DALLAS – On board the Qantas Airbus A330 business class (QF). Let’s see what awaits us!
As travel slowly opened up and gained momentum, I seized the opportunity to travel in Qantas business class from New Delhi to Melbourne on their Airbus 330-200 aircraft. With its limited international network, QF started this route in December 2021 when Australia opened up for international travel, and since then QF has received an overwhelming response to this India-Australia non-stop flight path.
My journey started at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) Terminal 3 with conveniently located airline check-in counters that had separate queues for business class passengers. Check-in was pretty smooth with documents and COVID declaration checked and completed within 10 minutes. After security, I headed straight for the Premium Plaza lounge.
Business Class Lounge
At first glance, although the lounge offered plenty of seating options, there was no airside view. There was a range of hot and freshly prepared meals, with authentic Indian cuisine on the podium. Cocktails and mocktails were made to order and delivered to the table. Wi-Fi was available with uninterrupted connectivity.
Boarding was handled well and business class passengers were given priority boarding the aircraft, although economy class passengers simultaneously began boarding through an adjacent walkway that did not pass through the cabin airplane business.
The Qantas Airbus 330-200 offers business class seating in a 1-2-1 configuration with seating spread over two sections, the first with five rows of seats and the second with two. The seats are Vantage XL seats from Thompson Aero, offering fully flat beds with an array of pre-programmed positions.
These are quite comfortable given that Qantas operates long-haul routes using these workhorses, and so these seats provide optimum comfort when lying down.
There was a bottle of water, a pair of standard over-ear headphones, a comfort kit, a soft pillow, a blanket, and a roll of mattress already placed on the seat. Once seated, 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 different from what is offered in some of the best business class offers in the world. Unfortunately, there was no Wi-Fi on this plane, so I had to settle for looking at the moving map. Just to note that no disinfectant or disinfectant wipes were provided on the flight, although masks are still mandatory on flights from/to Australia.
With the doors closed and armed, we taxied to the runway and took off into the night sky.
Food and drink
With the seatbelt signal off, the crew started drink service and I settled for sparkling water and hot nuts. For starters, there were 3 options to choose from, and I got myself a spicy corn and coriander soup, with Indian bread and salad. The soup was tasty and the bread was crispy.
Then there was the main course in which I went for roast chicken with herbs, butter and potato gratin. The chicken was well cooked and tender. It definitely piqued the taste buds!
For dessert, I chose Indian bread pudding, and for my taste, it was too sweet. I immediately regretted not having gone for an ice cream.
After a good 6 hour sleep, I woke up to a pre-ordered breakfast of toast, coffee, fruit and an energizing glass of mango. Although I had opted for an Indian breakfast of chickpea masala and flatbread stuffed with potatoes, I just went with something simple to keep me light.
The Airbus A330 is the workhorse of the QF fleet, and it can be found on Asia-Pacific and Far East routes. 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 the A330s of QF have aged with an average of 13 years.
In terms of soft and hard products, a lot leaves something 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 I needed.
The power port didn’t work and I had to use USB to charge all my devices, which was quite slow. Breakfast was served four hours before landing, and until then no other snacks or drinks were offered, which seemed a bit inconvenient considering the time remaining to reach the destination.
Overall the product is decent considering Qantas offers a direct connection to India but hey there are plenty of other Asian and Gulf carriers that would take the experience to the next level if a stopover is in mind.
Featured Image: Noah Pitkin/Airways