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First Class RTW (QR, BA, AA, QF) - including the new QR SYD to DOH route

First Class RTW (QR, BA, AA, QF) - including the new QR SYD to DOH route

Old Jan 18, 17, 3:02 am
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Sydney
Programs: Qantas Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold
Posts: 93
Here is my review of the fourth main flight of the journey:
Carrier: American Airlines
Class: First Class
Depart: New York (JFK)
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX)

The Review is below. I did take a fair few photos and videos of the flight - If you want to check them out you can view them on my blog site – http://lifeofatravelczar.com/2017/01...o-los-angeles/

THE LOUNGE
Finally I head off from the hotel to JFK to take my next flight onto LAX. It will be my first time in Los Angeles, so I am quite excited. I have avoided Los Angeles for so many years and now I am making the trek away from my beloved NYC to the west coast. I have access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in JFK and I head there straight after check-in.

The lounge has beautiful views across the tarmac (above) and is complete with a dining area, expansive lounge area and a business centre near the entrance of the lounge. Here are some highlights of the lounge:

Food and Drink: To be honest if this was a business lounge it would be top notch in terms of the breadth and the selection available in the buffet. There is also a self-serve bar available with wines, beers and spirits. The beverage selection is sufficient and passable, although a few additional top-shelf pours would have been nice.

Seating: There is plenty of seating and the sofas are quite comfortable with plenty power sockets for the recharge of our beloved smartphones and laptops for those workaholics and instagrammers out there. I opt for the roast chicken with some salads and a glass of wine as I await my flight.

The lounge is certainly a premium in that it would eclipse a regular domestic or regional lounge, however that this lounge is meant to be a First Class Lounge (and a Flagship lounge at that) with international flights departing from the terminal indicates that it probably falls short of say the British Airways Concorde Room or Qantas First Lounge in Sydney. On a more positive note renovations are underway and I understand the new lounge will be a substantial improvement from the current offering.

THE FLIGHT

The flight to LAX is a transcontinental three class services (First, Business and Economy Class). Each of the First Class seats have direct aisle access and it is secluded little pod which is a good seat for a domestic flight but probably not as spacious as the Qantas domestic business suites on their A330-200 services from the east coast to Perth. The seat has the detachable remote control, a reading light and seat controls to turn the seat into a fully flat bed. There also various power sockets for you to recharge your devices.

Complimentary water and an amenity kit are also provided. The amenity kit is actually quite practical and rare to be offered on domestic or regional flights around the world. It has a Cole Haan bag which stores all the items which include C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products (lip balm, Lime & Coriander body lotion and mouthwash), tissues, pen and foam headphone covers, toothbrush, toothpaste, eye-shade, socks and ear plugs.

I start off the flight with a glass of champagne… which happens to be brought out in a paper cup which is just poor form. In asking if I wanted a drink from the bar, the flight attendant didn’t actually ask, he motioned with putting his hand to his mouth in sign language which was quite surprising. Pretty soon we have lift-off and we are on our way to Los Angeles

DINING
The dining menu features three course menu with a salad course and a couple of refreshments served just before landing.

So to put the flight experience in context, I am seated in row 5, the last of the First Class Cabin, so all airlines pack a selection of each dish and unfortunately they tend to run out and the choice is limited if you’re seated at back. That’s my fault for not selecting the seat upon booking. However disappointingly they didn’t (or forgot to) pack enough Champagne post the introductory drink meaning the whole cabin had no champagne for the rest of the flight.

First Course – Smoked Salmon Cheesecake: I have salmon for the first course to start proceedings. The salmon is rich and oily while mousse has a buttery creaminess to it. The capers interrupt this with a tang to balance the strength of the salmon flavour. It is a reasonable small dish to start. I choose not to pair it with any of the white wines on the menu.

Salad – Baby Arugula and Watermelon Radish: The salad is dry and not particularly exhibiting of any flavour or flow. I decide to eat as part of a detox for broader dietary sins on this holiday.

Main Course – Pan Roasted Huckleberry Chicken: This wasn’t my first choice but it was a good dish. The succulent tender chicken was cooked well with the smoky sweet and tangy sauce providing some good flavour to the dish. The vegetables were firm on touch but soft to eat and the quinoa and kale was well cooked to provide support for the dish.

I paired with the cabernet, not a good pairing but I did desperately want to try the Cabernet and it was a good drop. The wine is a blend from the Napa Valley (which accounts for the majority), Sonoma County, and Lake County. The wine has fine cassis aromas followed by flavours of dark cherry and blackberries on the palate with hints of sweet spice and herb notes. The wine has good acidity to balance fruit with integrated tannins which flow into the finish.

