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Qantas First Lounge Melbourne
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Qantas Airways - QF93
Melbourne to Los Angeles
Airbus A380 (VH-OKQ)
First Class - Seat 2A
Boarding: 0845 (Gate 9B)
Push Back: 0951
Take Off Roll: 1004 (Runway 16)
Top of Descent: 0620
Touch Down: 0649 (Runway 24R)
Shut Down: 0700 (Gate 134)
I was collected by a Qantas Staff member at the entry to the First Lounge (you don’t normally get this service) and I was escorted through “secondary” screening which was really just checking that I had a passport on me. Kinda pointless since I had to go through 3 previous checks to get to that point. From there I was taken downstairs via the Lift to the boarding area right as they were preboarding some economy families into the back of the whale’s belly (ie the rear of the lower deck of an A380).
I was brought to the boarding door where I was greeted and escorted directly to my seat and from there it was “let the show begin”. First up was an offer for a PDB of my choice... “Perhaps Champagne”. I then broke the news that I didn’t drink, so I took my usual sparkling water and I was informed it would be served with some almonds and olives. These promptly came back while I took heaps of empty cabin shots. Getting all the photos I could use I was all giddy and hadn’t even sat down when my drink came back and then I was offered an amenity kit and pyjamas (even double checking the right size).
I was so excited that without realising people were now coming on board and first was filling up. So I made sure to hop out of the way after stowing my gear. The first thing I like about first on Qantas is the overhead bins. They didn’t exist on Emirates (but then Qantas don’t have a shower so fair is fair) so thats one big difference, but that just meant I could store stuff out of the way and didn’t have it impede on me anywhere. Though there was space under the ottoman if I needed it (which I didn’t really but I stored my backpack here for most of the time).
With the cabin filling I noticed the cockpit was open so one of the other Cabin Crew who was serving my area came around to introduce himself and I did ask if it was possible to visit the cockpit, handed him my business card and figured what the hell. He came back advising that I can’t before departure but upon arrival it would be possible, the captain has my card and will let me know upon arrival. Well it was worth a try, but at least it wasn’t a no, more like a not right now.
As time settled on we got an announcement from the crew advising that we were waiting on 2 missing passengers and once found we could depart, but it was a good thing right now because with the tailwinds we would've arrived before the opening of LAX. Woops!! I was happy to wait, hell I would've loved a divert, some headwinds... anything to make that experience longer. Guess it wasn’t to be. My drink was refilled and eventually we shut up shop and pushed back just over half an hour late.
We taxied out of Melbourne and i realised the one complaint I have about the Qantas first suite on the A380. I can’t see out the windows! As an avgeek that is a must! O well I still had the Skycam which is located in the Tail. We took off to the south and then took the long way around the city to head towards Sydney and then out over the Pacific towards the USA. I loved the fact that now there was no going back and I was on my way home. I was looking forward to the rest of the flight as the real stuff was going to start.
During climb out I was just playing with things all excited and stuff and without even realising it, the seatbelt sign was off and we were free to move about. The crew came around to hand out the menus (which you can find here)
for the flight but I knew what I was going with already. Tasting menu!! Didn’t care what was on it, I was doing it (pending there was nothing like “garlic this garlic that”). So I had a quick look over the menu but there wasn’t so it was an easy choice. I was offered my choice of beverages (going with Diet Coke) and here was my first mistake. When asked if I would like my Hors D'oeuvres (the first course of the tasting menu) with my drink. I said no. What I should've said was “not right now”
I settled in to finish off some stuff that I had been working on for the next hour or so and by that time it would be a good lunch time in Melbourne to start the tasting menu (which I was going to take my time at either way). Time flew by, a few drink refills later and the crew reappeared for my lunch. So I asked them to come back in a few minutes to set it all up and I shut down my stuff and packed it away and selected a movie to watch (went with The Aviator, a nice long movie to enjoy).
Then the show began. First up came the Soup course. It was nice and thick but not overly thick and the croutons were a good crunch. When I was part way through I thought for a second... shouldn’t there have been something else. the Hors D'oeuvres!. When the soup was collected I asked about that and then it came to light with the mix up. The crew apologise and we tried to sort out something as a replacement as they had all been taken. So what we came up with was to swap out one of the other menu items as a replacement course. None of the other smaller plates had items left.. damn. So the offer of the calzone or the chicken pot pie.. but they just sounded too big.
