Sydney to Hong Kong
Boeing 747-400; Qantas has retained nine of this aircraft in its fleet, with reconfigured cabins along the lines of its newer A380s.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Business, seat 3F
Nine hours, 50 minutes.
Qantas has 21 non-stop flights a week to Hong Kong from Australia, including daily flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, with connections from all other Australian cities.
The Mark Newson-designed Skybed has a generous 60-inch (152.4 cm) pitch and is 21.5 inches (54.6 cm) wide.
In this reconfigured jumbo, my Business cabin has 14 seats in a 2-2 then a 2-2-2 configuration as the plane widens. There is another Business cabin behind us with 26 seats and 18 Business seats on the Upper Deck. There's also a 36-seat Premium Economy cabin and an Economy cabin behind that with 430 seats. I only discover towards the end of the flight that I have an AC power outlet for my laptop.
Checked bags up to a generous 40kg, plus one carry-on bag up and one personal item.
The Skybed reclines to a fully flat position, but on this daytime flight I don't need it. The built-in back massager is nice and there's a privacy screen between me and my neighbour. I'm keen to catch up on latest release movies and sample Neil Perry's Business Class menu. He's sitting two rows ahead of me so it seems rude not to.
The Qantas iQ entertainment system boasts more than 100 movies, 500 TV shows and 800 music options. Noise-cancelling headphones are provided in Business but I've brought my own which are better.
Friendly and efficient. I wonder if staff are nervous serving Perry the food he creates. It does take a few presses of the call button for a glass of champagne, but perhaps they know better than I do what is good for me.
Drinks are served not long after take-off with lunch following about two hours into the flight. I ask if I can delay it for a couple of hours to ease into Hong Kong time; a privilege of being at the pointy end. I choose a starter of prawn ssam a new, Korean-influenced dish on the menu, which is really cold and lacks flavour. The chicken schnitzel and coleslaw sandwich, which has long been a Business Class stalwart, is hearty and satisfying.
ONE MORE THING
I don't think Chef Perry gets better service than anyone else in Business.
It's difficult for reconfigured 747s ever to be as comfortable as the more modern A380s but Qantas is giving it a go.
Tested by Sally Webb who flew courtesy of Qantas.