN sector was as follows;

Lunch

Canapés
Seared Hand Dived Scallop with Fresh Herb Dressing
Foie Gras on Crostini with Gewurztraminer Jelly

Salads and Other Things
Italian Tomato Soup with Pesto
Prawn and Watercress Salad with Lemon Dressing
Salad of San Daniele Prosciutto and Bocconcini with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Light, Vegetarian and Sandwich
Seared Halibut with Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing and Green Vegetables
Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Braised Silverbeet and Lentil Cream
Big bowl of Mushroom, Porcini and Pearl Barley Soup
Asian Style Beef Pot Pie with XO Sauce
Our signature Steak Sandwich with Tomato and Chilli Relish

Seared Halibut
Broad Beans, Asparagus and Black Olive Sauce
Potato Puree, Ratatouille and Parsley Butter

Pomegranate Glazed Corn Fed Chicken
Pilaf and Sautéed Zucchini
Parsley Butter, Potato Puree and Zucchini

Roast Rack of English Organic Lamb
Potato Puree, Ratatouille and Cumin Mayonnaise
Parsley Butter, Potato Puree and Asparagus

Side Salad
Salad of Rocket, Radicchio, Mizuna and Baby Gem with your choice of dressing
Aged Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Palm Sugar Vinaigrette

Cheese
Hand selected blue, soft and hard cheese served with accompaniments

Dessert
Summer Berry Pudding with Clotted Cream
Assiette of Desserts
Whole or Sliced Seasonal Fruit
Roskilly Organic Ice Cream Tubs

Petits Fours
A selection of Amedei dark chocolates
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Icing
Almond Shortbread

--


Large table laid for lunch

The menu, as you can see, was pretty comprehensive, and I liked the idea of offering a couple of different styles for each main course. I opted for the tomato soup to start, followed by the lamb (with ratatouille), salad (with balsamic dressing) and the assiette of desserts to conclude. All three courses were as close to perfection as you will find in the air. My only complaint was with the cutlery, which was not 100% spotless, which it should have been. There is also, of course, the silly plastic knife that airlines still have to use flying into Australia, and this was all but useless for my lamb.


Soup


Lamb


Side salad


Dessert

The flight attendant was a little forgetful, serving the salad a little late after the lamb, and having to take the assiette back to the galley to add the cream that had slipped his mind. Also, there was no milk in the jug that arrived with my tea. The teapot, cup etc. all arrived on a metal tray – I’m not sure, but perhaps the FA was meant to remove each item and put them individually on my table? These very minor grumbles aside, the meal service was as near perfect as I’ve ever experienced on a flight.


Tea tray


This time with milk!


View from the ottoman after lunch

I finished Green Zone with a tub of delicious vanilla ice cream.


Ice cream

After a quick visit to the spotless and surprisingly spacious washroom (complete with window, leather toilet seat and Payot amenities) to change into my comfy PJs, my flight attendant made my seat into a bed and I settled in for the night. The bed was really very comfortable, with a separate sheepskin mattress laid onto the seat and a bottle of water placed by my bed for the night. During the night I felt a little peckish and asked for the sliced fruit, which was just so refreshing. I was not overly tired at this point and watched a couple of episodes each of Family Guy, Mr Bean, My Family and The Simpsons on the faultless IFE. I made substantial use of the excellent quality Georg Jensen washbag, although I did think that having to ask for a razor was a little mean.


Leather toilet seat!


Handy automatic tap


Towels and handwash


Payot amenities in the First washroom


Bed made, complete with turndown service


Bed made


Night water bottle


Tucked in – but not by the FAs as on Japan Airlines!


Fresh fruit plate


Personal mood lighting in the footwell during the night


Door M1L detail during a night wandering

With a 2h30 flight time left to Singapore, it was time to freshen up in time for the breakfast service. It was at this point that I became aware of the suite controller not responding, and before long an error message was displayed. Luckily, after much poking and prodding of secret buttons and the pressing of different button combinations by the three First FAs, the suite controller reset successfully and I was able to have full control over my suite once again. This particular A380 is QF’s newest, and I do find it strange that such problems should occur – I’m just glad it wasn’t a full un-rectifiable meltdown, as had happened with 1K.


