Qantas First B747-400 Sydney – Bangkok
It is my pleasure to bring you another trip report that I recently enjoyed the flight tremendously. It may not be the most exotic aircraft or route but I hope you share my enthusiasm in this report. I will keep this trip report simple in the usual photo essay format.
This is my first time flying Qantas First Class even I used to live in Australia for 14 years until 2011. During the time, I have used almost all airlines in and out of Australia frequently but have always avoided using Qantas on international flight. I am not sure why this was the case, perhaps I am not a frequent flyer of Qantas and there are always something else to try out. Another reason is Qantas First Class, without a doubt, commands one of the highest fares from Australia.
Since the gradual retirement of Qantas B747 and the removal of First Class service on many key international routes, I have finally decided it’s time to fly Qantas First Class. This flight, QF023 used to operate as QF001 service to Bangkok and onward to London. Earlier this year, Bangkok to London sector was terminated and code-share now with British Airways. QF001 Sydney to London service is routed now via Singapore on newer flagship A380. QF023/024 is now a direct turnaround service from Sydney to Bangkok. (Interestingly, the old QF23/24 used to be Harare-Johannesburg-Perth-Sydney)
My flight date, 9 June 2012 was the last B747-400 departure to Bangkok. From the very next day, the route is served by A330 without First Class service.
I have a very successful trip prior to my flight and I thought what better way to celebrate the success than a flight in Qantas First Class. I arrived at Sydney Airport exceptionally early at 9:30am for 12:30pm departure. I hope to enjoy my time in Qantas First Class lounge before flight.
There is a small dedicated First Class check-in area. It was crowded and slightly chaotic at 9:30am with various international departures leaving before my flight (Services to LAX/JFK, JNB, SCL, HKG). Nevertheless, I was checked in within 5 minutes of wait. Express departure card was given to help bypass the crowd on immigration and screening. I arrived at the entrance of Qantas Flagship First Class lounge around 10am.
Qantas First Class Lounge
A very pleasant entrance experience leads me to the second floor, where the main lounge is located. There is a person checking your boarding pass and credentials at the entrance.
The entrance to the main floor was impressive, elegant and very grand! It is comparable to a 5 star hotel lobby or theatre entrance.
The lounge is not overly crowded at 10am. I settle myself down at the very end section of the lounge with a good view of everything.
The First Class lounge boasts a commanding view of ramp activity, dominated by Qantas on the Eastern international pier.
Enjoying a view of Qantas B747-400 pushed back for Santiago, Chile.
With my boarding pass and ticket jacket.
After settling down, I walked down to the food area and a waitress sited me straight away and took my breakfast order. The food came within 15 minutes. It looks café style but all the produce used was fresh. I enjoyed my late breakfast and it was perfectly cooked to my liking of course.
I took some photos of the sit up bar and drinks counter. I was surrounded by white marble everywhere!
After the meal, I went to the day spa area. Much to my disappointment I can only secure a 15 minutes back massage. Everything was fully booked. The attendant told me I should have received a call the day before I fly for spa scheduling but I didn’t. May be I have given a different phone number during booking of my ticket. I still enjoy the private treatment room. The masseuse was pleasant enough trying to be interested in every passenger. The quick treatment does have the effect to let you freshen up and feel rejuvenated.
After the spa, I settled down at the back of the lounge and ordered a light lunch. This time, I ordered a soup and Paris café style steak. Surprisingly, the soup came cold and I returned it. The waitress was more than apologetic. I think everyone makes mistakes and it doesn’t bother me at all. I continue enjoy my time in the lounge by making few greeting and farewell phone calls, sipping the signature drink “Pablo” cocktail and watch Qantas B747 underneath push back one after another.
I really enjoyed my time at Qantas First Class lounge. The warm décor created a sense of “at home” feeling yet the lounge maintain its elegant flare and cosiness. I have previously been to few other first class lounges such as the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai, Thai Royal First lounge in Bangkok, Singapore Airlines Private Room, Cathay First lounge at Wing/Pier in Hong Kong, Lufthansa First lounge in Frankfurt and Qatar First lounge in Doha etc etc…… But I have discovered the Qantas first lounge is the best lounge I have visited out of a bunch of already very high quality lounge. I am not sure whether I am biased but the atmosphere was the best in this lounge. It wasn’t overly decorated or too minimistic. It has the right balance of things. The lounge offered unsurpassed levels of comfort, service and luxury, complete with day spa, restaurant, workstation and a library. I simply can’t wait for my next visit.
The old school “split flap" departure display also caught my attention from time to time when it changes. I love the retro feel. It does bring back some luster feeling of travel.
Around 12pm, I started making my ways to the departure gate 36. I can't wait to get onboard.
I found out VH-OJM “Gosford” will be operating QF023 today to Bangkok. This is the last Qantas B747-400 inbound service to Thailand. From the next day, the service is downgraded to 2 classes A330. There are quite a large crowd at the waiting area. Boarding was in very good order without confusions. We have a total of 341 passengers which is over 95% capacity. I hope the high load can bring the B747-400 back to Bangkok flight soon.