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New Qantas Intl Dining- MEL-PER-MEL In Business  
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 91 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7228 times:

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Crossing the Nullarbor MEL-PER-MEL with Qantas Business Class
featuring the new international-style catering


Welcome to my 7th Trip Report here on A.NET. Earlier this year, I flew Australian domestic business for the first time in over ten years- you can read that report here:


Not Another MEL-SYD Trip Report..this Time On QF J (by themit9 Feb 1 2013 in Trip Reports)



Will these flights live up to the high standard set by the MEL-SYD flight? You’ll have to read on to find out.


This time around, I had a much better idea of what to expect going in. There has been many reports of MEL-PER on this site, but one thing that I don’t believe has been covered is the new catering options that have been introduced on these flights. Hopefully I can also provide another point of view.



Background



Some of the family were going to Perth for a variety of reasons, so I decided to tag along. Soon I was holding a Qantas J eTicket after using some points and cash.


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/QFtoPerth.jpg


The Qantas website gets full marks, very easy to use and everything seems to work without bugs.



Departure Day


It’s not often that I get to spend the day at an airport lounge, so, despite the late flight departure time of 5pm, I was out the door at home at 10am, and after a short walk, I was soon at the local station ready to take a train to the connecting SkyBus.


10:11am train to the city


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After a brief trip in, it was an easy transfer to the SkyBus. Purchasing tickets was straightforward and I was soon on my way with busses leaving every 10 minutes most of the time. The lack of rail to Melbourne Airport is often talked about, but I was very impressed by the SkyBus and will be using it again.


By 11:20, I was at the Qantas Domestic terminal.


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Check-in was easy, there was even a staff member wandering around asking if I needed help


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Printed boarding pass


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Less than 10 minutes later, I found myself here


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I have already covered this lounge in my last report (link above), so I won’t be going into much detail about it, except for a couple of photos.


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The highlight was seeing MH 148 depart and wishing I was onboard, maybe recreating the path of last year’s trip. Hopefully leaving MEL on MH 148 won’t be too far away.


After a few hours in the lounge (about 5!) getting some very productive work done, it was time to head down to Gate 21. Qantas flies some international A330-200s on this route with the “award-winning” SkyBed product as I’ve read in other reports. The seat maps online looked positive, but, on arrive at the gate it was VH-EBM ‘Tamar Valley’ waiting- one of the A330-200s with what I understand to be one of the least desirable J products. Maybe better luck on the way home?


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I joined the Premium Boarding line with the line growing, and Y line even longer. Right on time, boarding commenced, my boarding pass was scanned and I was heading down the jetway at 4:38PM.


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THE FLIGHT



Date: 16 August 2013

Flight: QF 773

Route: MEL (YMML) – PER (YPPH)

Aircraft: Airbus A330-202

Registration: VH-EBM



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Photo © Michael J Douglas
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Photo © Duan Zhu



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Photo © Yunjin Lee - Korea Aero Photos
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Photo © Allen Zhao


Quick facts: This aircraft’s first flight was on 03/11/2009. The aircraft is 3.8 years old. This registration previously belonged to a QF 742 until 1991. Domestically configured A330 called “Tamar Valley”

Scheduled / Actual Departure (gate): 5:00pm / 5:03pm UTC + 10

Scheduled/ Actual Arrival (gate): 7:20pm / 7:21pm UTC + 8

Flight Time (gate to gate) / Scheduled: 4h18m / 4h20m



===================================



The passenger in front of me was greeted by the CSM, who then disappeared leaving me standing there with another crew member arranging glasses or something. After a long pause she came over and directed me over to seat 4K…no “welcome aboard” or anything like that, which I didn’t feel was the best first impression for the flight.


The cabin was very domestic, not dissimilar to the old MH A330 I took last year from KUL-HKG, but with a lot less legroom.


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View from 4K


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The seat pitch wasn’t great, and a contrast to the Qantas SkyBed and what I’ve seen of the Virgin Coast to Coast seats.


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The cabin during boarding


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About 15 minutes after sitting down, we had the welcome drink which was either water or orange juice


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Business Class was completely full today. With boarding complete the doors were closed and we pulled away from the gate pretty much on time. I thought we may be taking off on Runway 27 but a look at the windsock showed it standing straight up and pointing south, meaning a Runway 34 departure.


