My favorite room is a comfortable little nook overlooking the courtyard garden. Bathed in sunlight in floor-to-ceiling windows, I would lounge in the corner with my favourite book. I am not one for three-story high rooms and stainless steel, as I prefer something more intimate, somewhere I can cuddle up and be myself.
On the upper cabin of the Qantas Boeing 747, I can recreate the same feeling. Cocooned in the peace of the Skybed in the business-class-only “loft”, as I like to call the upper deck, I can snuggle up in the shell seat, and whether watching the clouds drift past the Pacific, or taking in pepper and blackberry tastes of the 2008 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz, it is like being home on a long weekend, with nothing on the agenda in my own space.
Needless to say, Qantas was awarded Best Airline Wine Cellar at the famous "Cellars in the Sky" awards in London earlier this year, a magnificent testament to their expert wine panel and their on-board sommeliers.
If I want to catch up on the latest movie or an old favourite, I can browse my personal entertainment program. They also have a great selection of insightful documentaries and superb music collection to stretch my repertoire.
The fully reclining flat bed seats on the Boeing 747 are of the same standard as the Airbus A380, so it is definitely top of the range. The A380 is still quieter, but with the noise cancelling headphones on the upper deck, it is quiet enough to get some sleep. They even provide bed covers, blankets and pyjamas to lull you to rest.
To get you relaxed and comfortable before your flight, Qantas welcomes its Business Class, Qantas Club and Oneworld sapphire guests with complementary entry to its business lounge, while First Class and Oneworld Emerald guests (including JAL JGC Diamond flyers) can retreat to the First Class lounge.
The Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is a wonderful surprise, and definitely a step above the business lounge. At 8 pm, it is hushed and spacious, with the Q-shaped wood grain beams making quite a statement. Unfortunately, on checking in, I find out that the complementary massage service is closed after the last First Class flight at 6 pm, so either check in at the First Class lounge before 5 pm, or take a massage somewhere else before heading down to the airport at 8 pm.
There are no bain maries or cafeteria rush here. The key to long-haul travel is to eat light, so I order a crumbed goat’s cheese with roast baby beet root, walnut and endive salad. Tasty and healthy, it was tempting to order another one.
Made-to-order food is too tempting. So, quick note to myself: don’t overeat on the immaculate handmade gelato, otherwise you can't enjoy the food on the flight!
The business lounge in Tokyo and Sydney Airports also offer a selection of snacks, cakes and light meals, like pumpkin soup and risotto. Or you can gaze outside from the internet computers and do a bit of plane watching over the terminal. Being one of the few airlines with shower facilities in the lounge of every airport it flies from, it seems that Qantas has got the art of long-haul travel down pat.