Thanks for stopping by to read about my quick trip to Sydney. I’m trying to do a better job of wrapping these up more quickly so I’m hoping to bang this one out in between family vacations. Here’s roughly what I expect to cover:
- Which Lounge At SFO International Terminal?
- Qantas Business Class Review
- Public Transportation In Sydney
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Bridge Climb! Bucket List Item
- Qantas First And Business Class Lounges at Sydney Airport
- Qantas First Class On the A380 to DFW
My plane for SFO-SYD was a Boeing 747-400. As luck would have it, even though I didn’t pick a seat until very close to departure I was still able to grab my favorite seat. 1K (and 1A) are the window seats at the very front of the bottom deck. Because of the curvature of the nose, you can actually kind of see out the front of the plane if you lean forward and look through the window. It was a dark take-off at midnight, so no pictures. But, if you ever do get the chance, that front window seat is one of the few seats I look forward to sitting in on long flights.
The seats themselves are a bit coffin-like for privacy. While they’re not the newest seats I’ve ever sat in, I found the functionality and comfort more than adequate.
Amenity kits were handed out and I was offered a glass of Champagne (I accepted). Shortly thereafter, a flight attendant also offered me pajamas and asked if I would be dining. I accepted the pajamas and declined dinner, preferring to sleep even though I knew it would mess up my body clock for Sydney. Qantas offers pajamas in both business class and first class on international travel, one less thing you need to worry about packing in your suitcase. If you’ve never flown overseas on a redeye, trying to sleep in a pair of jeans isn’t exactly what I would call comfortable.
The dinner menu did look quite good. I was sorry to miss it, but after about 30 minutes of settling in I was ready for sleep. Menus below for anyone interested:
The seat controls were easy to use and the massage feature is a welcome one after a long trip. The amenity kit was standard fare, socks, eye mask, toothbrush and earplugs. I travel with my own eye mask which was definitely worth the few bucks I spent on it.
Qantas has thin mattress pads that fit over the seats to provide a bit more comfort for sleeping. I found the seat relatively comfortable. Laying on my side facing the window I could feel a piece of metal frame from the seat against my knees, but other than that it was comparable other comfortable business class seats I’ve experienced. The blanket was a decent weight though I wish it had been a bit longer. I would imagine folks taller than me would be more concerned here.
Oddly, I only slept for about 4 hours and then was fairly awake. I’m lucky/unlucky (?) enough after all the travel over the past 10 years to have a broken body clock. I refer to it as my egg timer. I generally sleep when I can, winding the egg timer back up to power through part or all of a day, paired with a nap if I’ve got another flight or some caffeine. I was surprised that my body didn’t want more sleep, but 4 hours put me right around the time I’d normally be waking up on the East coast.
I got up and watched a few movies to kill the time on our 14 hour flight. I was still tired enough that I didn’t feel like pulling out my laptop to work, so chose to veg out and enjoy the in-flight entertainment.
The screen quality isn’t as good on the QF 744s as some other business class products I’ve flown on, but it’s perfectly fine to watch a movie. There was a healthy selection of new releases, recent movies and classic films to occupy most people trying to kill some time. I had to use the QF headphones because the dual jack I carry didn’t work in their configuration. They were fine, better than average but not Bose quality.
About 2 hours before landing the flight crew came through to offer some breakfast. I debated between the Shaksuka and regular scrambled eggs. The Shaksuka is basically eggs poached in tomato sauce and spices. I’m usually down for food like that, but I ultimately wimped out and went with the scrambled eggs for fear that the poached eggs might be overdone given the reheating on the plane. It’s a dish I’d love to try in a restaurant that specializes in the cuisine, or something I’ll experiment with at home.
Oddly, the plate of scrambled eggs was quite good and had very little to do with the eggs, which were fine. I had never eaten beans with breakfast before but they were quite tasty. The portabello mushroom was also flavorful and not soggy, something that surprised me. Overall, it was a good meal that hit the spot since it had been 14 hours since I’d eaten anything.
Shortly after finishing breakfast the sun began to peek over the horizon. Our approach to Sydney was uneventful save the occasional view of the coast out the window.
We disembarked with ease and proceeded to customs. There’s an electronic “Smart Gate” option for arriving and departing passengers in Sydney that streamlines the process. It wasn’t clear to me that I could grab a physical stamp in my passport, so I opted for the express line on the old-fashioned side and was through the line in less than 10 minutes.
After that, it was a quick walk to the train to head downtown. That’s a story for another day, but suffice it to say that Google is NOT accurate when mapping a train ride to downtown from the airport (though it was accurate for all the other walks/rides I took), but trains are a great option in Sydney.
Thumbs Up Getting To Down Under
My first flight on Qantas was pleasant, uneventful. I found the staff helpful. While they were reserved, they were less formal than most of the British Airways staff I’ve encountered and were happy to accommodate anything I asked for. I’d certainly have no qualms flying Qantas again.
When I booked this before AA made their changes, the business class flight cost me 62,500 miles. I think it was a solid deal at that price. It’ll cost you 80,000 miles now. For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I still think it’s worth it, especially given the length of the flight (roughly 14 hours). But, I liked it better at 62.5!
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