Welcome to my 3rd trip report.
15th April 2012
Premium economy fares on Qantas.com were obscene over Easter, so I did what every Anetter would do when faced with the prospect of 22 hours in economy - I made sure I booked on a good airframe (A380). And bagged myself a good seat for the journey, (80A).
For those who don’t know, seat 80A, 80K and 71D benefit from no seat in front due to a crew rest escape hatch. 80A is set back from the emergency exit and thus does not require a fee to sit there ( i can choose it online). It's also a window seat which is great.
A combination of childish excitement and out-of-this-world desire to rehydrate during flights makes me prone to use the loo. One of my worst fears (other than dropping the kids off at the pool 30 thousand feet in the air while a queue of passengers forms) is having a full bladder and continually disturbing the passenger next to me. Maybe it’s me just being neurotic. Anyway, 80A ensured that the legs could be stretched and the bladder could be emptied without a hitch.
After a nice first class ride on the Heathrow Express, I queued up at a rather dingy T3 Y+ counter and overheard some couples talking about how expensive Melbourne has become... “Mate it costs ya 5 bucks a latte, fark that!”
Ahhh… I was home already.
I reminded myself that I was actually VERY lucky to be flying today, I had just got my passport back with my Indefinite Leave to Remain VISA about 3 days before flying. Talk about close! I waited 12 weeks playing chicken with the Qantas website and holding a nightly vigil that it would arrive. And it did. I gripped my passport in my hand tightly as I checked in. So tight, the agent literally had to pry it form my fingers.
Anyway tickets in hand, I headed for Boots and indulged my every hypochondrial fancy - in case any ailment should effect my during my flight (most of which has never occurred by the way). You think I’d have learned by now.
I walked up some drab 1960's stairs to use my Airport Angel card that my bank told me about which gave me complimentary “access” to the No 1 Traveller Lounge. Actually, I thought it was pretty good! It was busy and light on staff but altogether a reasonable experience with a pleasing modern (slightly tacky) interior. I wanted to see and support a startup concept that was at least trying to give the airline lounges a run for their money.
Indeed it was far better than sitting at the gates. I always wonder why people INSIST on waiting at the gates? And waiting some more. Go see stuff! Walk around!! You’ll be sitting for the next day! Go to a more comfortable bar or viewing area. Don’t wait there for hours to have to wait again to get on. Excruciating. No?
Boarded. Crew were nice and upbeat. As I wondered down the back, there was some woman settling into 80A with all her stuff strewn everywhere. I politely told her that this was my seat. She said…”You better check again” while she scratched at her charming looking tattoo of a dolphin on her forearm. I showed her my boarding pass and said that hers was two rows behind. Packing up all her stuff, she hissed and retreated back into the depths of the rear cabin like Gollum from Lord of the Rings
Seat was good. This particular seat has an in-arm entertainment unit and I used the handy storage pockets on the cabin wall for some essentials. Mainly Xanax and earplugs. As we taxied, I sat next to a nice Greek guy from Melbourne who said he just made the flight in time after 3 days trying to get to London from Cyprus (all without a shower). He took off his shoes as the engines spooled up. Oh dear Lord...
I broke the little pink pill in half and swallowed it dry as my beautiful bird trundled down the runway gaining velocity towards a dark English sky.
Food on Qantas is what it is. It can have flashes of genius but for the most part is teetering on OK to bad. I endured a rather dire chicken pie (no photos, you're not missing anything!) before a sudden feeling of calmness and tranquility descended on me. The Xanax are a special treat when flying Y. I only use them in the air - on long haul. I went out like a light.
I woke up about 6 hours later. Had a stretch and settled into some movies.
Our approach into SIN: Grey Singapore sky with the trademark high pitched whirr of the hydraulics making her enormous wings nice and dirty.
Landing: Thud!!!! As usual.
I only had 45 minutes in Singapore but was enough time to walk about for a bit and gravitate to the Qantas Business Lounge and freshen up. I spoke to a girl at the desk to enquire about any “specials”. I do this out of habit on the off chance as I have more luck here than anywhere else. She looked surprised as she tapped away at the computer…
Something along the lines of (delivered rather robotically):
“Sir as the flight is not full I cannot upgrade you today but I can offer you a paid-for upgrade to an aisle bulkhead seat in premium economy at the cost of 400 Singapore dollars”. She was speaking my language! I did some random nervous calculations in my head (mostly involving currency, seat pitch, stinking feet, elbows in kidneys and tattoos) and decided to go for it. In hindsight unnecessary but it was a good chance to try it on the cheap.
I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed premium economy from SIN-MEL. I avoided a massive queue to board the main deck again and arrived at a quiet private cabin at the rear of Business on the upperdeck. The service level and even food quality is basically identical to business (except for choice etc.) You could disagree on finer details but having recently flown them in business, it was surprisingly close, minus the Skybed and PJ's of course! Well done Qantas on an exceptionally solid product.
I slept a bit more, charged the iPhone before indulging in some seriously good pastries about an hour or two out of Melbourne.
Thud!! Welcome to Melbourne. The lattes really were a fiver!
Appreciate any feedback. The photos will be better next time.
I think I need to fly another carrier! Getting a bit bored trying to keep it fresh.
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First class seat in the quiet zone. Comfy. But lucky I had virgin upgrade ticket thing
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Keeping up a tradition when flying solo.
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No. 1 Heathrow
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Breakfast. Apologies for picture quality folks.
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Nice wing as we approached SIN
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Interesting upgrade receipt. All hand written and 1980's!
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Seat 34J. Sparkling wine and a personal greeting - well kind of, more like reading and mispronouncing your name on the manifest print out.
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Legroom. sorry didn't take a pic of the seat but we all know what it looks like!
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IMG_5864 by Marcellobernardi, on Flickr[/img]
I had the steamed fish with coconut sauce, noodles and bok choi. It was one of the
best dishes I've had in a long time. seriously tasty and light.
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Lovely pastries, piping hot and crispy.
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Stayed at the Park Hyatt a couple of days before crashing with some friends and family for the rest of my trip
19 by Marcellobernardi, on Flickr[/img]
Here are my other two reports if you haven't been bored to death!! =)
LHR-BUSH: Tails On Qantas In Y & J
LHR-BUSH: Tails On Qantas In Y & J (by marchie Dec 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
A Skybed At All Costs! PER-LHR On Qantas In J
A Skybed At All Costs! PER-LHR On Qantas In J. (by marchie Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
That's it form me!