The safety video was played, but with screens in the armrest and no main cabin screens, we had to watch the manual crew demonstration while the audio from the video played over the P/A. Those in Economy got the video due to the seatback mounted screen.


The cabin lights were dimmed for departure


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The captain made an announcement during the taxi that it was quite windy today, and that we’d be taking off towards the north. He advised that there would be some turbulence up to 5000 feet due to the conditions, but after this we could expect a smooth flight west.


We lined up at 34 and you could feel the aircraft rocking around in the breeze which was coming from the right-hand side. After a few departures and arrivals ahead, we lined up and departed. As I expected, the wind made for a short take-off and steep climb out.


Climb over a green Melbourne


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We soon crossed 10,000 feet and the seatbelt signs were turned off. It was time to take the IFE for a test drive. There was a lack of headphones- some passengers had them and others seemed not to, but the flight attendant was happy to issue a pair of the standard-issue J headphones seen on most airlines these days.


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The screen was in the armrest, and was one of the newer type, but the arm holding it was very loose and viewing had to be with the screen on an angle and not in an optimal position.


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Everyone’s favourite channel


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Above the clouds


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I put on a video about Perth, then turned to the menu for today’s flight which was not the best as far as menus go. It was one small piece of paper with ‘Small Plates’ and ‘Main Plates’. It was quite vague in terms of how the service would go, and there was no drinks list.



There was no real stand out dish in my opinion- others may have other opinions though. On reflection what I think is lacking is a signature dish like a Malaysian satay or lobster thermidor (maybe not for a shorter flight but you get my drift). There wasn’t anything there that made me say “I’m looking forward to flying Qantas so I can try the…”


Service didn’t seem to be in a rush, and it was after 6pm, or 40 minutes since leaving the runway before a drink cart made an appearance. What happened to the days when drink orders were taken before takeoff?


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I opted for a scotch and coke, which was served with pretzels and almonds. As you can see, we were already some way into the flight.


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We levelled out at FL360, before climbing later to FL400.


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A flight attendant came by with Arancini balls on a large tray and we were invited to take one


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Westbound sunset


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Row 4 during the beverage service


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Orders were taken for dinner. I selected a ‘main plate’ and was offered a ‘small plate’ as well. It seemed the small plate would be the ‘Starter’ (why not just call it this?) and the main plate would be the ‘Main’. Then about 50 minutes passed between the drinks service and dinner. It was quite slow.


At about 7PM, the table was dressed and we had a plate with some sourdough and a small bowl of rocket.


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5 minutes later, my small plate arrived which was the salmon and squid ink noodles. Going with this was some white wine and still water.


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The salmon was dish of the day- perfectly cooked, very tasty and the squid ink noodles were a great accompaniment.  But small plate meant small- although it was fine given the other things we were being served.


Once my small plate was complete, we had the pizzette. 



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The presentation wasn’t the best, and the dish seemed to be mostly potato and lacking in prosciutto based on taste, but it still passed.


By this time it was getting dark outside



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The plates were removed and I was given more wine and water. By now we had been in the air for over two hours.


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For dessert we had coconut and lemon cake with the standard tea and coffee service. The cake was quite nice.



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And lastly, the cheese of the day which had to be specifically asked for


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I’m not sure what the cheese of the day was but it was quite nice with some dried fruit


It was coming up to 8pm. by this time, lights were visible out to the right which could only be Kalgoorlie. Sure enough, the IFE confirmed that we were back over land. All times from here are Perth time, UTC + 8.


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A word on the crew: a bit of a mixed bag and not of the same standard as the Qantas crew earlier in the year. There was one that was a bit reserved, and the rest pretty much didn’t go out of their way to make the experience special. The full cabin probably didn’t help, but I thought the crew on the MEL-SYD run were more impressive in this despite a much shorter flight. The service was also quite slow for Business Class. On the Asian airlines departing Melbourne, the drinks cart makes an appearance within minutes, and the full meal service is done by around Broken Hill- this took nearly the entire flight to complete.


I filled the small remainder of the flight watching the IFE, with a great selection. The comment of “We respect your right to choose so do not edit any films” was especially refreshing. But the main appeal was the selection was suited to Australian tastes, which was me. One of the highlights was watching “An Idiot Abroad Season 3”.


