Mints and mince, although sound similar are two very different things – especially to a vegetarian! I was at a party once, enjoying a delightful array of finger foods while chatting to a vegetarian over the loud pumping music. The lights were low and she was relying on me to let her know what each of the canapes were.
“Oh this ones delish” I said while popping another of the meatball morsels in my mouth.
“Whats in it?” She asked.
“Mince” I replied
“Oh I love mint!” She exclaimed and quickly put one in her mouth before I could say anything.
Seat and suite – also two very different things. While a ‘Suite’ is traditionally a room in a hotel or cruise ship, recently some of the worlds top airlines have been adapting the term to their pointy end seats and Qantas has joined these few airlines with its new Business Class Suite.
I was travelling with my friend Bert and the aircraft we flew is registered VH-EBA, Qantas’ first Airbus A330-200 delivered to the airline in December 2002. It then flew for Jetstar Airways, the low cost carrier subsidiary of Qantas, from February 2007 until March 2014 before being repainted and refitted as a Qantas Aircraft, the first one to have the new Business Suite.
On the domestic Airbus A330-200 series, the new Business Class Suites comprise of 28 individual suites, spread over 2 cabins, in a 1-2-1 configuration, however these are staggered, so the row 1 window seat is actually between rows 1 & 2 of the middle seats. The forward cabin seats rows 1-5 against the windows and 1-6 in the middle with a total of 21 suites, the second cabin is occupied by 6 suites. The International Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the 28 suites are over one cabin.
In the second Business Suite section, where we were seated, there is only one row beside the windows, row 7 with 1 suite on either side of the aircraft, and 2 rows in the middle, rows 7 & 8 with 2 suites in each. I was seated in row 8 just in front of Economy. One of the great things about the suites is the feeling of privacy, although this does extend to your neighbour with the middle partition not movable which meant when Bert and I wanted to chat one of us needed to learn far forward to peer around the partition, or meerkat it over the top.
The best part of the new suites however, is the storage and some of the design features. There is plenty of storage for your shoes, your magazines and room for you laptop and other electrical necessities with AC and USB power situated at elbow height helping to keep the cords out of the way.
The seat controls are on the console and AVOD remote is sunken into the arm rest under a cover which stops those accidental elbow presses on the buttons I have often endured in some other seat designs. The flip up cover even has a handy mirror meaning no more heading to the lavatory to freshen up before landing. Of course there are the Qantas noise cancelling headphones which work brilliantly with the larger AVOD screen giving an almost cinematic experience.
The 16″ Panasonic eX3 screens are able to be tilted depending on your height or your seating position. It’s also a touchscreen which is somewhat more responsive and quicker then fumbling through the remote buttons but I found it a little too far to lean forward when deciding what to watch.
Another design feature is the larger curved tray table which makes dining so much more easier as opposed to making careful eating moves while eating with every dish, glass and cutlery squeezed onto the smaller predecessor. The curved edge makes all of the meal feel within perfect reach.
As this was a breakfast flight, first thing offered from the menu was a Peach and Mango Energiser. Im not sure of all the ingredients (other than peach and mango) but it was light and frothy and not too sweet. Next I ordered the Tomato, Olive and Feta Tart
Mr Tomato, Olive and Feta Tart looks to have a sad face I know, but this is because I was about to devour him. This was one of the winning dishes from the breakfast service. While the pastry was still a bit moist and not flakey like I prefer, it was short which I felt kept the moisture in the tart itself. The savoury start to breakfast had the perfect balance of mellow olive and sweet capsicum in the eggy goodness. For the large plate I ordered Baked Egg with Tomato Ragout, Mushroom and Bacon
I like my bacon crispy, so this dish did start me off slightly disappointed as the bacon seemed undercooked and wet, well to me anyway. The mushrooms were nicely cooked and the eggs perfectly poached, but the absolute winning ingredient on the plate was the tomato ragout – who would have thought a simple ragout could make a breakfast dish so scrumptious!
Tea and coffee was served and it was time to pop the seat into a semi recline and enjoy a movie. I should have mentioned, part of the suites design allows for the seat to be in a semi recline during take off and landing at the angle show in this picture -thats the angle of my seat taken mid flight, while my friend Bert has opted for a snooze.
I hadn’t even noticed he had reclined his seat into the flat bed position until I stood up, thanks to that privacy screen, so it really does make the seat a suite not knowing that your neighbour has gone to bed. Bert said the bed was really comfortable and he dozed off easily. On longer flight and overnight, I am sure the crew will make the bed up but the large pillow and duvet were sufficient for a few hours day napping.
We arrived in Perth a few minutes ahead of schedule, Bert was refreshed, I was relaxed and we were ready for the weekend ahead. I enjoyed the service, but the highlight of course was experiencing the new Business Suite. It’s comfortable, its private and it has those little design features which seem to add space making it not a seat but definitely a suite!
FreakyFlier and Bert paid for their flights independantly