London to Dubai January 25 2016 Qantas QF10 12:35PM - 11:30PM A380 First Class Seat 2A
My mini round the world first class trip was coming to an end and it would conclude with me flying from London to Melbourne with Qantas. Just a side note, I saw on the news that from March 2018, Qantas will no longer be flying London to Melbourne on the A380, so I was glad to fly this route. Although it is the same flight number, the QF10 flight has a brief stop in Dubai.
This is the first part, fasten your seat belts and come fly with me!
The day started early, I had checked out of the Mayfair Hotel, which I got upgraded to suite thanks to my Club Carlson Gold status. The driver picked me up at 9AM and we made our way to Heathrow. There wasn’t much traffic on the road. Check-in was already open when we arrive and I was checked in immediately by a very friendly agent (more on that later). She was very warm and asked if I flying to Melbourne for a holiday or heading home etc. Agent said to me, I was welcomed to use the British Airways Galleries First lounge or the Emirates Business and First lounge. After reading poor experiences about BA Galleries First Lounge, I decided to go to Emirates’ lounge.
The lounge The Emirates London Heathrow lounge was only refurbished a few months earlier prior to my visit, so I was really looking forward to the new decor. I have used the Melbourne Emirates lounge before and it was old and drabby.
Anyway the entrance to the lounge was very low key.
Chocolates at the counter. Lounge dragon checked my BP and welcomed me in.
As you enter, the lounge is filled with light and was very bright. It also has amazing views of planes landing and taking off. I turned to the right and walk down the long hallway which led to a big dining area and more seats.
There were plenty of seats and we were the first few people to arrive.
Three lounge attendants were huddled in the dining area talking when they saw me coming, one of them walk over and ask if I wanted to have breakfast, I said no. She replied “We are finishing breakfast service soon and the kitchen is preparing for lunch so please allow for 20 minutes wait.”
Something to nibble, nuts, olives etc.
With only 10 minutes before breakfast service ends, I rush to take pictures. Emirates had a very comprehensive breakfast offering. There was so much food and it was a shame to see that no one has eaten it for breakfast!
Hot food options Sambhar and plain paratha
Pappadum rolls, pickles and mango chutney
Poached eggs benefit with turkey bacon and chana masale
Crepes and cheese omelette
Scrambled eggs and grilled lamb sausages
Potato roesti and grilled tomatoes
Sauteed button mushrooms and baked beans
Bread rolls, croissants and toaster
The beverages counter was also self serve. Full list of alcohol, soft drinks and beer.
At a different counter was the champagne and wine. What I like about Emirates lounge is that the champagne is Veuve Clicquot. Although it is only brut, the offering is much better than the $3 USD sparkling white wine Qantas offers as “champagne” in the Qantas business lounges.
After I finished taking pictures, I sat down for a rest. The lounge started to fill up with passengers flying today on the Qantas flight. 20 minutes, the lunch service started.
Here is the buffet menu for lunch.
And here are the hot lunch meals.
On the cold dishes buffet.
And the dessert buffet. The cake looked absolutely delicious but I decided to try the chocolate mousse filled with crème brule. It was very sweet and rich.
The flight Boarding was called and I decided to head to the gate.
We arrived at the gate, however boarding had not started yet. But the agent at the check-in desk saw me and said “Sir you don’t need to stand around and wait for boarding, you can board anytime you like. Follow me please.” I said “No it is perfectly alright,” but she insisted, “Please sir” She took us to the front of the queue, right to the desk and the gate agent looked at her and what happened next was funny, well at least to me, I still remember it. “The plane is not ready for boarding,” the gate agent said. “Well these are our first class passengers,” check-in agent said. “It is not ready yet,” gate agent said. “Well when will it be?” check-in agent, who turns to me “I’m so sorry for this inconvenience," The gate agent gets on the phone. I did not dare to turn my head around and look at the all the people behind us, who I could feel were starring at us. Then the gate agent puts the phone down, “Yes the crew are ready” The agent walks me onboard and hands me over to the cabin crew and wishes me a pleasant flight. I thanked her again and again for looking after me, she smiled and walked back.
I made my way to seat 2A, on the left side of the plane. It was a very private seat. Waiting for me was the pyjamas and I asked for a glass of sparkling water, which was served with nuts and olive nibbles.
Within a minute, other passengers started to board. It was almost a full flight today, 12 out of 14 seats occupied.
