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Strawberry Muppet

Qantas Airways Sydney-hong Kong

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From: Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD) T1

 

To: Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok (HKG) T1

 

On: Monday 1st April 2013

 

With: Qantas Airways

 

Flight: QF127

 

In a: Boeing 747-438

 

Aircraft Registration: VH-OJL (Brisbane)

 

Cabin: Premium Economy

 

Sitting in: 37J (Aisle)

 

Total distance flown: 4,578 miles

 

Scheduled departure from SYD: 10:50 AEDT

 

Scheduled arrival in HKG: 17:20 AEDT-3

 

Total scheduled travel time: 9hrs 30 mins

 

Easter Monday dawned overcast and cool after the late showers Sunday night in Sydney. I woke up at 06:30am feeling rather fresh after a late night and took CityRail to Rockdale station (fare $4.40) with a bus connection on route 400 to the Int'l Terminal ($3.60). The direct train to the airport from the CBD costs $15.90 one way (see advert below). Travelling via Rockdale avoids the airport gate access fee but adds on about half an hour. It's also a short bus connection from Mascot station on the 400 but I prefer going via Rockdale as the transfer is easier. As I wasn't in a rush to get to the airport I didn't mind the longer journey. I've noticed Sydney become more expensive over the past few years and the weaker GBP certainly doesn't help.

 

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I arrived at T1 around 8am and checked-in for QF127 bound for HKG at the dedicated Qantas First Class counter where I was given my Express Path coupon to expedite my departure formalities. After clearing security and passport control I headed off to the Qantas First Lounge on the upper level of the departure lounge. British Airways Executive Club Gold members are entitled to First Class lounge access regardless of class of travel when flying on any oneworld carrier. Once inside I headed off to book a spa treatment. I didn't want the full 50 minute body massage so elected for the men's hot towel facial with neck and shoulder massage. Lovely. That was booked for 09:50, a good one hour before departure - I always prefer to board the plane at the last opportunity if I don't have much carry-on.

 

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Qantas First Lounge

 

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View from the lounge

 

I had a light breakfast of delicious passionfruit yoghurt, fresh fruit salad and orange juice with a flat white before returning to the spa for my treatment.

 

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Anita introduced herself and gave me the most blissful and soothing facial and we chatted away like good friends whilst she gave me a good rub over. The waiters and spa staff together with the kitchen chefs within the Qantas First Lounge are employed by Sofitel Hotels, not Qantas. Anita really was fabulous, she really does enjoy her job having previously worked in the spa at a very well known luxury 5 star hotel in the city. We had a long and interesting talk about the hotel industry.

 

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I thanked Anita after my treatment and left the lounge just before 10:30am for the short walk to Gate 25 where QF127 was in the last stages of boarding.

 

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VH-OJL

 

Today's flight would be completely full in both Economy and Premium Economy. I had originally selected 34A which is a bulkhead window seat at the front of the cabin but was concerned that the legroom would be slightly impeded by the bulkhead so I switched to 37J, which is the last row and an aisle seat on the starboard side.

 

This was my first time flying Qantas international long haul and only my third time on a Qantas 747. One of my last flights on a Qantas 747 was in 2008, on the domestic SYD-MEL shuttle, in a 747 so ancient that the bulkhead and overhead bins rattled violently during the takeoff roll. The Premium Economy cabin on this 747 variant has 4 rows in a 2-4-2 configuration behind the business class cabin. Nice and cosy. Qantas' Premium Economy seat, built by Recaro, is perfect for a daytime flight of this length, featuring extra recline and a minimum 38" seat pitch, with in-arm individual video screens featuring AVOD. I was very happy with both the comfort and location of my seat and made the right choice to switch from the front row to the last row. The legroom in the front row looked slightly cramped.

 

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Premium Economy seat 37J

 

Pushback from the gate commenced at 11:06. Due to congestion at Kingsford Smith takeoff was delayed until 11:34. QF127 took off to the south on Runway 16R, climbing out over Botany Bay and banking right to head inland over the western suburbs. An hour into the flight refreshing hot towels were offered prior to the drinks service. I had a cognac and sparkling water, served in proper full size glassware.

 

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Just before 1pm prior to lunch service the Customer Service Supervisor (CSS) in-charge of the Premium Economy cabin approached me by name and asked for my preferred meal choice, being seated in the last row. Nice to see Qantas recognising higher tier oneworld members and offering them their meal choice in advance of service. I flew BA15 LHR-SYD in the same cabin class recently and there was no recognition throughout the flight, except when they handed me an Express Path arrivals card.

 

Lunch was rather good. I chose the beef brisket which was lovely and tender and well seasoned, in a nice mushroom sauce. I've been having quite a few beef dinners in the air recently...and I certainly enjoyed this one. To go with my meal I opted for a glass of excellent Australian shiraz. I was offered more bread and my wine and water glasses were constantly topped up. Definitely impressed with the overall business class quality of the meal and service on this Qantas flight over the poorer version on British Airways. Cabin crew service was excellent throughout, and the call bell was answered within 5 seconds when pressed.

 

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QF127 departed the Australian coast to the east of Darwin, over the Gulf of Carpentaria with about 5.5hrs to reach HKG.

 

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Full recline

 

Mid-flight and I wandered over to the galley for some refreshments - fresh fruit and a packet of mixed nuts and fruit.

 

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A light refreshment was served 2hrs prior to landing - a choice of Toasted Italian Flat Bread with Leg Ham, Gruyere and Dijon Mustard or Blue Cheese and Broccoli Tart with Rocket Salad. I chose the ham sandwich which went down very nicely with another beer.

 

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Crew rest seats; row 40

 

 

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Economy main cabin fully occupied

 

QF127 landed in HKG at 17:12 local time and disembarkation and immigration were quick. I took the Airport Express to Tsing Yi to connect to the MTR for the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin where I would be staying one night before flying back home to LHR on British Airways Flight BA28 the following day. An excellent flight, Qantas certainly knows how to deliver a high quality experience in Premium Economy.

 

 

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