Recently I flew home from Washington DC via Dallas after spending 10 days in the States. I flew in through LA with Qantas, and then onto DC with American. Both the Qantas flights were exceptional, but American Airlines were less than satisfactory. More on that later.
Our flight from Washington DC was diverted to San Antonio due to severe weather in Dallas, meaning an extra 3 hours was added to our total flight time. We had expected around 5 or so hours in the lounge at Dallas but had to run to the gate by the time we finally landed.
My annoyance with American Airlines was how everything was extra. On the flight from LA to DC, no food was offered and drinks were only offered once. The staff were rude, very clearly showing they didn’t want to be there. On the flight from DC to Dallas, I was given a complimentary packet of pretzels for being a Platinum One/Emerald OneWorld frequent flyer. Oh, and a cocktail in a shot glass.
The lounges I used were absolutely awful (not trying to sound snobbish, they actually weren’t of quality). The food wasn’t good, neither were the staff and amenities.
I’m also apart of TSA Pre, meaning I can theoretically bypass security and lines at American airports. The TSA Pre checkpoints I passed were unstaffed at LAX and IAD.
I was really disappointed with my airport experiences in the US, and will definitely not be visiting again any time soon.
After going to the wrong gate about four times, we finally found the flight (there was no information about it). Boarding hadn’t begun yet and the gate agent said it’d be a 15 minute wait. We had decided to wait in the gate area instead of going up to the lounge. After half an hour, the Captain came down to tell us that due to the winds over the Pacific, if we left Dallas on time, we would arrive at around 5 am in Sydney (an hour ahead of schedule). Due to the curfew in place at Sydney Airport, he told us we would have to wait another hour until departure. We went up to the lounge, which wasn’t any good, so we decided to do some shopping.
The boarding process was extremely quick for the Business Class section as it was pretty much empty. We were greeted and taken to our seats where we chose our breakfast options. Champagne and juice were offered while we waited for departure and amenity kits were handed out. This was on the Airbus A388, meaning the Business seats were the original “Skybed” from 2008. While slightly outdated, the seats were highly comfortable and functioned as new. Qantas are replacing their A380 cabins with the new 2017 seats, meaning the “Skybed II” currently found on Qantas’ A330 and 787 will be making its way onboard the A380.
The Business class seats have moderately large screens that fold into the armrest. They can be controlled via touchscreen or remote control. The IFE system is quite outdated and includes gimmicky features such as webchat which doesn’t work and freezes the system. With the introduction of the new cabin, the screens and IFE system will be replaced. Another disadvantage is that you are unable to use the screen during taxi, takeoff and landing as it has to be stowed.
I was seated in 16E, an aisle seat in the center of the cabin. As it was a bassinet seat, it had a slightly increased legroom than the normal Business seats, but that was barely noticeable. Because we were on the bulkhead, there was storage built into the wall in front as there was no seat to put carry on underneath. I’m about 1.90 metres and my legs could easily fit into the space in front.
On SeatGuru, 16E is rated worse than the other seats because of it’s proximity to the bathrooms and galley, but a curtain was put up at the start of the flight and wasn’t removed until just before we landed.
In my opinion, one of the best things about flying Business is that you are located at the front of the plane, meaning you can barely hear the engines and turbulence is greatly reduced.
Shortly after takeoff, we were served our entree which we had selected after boarding. I chose smoked salmon (it had a fancier name I’ve forgotten). It was delicious and definitely 4 or 5 star restaurant quality. This was followed by mains. I chose grilled chicken with asian slaw. Once again, this was of great quality. I chose ice cream for dessert. After dinner, the flight attendant made my bed with a matress and sheets, making it even more comfortable than it already was. I watched a few movies and then made the seat flat and slept.
When I woke up, we were around 3 hours from Sydney. I went up the front to the lounge area and asked for a tea. It was served with a cookie. Other snacks were also available at the snack bar. The screen in the lounge is quite large (seemed about 30-40 inches) but is set to only display the map view.
As the sun rose over the Pacific, breakfast was served. I chose waffles. They were topped with icecream, maple syrup and strawberries and served with a blueberry scone, a fruit bowl, juice and coffee. I chose all this at the start of the flight. The food was amazing once again, but the coffee was no good.
After we landed it was a quick taxi to the gate. We were first to get off and first to end an overall amazing flight.
I believe that Qantas has the best in-flight service out of any airline. No matter what class you fly, the flight attendants are always caring and polite. I’ve flown Emirates quite a few times now, and in most of the classes, and their service seems too commercial. A majority of the flight attendants won’t go the extra step like Qantas do. Just my opinion.
The flight from Dallas to Sydney is 17 hours long, so if you can, I would highly recommend Business or at least Premium Economy. Having the ability to have your legs out straight in Business really helps to stop the cramps, otherwise getting up and walking around as well as stretching your legs helps.
Thanks for reading through and I’ll attach some pictures soon!