The seat is not as private as suites but there was plenty of room. It was so big my feet couldn’t reach the footrest!
Menus were handed out. Two crew members introduced themselves and they were lovely.
I was really looking forward to this flight. I don’t know whether other people feel the same way, but after travelling for six weeks, there is something about getting onboard and hearing a familiar accent, it makes you feel like you are already home.
It was a very efficient departure, and soon we were on our way to Dubai.
Cabin crew asked if I wanted champagne. Although there are three listed on the menu, today only the Pol Roger Sin Winston Churchill was available. I was a bit sad hahaha I wanted to try the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne and Veuve Clicquot LA Grande Dame too!
Because I did not eat the lounge, I decided to have lunch.
Champagne was served along with canapés, which was very sad dried pastry with cream and tiny caviar. The other one was biscuit with jam and cream. When I heard that Qantas was serving caviar again, I was expecting a full caviar with blinis etc.
As I was sipping my champagne, the Captain came out and introduced himself! I was thinking, “This is so cool!” lol we made small talk and he moved to talk to other passengers too.
Table was set.
I had the chicken noodle soup with basil and chives. Soup was tasty and homely but the noodle was thick pasta, not noodles.
For main course, nothing on the menu appealed to me so when crew members suggested I try the steak which wasn’t on the menu, I agreed. It was accompanied by side plate of macaroni and cheese. I asked for medium rare, however the steak was cooked thoroughly. The green beans were crunchy but the meal was very ordinary, the macaroni and cheese was very dry. Definitely not worthy of first class.
For dessert, I had the apple and chestnut cake with vanilla cream and blackberries. The cake was moist but again, not much imagination.
The meal service finished and I was left feeling cheated lol. Comparing this to my Japan Airlines First Class, I felt Qantas catering was very average.
I spent the rest of the time on my computer until we landed in Dubai.
London - LHR
Dubai - DXB
The Emirates lounge in London is not a first class lounge I would choose it over the British Airways Galleries First. But it does not have the same privacy and exclusivity as a First class lounge. However it is a fantastic business class lounge, the food and beverage offering were great. In hindsight, I probably should have had lunch at the lounge because my Qantas onboard meals were disappointing. The crew were great though, and the agent who led me onboard really went above and beyond. Qantas first class crew were personable and nice, but they do give you a lot of privacy if that’s what you want. Whereas other passengers who needed more attention, I saw them fussing over them, so big thumbs up for the crew to adapt to each passenger. Overall I’m happy to have flown QF10, since it will be discontinued to soon, but I am not in a hurry to fly Qantas first class again. Stay tuned for Part 2.
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Catering is not QF's strong suit. It relies too much on a perceived (accurate or otherwise) customer preference for laid-back, non haute cuisine that really falls short when traveling in any cabin, but especially if you're paid-up in First.
I agree, the rate QF F catering as basic J class.
QF relies also on loyal customers who happily pay for QF F, so they can obtain QF lifetime gold status.
The new service PER to LHR non stop flight which is replacing the MEL-DXB-LHR A380 service from March 2018, QF is charging $10,000 AUD for J class, which is $2000-3000 more than Emirates, Qatar, Singapore, etc.
I've flown QF J class and I wouldn't pay that $10k for QF F, let alone QF J.
Thanks for sharing your experience on board QF First !
Funny enough, this site is several years old and QF First wasn't popular at all for whatever reason but this is now the fourth FR dedicated to the product in less than a few months :-)
EK Business lounge is nice but, next time, you should pay a visit to the brand new CX First Class lounge which was opened recently and really deserves a visit !!
I'm not sure that QF passengers are supposed to use that lounge but, as a First class passenger, I never had a problem to get in...
As you noticed it, QF First catering, such as QF CX among others, would be a good Business class product but nothing to be compared with what should be offered in First Class...
Not to say that, as per my previous experiences since the last few months, meat should be avoided by any means :-)
Neil Perry and his flagship restaurant, Rockpool, are much more well-known for fish than for meat and I've never been disappointed by the fish served on board !
For sure, food could be easily improved but the hard product is just perfect for such a long flight and the QF First class crew, especially the Australian ones on duty from DXB, are one of the highlights of these flights !
Indeed QF F is not a readily reviewed product, I took my flight in January last year so the choices were only BA or EK.
