Australia's favourite food blogger Not Quite Nigella, aka Lorraine Elliott, enjoys an indulgent flight of fancy on her Qantas business class trip from Bangkok to Australia.
There are times when I like to get to the airport early. This usually involves having lounge access. Being able to shop, have a massage and then pop into a lounge to use the internet and have a shower before getting on a plane is comforting. There are even times when I think I could stay even longer in the lounge and wonder if I could do a Kath and Kel Knight and spend more time at the airport.
After a refreshing shower and a glass of sparkling mineral water, I make my way from the Qantas business lounge to the gate, a good six or seven minutes’ walk, and board the flight. There is no separate business class queue for check in until you get to the plane, where you turn left to go to the business class section and there is no first class on this plane. It's an Airbus 330-300 and I'm sitting in seat 2F and seats are laid out in a 2x2x2 configuration. As the rows are effectively next to each other, they're not exactly designed for privacy. Fortunately I know the person I'm travelling with because there is no partition between the two seats.
The mostly male, slightly older crew are very helpful and courteous throughout the flight. I'm offered a glass of champagne and then I ask for pyjamas, which they bring out straight away. This is a 30-seat business class cabin so there is some wait for the bathrooms at times. Australian newspapers are offered and the entertainment doesn't commence until we are in the air. Noise-cancelling headphones are provided. Florence Broadhurst patterned amenity kits are handed out, which are being phased out for Kate Spade ones.
Before we settle down, they offer to put mattresses on the 21.5-inch wide seats. It is a nice touch as it helps to smooth out the bed when you sleep on it. It's an eight-hour flight so by the time that you finish eating, you often just have a small amount of time to sleep before you are woken. They also hand out pyjamas and a bottle of Evian to everyone at this stage. They take our orders for the food from the menu designed by Neil Perry. Because we're leaving from Bangkok, I go with the Asian selections rather than the Western. I find this often leads to having a better meal as Asian meals are produced on the ground at the point of origin.
The prawn hot and sour clear soup has a nice amount of spice in it as well as little pieces of whole straw mushrooms and prawns, which are perfectly textured and delicious. And the Virgin Mary offered is excellent.
For a moment, I was tempted by the idea of a Reuben sandwich but I decided to go with the beef panang curry, which has thin slices of tender beef and a spicy rich sauce and plenty of Thai basil and kaffir lime. It was served with jasmine rice and tiny baby bok choy.
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