14 hours and 20 minutes is how long the flight takes direct from San Francisco, USA to Melbourne, Australia, and this was the second leg of my journey home. The first was Charlotte, North Carolina to San Francisco, a journey of 5 hours and 23 minutes. When you add up flight times and the time spent waiting around airports, it ends up a very long journey home.
Lucky for me I was able to use my Qantas Frequent Flyer points to upgrade to Business Class coming home. If you only have enough points to upgrade on one flight, make it the flight home. On the way over you are excited and that is enough to get you through the flight in economy. Coming home you are tired and, more than likely, ready to be home. The upgrade makes the trip home more bearable after a wonderful holiday and you will arrive home more refreshed than you would in economy. One exception though, if you have an overnight flight. There is nothing better than catching a few hours sleep on a flat bed seat!
Needless to say my experience in Business Class far exceeded my experience in Economy Class. Here is what happened:
At the airport with 3 suitcases, 1 over my limit which cost $200 usd to bring home, and 2 carry on bags. Check-in was easy through the self check-in option, tags were printed and all I had to do was drop off my bags when the counter opened.
From there it was on to the Cathay Pacific Business Lounge. Qantas does not have their own lounge in San Francisco, so through an agreement, passengers are able to use the facilities in the Cathay Pacific Business Lounge. It was luxurious, if only I could spend every pre-flight here! My flight was in the evening so I took the opportunity to shower before my long journey. I know what airline food is like and even in business class I am wary so I ate before I boarded the plane. Why wouldn’t I with the fantastic selection in the lounge?!
Seat & Amenities
I do like the feeling of boarding the plane and turning left instead of right. Business class seating on the Dreamliner are pod like with a 1-2-1 configuration. As I was a last minute upgrade I did not get to choose my seat and I was fine with what I was given, I was just happy to be there. My seat was in the middle at the back. Although the partition between seats did not work, it did not matter as I slept most of the overnight journey home. Average in height, I had plenty of leg room and even placed a bag in the footwell. Beni comfortably sat next to me on the shelf and there was room for my own toiletries.
The amenity kit provided was cute, I chose the design of Fairy Bread, a classic kids party dish and very Aussie. Then I received the classic PJ’s with the Flying Kangaroo logo. I did use the PJ’s when I went to bed, most do so you do not look out of place.
To keep me entertained I had a large screen tv and plenty of new release movies to choose from. I tend to watch as many as possible though this time I slept for half my flight.
I can honestly say I was not hungry on my flight home. I was able to pre-order my breakfast before going to sleep, ensuring I was not woken to make the decision later on. The menu had many options to select including mid flight snacks. I could have eaten the entire way home.
For dinner I chose the Chicken Kiev with roasted sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, creamed spinach and green beans followed by a strawberry and white chocolate tartlet. I was impressed by the quality of the meals. I even enjoyed a glass of wine, or two.
Back to reality
Another benefit of Business Class is the fast pass through the customs process. This only works if you do not have anything to declare. I always have something to declare. It was 7am when I landed and the whole process of immigration and customs was very efficient. I was out in no time and waiting for my chauffeur (Thanks Dad). 2 hours in the car and I was home with a rainbow to welcome me.
I still have enough points to upgrade again but only for one flight. This time it will be for when I return from Japan in July, fingers crossed it happens!