About 40 minutes later, we started our descent into Perth, and after a smooth approach we landed on Runway 24. Unlike the Asian airlines, headphones are not collected so you can listen to music all the way down even though the screen has to be stowed in the armrest. I think gate-to-gate IFE is a great concept.


The landing was on-time. There was some slight rain around despite an earlier promise of “fine” from the flight deck.


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Pulling into the gate, next to a 738


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A last look at the cabin of EBM


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I thanked the crew and left, capturing another shot of VH-EBM ‘Tamar Valley’


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As I had no checked bags, arrival was very smooth and I was out of the terminal in minutes.


IMPRESSIONS QF 773


Check-in: The self-serve part was easy, and with no checked bags, the formalities were hassle-free


Lounge: Great lounge, very happy and could spend more time there


Departure: On time, no problems and all very smooth


Onboard: Seat pitch was poor- it was a shame not to get a SkyBed. Seats were OK but not competitive with Virgin’s Coast to Coast product. Crew a little lacking in places


Food and Beverages: Menu confusing and plain, and no stand out dish. However, the quality was reasonable and dish of the day outstanding. Slow service a shame.


Arrival: On time and easy


Qantas got me from gate to gate reliability and on-time. However, the whole thing was probably lacking the things that make flying business special. I’d love to fly Virgin to see the comparison which is positive from all accounts so far. The return sector should be interesting.



8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7190 times:


THE RETURN


After a few good days in Perth, it was time to return to the best state in Australia. Given my new love of lounges, this meant an early arrival at Perth Airport


11am- kerbside at Perth


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Check-in was busy today, after a short line I got to the kiosk with the very familiar welcome screen


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It might be time to migrate to mobile/online check-in.


Printed boarding pass-  thank the cheap paper for the crumpled appearance


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At security, the line for Business/Platinum was longer than Economy- either due to plenty of frequent flyers or a lack of enforcement. I took the Economy line. Following a random explosives test I was through and at the Qantas Club 10 minutes after arrival. I was surprised to learn that there was no Business Lounge for Perth- just the Qantas Club.


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The Qantas Club had great views, with the main focus being Gate 14 but also Runway 03/21. And there were plenty of exotic airlines like South African Airways along with interesting destinations.


Seats with a view


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The view


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As this was my first Perth Qantas Club experience, I’ll do a quick runthrough. The first interesting note is the division of the lounge- one part is for traditional business people wearing suits, while the other part seems to be for those part of the mining boom, where fluoro clothing is a must. Of course the sections aren’t defined, but that’s just how people seemed to congregate. Of course, casuals like me just fitted in the middle.


Seating space


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Wines- I found the Wolf Blass enjoyable during my visit


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Dining


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“Comfort food”- chicken with lentils. Better than it looks.


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The usual Qantas antipasto-style fare


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Wolf Blass and antipasto for me


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And later some coffee and some of the lentils and chicken


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It was a decent lounge, although a separate J space would be nice. I also used the bathrooms and they were clean and modern.


A few aircraft movements


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After a relaxing five or so hours in the lounge (the time just flies by…), it was 10 minutes until boarding, so I went to Gate 12 and was greeted with this sight:


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10 minutes out and no aircraft? It became quite obvious that we would be delayed, but there had been no change to the FIDS in the lounge or anywhere in the airport. Finally, a few minutes from scheduled boarding, there was an announcement that due to maintenance, there would be a new departure of 5:20pm, with boarding at 5pm.


At 4:52pm, the A330 visible in the distance was towed over


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It turned out to be VH-EBI, which meant I’d finally be able to try out the QF Skybed for the first time.


All the crew were waiting to board- could they not have been bussed over earlier to carry out the various safety checks and preflight duties to save time?


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There was no information as the revised boarding time came and went. Finally, at 5:20pm, boarding was called. I felt that there was a lack of information being provided and that Qantas really could have done better here.


Lining up


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Down the jetway


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THE FLIGHT


Date: 19 August 2013


Flight: QF 768


Route: PER (YPPH) – MEL (YMML)


Aircraft: Airbus A330-202


Registration: VH-EBI



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Photo © Darren Koch
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Photo © Alexander Watts



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Photo © Darren Koch
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Photo © Darren Koch


Quick facts: This aircraft’s first flight was on 17/01/2008. The aircraft is 5.6 years old. This registration previously belonged to a QF 742 until 1991 (that 742 is now 5N-PPP). Internationally configured A330 called “Yarra Valley”.


