Archive for February 2011
QF011, A380, Seat 3A, SYD-LAX
A gazillion friends wanted to hear about first class on the Qantas A380. I can make recommendations as follows:
- In the first class lounge at the international terminal in Sydney, have the lamb with eggplant and yoghurt for lunch. Don’t stint on the booze: free NV Taittinger is not to be sneezed at and the selection of reds is more than acceptable.
- Take lots of stuff on board. You have an entire, larger-than-normal, overhead bin to yourself. And, the equivalent of about 2 seats under which to store other stuff.
- If you have work to do, take a big laptop, full size keyboard and real mouse. Plenty of room on the table to lay them out. And no chance your screen will hit the back of the seat in front of you. You’re pointed to towards the wall, and it’s about 6 feet away! And apart from the main slidy, fold-out table, you have two other tables, left and right, for water, glasses, cups of tea (they come in a nice tea pot with a little chocolate or some such) and the not-quite-finished glass of wine.
- Check out all the other passengers. Your suite has a visitor’s chair that allows you to dine a deux. The table is about the same size as the table in in your average Melbourne coffee shop or restaurant.
- The table slides back and forth quite considerably. A bit disconcerting when you’re sharing your cheese platter with your travelling companion from the guest seat in your suite. But very useful most of the time since you can leave the table up and still get in and out of your seat. Just<g>!
- The coffee is OK! It is years, decades, perhaps 2 or 3 decades, since I’ve ordered coffee on a plane. But these guys have a real espresso machine. Grinders Melbourne coffee in the sky. Mmmm.
- There is an entertainment unit. The TV screen is almost as large as the one in my lounge room. I hear it has lots of movies and stuff. In a 12 hour flight, I have not had time to turn it on. I’ve been too busy stretched out full-length, asleep with a real fluffy pillow; having a pleasant meal; working; or typing up this post.
First class gives you an entirely peculiar impression of the A380. It’s a damned huge aeroplane with many hundreds of people on board. But travelling First, you enter from the front door, turn right to the First cabin, with just 12 seats (all occupied, I think: QF must be doing well this week!); and see no-one else. Except for the stairs leading upstairs (which are in any case curtained off), there is no impression that any other part of the plane exists.
I’d read that the A-380 was much quieter than the old B-747-400s we’ve grown up on. It’s true. But while QF provides allegedly noise-cancelling headphones, I’m glad I bought my Bose QC3s along.
25 February 2011.
Privacy, space and more space: More on first class in a QF A380
Three observations about personal space:
- On average, rows of seats in steerage, at least on a 737 or 747, are narrower than the width of the windows. That is, there are fewer windows than rows. Not every row gets a whole window to itself.
This first class suite has 3 windows, just for me, each with dual level shades remotely-controlled from the touch screen next to my seat.
- As I sit here writing this, every other passenger in first, is, I think, asleep or maybe watching a movie. I know this only because there are almost no lights on in the cabin. As I sit here typing this I can see no other passenger at all.
- There are three lights for my suite alone, named Reading, Dining and Overhead. All are controllable from the touch screen next. All are dimmable.
25 February 2011.