(Australian Associated Press)
It’s a beautiful sight. It’s my Qantas boarding pass for a morning flight from Sydney to Perth.
QF 575, seat 3A – the pointy end of the sleek A330, in the new business suite!
Relaxing in the business lounge in Sydney is comfortable enough but it’s what’s on board that I’m excited about.
Truthfully, what I’m most looking forward to is LEG ROOM. I mean, having enough so you don’t have to shift uncomfortably from left to right about every 30 seconds. It drives ME crazy, so I can only imagine how the passenger next to me feels.
But here’s the thing – in seat 3A in the new A330 business suite – there is no passenger next me. I can relax in my window seat without having to (a) make small talk and (b) climb over my irate neighbour every time I want to go to the toilet, which usually happens at the most inconvenient time – dinner time.
The 1-2-1 layout offers “direct aisle access” for every business passenger – which is a polite way of saying you don’t have to make that undignified scramble over the top of your neighbour when nature calls.
So, back to the leg room situation. There is more than enough for the longest legs to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out.
But wait, there’s more! For those so inclined, the ergonomically designed Vantage XL seat transforms into a fully flat bed – the world’s first seat allowing passengers to recline from take-off to landing.
That’s what I call progress. It’s fitted with a mattress, a proper poofy pillow (not the usual piece of cardboard disguised as a pillow) and a real cotton quilt. In other words – it’s an actual bed that you can actually sleep in.
The A330 business suite is the work of Qantas Creative Designer Marc Newson, who paid particular attention to privacy and comfort in response to customer feedback indicating passengers want more time to rest and sleep.
“The design was based on a real understanding of what Qantas business class customers needed on longer domestic flights and overnight international flights from Asia, with practicality, comfort, privacy and style in mind to create a relaxing environment to work, dine or sleep,” Newson said.
I think he’s nailed the brief. It feels like you’re cocooned in comfort, able to enjoy the on-screen entertainment, read, work or sleep as you choose. And there’s actually sufficient room to put your stuff – papers, books etc.
There’s also the Rockpool inspired fine dining menu to be enjoyed courtesy of Neil Perry.
The welcome breakfast juice is suitably on trend: cold pressed green juice with kale, silverbeet, celery, apple, cucumber and lemon – hipster heaven!
Greek-style yoghurt with pear, apple and cranberry compote was the starter, followed by the tasty and hearty Huevos rancheros – Mexican-style eggs with spiced sausage, spicy tomato red capsicum ragout, soft tortillas and Tabasco.
For those craving a sweet treat there was also a “warmed love chocolate cookie” on offer which I’m happy to confess I did not resist.
After being so well fed the only thing left to do is recline, relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment – with larger seatback touchscreens showcasing a vast range of new-release movies.
Those so inclined can take advantage of the Q streaming technology to stream content from the extensive entertainment library directly to your own device.
This is a luxurious flying fantasy that has so far existed only in my imagination.
Who knew flying could be so enjoyable that you’re disappointed to be back on terra firma seemingly so soon (before you’ve even finished the second movie)?
The experience conjures up nostalgic images of vintage photographs from the 1950s of stylish women dressed to the nines relaxing on board in spacious surrounds – like they’re enjoying a night out at a chic restaurant.
It was a far-away time when flying was to be savoured not endured.
I guess it just proves that time flies when you’re having fun.
IF YOU GO
ROUTES SERVICED BY QANTAS A330
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Perth
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Singapore
Sydney/Melbourne, Brisbane to Hong Kong
* The writer flew Sydney-Perth courtesy of Qantas