I may now have an inkling of how Lottery winners feel when their lucky numbers come up. Checking into my flight to London, my own version of a lucky number came up on my boarding pass – seat 2F. I was about to join that elite group of travellers I’ve so often envied while waiting to board a flight, looking at them longingly as they turned left aboard the aircraft. Well, now it was my turn to turn left, and on an A380 no less! My brother and I were so excited we actually high-fived as we walked away from the check-in desk. We should possibly have waited until we were out of sight, not very first class behaviour!
Positioned just behind the cockpit, the First Class cabin on a Qantas A380 is a little oasis unto itself. While not quite the more expensive suites that one or two other airlines offer on their A380’s, the individual seats are still impressive and very comfortable. There are only 3 seats across, with an aisle between each so once seated (with your privacy screen raised if seated in the middle) you really do feel like you’re in your own little cocoon.
No sooner had we arrived into the cabin and found our seats (with mouths slightly open) than a delightful attendant introduced herself and offered us a glass of Tattinger Comtes champagne before take off. Now this is how to travel! Along with the champagne came some olives and roasted almonds in addition to pyjamas for the flight and an amenity kit.
Although our flight was delayed an hour prior to boarding, the disappointment of being late was assuaged somewhat by a personal invitation from the captain to visit the cockpit. The incredible array of buttons, levers and switches had my fingertips twitching, but in the interest of getting to London in one piece, I managed to refrain from fiddling. The cockpit is actually surprisingly small, considering the amount of time pilots must spend in there but there were two ‘crew rests’ just behind the cockpit – individual small rooms each containing an aircraft seat that folds flat where the pilots can catch a few winks between turns at the stick.
Just behind the cockpit is staircase that leads to Business Class. Being the sticky beak that I am, I couldn’t resist having a quick peak. Business Class on the A380 also has flat beds, like the Qantas Boeing 747’s, however the bed actually goes horizontal, rather than on an angle which I imagine would make quite a difference. All the Business Class travellers were happily settling themselves into their seats when I snuck in to take a peak and a photo, hopefully they didn’t mind too much!
Aside from the personal, friendly and attentive service, the impressive menu designed by Rockpool chef Neil Perry, a carefully selected wine list, a natty Qantas lounge suit (PJ’s), an absolutely gob smacking array of entertainment options (nailed the trivia!) and a bathroom in which I wasn’t in danger of becoming permanently wedged, the thing that had me most likely to breakdown in tears next time I have to turn right on board a flight was the bed. Ahh the bed. Imagine being able to spend 9 hours (or longer!!) of a 12 hour flight horizontal under a cosy blanket. In pyjamas. Watching telly. Or maybe just snoozing. Heaven. It was like taking the day of work and spending it lolling around in bed, what decadence.
So after a great sleep and catching up on some of my favourite TV shows (there are entire seasons to choose from, not just an episode or 2!) I arrived into London actually still feeling like a human being, rather than a science experiment gone horribly wrong – my usual state of affairs after a long flight.
My only issue is I’m now permanently spoiled. Next time I’m sitting down the back staring down the barrel of a 12 hour flight, I’ll know what’s going on behind that curtain. I’ll imagine the champagne corks popping, the indecision over which main course to choose and the beds being made up. I wonder if I change into my Qantas Pj’s and slip into a spare seat if anyone would notice……