Broken controller

The breakfast menu on today’s LHR-SIN sector was as follows;

Breakfast

Orange Juice
Apple Juice
Tomato Juice
Sunraysia Pear Liquid Fruit
Sunraysia Mango Liquid Fruit
Strawberry Energiser Drink

Fresh Fruit Salad
Bircher Muesli
Toasted Muesli
Cereal Selection
Yogurt and Honey

Toast
Croissant
Feta and Roast Vegetable Muffin
Strawberry Jam, Orange Marmalade, Honey, Vegemite

Free Range Scrambled Eggs
Holdshott Farm Organic Sausages
Organic Dry Cured Bacon
Loch Fyne Smoked Salmon
Sweet Onion Relish
Sautéed Mushrooms
Potato Cakes
Braised Beans

Warm Corn Bread with Slow Roast Organic Tomatoes and Grilled Bacon

--


Morning


View out of the window


Flight info nearing the end of the Singapore leg


Yogurt


Hot breakfast


View from the ottoman after breakfast before descent

I opted for the yogurt and honey (delicious), sausages, bacon, scrambled egg and beans, accompanied by some pineapple juice. With breakfast service drawing to a close as our descent began at 07:25 Singapore time, the cabin crew started securing the cabin for landing. An announcement was made for those passengers continuing on QF32 to Sydney that we would have about 1h30 in Singapore before departure, and that all passengers would have to disembark for the aircraft to be cleaned and security checked. Our CSM made another visit around the F cabin, thanking passengers for their custom and ensuring that everything had been well during the long flight.


Front staircase up to Business, seen in the morning light


Almost there…


A quick reminder before landing


At the gate at Singapore Terminal 1

We landed over the water with Singapore Harbour to our left, and after a gentle bump on the runway, taxied to Gate C23. We disembarked via Door M1L (with SIN A380 gates having three airbridges), negating any embarrassing clash with the Economy passengers (does that sound snobbish?!). Our cabin crew thanked us by name as we departed, and we thanked them for their great service. We were met at the top of the airbridge by some QF staff directing pax to the BA/QF First lounge, quite some walk away in the main concourse.

We made the dash to the lounge along with half of the rest of the First cabin, and I whizzed into the showers to the left of the First reception to freshen up. These shower rooms (with shower, toilet and washbasin) featured lovely Molton Brown amenities, so much better than the Elemis stuff that BA has moved to over the last few years in the UK.


Washbasin in the shower room – BA/QF First lounge, SIN


Shower

Once suitably refreshed, we relaxed in the main lounge area and people-watched for a while, declining the offer of some finger food from one of the waiters. Since my last visit to this lounge last summer, some of the furniture has been reupholstered in an attractive olive green fabric, but apart from that nothing much has changed. I know some complain that this lounge is a little like an 80s hotel lobby, but I quite like the atmosphere, and certainly on the two occasions I’ve visited (morning and evening) it has never been overly crowded and the staff have always been helpful in typical Singapore fashion. I felt a little pang of sorrow that I wasn’t stopping over in Singapore, a city-state I really enjoyed last summer, but boarding was in progress and my thoughts wandered back to Sydney and what would await me there.


SIN BA/QF First lounge


SIN BA/QF First lounge


SIN BA/QF First lounge


Quiet area at the end of the lounge


Bar area at the end of the lounge – with ice cream!


Busier seating area towards the front of the lounge


Newly upholstered chairs


Refreshment area at the front of the lounge

Singapore carries out security checks at the gate, and with a short wait in the Fast Track lane, we were through into the packed gate area. A great view of our waiting A380 was to be had from the window, and a nice couple pointed out a better vantage point from which to take photographs when they saw my camera.


VH-OQF

There was no clear priority boarding announcement, but there was a separate lane at the exit from the gate lounge, and we were amongst the first through the doors to be met by a First Host and guided to the door of the aircraft along the dedicated First airbridge. We were greeted at the door by name by our new cabin crew and directed (but not shown) to our seats.

Date: August 2010
Route: Singapore Changi [SIN] (T1) – Sydney Kingsford Smith [SYD] (T1)
Flight: QF32
Type: A380-842
Registration: VH-OQF
First Flight/Delivery: 2009/2010
Seats: 2A, 3A
Class: First


A familiar scene!

