There’s no denying that for most of the world’s population, getting to and from Australia is a long haul. Even more reason to do it in luxury. In 2008, Qantas introduced the A380 plane to its fleet, making long haul luxury even more compelling. Here are five reasons why the A380’s business class experience (currently available Sydney/Melbourne to Heathrow/LAX, or Sydney to Hong Kong) will improve your wellbeing:
Reason 1: Express Path
For most long haul flights, the trip starts with a long line up at customs. Not so for business flyers. On your departure from Sydney (or arrival in) you’ll receive the coveted pass to the Express Path, which allows the holder to take a short lane through immigration and (outbound) security. Of course, at the latter, they’re still scrutinising your stuff, but interestingly, they are doing it gently: bags are carefully arranged into a neat order, and are given back to you in a polite and friendly manner (which begs the question, why can’t they do this in all security lanes?).
Reason 2: Toasters
Don’t take it from me, this advice comes from one of Australia’s best known chefs, Neil Perry. The owner of the Rockpool empire has designed QANTAS’s first and business class menus, and when asked what the best part of the A380s is, he replied “toasters”. Why? Real toasters means are just part of a well thought out dining experience that delivers a restaurant-style experience to business class passengers. Expect dishes like pan fried salmon, rack of lamb or a mushroom ragout, with every menu highlighting the healthiest option for those watching their calories. To help make the long flight more restful, business class passengers can also order breakfast in advance, opt for a ‘dine later’ option so you don’t get woken up for meals, or, if hungry between meals make use of Perry’s new toasters to order substantial snacks a like a toasted sourdough baguette with Roast Pork, apple, red cabbage and seeded mustard. If toasters don’t rock your world, maybe coffee will: the A380 has espresso coffee machines onboard, so it’s real coffee.
Reason 3: Flat beds
While some of Qantas’s 747s have Sky Bed, every A380 in the fleet has this award winning, Marc Newson designed, feature. For business class and above, there are no contortions in flight (save that for a sunset yoga class at your destination). Instead, a push of a button reclines your chair until you are blissfully horizontal. When taking what can be a 15 hour plus journey, you can’t beat getting horizontal, and it’s here that your business class fare really pays off.
Reason 4: Massage while you work
When getting on a long haul flight, there’s plenty of time to knock off a spot of work, or clear a backload of emails. That is, if you have power. In seat power points provide business class (and above) passengers with their own power point so you can knock off any remaining work tasks before you land. (Remember, you’ll usually need a US adaptor to do this – although the crew will usually be able to loan you one if you forget yours.) If you’re flying the A380 and need a bit of gentle encouragement to work, just hit the massage button on your seat dials; a welcome kneading from the built in massage machine will quickly ease out any tension in your back.
Reason 5: Sommeliers in the sky
If massage, a flat bed and good food hasn’t done it, then a glass of wine might just be the missing ingredient in helping you relax inflight. Qantas recently won big at London’s annual Cellars in the Sky awards with six ribbons under its belt, including the Best First Class Cellar and the Best Business Class Cellar (for the second year running). It you’re unsure what to try, look for a staff member with a badge bearing grapes – these crew members have been trained in the airline’s Sommelier in the Sky program, and will be happy to talk wines from Australia and across the globe. Still not sure? Why not take a drop of the 2008 Mount Langi Ghiran Clifee Edge Shiraz, which won Qantas the Best Business Class Red at Cellars in the Sky.
Sue White is Author of Yoga Holidays Worldwide.