I left the First Class lounge for the ten minute walk to my gate. As Australia has restrictions on liquids in the cabin we had to have our bags checked by guards at the gate. A few moments later boarding started with First Class Passengers, after families with children. It was the end of the Australian school holidays and the flight was packed with kids and their parents.
On entering the plane, the crew took me to my window seat – 2A. Home for the next nearly fourteen hours.
The seats are very different to those from the A380, a more enclosed version of a first class suite. There is no overhead bag storage in First Class so the crew placed by wheelie bag in the bin behind me in Business Class. My backpack went under the foot rest.
The crew came around and provide pre-departure drinks, offered menus and made sure that I was settled. They provided pajamas, a wash kit and the onboard chef introduced himself. The cabin was full – I had seen upgraded boarding passes when I went through the gate. I went to the loo/changing room and slipped on the pajamas. Clothes were hung by the crew in a suit holder they provided. I settled in, picked a movie and waited for us to leave. We taxied to the end of the runway, past an Air Tahiti Nui plane, presumably there for maintenance.
My post departure champagne and nibbles. Just behind the champagne is the minibar which had a couple of bottles of water in it.
Lunch followed fairly quickly as I wanted to sleep before we got to Melbourne.
The choice of breads was super – and they tasted wonderful. Probably the best rolls I have ever been served in the air. I had beef as the main course and it was very tasty.
The had failed to load the Sauvignon Blanc from the menu so I stuck with champagne. The dessert was small, but very tasty and very soon I was ready for a sleep.
I woke up a few hours out of Melbourne, and they arranged breakfast for me. The hot food was lovely, did not taste like it has been on a plane for 12 hours.
Landing in Melbourne a few minutes early, we exited via Door 2 and I was quickly in the immigration hall. Since I was in Australia last the process, for many countries national has changed, and I didn’t actually interact with an officer until I was ready to leave Customs.
Basically, you put your passport in to a machine, answer a few questions, and then you receive a ticket – a bit like when you park a car. You take this to another machine which checks your ID against the information stored on the card, it scans your face and you’re in. Quick, and easy with no queue.
Leaving Customs there was a gaggle of drivers waiting for passengers from my flight. Except mine! He appeared shortly afterwards and I was soon in the car to the hotel.
A great flight, restful and the crew were friendly. What more can you ask?
I’d never have afforded the cost of the ticket, but AA had good redemption rates until their devaluation and I was luckily about to redeem before the change.