A pre-departure beverage, warm nuts, PJs and washbag were again offered and shortly after takeoff menus (real, not photocopied) were handed out, and our new CSM introduced himself.


Nuts and OJ


Another set of PJs and a washbag


FedEx DC-10, seen whilst we were pushing back


FedEx DC-10 detail

One of our FAs asked whether we would like to eat together, but I declined saying that we would probably be comfier in our own seats – I had tried dual dining in BA First on the 747 a couple of years back, and found the ottoman to be fairly uncomfortable, so didn’t fancy giving it a try this time, even in a different cabin.


‘Proper’ menu

The lunch menu on today’s SIN-SYD sector was as follows;

Lunch

Brunch
Mango Energiser Drink
Fresh Tropical Fruit with Lime Wedges
Croissant with Selection of Condiments
Buttermilk Hotcakes with Berry Compote, Maple Syrup and Yogurt
Asparagus and Gruyere Crepes with Baby Rocket Salad

Salads and Other Things
Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Gremolata
Grilled Chicken Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing
Salad of Smoked Salmon and Sugar Snaps with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette

Light, Vegetarian and Sandwich
Big bowl of Mushroom, Porcini and Pearl Barley Soup
Asian Style Beef Pot Pie with XO Sauce
Our signature Steak Sandwich with Tomato and Chilli Relish

Seared Sea Bass
Herb Crusted with Braised Fennel and Sautéed Spinach
Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing with Green Vegetables
Salsa Verde with Slow Cooked Fennel and Beans

Honey Braised Duck with Pistachios
Couscous and Green Beans
Couscous and Spinach

Beef Rendang
Fragrant Rice and Malay Style Vegetables

Side Salad
Salad of Baby Leaves with your choice of dressing
Aged Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinaigrette

Cheese
Hand selected blue, soft and hard cheese served with accompaniments

Dessert
Chocolate Date Cake with Crème Anglaise
Pear Tart Tatin with Nutmeg Ice Cream
Roskilly Ice Cream Tubs
Sliced Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Petits Fours
A selection of Amedei dark chocolates
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Icing
Almond Shortbread

--


Table set for lunch

For this sector, I chose the pumpkin soup, followed by the beef rendang and the pear tart to finish. The soup wasn’t particularly to my taste, and so I had to send it back – there wasn’t anything actually wrong with it (which I stressed to the concerned FA), I just didn’t find the flavour very palatable. The beef rendang was really great, and although the ice cream with the dessert was frozen completely solid (for which the FA apologised, and said they had been trying to get it defrosted for several minutes in the oven), the tart itself was lovely.


Soup


Beef Rendang


Dessert – complete with ice cream frozen solid


Time to destination

As the meal service wound to a close, more Family Guy was watched before I changed into PJs, my bed was made and I slept like a log for a couple of hours.


Night water bottle

The cabin crew on this flight were much more proactive with walking through the cabin during the night, but I have to stress that I thought both sets of cabin crew were really very good.


Approaching Sydney


Lights of Sydney viewed on the tail camera


Legroom shot in takeoff/landing position


Stored for landing

We landed on time into Sydney and disembarked through Door M1L. After a lengthy walk to immigration, I was pleased to note that there was no queue, and we were through baggage reclaim and quarantine (where we didn’t have to stop) within 10 minutes. Our bags were not particularly quick to arrive, so those lovely yellow First tags didn’t have much effect (with the tag on my bag having been ripped off completely!). We joined the short queue for taxis after getting slightly confused with directions in the arrivals hall, eventually arriving at the InterContinental Sydney around 1h15 or so after landing – not bad by any means.


At the gate at Sydney

Conclusion

Qantas have done a fantastic job with the A380 First Suite. There is really nothing that needs to be significantly improved in the hard product, which surely has to be one of the better international F hard products on the market. I was impressed by the meal choices and quality of the in-flight dining, and the service on both flights was well above average. The BA lounges in T3 at LHR are great, and the SIN lounge has a certain charm about it which I have come to like based on my couple of experiences. I would have little hesitation in booking Qantas First again, and look forward to the opportunity to fly in their premier cabin hopefully in the not-so-distant future.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to any comments or questions that may have arisen during your read! Look out for my next report to be posted shortly – Testing Qantas Domestic Economy SYD-CNS-MEL-SYD with QF Business lounges (w/pics).

