Boeing 747-400 aircraft with refreshed A380-style interiors.
Sydney to San Francisco.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Qantas Frequent Flyer (oneworld).
Business, seat 6K.
12 hours, 10 minutes.
80 inch (203 centimetre) seat pitch and bed length, 24 inch (61cm) width. There are 58 business class seats in a mostly 2-3-2 layout, with 18 of those seats located on the upper deck.
Checked baggage 3 pieces up to 32 kilograms each, two carry-on bags up to seven kilograms per piece.
I couldn't slip on those grey Peter Morrissey-designed PJs and slide the Marc Newson Skybed into fully-flat mode fast enough. When I discovered the seat was actually also a massage chair, I pitied the fool who'd have to prise me out of it eventually. The Kate Spade toiletries bag with Aspar "botanically active products", including sweet orange and shea hand cream, is take-home nice.
Push a button and the screen pops out of the seat, push another button on that screen and over 1500 entertainment options are at your fingertips. The selection of premiere movies, including the latest Bond Spectre and the heartwarming The Intern with Robert De Niro, takes my fancy, but mid-film I switch to – drum roll – live tech talks in the sky. Yep, four of Australia's brightest minds are actually giving talks in the nose of the business class section, which are streamed directly onto the screens of those who want to stay in their seats. Speakers include an experimental physicist and a former Young Australian of the Year who runs an artificial intelligence company. Seriously inspiring stuff.
Warm and friendly, the flight attendants will have a chat which helps you feel relaxed, but don't linger long enough to become annoying.
We're given access to the Qantas First Lounge prior to departure, which features a day spa where first-class passengers can book in for complimentary 20 minute treatments including massages, mini-manicures and facials, and a restaurant with a full a la carte menu. I gobble a fish burger with Japanese pickles and wasabi mayonnaise on the Neil Perry-created menu, and find out that the whole lounge has been feng shui'd. Seriously. In-flight, I go for gold with another Neil Perry Rockpool-inspired menu. For dinner, confit salmon with smoked tofu and pickled daikon to start, roast pumpkin with udon noodles, miso eggplant, mushroom broth and soy beans for main, then a cheeky fruit and cheese plate to finish. There's a selection of premium Australian wines, beers, spirits, cognacs and liqueurs, and a little aperitif menu including Bloody Mary's and Campari and soda, but I stick to sparkling water.
ONE MORE THING
The Sydney to San Francisco direct route was stopped in 2011, but since expanding their partnership with American Airlines Qantas started them up again last December, offering six return flights a week.
The kind of flight you wish you'd never taken, because now you know how the other half live and never want to go back.
Reviewed by Nina Karnikowski, who was hosted by Qantas.
See also: Airline review: Qantas economy class
See also: The best airlines in every class named