Scheduled / Actual Departure (gate): 5:00pm / 6:02pm UTC + 8


Scheduled/ Actual Arrival (gate): 10:30pm / 11:02pm UTC + 10


Flight Time (gate to gate) / Scheduled: 3h00m / 3h30m


================================


A warm welcome and address by name at the door, and I was on my way to seat 4K. The international A330 is a real contrast to the domestic one, with considerably more personal space and a lower density. Business Class (36 seats) is divided into two cabins with 3 rows of 6 seats. My seat of 4K was in the second cabin, a bulkhead seat.


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The second J cabin


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The view from 4K


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Legroom in contrast to the last flight


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7 minutes after boarding, I was offered juice or water. At least they change the juice variety between flights.


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It appeared that boarding had been completed, with just 3 passengers in our cabin of 18 seats. Why can’t every flight be a light load? I guess you have to fly First to get that, but it changes the flight feeling considerably.


Despite boarding being completed there was a fair bit of sitting, waiting. The sun began to set.


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Thankfully the IFE was available. It was the older type, and you could tell that the system used some type of Internet Explorer interface.


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The captain came over the P/A, apologising the delay citing the usual excuse of a ‘late arrival of the inbound aircraft’. This caused the regular maintenance to be delayed. We couldn’t leave until the maintenance paperwork was finalised, hence the long wait on the ground.


To kill time, orders were taken for dinner, so I turned to the menu.


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My opinion on this was made clear in the last part. The stand out dish for me was the Asian Cold Cut Plate.  Qantas seems to make a big deal about its toasted sandwiches (see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0AknMRlvoM), so it was probably worth trying for the main.


Somehow, a 20 minute delay had become an hour, and just after 6pm, we were pushed back, with the taxiway and runway lights coming on at Perth Airport. The safety video was played with the flight attendant also giving a private manual demonstration for me and the passenger next door. Thanks to the bulkhead screen, we had vision to go with the audio.


The video went like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgvw3kN6sAw


Not the best, not the worst- lots of A380 shots for an A330 video. The interesting point was having different characters like baggage handlers talking about safety.


After a brief taxi to Runway 21, we were soon on our way. You could feel that the flight crew were in a rush with a quick taxi and barely slowing down for corners. Before we had even lined up on the runway the engines were spooling up and we were on our way into the dusk sky.



After an uneventful climb the seatbelt sign was turned off and it was time to testdrive the Skybed. We eventually got to FL410.



The sunset was over in minutes


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Controls


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It reminded me of the MH Recaro A330 Business Class product, but more comfortable and with a better privacy shell. In bed mode, it wasn’t really long enough for me and sloped too much, but this is an old product whereas MH’s is ‘new’.


I setup the moving map on my empty seat next door, and put on ‘An Idiot Aborad’ on my screen


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In a few minutes, the drinks cart came around, and I had the same as on the previous flight


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The hot savoury was a quiche with sundried tomatoes and cheese. The crew were attentive and I was offered seconds on everything including the nuts and quiche.


Heading to the coast


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About 20 minutes after drinks, the table was set


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I don’t get the ‘bowl of lettuce’ salad, but the plate of Asian meats was spot on. Perfectly cooked, great seasoning and sauce.


Next came the toasted sandwich


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It was simple so you can’t mess it up, but the chicken, swiss cheese and coleslaw flavour combination worked, and the dish came out piping hot meaning that I had to leave it to cool off.  Wine was topped up regularly.


During the meal, the mood lighting was activated


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Finished


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I had to try the cheese of the day, which was very good


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The usual coffee offering came around


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The table was cleared


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With the meal done, there was only about 90 minutes left on the flight


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Reclining the Skybed, and the shell had a cleverly-placed reading light


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And easy-reach controls


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I got up for a walk- rear cabin panorama


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Economy


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Rear exit


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Rear galley


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Business Class toilet


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Flight deck


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Back at the seat, a glass of water had been placed, and I kicked back to watch the humour of Carl Baron.