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow, great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

I'm a little confused as to why AA and CX have their own lounges at Heathrow. Aren't they in OneWorld also? Why not use the BA lounge...or better yet have a OneWorld branded lounge?


User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3183 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report, thanks for the commentary with photos.

I hope to try out the T3 lounge in a few months but I definitely won't be flying in first.

Thanks for stopping by the other lounges to take a look.

Look forward to reading the rest of your travels around Australia.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5925 posts, RR: 40
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 hours ago) and read 30758 times:

great report!

But I have to say from the pictures the food locks good but nothing from an other world! specially the breakfast, the side salad and the main dishes looking very small.



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineozglobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 hours ago) and read 30690 times:

I'm doing the same trip on QF A380 in F this December. Hope there is no equipment change.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 3):
But I have to say from the pictures the food locks good but nothing from an other world! specially the breakfast, the side salad and the main dishes looking very small.

Looks like good quality, honest food to me and Genius12 testified to its perfection. Quality not quantity is what I seek, as do most fine restaurants here in France.

Great report. Thanks.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 29764 times:

Excellent trip report. Lots of really great shots of the lounges, seats, and meals. Just looking at the pics of the meals made me hungry!

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
oneworld Emerald benefits

Certainly took advantage of that when visiting all the lounges. I wasn't surprised when you mentioned that AA had the worst lounge. Especially when compared to CX and BA.

I'm glad you got great service from QF. I guess they have stepped in up...at least in the pointy end (I can only dream).

Cheers,

Rob



You can never travel too much in your life!
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 197 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 28794 times:

Thank you all for your comments.  
Quoting burj (Reply 1):
'm a little confused as to why AA and CX have their own lounges at Heathrow. Aren't they in OneWorld also? Why not use the BA lounge...or better yet have a OneWorld branded lounge?

With such a large number of oneworld flights out of T3, having one lounge would not exactly create an exclusive environment. There is not much space at T3 to create one large lounge, anyway. I think three lounges works quite well - the BA lounges are certainly superior to the CX or AA lounges, however.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 3):
But I have to say from the pictures the food locks good but nothing from an other world! specially the breakfast, the side salad and the main dishes looking very small.

Whilst perhaps the food doesn't look out of this world, the quality was really rather good. With regards to the small portions, I find that this is all the rage these days in restaurants, and I could of course ordered much more than I did.


User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4636 posts, RR: 23
Reply 7, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 28719 times:

That was an excellent report!

Qantas First looks absolutely amazing - from top to tail   The bathroom with the electronic tap is the same setup as on the rest of the aircraft by the way - definitely in the bottom two cabins at any rate!

Really appreciate the time you took to share this! Thank you!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineIBOAviator From Canada, joined Sep 2010, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 28457 times:

WOW!! I felt like I was there. Superb job on this TR. I think I might just take a flight to SYD from LHR on QF in First now. It sure looks and feels amazing...

Keep up the good TR work



Keep Calm and Go Around!
User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 28287 times:

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 6):
With such a large number of oneworld flights out of T3, having one lounge would not exactly create an exclusive environment. There is not much space at T3 to create one large lounge, anyway. I think three lounges works quite well - the BA lounges are certainly superior to the CX or AA lounges, however.

Hmm...interesting. Isn't there one large branded SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow? I guess there are far fewer SkyTeam flights out of LHR than OneWorld.

At LAX there is one large first class lounge for *A and one even larger business class lounge or *A...same for SkyTeam. It seemed to work pretty well.


User currently offlineweb500sjc From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 739 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 28157 times:
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the fedex you actually saw, was a MD-11 you can tell by the winglets


very nice TR



Boiler Up!
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 28078 times:

Hey Genius12 - thanks for the stellar report. Really well written and documented. I am doing this flight in a month in the reverse direction and also plan on writing a report - have been on tons of intercontinental F's of late, so we can compare notes  .