If only CX had opened their lounge! haha CX dedicated F lounge looks amazing, and certainly a la carte dining beats buffet.
The EK lounge is perfectly fine for business class but doesn't have the same exclusivity as First class.
Yes QF, CX and BA F catering is not great, it is more for business class. CX has caviar service but every other meal is very business.
Haha I have had good meat dishes on board though, I've had lamb on EY business that was cooked pink and my wagyu beef on JL F was perfect, so I assume QF F would do a good job. But I was wrong lol
But I did enjoy flying QF F, like I said, hearing a familiar accent after 6 weeks overseas feels comforting.
The ground and flight crew were excellent.
The flight crew knew how to tune their service according to the customer, I noticed some customers who were more fussy, they focused on them, but I was very low maintenance so they would check up on me but they didn't fuss over me.
Also the captain coming out to speak to F passengers was the cherry on top, as an AV nerd, I thought it was great!
There is, unfortunately, only so far a good crew and good customer service can go to camouflage an otherwise pretty mediocre all-round First product.
Yes true, my flight was a points redemption. But the taxes are not cheap for QF.
I expected more for a First class.
Thankfully I didn't spend the retail fare with $$$ because I don't see the justification to pay $13,969 for QF First class after this experience.
Good crew, good customer service and... Excellent bedding perfect for a full night sleep !!!
Probably one of the best, not to say the best in the sky - wider than CX for instance - if you're not a fan of the "bed in box" option :-))
What else do you ask for ??
Hello, Airtraveladdict, and thank you for sharing this FR.
I concur with you in the opinion that EK's F lounge isn't very exclusive/private for F passengers. The extensive open buffet gives out the sense that it's a hotel breakfast area (and not the club-level lounge, too) as opposed to say an area to set you apart from the rest of the airport crowd.
Did you specifically ask for extra green beans to be served with the steak? Or perhaps they're just being overly generous and making up for the lack of caviar?
"It was almost a full flight today, 12 out of 14 seats occupied."
-This brings into question how the upcoming 787 replacement service will be able to accommodate the amount of passengers - especially premium ones - the A380 are capable of doing today.
Thanks again for this FR!
Thanks for commenting!
Yes the EK lounge is perfectly fine for J class and probably better than BA Galleries F lounge but it is not like Concorde Room or other First class lounges with a la carte dining.
Um the green beans came with the steak and it was way too much, looked ridiculous. But they were tasteless though, steamed green beans with steak and a bit of sauce. Very unimaginative main course and not even worthy of J class let alone F.
Yes the QF10 flight is almost always full because QF does proactively process points upgrades and also standby staff travel. On my flight, there were 2 staff members in F class. It is not free, they pay for it but pay significant discount to retail fare.
But the upcoming 787 sounds like a nightmare to me, 17 hours and 40 minutes in QF J is not luxury. I have flown QF J number of times and it is very basic.
But it will be popular for Y pax, because they don't care.
Hi Airtraveladdict, Your flight looks very similar to my FC experience on QF recently. Well intentioned crew but old product and poor catering. Very poor catering for first. I think the best flight on their new 787 will be between MEL and PER. As you mention, I think they will be in for a surprise their new aircraft is not a game changer on 14+ hour journeys in J. That Vantage XL pod they way it's designed on their A330 was not that impressive to me.
Look forward to your part 2.
Thanks Rewardflying, fortunately this flight was paid with frequent flyer points and not cash because it is not worth the price Qantas is charging.
I will have to find your QF report and read about your experience but judging from your comment, it appears we share similar views.
QF catering is really poor, I think maybe even QR J catering is better than QF. The champagne is good, but I dont understand why they have three labels on the menu when only one is served. It is misleading to pretend to have 3 brands of premium champagne on board.
Singapore Airlines offers Krug and Dom - both are served on the flight.
I haven't seeing pictures of the Vantage XL pod but I have flown the normal Vantage seat on A330 and it was okay but nothing amazing.
I like that the seat can take off in relax mode, but thats about it. I found it awkward to travel with a partner because its not like Etihad staggered middle seat where you are sort of enclosed, so you get more privacy.
PER-LHR will be 17 hours + journey PER-LHR and 16 hours + LHR-PER.
I am not rushing to fly QF J again on 8 hour flight after my recent experiences, so I definitely won't be running to fly QF J in 17.5 hour flight LOL
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