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A word on the crew, I think they were probably as good or better than the last flight, but what made the difference was the empty cabin.  You really get the individual attention and the whole experience feels more special. They were proactive on drinks refills and so on as well. It’s these flights that made flying so addictive.


There were great views to be had from the window of the cloud formations and coastline, but the camera couldn’t capture these.


Soon, it was time for descent


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Moodlights back on


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Hot towel- QF only seems to do this once now, at least domestically which is a shame.


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Curtains opened


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For some reason, gate-to-gate IFE wasn’t available and the system was turned off. This campaign was a few years back now (probably the same time as the aircraft’s first flight).


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We followed the Wendy Two STAR into Runway 34, which offered some great views of Geelong, and over to the Mornington Peninsula. But the highlight was flying to Melbourne city and making a tight turn to line up with 34.


Back on the ground, only about 30 minutes late


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http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4794.jpg


We pulled into Gate 21.


Last look at VH-EBI


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4796.jpg


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4797.jpg


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4800.jpg


After thanking the crew, I headed to the waiting Skybus back to the city. Just 6 minutes after disembarking we were on our way into the CBD.


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4801.jpg


On arrival at Southern Cross, it was a smooth connection to the very last train of the night which would take me back home


http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/qftoperth/IMG_4803.jpg


IMPRESSIONS QF 776


Check-in: The self-serve part was easy, and with no checked bags, the formalities were hassle-free


Lounge: A separate J lounge would be nice, but otherwise offered great views and a relaxing space


Departure: Poor communication of the delay to passengers


Onboard: The hard product was excellent for a flight of this length. Just what was needed. Flights with a light load are great and this was no exception.


Food and Beverages: Menu a bit plain, not sure about lettuce salad but the Asian meats, toasted sandwich and cheese were well executed and tasted great.


Arrival: Time was made up in the air, and it was easy as with most domestic arrivals


Qantas redeemed itself here by offering a better hard product and stronger service. These are the sort of flights that make me want to keep flying, so it was pretty enjoyable. I’d love to fly Qantas more to test their consistency, and try Virgin, which will happen one day.


My previous reports on A.NET



Not Another MEL-SYD Trip Report..this Time On QF J (by themit9 Feb 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
Returning Home With MH Business HKG-KUL-MEL (3/3) (by themit9 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Poor Man’s First- EK A380 First HKG-BKK-HKG (2/3) (by themit9 Dec 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
To Asia’s Vegas With MH Business MEL-KUL-HKG (1/3) (by themit9 Dec 5 2012 in Trip Reports)
SQ Vs MH | MEL – SIN – BKK – KUL – MEL In C Part 2 (by themit9 Apr 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
SQ Vs MH | MEL – SIN – BKK – KUL – MEL In C Part 1 (by themit9 Apr 8 2012 in Trip Reports)


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Feel free to read some of my other aviation and non-aviation articles at http://mdtravelblog.com/


Thanks for reading


If you made it to here, thanks. Please comment as your feedback helps to improve my trip reporting abilities...


 



User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1689 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (8 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6963 times:

Hi Themit9

Thanks for the interesting report on your trip with Qantas from Melbourne to Perth. From my own recent experience and the comments made by other here, I'm increasingly getting the impression that flying with Qantas is a bit of a mixed bag and that a lot of that has to do with the crews and the new meal concept - which nobody really seems to get.

Apart from that, i noticed in your pictures that you had different cutlery to what I had on my flight from Tokyo to Sydney. Is this just a coincidence, or do they really have different cutlery depending on whether it's an international service or a domestic one?

Cheers,
William


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (8 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6755 times:

Hey


Interesting TR, thanks! Good to see QF's long haul product on a route such as PER-MEL.
The Regional J looks good as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineFlyingRoo82 From Australia, joined Aug 2012, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 months 2 days ago) and read 6627 times:

Great trip report, very detailed and comprehensive! The return flight with the international config looks pretty good. I would recommend trying Virgin's east-west coast J class - it certainly impresses, especially the food and comfortable seats.

