Denpasar to Sydney
A330-200. Qantas increased capacity (an extra 650 seats a week) and comfort when it introduced the A330 on this route on a full-time basis earlier this year. The route was previously flown by a Boeing 737.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Qantas Frequent Flyer, part of the oneworld alliance.
With a super-short flight time of four hours and 55 minutes, we sit at the gate in Denpasar for about 20 minutes before take-off to avoid arriving in Sydney before the 6am curfew. We land six minutes ahead of the 6.25am scheduled arrival time.
Although there's no express lane for business-class passengers, e-passport gates now operate at Denpasar Airport, meaning we pass through immigration and security with none of the drama I've experienced previously.
Seat 3K, a window seat in the third row of business class. Seats are a 1-2-1 configuration, so everyone has direct aisle access. There are 28 seats in business class; 269 in economy.
The 40-kilogram checked-in luggage allowance means there's plenty of room for shopping (probably forgo the Balinese doors, though). Qantas Club and Silver frequent flyers get a generous 52-kilogram allowance; Platinum and Platinum One members, 60 kilograms. Business-class passengers can also carry on two pieces at seven kilograms each.
With a 10.25pm departure (and a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney to Newcastle after landing), sleep is my top priority. All 28 Marc Newson-designed business suites convert to a two-metre-long flatbed and can be in the recline position and fitted with a comfortable mattress from take-off right through to landing. This means maximum shut-eye. I particularly love the luxury of the cotton duvets and Qantas pyjamas which I manage to put on while seated (years of changing out of swimmers in the car have not been wasted). There's a sizeable console next to the seat and the design of the meal tray means you can dine and work at the same time (not that I do any work). The amenities packs, designed by Sydney artist Kate Banazi, are striking and include ASPAR hand cream, moisturiser and lip balm alongside the usual socks, eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste.
While seated at the gate, I watch the end of Finding My Twin Stranger, a fascinating look at doppelgangers, which I hadn't finished on the flight over and start a documentary on Jane Fonda. On the flight over I watch Mind the Gap, a documentary chronicling the lives of three young friends growing up in Rockford, Illinois, and Green Book. The Qantas branded noise-cancelling headsets are excellent and the business suites offer 16-inch touch screens.
Efficient with pre-flight ordering of dinner, breakfast and drinks (or in my case, ticking a box to indicate not to disturb for meals) is carried out while waiting to push back. Service is a well-oiled machine but delivered with warmth and friendliness.
The Neil Perry-designed two-course dinner is a choice between ricotta and eggplant moussaka, grilled chicken breast with roasted pumpkin, sweet potato and salsa verde, Soto Ayan poached chicken with noodles in a coconut, lemongrass and turmeric broth and beef rendang. Fellow travellers tell me the beef rendang was spicy but good, while the chicken noodle soup was fresh and tasty. Most impressive? Being able to enjoy a well-crafted flat white while approaching Sydney. Now there's a welcome home.
ONE MORE THING
If you're flying business or are a Qantas Club Member you can use the Premier Lounge at Denpasar Airport, but keep expectations low. .
Qantas' A330 business suites are a game changer – setting a new bar for luxury on the popular Sydney-Denpasar route (1.17 million Australians travelled to Bali last year). I enjoyed the best flight ever (and a heavenly four hours' sleep) on an overnight flight home from the Island of the Gods.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Sheriden Rhodes travelled as a guest of Qantas Airways.