DALLAS – Onboard Qantas (QF) Airbus A330 Business Class. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for us!
As travel slowly opened up and gathered steam, I grabbed an opportunity to travel onboard Qantas Business Class from New Delhi to Melbourne on its workhorse Airbus 330-200 aircraft. With its limited international network, QF started this route back in December 2021 when Australia opened up for international travel, and since then, QF has received an overwhelming response to this non-stop India-Australia flight path.
My journey started at Indira Gandhi International Airport’s (DEL) Terminal 3 with conveniently located check-in counters for the airline that had separate queues for Business Class passengers. Check-in was pretty smooth with COVID documents and declaration being verified and was done in 10 minutes. Post security check, I headed straight to the Premium Plaza Lounge.
Business Class Lounge
Upon first glance, although the lounge had ample seating options, there were no views of the airside. There was an array of hot and freshly prepared food, with authentic Indian cuisine taking the podium. Cocktails and mocktails were made on order and delivered to the table. Wi-fi was available with uninterrupted connectivity.
Boarding was well managed and Business Class passengers were given priority to board the aircraft, although Economy class passengers simultaneously began boarding through an adjacent jetway that did not run through the business cabin of the aircraft.
Qantas’s Airbus 330-200 aircraft offers business class seating in a 1-2-1 configuration with seats split across two sections, the first one with five rows of seating and the second one with two. The seats are Thompson Aero’s Vantage XL seats, offering fully flat beds with an array of pre-programmed positions.
These are quite comfortable considering Qantas operates long-haul routes using these workhorses, and thus these seats provide optimum comfort in a lie-flat position.
There was a bottle of water, a standard pair of over-the-ear headphones, an amenity kit, a plush pillow, a blanket, and a mattress roll placed on the seat already. Upon settling down, the cabin crew handed out a menu card, signature Qantas pajamas, and a drink of choice.
The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) was decent with a 15.5-inch HD screen and housed a range of movies and TV shows to keep you busy.
However, the content was unlike what’s offered in some of the best business class offerings globally. Unfortunately, there was no Wi-fi on this aircraft, and hence I had to settle for gazing at the moving map. Just to note that no sanitizers or disinfectant wipes were provided on the flight, although masks are still mandatory on flights from/to Australia.
Once the doors were closed and armed, we taxied towards the runway and took off into the night sky.
Food and Beverage
With the seat belt sign being turned off, the crew started the drink service, and I settled for some sparkling water and warm nuts. For the starters, there were 3 options to choose from, and I got myself a spiced corn and coriander soup, with some Indian bread and salad. The soup was tasty, and the bread was crispy.
Next up was the mains wherein I went for roast chicken with herbs, butter, and potato gratin. The chicken was well cooked and tender. It definitely tingled the taste buds!
For dessert, I chose Indian-style bread pudding, and to my taste, it was overly sweet. I instantly regretted not going for ice cream.
After a sound sleep of 6 hours, I woke up to a pre-ordered breakfast of toast, coffee, some fruits, and a glass of mango energizer. Although I had opted for an Indian breakfast of chickpea masala and flatbread stuffed with potatoes, I just went with something simple to keep myself light.
The Airbus A330 is the workhorse of the QF fleet, and one can find it on the routes within the Asia Pacific and far East Asia. Although Thompson Vantage XL seats are used by a handful of airlines, namely SAS (SK), Philippines Airlines (PR), and Delta Air Lines (DL), soon on its A350s, the product is quite dated and QF’s A330s have been aging with an average of 13 years.
In terms of soft and hard products, a lot is left to be desired. The food menu was not as extensive as one would expect in a long-haul business class, and I had to call the crew for anything that I needed.
The power port was not working, and I had to use USB to charge all my devices, which was pretty slow. Breakfast was served four hours before landing, and till then, no other snack or drink was offered, which seemed a bit awkward considering the time left to reach the destination.
All in all, the product is decent considering that Qantas offers a direct connection to India, but hey, there are a lot of other Asian and Gulf carriers who would take the experience to the next level if a layover is in mind.
Featured image: Noah Pitkin/Airways