User currently offlinej77w From Australia, joined Jul 2013, 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5582 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi there Themit9, thanks for a very informative report.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Orders were taken for dinner. I selected a ‘main plate’ and was offered a ‘small plate’ as well. It seemed the small plate would be the ‘Starter’ (why not just call it this?) and the main plate would be the ‘Main’. Then about 50 minutes passed between the drinks service and dinner. It was quite slow.
Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
A word on the crew: a bit of a mixed bag and not of the same standard as the Qantas crew earlier in the year. There was one that was a bit reserved, and the rest pretty much didn’t go out of their way to make the experience special. The full cabin probably didn’t help, but I thought the crew on the MEL-SYD run were more impressive in this despite a much shorter flight. The service was also quite slow for Business Class. On the Asian airlines departing Melbourne, the drinks cart makes an appearance within minutes, and the full meal service is done by around Broken Hill- this took nearly the entire flight to complete.
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 2):
I'm increasingly getting the impression that flying with Qantas is a bit of a mixed bag and that a lot of that has to do with the crews and the new meal concept - which nobody really seems to get.

Am I starting to see a pattern here? First I'm hoping my own experience was a one off, but I have now since read two other A-netters who observe:

- the small/large plates concept (and you are right, given the crews have offered each as a "starter" and "Main", why not just call it that?). Yes, I know the idea is meant to give customers more of a choice, but if the crews aren't proactively offering them ....?

- the time taken to do a meal service (mirroring my own experience flying home on an overnight flight, where I would say the meal service took up to nearly a third of the flight time, maybe understandable on a 744 if crews have to service both upper and main decks, but an A330?)

- the crew: again, did what they had do, and that was it. Didn't go out of their way to make the experience an outstanding one.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 2):
Apart from that, i noticed in your pictures that you had different cutlery to what I had on my flight from Tokyo to Sydney. Is this just a coincidence, or do they really have different cutlery depending on whether it's an international service or a domestic one?

Hi William,

You are right on this count. The cutlery on Domestic services is in fact different to the International services, though I'm not sure why, given that the Qantas club domestic Business lounges all had the same "international" cutlery.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2358 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (8 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4955 times:

Nice TR...

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
The safety video was played, but with screens in the armrest and no main cabin screens, we had to watch the manual crew demonstration while the audio from the video played over the P/A.

WOW- what a strange practice... Main screens are not only useful for the safety video, but also for the route map, connection informations etc.! Sad to see such "brand new" Airbus without this simple feature!


User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 months 23 hours ago) and read 4367 times:

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 2):
Hi Themit9
Thanks for the interesting report on your trip with Qantas from Melbourne to Perth. From my own recent experience and the comments made by other here, I'm increasingly getting the impression that flying with Qantas is a bit of a mixed bag and that a lot of that has to do with the crews and the new meal concept - which nobody really seems to get.

Hi William,

Thanks for reading. I think you impressions are accurate as there have been many independent reports on here coming to this conclusion, and I know that to be the case from two flights I took.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 2):

Apart from that, i noticed in your pictures that you had different cutlery to what I had on my flight from Tokyo to Sydney. Is this just a coincidence, or do they really have different cutlery depending on whether it's an international service or a domestic one?
Quoting j77w (Reply 5):
You are right on this count. The cutlery on Domestic services is in fact different to the International services, though I'm not sure why, given that the Qantas club domestic Business lounges all had the same "international" cutlery.

I didn't even notice that the cutlery was different to the lounge, or why this is the case but you can always rely on someone here to know. Could it be something to do with domestic catering coming from a different facility? Not sure which cutlery I prefer...

Thanks again William.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 3):
Hey


Interesting TR, thanks! Good to see QF's long haul product on a route such as PER-MEL.
The Regional J looks good as well

Greetings
Marc

Hi Marc, as always thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It's always good for travellers like me to see competition heating up and causing airlines to bring out an international-standard product on a shorter flight.

Quoting FlyingRoo82 (Reply 4):
Great trip report, very detailed and comprehensive! The return flight with the international config looks pretty good. I would recommend trying Virgin's east-west coast J class - it certainly impresses, especially the food and comfortable seats.

Thanks FlyingRoo82, I try and keep the reports detailed as I like this style in other reports, but for those who don't like reading there's hopefully something to take from just the pictures.

I was very close to flying Virgin for one leg and doing a comparison, they were cheaper than QF but in the end it was Qantas that won. I'm sure I'll fly Virgin Business one day as it looks excellent.

