SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

From Flyertalk's Most Popular Trip Reporter

Qantas First Class 747-400 SYD-LAX

Qantas QF 107
SYD-LAX
747-400
February 28, 2012
11:50A-6:50A (sked)
11:50A-6:35A (actual)
Departed 14/14
Seats 1A, 1K
 
At about T-30, the wonderful Marion came over to let us know that it was time to board. We wished SFOjr a good flight with a stern reminder to take lots of pics. While the Qantas FCL may be nice and LH caliber, once you leave the lounge though, it is nothing even remotely close. Gate 8 today means a long walk to the gate and then a seemingly longer walk on the jet bridge that went on and on. And after all that, our reward is another dumpy, ugly QF 744. Didn't bother with a new pics, so I'm recycling one from HKG-MEL.
 

On the other hand, as LHR/MEL/Europe FF noted earlier a great crew can make up for a lot of deficiencies and this crew was our best QF crew to date. Glass of champagne? Not Krug or Dom, but the Taittinger Comte Blanc de Blanc was quite enjoyable.

OK, back to reality of the 744. While 1AK are the best of a bad lot on this relic, the non-stop pre-boarding procession of activity to and from the closet is really annoying. And then there are the butt in face visits to the magazine rack, which some deranged designer thought would be brilliant idea to add to the closet door. Yo QF, there is a reason LH has their magazine rack in the overhead bin! This monstrosity had to be the biggest butt I've seen on an airplane in a long time. And I took this as far away as possible, squished against the wall. Yeah, kind of what I think of the QF 744.

After that wonderful interlude, I settled in and look around at 20+ years of (ab)use.

On time push-back, with great plane watching on our taxi and roll-out.
Wow, we certainly are a long way from Atlanta.

SFOjr's 380. Remember. Take. Lots. Of. Pics.

Within 10 minutes after take-off, our excellent cabin crew sprung into action. What followed was nearly 90 minutes of exceptional, absolutely flawless SQ-like service. And one of the best in flight dining experiences since our LHR-SIN SQ flight over a year ago.

A great menu today with numerous attractive options. Not driving home today any time soon, I decided to go with the Neil Perry/Rockpool 8 course tasting menu. And wine pairing with each course! 

TASTING MENU
Our Tasting Menu features a selection of eight tasting plates highlighting the finest of Rockpool and Qantas cuisine. A selection of award winning wines will be offered to complement each course. Your Flight Attendant is available to assist you with your selection.

Corn and Manchego Fritters with Capsicum Relish Spanner Crab and Ruby Grapefruit on Betel Leaves

Roasted Tomato Soup with Thyme Croutons

Chinese Style Duck Salad with Pickled Cabbage

Pan Fried Blue Eye with Spiced Eggplant, Gai Lan and Ginger Glaze

Seared Rangers Valley Skirt Steak with Potato and Leek Gratin, Asparagus ad Horseradish

Salad of Baby Cos, Radicchio and Frisée with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries and Sorbet

Blue, soft and hard cheese hand selected by Will Studd, Mâitre Fromager Calendar Cheese Company served with accompaniments

A selection of Cacao hand made chocolates

Menu Page 1
Menu Page 2
Menu Page 3

I developed a new appreciation for Australian wines this week, discovering that most of the great Aussie wines are not exported. With an interesting looking wine list, I decided to taste as many as I could with my wine pairings.

After a few more glasses on champagne, it's showtime. Today's meal was so good that I'm going to super size the photos in this section.

Our amuse bouche, the Corn and Manchego Fritters with Capsicum Relish Spanner Crab and Ruby Grapefruit on Betel Leaves were both exceptional.

Followed by item by item table setting, wine glass after wine glass after wine glass...

The Roasted Tomato Soup with Thyme Croutons was excellent, as was the 2008 PHI Yarra Valley Chardonnay...

Chinese Style Duck Salad with Pickled Cabbage was very good, as was the 2005 Tyrrells "VAT 1" Hunters Valley (NSW) Semillon...

The Pan Fried Blue Eye with Spiced Eggplant, Gai Lan and Ginger Glaze was sensational as was the 2010 Wanderer Yarra Valley Pinot Noir...

Salad of Baby Cos, Radicchio and Frisée with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette was very good.

The Seared Rangers Valley Skirt Steak with Potato and Leek Gratin, Asparagus ad Horseradish was melt in your mouth wonderful, perfectly medium rare. Paired beautifully with the wonderful 2006 Moss Wood Margaret Valley (Western Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon...

The Potato and Leek Gratin was to die for...

Next up dessert. But first, great views of New Caledonia...

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries and Sorbet was delicious, paired with the lovely 2010 Corton Cut Mount Horrocks (Late Harvest) Reisling from the Clare Valley (South Australia).

OMG, it continues. Blue, soft and hard cheese hand selected by Will Studd, Mâitre Fromager Calendar Cheese Company served with accompaniments. Not quite in the same category as the CX cheese offerings but very good, and paired with port. Tasted great but at this point, I don't think I'm a reliable judge. 

And a selection of Cacao hand made chocolates. There were also on a tray in the galley.
Well, you can't go to the loo without having one or two. 

In summary, for 90 minutes I forgot I was on this relic 744 and simply enjoyed one of my best and most memorable inflight food and beverage experiences.  Bravo QF. Now please hurry and get rid of this crappy cabin.

Those blissful 90 minutes for lunch were the highlight of the flight however. Unfortunately, there were still nearly 10 hours to go to LAX. I worked on uploading and editing photos but the Empower system couldn't handle my MacBook Pro's 170 watts. Even AA's old MadDog DC power system will charge my MacBook when turned off. But not this old relic. IFE was not functioning properly today. No movies on demand available with a whole lot of this...

I did watch Money Ball for the 4th time on this trip and Real Steel. And although I slept on the HKG-MEL flight, I could never really get comfortable and didn't sleep much tonight. Although I did stop for more delicious chocolates on the way to and from the loo...

At about T-2 hours, I got up, changed back to my clothes and watched Money Ball for the 5th time on this trip, and had breakfast.

The scrambled eggs were way too runny, as in undercooked runny, so I only picked at them. On the other hand, the sausages were pretty good.

Some nice view on descent and approach to LAX. Any ideas about this fully illuminated plot of land in either Santa Barbara or Ventura county?

Although we touched down about 20 minutes early, gate follies consumed all of that and then some as the Captain announced that we needed to be towed the last 10 feet to the gate, even though we were at the end of the terminal without any noticeable encumbrances. And then the jet bridge operator apparently had other priorities this morning.

And then there is the pit that is TBT arrivals. Yikes, talk about third world. Mercifully, we had a wonderful wheel chair "driver" that escorted us all the way from our plane to the AC in T-4. 

My take on QF? Loved the service, QF staff and food. And the SYD FCL is fabulous. But the 744 hard product is absolutely horrid. I would never willingly set foot on another QF 744. In retrospect, I probably short changed QF on that earlier 3.5 rating. I think I'd give it a 5.0 or 5.5. As you'll see from SFOjr's photos, if we'd flown the 380, obviously higher. But any airline that still flies this disgraceful hard product, gets an automatic 2.0 deduction.

Next up:
SFOjr's great 380 experience, aka "sir, please refrain from taking photos of the cabin. Our guests here don't like it."