British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge Sydney
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
Qantas Business Class Brisbane (BNE) to Los Angeles (LAX)
We boarded on time for the most part and there was a separate line for business class passengers. Business class is seated in the forward cabin of the lower deck and there are also some seats in the upper deck as we were flying a Boeing 747-400. I choose to sit in the nose of the plan on the main deck for our seats. It just appeared to me to be a little more spacious yet private.
My wife and I were seated in 3A and 3B which meant we had to walk past the main business class cabin to get to our seats. The main business class cabin is seated three deep in the middle! I cannot believe that! Who wants to pay for a business class seat and still be stuck in a middle seat!!?? No thanks! I guess if your a family of three and have a small child it would be OK but otherwise it doesn’t make sense.
We made it to our seats and awaiting us on our seats were a pillow and blanket. Later we were also given grey Qantas PJ’s which I never changed into for some reason on this flight thus still have them in the bag unworn. The flight attendant came around and offered us some pre departure beverages which is standard fair of course. I chose some champagne and my wife some water.
Seated next to us were a pair of middle seats. When I initially picked our seats the seat map showed four rows of seats but our plane must have been swapped for a slightly different version that had only three rows in the nose thus I had two people sitting across the aisle from us in the middle which in turn removed all privacy. I guess I should have tried to sit one row forward in hindsight. The seats have a divider in the middle in case two solo travelers are seated next to each other and would like additional privacy but they don’t offer a divider on the outside of the seat on the aisle. I did find the seats to be slightly narrow in my opinion or perhaps I am just too fat nowadays. I wish there were just an extra two inches or so in width and a few more easy to access compartments for storage. There is storage in the seat in front of you but it so far in front of you that one needs to get up and unbuckle their seat belt to use the storage.
After PJ’s, drinks and headphones were handed out our chef came around the cabin and introduced himself to all the business class passengers one by one and distributed the menu and was happy to go over it and give his opinion on a few of the dishes.
Shortly before takeoff we were presented our amenity kits which were Kate Spade for the women and Jack Spade for the men. I didnt bother using anything out of there as we still were using our Cathay Pacific and/or Malaysia Airlines amenity kits from earlier in the trip but rest assured it contained all the usual do-dads needed.
We departed slightly late due to some late arriving passengers however takeoff was smooth and we were wheels up in no time. Our chef came back around to take our orders and also requested that we fill out our breakfast order form and place it on the setback in front of us so that it will be ready later in the flight. For our main meal my wife and I chose the lamb. The lunch/dinner service was good and attentive however the food was “meh”. Nothing memorable in fact it was probably my least favorite meal ever served in business class and remember I am not a picky eater. All in all a forgettable meal service but I feel the selections and variety of food was fine just not well executed?
coconut and lime curd madeline cake
After our meal we reclined back in our seats and watched a few movies. I then put the seat in bed mode. The seat does convert to a fully flat seat but the seat being narrower than I liked made in difficult to maneuver so I just felt boxed in like a coffin of sorts. Trust me I was able to relax and get a bit of sleep but just a tad narrow. However I am 6’2 and 215 lbs so for the more average sized folks it may be much roomier. Due to the strange reddish orange lighting it made picture taking a bit more difficult. Once the meal was over the lights were dimmed and all windows were closed thus I didn’t bother with taking a shot of the bed mode (my apologies).
Me in the lie-flat seat trying to sleep
After a few hours of sleep I was actually woken up by the flight attendant in a loud voice, “Excuse me sir, would you care for your breakfast?” REALLY LOUD. It startled me and I just shook her off to go away even though I really wanted breakfast I didn’t want to deal with her at that point but not that she did anything wrong either. I eventually called another flight attendant back after I got up and used the bathroom. She advised there was still time to make my breakfast and so she did and brought it over in just 2-3 minutes.
I had the eggs and sausage for breakfast and it was just fine. Not memorable in anyway. In fact I thought the sausage tasted a little strange but it was fine.
Our flight was just over 12 hours and it seemed to go by fast. Before we knew it we were landing at LAX. We would certainly fly Qantas business class again due to the convenience and more direct flights. Finding award availability both ways however will be the challenge. I do prefer Cathay Pacific’s long haul business class and AA’s new business class on the 777 but this is a full lie flat bed with decent entertainment so it gets the job done.
I am not going to detail my connecting flight from LAX to ORD but we did have a 5+ hour connection which sucked! When we landed I tried to get on a earlier flight to ORD however the desk agent for AA said no since our bags were already checked through to Chicago. My wife was upset because there was space on both flights and she wanted to get home. We walked over the LAX Admirals Club lounge were I asked a super nice agent working the desk if we can get on the earlier flight. She said “sure let me put in a request to move your bags to the earlier flight. There are also two first class seats left that you should be able to grab as well unless someone buys a last minute first class ticket.” So we were flying standby technically but she called our names closer to boarding time and told us to go to the gate where they took great care of us. They called for first class boarding and right at the end they called me up to the desk to get our first class boarding passes!!!! We were not seated next to each other but we didn’t care at that point!! Initially we were booked into economy as there was no first class award space when I booked our flight!
We also ran across our first celebrity (that we actually recognized) on this flight! Funny guy Marlon Wayans was on our flight sitting in the first row just two rows ahead of me. My wife text me when he got on, “White Chicks”! LOL it is one of the fun/dumb movies we get a kick out of titled “White Chicks”.
We booked our tickets back home to Chicago using my wife’s AA account. We redeemed 75,000 AA miles per person for our business class tickets on Qantas and American. We also paid a total of $259 which consisted of $104.50 taxes and fees and a $50 telephone booking fee charged by American Airlines. My wife obtained these miles via her Citi American Airlines Executive credit card which came with 100,000 AA miles early in 2014. She also had some miles previously from other credit card sign up bonuses so together she had the 150,000 miles needed. I did try to find some first class seats on Qantas but I could not find two seats, only one. I also did see two seats when checking availability on British Airways website as they allow access to Qantas awards earlier however I didn’t want to book with BA Avios.
The cash price for our tickets ran over $7,500 per person per ITA Matrix! Obviously we would never pay for this type of ticket and if we did ever pay cash it would be for a $1000+ coach ticket. A 12+ hour plane ride in coach is not my idea of fun! They should have to pay me sit through that!