While QF definitely seems to have the hardware, I think it is the small touches that stood out for me - and which will always separate the "best" with the "good". Like an AI report I commented on a few days back, there really is no excuse in F for the following:

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
The flight attendant was a little forgetful, serving the salad a little late after the lamb, and having to take the assiette back to the galley to add the cream that had slipped his mind. Also, there was no milk in the jug that arrived with my tea. The teapot, cup etc. all arrived on a metal tray – I’m not sure, but perhaps the FA was meant to remove each item and put them individually on my table?
Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Menus were shortly handed out, with the FA apologising for the photocopied sheet handed out in place of the proper menu – apparently they hadn’t received the proper menus yet, but the photocopy looked like it had been copied directly from the proper menu (ie. same font and layout), so I was unsure what the exact problem was. The lunch menu on today’s LHR-SIN sector was as follows;

And personally, I agree with Avianca below:

Quoting Avianca (Reply 3):

But I have to say from the pictures the food locks good but nothing from an other world! specially the breakfast, the side salad and the main dishes looking very small.

In any case, thank you so much for the report.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 28060 times:

Great report! I really wanted to fly the A380 when I went to SYD this summer, but had to stay star alliance.

User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1268 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 27997 times:
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Always great to read a F class trip report. This one was wonderful to read. Here is a video on the First Class product on Qantas http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1803212341

User currently offlinejayeshrulz From India, joined Apr 2007, 1028 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 27777 times:

Excellent Trip report.

I have to say that the food quantity looks very less for a F class offering.I dont know if its just me.

But else, its Nice.
Thanks for sharing =)



Keep flying, because the sky is no limit!
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 27664 times:

Quoting burj (Reply 9):

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 6):
With such a large number of oneworld flights out of T3, having one lounge would not exactly create an exclusive environment. There is not much space at T3 to create one large lounge, anyway. I think three lounges works quite well - the BA lounges are certainly superior to the CX or AA lounges, however.

Hmm...interesting. Isn't there one large branded SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow? I guess there are far fewer SkyTeam flights out of LHR than OneWorld.

At LAX there is one large first class lounge for *A and one even larger business class lounge or *A...same for SkyTeam. It seemed to work pretty well.

T3 is an 'overflow' for BA from it's huge new T5 and its satellites where they have massive multiple new lounges: J, First for Gold / Emerald and Revenue First lounges and spas. T3 is for the Oz flights and a few others.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6430 posts, RR: 38
Reply 16, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 27275 times:

Hi Genius12,

Superb TR, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful adventure with us all. The pictures were amazing too!

I find it quite funny that you were able to visit 3 Oneworld lounges one one trip to the airport! I don't think there has been quite a report on lounges like that before, well done. The BA and CX lounges look great.

The QF seat looks excellent.. One I could spend a lot of time in myself! The service sounds like it is great as well.

It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed the flight and I surely felt as though I was there.

Thanks again

Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offline777ORD From United States of America, joined May 2010, 501 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 27255 times:

wow. incredible report! I am very jealous of you for having such an awesome experience! And, not to mention sky lounges!

User currently onlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2079 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 27104 times:

*Sigh* If only... and how?

The first class suites seem like such a pleasant way to enjoy enforced relaxation for almost a full day's worth of flying.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
ncluding the 15” IFE touch-screen

Tiny issue, but the Qantas website says they are 17".

For those complaining about the serving size, should it not be possible to request an additional meal? That way you could try one of the other dishes. Surely they would have to have enough of each selection to avoid any disappointment for F class passengers.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 197 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 26399 times:

Thank you everybody for your replies  
Quoting burj (Reply 9):
Hmm...interesting. Isn't there one large branded SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow? I guess there are far fewer SkyTeam flights out of LHR than OneWorld.

There is one lounge in T4 for SkyTeam carriers, but you are right in that there are far fewer flights than for oneworld carriers.

Quoting burj (Reply 9):
the fedex you actually saw, was a MD-11 you can tell by the winglets

I should have spotted that 
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 11):
I think it is the small touches that stood out for me

I agree that for a First service those small things that were missing were not right. I have no doubt that other premium airlines (eg. SQ and CX) pay more attention to the little details, and I hope to sample them at some point. However, the overall QF First experience was really good and I was suitably impressed to fly the product again if I get a chance!

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 14):
I have to say that the food quantity looks very less for a F class offering.

I could have ordered more from the menu, but what I had was very filling, good quality and suited my taste.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 16):
I don't think there has been quite a report on lounges like that before, well done.

