“Why do you want to fly Business Class?” my friend Liz asked me the other day.
“Huh? Did you seriously just ask me that?” I replied, stunned.
Obviously Liz hasn’t flown Business Class very often. Even though this was a short 1 hour 25 minutes sector, one of the many benefits of flying Business Class is lounge access and with Qantas, this is only available when flying Business Class or to those who purchase yearly lounge membership. When flying with Qantas Domestically, the larger airports have a dedicated Business Class lounge and a members only Qantas Club, but from smaller ports like the Gold Coast both Business Class passengers and Qantas Club members share the lounge. So my first stop, after checking in via the Quickcheck self-service kiosk was The Qantas Club – Lounge Review: The Qantas Club Gold Coast Airport
Boarding was announced in The Qantas Club and after a short walk accross the apron, the passengers boarded the aircraft through the forward and rear stairways. The aircraft, a 10 year old Boeing 737-838, registered VH-VXU, was delivered to Qantas in December 2003 and bears the name ‘Wollongong’ after the NSW South Coast City.
Incidentally, this is the third Qantas jet aircraft to bear the city’s name. The first ‘City of Wollongong’ was a Boeing 747-238, VH-EBK which served with the Airline from November 1975 until March 1985 when it was transferred to Fijian Airline Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) and later sold to United Airlines. The second aircraft named ‘City of Wollongong’ was a Boeing 767-238ER, VH-EAJ, which commenced service in July 1985 until July 2003 when the aircraft was scrapped and a few months later VH-VXU, the 737 I was flying from the Gold Coast on, became the new ‘Wollongong‘. So why all the interest in Aircraft bearing the name Wollongong? It’s the city of my birth and where I grew up 🙂 – Sydney to Wollongong via The Royal National Park and Sea Cliff Bridge
A Tale Of Two Lighthouses, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
I was very warmly welcomed aboard by the flight attendants and shown to my thirdrow window seat. The aircraft, although being just on 10 years old was refreshingly clean and spotless and the 12 recliner style Business Class seats had a comfortable 37″ / 94cms seat pitch and a width of 19″ / 48.3cms. Prior to take off the Business Cabin flight attendant introduced herself and offered water or sparkling wine as a pre departure drink of which I indulged in a sparkling wine.
With no wait for the single runways use, it was a quick taxi and departure from the Gold Coast with magnificent views of the city and houses on the canals and ‘islands’ and the high rise hotels all hugging the golden sands of the coast.
The captain made a few extra turns before heading south for Sydney, mainly to avoid a large storm cell where I could see the lightening and could almost hear the thunder – another amazing sight.
The delightful flight attendant came through the cabin prior to dinner and offered drinks of which I had a white wine, poured from the bottle in front of me. A few moments later she again appeared and asked if I would be “joining them for dinner” – I always giggle at that Qantas phrase as if I was going to sit down at a large table with all the crew on board. I said yes and was offered a choice of Green Chicken Curry or Barramundi – I chose the latter. A cloth was placed down over my tray table and the main presented in a ceramic dish with a turkish bread roll and small desert. The Barramundi, resting on a bed of risoni and peas in a cream sauce, was freshly plated in the galley and came with a salsa and slivered almonds on top. The dish was lovely, the fish retained its flavour, was still moist and not dry as can happen when flying. A second glass of wine was poured to enjoy with my meal. Tea or coffee was also served towards the end of the meal. My seat-neighbour, who ordered the Green Chicken Curry, said it was delicious with the right amount of heat, and which I must say, looked equally impressive.
After clearing my tray table, the flight attendant offered to top up my wine once again, but I was actually dying for something sweeter so I asked for a scotch and coke and was obliged – as you can tell by the photo (and the fuzziness of if….)
The Qantas Club lounge; the larger more comfortable seat; the pre-departure sparkling wine, the flowing white wine and even scotch; the choice of main meal beautifully presented in a ceramic dish by an attentive, friendly and warm flight attendant all on a short flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney – this Liz, is why I want to fly Business Class 🙂