My brain came up with an awesome idea. Dessert! Lets have an extra sweet course. it was agreed and it was set up with the extra dessert safely tucked away. We continued on the food journey and next up was the Salad course of Roasted Beetroot & Goats Curd. O yeah, roasted beetroot salad. It was heavenly.
Then came the main course which I had the filet of Beef with a cabbage and potato gratin (or as an aussie would call it fancy potato bake). I had taken the horseradish option for the sauce and it came served with a good size dollop of horseradish cream. The one thing i was worried about was if the beef would be cooked ok and if it would be tender. Push test was ok, I cut it and she was good. Was a bit under medium well, which is more than the way I normally have it, but it was still really good.
With the end of the main course, I decided to take a break for a bit and watch some more of the movie. About half an hour later my cheese plate arrived. Plenty of cheese and more into the belly. I am not a big blue cheese fan so avoided that. I also let the crew know that I would wait about 15 minutes after finishing the cheese for dessert... number 1.
Dessert #1 arrived dead on time, and it was the Honey Cake which was deliciously decadent. It was a nice spongy syrupy cake with a good fig compote on the side. By the time that was finished about 5 minutes after that out came the second dessert
The second dessert was the Chocolate Bread & Butter pudding. When it came out it looked deceptive. It smelt divine, so rich and chocolatey. It looked like it was going to be just all chocolate and very rich. But upon first scoop and bite it was light, fluffy and tasty!! It was definitely not what it seemed.
A coffee was delivered soon after the dessert arrived and I had a choice of some very nice Chocolates to go with it. As I finished up the dessert and it was cleared away and a fresh coffee brought over, It was now almost 2 hours since I started lunch. Wow! It did not feel like that! Lunch complete, work complete. Time to relax. Seat to lounge mode it is!
I finished off the movie and the crew took me on a tour of the aircraft to see the lounge etc We had a good chat about the differences with Emirates and different aircraft (like comparing the noise levels within a 747 or the crew rest on the 380 vs the 787 or 747). I got myself some water to go with a few more chocolates and returned to the seat for another movie.
After a while I got a bit more tired so I asked for the seat to be turned into a bed (and I ducked upstairs to the lounge for a photo (in the hope there was no one in there this time). When I came back the bed was about half way made and I saw the mattress pad they were using. Full Lambswool! Wow... comfy looking! The setup was great and looked mighty comfy.
I settled in trying to get some sleep but it didn’t happen. But I did get some rest, it wasn’t sleep at all but it was better than nothing. I can see why people sleep easily on these flights because it was damn comfy! Eventually though I gave up on that, snuck a cookie from the galley (we were about 4 hours out of LA now and figured time for more movies). I was not even going to try a steak sandwich or anything bigger. I could see why the Singapore and Hong Kong flights only offered a light breakfast before landing with the tasting menu. You wouldn’t need any more food!
Around 2 hours out of LAX I could smell breakfast under way. Bacon can easily permeate the cabin. I had seen the Bircher muesli in the lounge and figured it would be the same recipe. Maybe worth a try over normal muesli. So ordered that along with the pancakes (as I went savoury in the lounge and they didn't sound all that big) some coffee and a danish as my bakery item. No to big of a breakfast but a good end.
The bircher was good, would've preferred a little bit more crunch to offset the softness. The danish was good but the pancakes were the right size for that meal and the pears.. yum! Washed down by plenty more coffee and I was set!
As we slowly started to wake up and get ready for arrival into Los angeles I was really wanting it to just keep going but sadly it couldn’t We came in and started to descend turning for a north arrival right over Randys and In n Out. As we approached the sun was rising beautifully and from the Skycam I could tell we were getting a crosswind as we were crabbing it in. I never would've known unless I had the skycam but seeing an A380 crab in the arrival was amazing!
We touched down about 5 minutes late and took a long slow taxi back to TBIT. With that the flight was over 🙁 I would be kicked off back to the land of TSA Hell, dignity loss and nude o’ scopes at every turn. I had waited around for everyone else to head off (I had 5 hours I wasn’t in a hurry) and before I walked out I was invited into the cockpit! Score!
I had a quick chat with the crew, thanked them for a great flight and mentioned the crabbing and was told there was still a 30 kt crosswind at 1000ft. wow.. that was hefty cause I didn’t feel a thing! With a brief photo in the captains seat. I was off into TBIT.