Qantas is the national carrier of Australia and operates a daily Sydney – Johannesburg flight, using a Boeing 747 on this route.
The Qantas check-in services are (obviously) much smaller at O.R. Tambo International Airport than in Australia. I thought this might be a hassle, and make the experience longer and more painful. I was wrong. Although smaller, all the desks were attended, and the staff behind the desk were efficient and friendly, resulting in me being served within minutes. There is the option to check in online and select a seat prior to arriving at the airport, whilst I believe Qantas has a new Business Class baggage allowance of three pieces of up to 32kg each.
Lounge and Boarding
Qantas uses the Shongololo Lounge, which also plays host to 17 other airlines, including the likes of Qatar, Etihad and Cathay Pacific. That’s where I headed after carrying my luggage through the airport and working up a hunger. Fortunately, the lounge was well-stocked with everything from sandwiches to chips, water and alcohol. I was able to relax and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi while waiting for my flight to be called. I noticed that there’s also a shower facility in the lounge, which I thought useful, if you’re on the go. Flying Business Class meant that I boarded in the priority line, and was soon seated with a pre-flight drink.
The journey back to Sydney is just under 12 hours long, but it passed by in a moment. That was mostly due to the good food, entertainment and sleep that I gorged myself on. As I have a culinary background (Hann is a former runner-up in Australia’s MasterChef….Ed), I’m always interested in what food airlines serve. I also have a fear of being left hungry whilst stuck in the air for hours. But, this wasn’t a problem on this flight. The Neil Perry Qantas menu was good and the scheduled meals were tasty and satisfying – also healthier than expected. I had the duck terrine, and braised beef cheeks. I’ve eaten at Perry’s restaurants before, so I was expecting a lot, and it didn’t disappoint. What was even better was the separate menu of substantial snacks and meals that could be ordered at any time throughout the flight. I cashed in, eating a lot of chocolate, cheese, biscuits and fruit. As it was a night flight, I knew that sleep was vital for the next day – something I haven’t had much luck with in the past. The Business Class seat on this leg doesn’t recline completely, although it was comfortable enough for me to grab a few hours’ sleep. I found out later that the bed is 199,4cm long, with a width of 59,7cm, and a tilt of eight degrees. With regards the entertainment, I was able to move the TV screens around to suit my view. So, I was able to keep the seat reclined and still watch TV.
We arrived bang on time, and Business Class passengers exited first. This was a big advantage, as it meant that I beat the crowds to the immigration queue. This was most welcome, as it gave me time to relax before my connecting flight.
I am a Qantas regular, and this flight reminded me why. It may not have a lie-flat seat in Business Class, but everything is done with your comfort in mind. My main priority is often the food, but they’ve certainly won me over with some amazing meals in the sky!