I have done quite a few lounge reviews (mainly oneworld alliance) over on FlyerTalk (under the username Genius1) - I only post my major trip reports here on Airliners.net  
Quoting allrite (Reply 18):
should it not be possible to request an additional meal?

Yes, I'm sure I could have done.


User currently offlineSpeedbird2025 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 26165 times:

Very nice TR! Thanks for sharing.

--Nate


User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4830 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 25388 times:

Firstly excellent TR! glad you enjoyed your trip!!  
Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Once inside the gate lounge, we made our way over to the left hand door (with the airbridge connected to Door M2L), where there was a huge queue for Economy pax. Business and Premium Economy were boarding from the right hand door, with the airbridge connected to Door U1L, and had a similarly sized queue to the Economy line.

Its a pain when they don't use 3 bridges for the A380. But as you mentioned thats what the hosts are for.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
I was soon welcomed by name by one of the two male flight attendants in First,

Just to note there are 3 crew in F but one spends most of their time in the galley....
and I see that you have then mentioned it later on anyway!  
Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Menus were shortly handed out, with the FA apologising for the photocopied sheet handed out in place of the proper menu – apparently they hadn’t received the proper menus yet, but the photocopy looked like it had been copied directly from the proper menu (ie. same font and layout), so I was unsure what the exact problem was.

Your flight wasn't on the 28th or 29th or the start or August by chance was it?
Really not good enough not to have proper menus in F. That said airlines tend to send a few menus out to ports well beforehand for various reasons (crew, catering, etc) so if the real menus don't arrive in time then they get photocopied. Not ideal when you consider menus cost practically nothing.

very thorough TR an enjoyable read! (next time if you have a thorough TR with pics could you please separate them ie make a double post...makes it much easier to quote selected text! cheers!!)



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 24985 times:

A good report, well written and with some excellent photos. Thank you.
I am surprised that you were served plastic knives. The last few flights that I have flown to/ from PER in Business and in First I have received proper cutlery. The QF product looks cheap - almost like something you'd find in a public hospital.
Oversights in serving are not the sort of thing to expect in First, but the cabin crew are human like the rest of us.
How extensive is the choice IFE offered by QF?


User currently onlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2079 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (3 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 24812 times:

Quoting Quokka (Reply 22):
How extensive is the choice IFE offered by QF?

My understanding is that the choice is exactly the same for all cabins, just that you get to watch it on progressively larger screens and with noise cancelling earphones for levels above economy. So far as I could tell the selection is the same across the A380, A330 (international) and 747 fleet, except that the A380 had the Best Picture Oscar winners from 1969(?) onwards and widescreen formatting. There may be some other differences that I haven't noticed.

My only two AVOD equipped airlines that I have flown in the last couple of years are Qantas and Cathay Pacific (747 only). I thought the Qantas range of movies and televisions shows were superior (especially if you include the Oscar winners), but preferred Cathay's music selections (orchestral soundtracks Qantas, not pop soundtracks!). Some of the documentaries available on Qantas were straight out of SBS on a Friday night!   The Qantas flight map was superior and you could keep listening to music while watching it, unlike on Cathay. I'm not certain how the selections compare with the SQ or EK systems and I could still suggest further improvements to Qantas' programming.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8542 posts, RR: 54
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 23259 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures, thanks for sharing your QF A380 1st experience.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Apologies for the lack of pictures from the AA lounge, but I was rather put off by the security at the entrance and there were CCTV cameras prominently evident throughout the lounge

- The yanks are paranoid!

The seat and space looks excellent though the food looked good presentation wise it was kind of ordinary and the portions looked small, that said, nothing wrong with ordinary food if it's done well.

I'll keep an eye out for the next installments.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
25 Post contains links Genius12 : Thank you for the most recent comments! It was the 30th August. Thanks for the explanation about the menus. Pretty good, certainly better than BA. I w
26 PlaneHunter : Great report with many nice pictures. Even though I would like to try QF's F Class on the A380, I'm not a fan of the interior design and colors. PH
27 Post contains images Genius12 : Thanks for your reply, PlaneHunter
28 MSS658 : Nice report! I would really love to fly on the QF 380 once myself now.
29 Genius12 : If you can, I would highly recommend it. The Business product is very good, but the First product is just that little step above. Worth the extra on
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