Quoting j77w (Reply 5):

Hi there Themit9, thanks for a very informative report.

Thanks j77w.

Quoting j77w (Reply 5):
Am I starting to see a pattern here? First I'm hoping my own experience was a one off, but I have now since read two other A-netters who observe:

- the small/large plates concept (and you are right, given the crews have offered each as a "starter" and "Main", why not just call it that?). Yes, I know the idea is meant to give customers more of a choice, but if the crews aren't proactively offering them ....?

Other airlines seem to manage- I think of Emirates where they lay out the menu in a traditional way but invite customers to make their own meal from a light snack to a full degustation.

If you want to keep it like a traditional meal with courses (which is fine for a 3 hour flight) then print it on the menu like that. If you want it to be flexible as you said, get the crew to 'sell' and get onboard the new concept and even put an intro on the menu like "We invite you to make your own meal...select any combination of our small and main plates".

Quoting j77w (Reply 5):

- the time taken to do a meal service (mirroring my own experience flying home on an overnight flight, where I would say the meal service took up to nearly a third of the flight time, maybe understandable on a 744 if crews have to service both upper and main decks, but an A330?)

I'm not a fan of really fast meal services (on day flights- your overnight flight is different), but as I said, on the Asian airlines the meal is over by Broken Hill, where on the first flight we were almost back over land in Western Australia before it was finished. And there are no excuses for taking 40 minutes to bring out drinks. Finally, if you are going to be slow with meal, make sure you keep coming around with more drinks refills and so on- people don't want to be seated for 20 minutes with an empty glass and plates waiting.

Quoting j77w (Reply 5):

- the crew: again, did what they had do, and that was it. Didn't go out of their way to make the experience an outstanding one.

Agreed- I'd like to try Virgin and see how it compares.

Thanks agian j77w.

Quoting debonair (Reply 6):
WOW- what a strange practice... Main screens are not only useful for the safety video, but also for the route map, connection informations etc.! Sad to see such "brand new" Airbus without this simple feature!

Thanks for reading debonair. This seems to be an increasing trend with Qantas, with the 767 refurb they removed screens, although they were old-style projectors. I note that other airlines keep a few screens for safety and the route map.


User currently offlinej77w From Australia, joined Jul 2013, 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 months 19 hours ago) and read 4117 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 7):
If you want to keep it like a traditional meal with courses (which is fine for a 3 hour flight) then print it on the menu like that. If you want it to be flexible as you said, get the crew to 'sell' and get onboard the new concept and even put an intro on the menu like "We invite you to make your own meal...select any combination of our small and main plates".
Quoting themit9 (Reply 7):
I'm not a fan of really fast meal services (on day flights- your overnight flight is different), but as I said, on the Asian airlines the meal is over by Broken Hill, where on the first flight we were almost back over land in Western Australia before it was finished. And there are no excuses for taking 40 minutes to bring out drinks. Finally, if you are going to be slow with meal, make sure you keep coming around with more drinks refills and so on- people don't want to be seated for 20 minutes with an empty glass and plates waiting.

Neither am I. It is one thing rush through a meal service. But at what point does "leisurely" become just ridiculously slow? Particularly on a overnighter, where most people are wanting to go to sleep, and "supper" being designed to 'maximize rest time' - particularly in a business class environment.

But from setting the tables, a lot of us were simply kept waiting, and aside from the lucky few who had their plates given to them almost as soon at their tables were set were looked after, the rest of us were waiting as long as 70 minutes to receive our orders (the poor guy sitting next to me got his about 20 minutes after I go mine kept looking at his watch, and commented he was about to just turn out the lights when he got his).

I didn't quite understand why, but there was no bread run during the wait, with bread being offered as the FA's set tables - and event then only offered certain customers bread (perhaps bread wasn't appropriate with some of the plate selections; perhaps she was forgetful). No drinks were offered at all during the wait other than the offer of wine or water when table were set, and definitely no proactive offers for alternative drinks.

Botton line: what was assumed to be a quick one-plate supper, with no starter, actually took longer than the full 3-course lunch on the inbound flight.

Personally, to have part of a cabins customers finished while other parts of that cabin still waiting - at length - for their meals to arrive, is just somehow, well, just all wrong.


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