Hello and welcome to the next report in this series of flights down under! This report will cover a visit to the awesome Qantas First class lounge in Sydney and a Trans-Tasman sector in Business class on Qantas Jetconnect.
After a very pleasant short flight from Melbourne, we headed straight for the International terminal and the Qantas First class lounge. As explained in the previous report, the check-in agent in MEL moved out MEL-SYD to an earlier flight, allowing us more time to enjoy the lounge in Sydney. I'd heard really great things about this lounge so I was looking forward to experiencing it.
Interesting covered moving walkway in the Domestic terminal
SYD International terminal
The Qantas Business and Qantas lounges are on the mezzanine level. The First lounge is right at the top of the escalators, and the Business lounge is down a corridor to the left.
An agent checks out boarding passes at the Entrance of the First class lounge. There is a small waiting area there with the famous living wall on the left after the entrance.
The First lounge is located up another set of escalators. The check-in desks are located here.
Next to the check-in counters, there is an old school departures board. It's a really cool feature, but can be a bit noisy when the flights are being updated and the whole board flips.
I was immediately impressed by this lounge. It is very spacious and lofty with grand architecture and great views of the tarmac and CBD.
Before settling in, I wanted to have a shower. There is no need to sign up for a shower as plenty are available. The shower rooms are quite nice with good products.
I would have liked to get a spa treatment, but there was nothing available until after our departure time. No big deal as we were due to visit the lounge again upon returning in 10 days.
So we grabbed a seat with a view on one of the restaurant sections.
A lovely view indeed, despite the grey weather.
The menu had some really tempting options.
I decided on some calamari as an appetizer with a Mumm Rosé Delicious.
The mist cleared up just a bit, enough to make out the CBD in the distance.
I had originally ordered the lamb for the main, but our attendant advised that the kitchen was out of the lamb. I went for the Australian beef minute steak and chips. You can't go wrong with Steak Frites.
In the "Market Inspirations" section on the menu was a Thai chili beef dish that looked very appetizing. We each ordered a different dish to taste.
Though not the fanciest dish on the menu, it was perfectly cooked and very tasty.
A look at the Thai beef dish. The presentation isn't great, but it was delicious and very spicy, as I like it.
Another glass of Mumm Rosé
After a nice meal in the lounge it was time to head to the gate.
A few more shots of the Qantas First lounge on the way out. The design of the carpet is a bit trippy, but I find it elegant at the same time.
We arrived at the gate a few minutes before boarding began.
An Emirates 777-300ER parked across the way.
Our ride down to Christchurch, New Zealand this evening. A 5 year old 737-800 with registration ZK-ZQN. Although difficult to tell at this distance, that is a New Zealand flag (and registration) on the tail, as opposed to an Australian flag. Jetconnect, is a New Zealand airline wholly-owned by Qantas. The aircraft and crews are all based in New Zealand.
Our aircraft is named after Abel Tasman, the 17th century Dutch explorer who discovered Tasmania and New Zealand and for whom Tasmania and the Tasman sea are named. Very appropriate for my first Trans-Tasman flight!
Boarding began right on time and we were the first to go down the jetbridge.
Our aircraft again as we head down the jetbridge on this rainy afternoon.
A very warm welcome on board by our two Kiwi flight attendants by the door.
Good first impression of the cabin. Although the Jetconnect fleet does not have Boeing Sky Interior, the cabin looks relatively fresh and modern and I like the color of the seats.
My seat 1A
A large pillow, blanket, and an amenity kit are on the seat.
The legroom is good in the bulkhead row. It's a little tighter in rows 2 and 3 with 37" of pitch.
It's nice to get an amenity kit on a short 3 hours flight.
Contents of the amenity kit.
Let's take a look at the menus
Choice of 3 mains for dinner.
Real French champagne, along with the amenity kits, on Trans-Tasman flights is a relatively new service upgrade from the past year. Prior to this, Australian sparkling was served.
Of the 3 possible champagnes, today's flight has Duval-Leroy.
Unlike the older Domestic 737s, the Trans-Tasman Jetconnect fleet featured PTVs
I thought the safety card was hilarious…
Look closely. Yes, that is a Furby! There is seriously a Furby on the saferty card!
Not only are Furbies not allowed on Qantas, but an array of 90's technology, including gameboys, tamagotchis, Zack Morris' gigantic cell phone from Saved By The Bell, and discmans.
Just remember, next time you fly Qantas, leave your Furbies at home! The safety card really gave me a chuckle and brought me back to my childhood :-)
Before I knew it, we had pushed back and were on our way.
We took off facing south and turned left over Botany Bay heading east.
New South Wales Golf Club
As this was a relatively short flight, I kept the IFE on the airshow most of the time.
Blue skies above the clouds
There was a hot towel service shortly after takeoff.
Followed by the aperitif service.
Gin & Tonic
There is also a decent choice of movies, series, and music on the IFE, but again, I mostly kept it on the airshow.
Dinner was served on a tray, no linens were laid. The Appetizer and main course are on the same tray.
The carrot soup was decent. I have to give QF credit for having soup, as it is rare in J IME, except on DL.
For the main, I chose the Red curry of duck. Again, QF gets credit for creativity here. This is a nice change from the usual "Beef or Chicken." It was delicious, well cooked, and on the spicy side, which I appreciated.
Here is a look at the pan fried snapper option.
By the end of the meal, we were almost halfway across the Tasman sea.
Maggie Beer ice cream
After dinner coffee
And a cognac to finish up. There was a bit of turbulence.
Nice products in the Business class lavs.
Only cloth hand towels available, no paper.
Cabin prepares for landing 20 minutes before arrival.
Too bad it was nighttime, I'm sure there would have been some gorgeous views crossing the Southern Alps.
The lights of Christchurch in view during final approach.
We get to the gate a few minutes early.
Immigration and customs were a breeze at this time of the night and bags came out quickly.
I was overall very happy with my first Trans-Tasman flight. With so many International widebodies on Trans-Tasman routes, QF does not have the most competitive hard product with the 737s, but it is perfectly good for a 3 hour flight. Full flat with all-aisle-access is overkill on these types of flights. The friendly Kiwi crew was awesome and very attentive. Catering was great and definitely not boring. A great flight onboard the Kangaroo tail!
The Qantas First class lounge in Sydney was amazing. It was everything I thought it would be. The service was great. Our attendant was really friendly and chatty. We really enjoyed out time in the lounge.
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