Qantas QF151/156 BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW (11/10-15/10)

Qantas A330-300 at Auckland Airport

Qantas QF151/156 AKL-MEL-AKL Review


Time to hop on-board Australasia's most popular airline for my trip from Auckland to Melbourne. Qantas has been rolling out modernised Business class cabin on selected A330-200/300 aircraft throughout the year, which has hyped the Trans-Tasman frequent flyer community, after seeing mixed reviews on the internet, it's time for me to try that myself!

This review will focus on the new and modernised business cabins of the Qantas A330 fleet, so I'll cover both the A330-200 (QF151) and A330-300 (QF156).

As QF151 was an overnight flight with limited services, QF156 will be used for the service review.


Seating 

Qantas A330-300 Seat 2K
The Business class seatings are almost identical on the two aircrafts all thanks to the new and improved cabin, featuring a tidy 1-2-1 layout as opposed to the standard 2-2-2 of the predecessor.
The only visible difference is the flat beds on the A330-200 are lined with leather instead of fabric which are found on the A330-300.



Qantas A330-200 Seat 3A 

Every window seat in business have now gained both aisle access and a window view, but to accommodate flatbeds for each passenger, every odd-numbered rows will actually have a seat console in between the seat and the window. This could hinder the passenger from acquiring a direct window view, but with a compensation of an extra storage compartment for those seats. 

Personally, I prefer the odd rows as the extra space could come in handy for the storage of various personal belongings that you might need throughout the flight.

The business suite also has improved individual lighting modules that could allow the traveller to adjust accordingly for writing/dining. 

Seat adjustment panel - Note - A slight recline position is offered for takeoffs and landings, which provides extra comfort for travellers who love to recline!

At first glance, the seat's control panel seems rather complicated, ironically it's paired with a touch of modern minimalism making it not so user-friendly to passengers without previous experience. However, after a few minutes of playing around, they're surprisingly responsive and almost everything's adjustable. 

The DO NOT DISTURB button is a great new feature which can be used in place of the old-fashioned stickers for long-haul flights.

Seat pitch is where this next-gen cabin truly shines, up to 200 centimetres of leg room, that's more spacious than just about of every business class cabins in existence.

Panasonic eX3 Entertainment System
In addition to the ergonomically constructed cabin, a state of the art entertainment system is offered with a high definition display and extremely responsive touchscreen.

This system features a good variety of entertainment contents, with some of the latest DVD blockbusters as well as the classics that could keep you occupied for the longest of flights.

The diversity is quite amazing as the system features contents from multiple cultures and languages which would be suitable and welcoming for travellers from all backgrounds.

With these said, it is quite clear Qantas demonstrates the great Aussie hospitality which we should all expect from the Spirit of Australia.

Meals - QF151 

Beef Rump with Spinach and Mashed Potato


Quick shout-out to QF151, albeit an overnight flight with no designated dinner service listed on the itinerary, a supper was offered for the passengers who would like to have something to eat overnight.

Several options were provided and I chose the Beef rump with spinach and mashed potato. The Beef rump was a bit overdone but it was certainly edible, it was in the medium well range (Personally I prefer Medium Rare).
The cheese platter that was offered brought a nice finishing touch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc as they were the perfect nibbles for the blockbuster on-screen throughout the rest of the flight.

Mixed cheese snack plate with Sauvignon Blanc

Meals and Services - QF156

Boarding was rather effortless with priority boarding and I was greeted with a very warm and genuine welcome by the flight crew. It was a very quiet flight with less than half of the seats booked, efficient and quality service was provided as I could truly see the passionate crew with a smile on their faces.

From what I have seen, I think there wouldn't be any compromises under stress even if the plane was fully booked.


Full menu with preflight champagne

Entree

A bowl of Moroccan spiced tomato soup was served as the entree with bread and greens, the soup was perfectly warm with the spicy and zesty texture which was very appetising for the mains to come. Bar order was fulfiled with Beefeater 24 Gin and orange juice, however without the lime garnish that most would expect for Gin and OJ.

Entree: Moroccan spiced tomato soup with crispy chickpeas






Main 

A wonderfully presented main of monkfish, mushy peas and roasted potatoes were served with a fresh glass of Chardonnay. The fish was fresh and succulent and it was almost divine when paired with a dab of creamy tartare sauce. I am not the greatest seafood fan out there, but I had to give it as one of the best in-flight mains that I've ever had,

I've even asked for one extra plate to be prepared where the flight attendant happily obliged.

After tasting so many seafood mains from Emirates/Air New Zealand/LATAM and even Qantas itself, none of which has even come close to the freshness of this dish.

One of the best inflight mains I've ever tried - Monkfish with mushy peas and baked potato

Dessert

Dessert was served with a tub of classic kiwi ice-cream and a glass of timeless Australian dessert wine. 

Kapiti Ice-Cream and LillyPilly Dessert Wine
The Kapiti Hokey Pokey ice-cream would certainly bring you tastes of home with the creamy full bodied NZ milk accompanied by the Hokey Pokey that you'd have when you were a child. Simply smooth, sweet and amazing.

LillyPilly Late Harvest


LillyPilly Late Harvest dessert wine was extremely sweet and refreshing which outlined the rest of the flight. 

This sweet combination of wine and ice-cream worked like a charm to finish the meal with style with a fruity aftertaste.

Snacks and Service 

After the meal, a selection of cheese and preserved fruit was offered while I was watching the latest blockbuster. Regretfully my favourite Brancott Estate/Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc was unavailable, Chardonnay was offered instead, in which I politely accepted. 

After-meal service was great, with crews always eager to fill any empty glasses and offered water and other refreshments. Very proactive approach with each of the cabin crews thanking you before landing while making great small talks.

Almost non-existent unnecessary P.A announcements were made which are often the demise of good flights.

Overall the staff were extremely professional and had the passion to do what was expected, some truly top-notch service it was!

Mixed cheese platter

Conclusion

In my opinion, that was a class-leading example of Trans-Tasman travel, where everything was perfectly aligned and upheld to a high level of operational standards. The consistency of service was great while simplicity was the primary 'WOW Factor'. 

From the cabin fittings to the menu, everything was simplified to impress, nothing superfluous while everything had done what they were meant to do. Good cabin, good food, good service, passionate staff... The list goes on and on.

I think that was what mattered the most, rather than throwing unnecessary extravagant ambience that could potentially omit smaller details, Qantas achieved with simplicity following the 'More with less' mindset which most of the Australasian travellers would love.



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