I dispense with the notion of dessert as the prospect of an ice-cream Sundae doesn’t quite appeal and I flick through American Airlines Luxury Magazine and continue to sip my wine as the flight continues. The inflight entertainment is not up to scratch. The movies keep skipping and reverting to start midway through each film which made it impossible to watch anything. I decide to revert just sipping on the wine enjoying the magazine until the end of the flight.

OVERALL
I am grateful for having a good private (direct aisle access) seat which to be honest is a very good product for domestic travel. The service probably could have been improved to meet premium standards for a domestic flight (I am using Qantas business in Australia as benchmark not other International First products as that would be unreasonable) such as general attentiveness and ensuring drinks were loaded prior take-off. However the flight wasn’t overly long and it was good to be in LA in the most comfortable way possible.
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Old Mar 8, 17, 3:25 am
  #17  
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Sydney
Programs: Qantas Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold
Posts: 93
Here is my review of the final flight of the journey:
Carrier: Qantas
Class: First Class
Depart: Los Angeles (LAX)
Arrive: Sydney (SYD)

The Review is below. I did take a fair few photos and videos of the flight (including beautiful Sydney harbour in the landing) - If you want to check them out you can view them on my blog site – http://lifeofatravelczar.com/2017/03...les-to-sydney/


This is my first flight on Qantas out of the USA, as I normally I fly via London so it is a new experience and I can’t wait to see how the journey unfolds. I board the flight and find myself in Suite 1A for the journey home to Sydney. It has been a tiring trip, so I have my mind set on a good sleep after dinner.

THE SUITE
Qantas have a unique First Class approach where the seats angle away from the aisle with a swivel such that you face the straight during take-off but after take-off you permanently swiveled towards the window to enjoy the entertainment on screen and use the dining table. It’s not a fully enclosed suite, though does feel quite private and spacious. The seat has significant storage space on the side, with an ottoman at the end for a guest to share during dinner and large TV screen with a controller featuring a wide range of video and audio entertainment.

CHAMPAGNE AND CANAPES
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs (2006): The Taittinger is a simply breathtaking experience. The wonderful touch of floral and citrus notes allure the nose to begin and then there is the beautiful silky minerality on the palate with beautiful flavours of lemons and grapefruit.

Osetra Caviar Tartlet with Onion Cream: The caviar dominates the tartlet with the onion being overpowered. The rich salty minerally caviar is a flavour hit to remember, while the cream mildly balances it potency and the crumbly tartlet offers some textural contrast. It pairs perfectly with the rich acidity of the Taittinger.

Duck Sang Choi Bao: The duck is rich with its natural flavours on full display. An oriental dressing adds sweetness and mild spice while the lettuce is a cool crunch. Ideally I would have had a light fruity red to match the duck but alas I keep the canape course simple and sip the Taittinger instead.
Pretty soon we have lift-off and we are depart LAX en-route to Sydney.

DINNER
Hiramasa Kingfish Ceviche with Lime, Corn, Black Olives & Coriander: The lime and spice dressing acidity cuts through the Kingfish very well while the corn adds a nice textural crunch and the black olives flow through with a salty tarty Mediterranean flourish. There was a lovely Frankland Estate Riesling which might have paired well, but I just to stick with the Taittinger as the lesser of the paring. The acidity of the Taittinger did no nicely to triangulate with the richness of the Kingfish and lovely acidity of the dressing.

Chermoula Lamb with Sweet Potato and Kim Chi Pancakes and Sesame: The spice and herbiness of the chermoula do battle with the rich flavour of the lamb. The lamb is succulent and juicy with its natural flavours reflected in every mouthful. The pancakes are interesting with a textural contrast of sorts with the kimchi vegetables with their unique flavour and smoothness of the sweet potato. It is a good base and side to the lamb. The richness of the lamb is the key to the dish and its flavours are second to none.

Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Cabernet Sauvignon (2012), Western Australia: I couldn’t go past the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon – The aromas of blackcurrant and floral notes with hints of mocha and earth dance with the nasal senses. On the palate it’s all about the blackcurrant flavours. They are accompanied with gentle notes of herbs and tobacco a little bite of oak which is there on first pour. The wine has good acidity to balance the fruit flavours and some nicely balanced powdery tannins.

Spiced Donuts with Vanilla Ice Cream and Coffee Crème Fraiche: The fluffy puffy donuts are a pure treat with the caffeine hit of the coffee crème fraiche giving the dish a nice little jolt. The light spice of the donuts makes for a rather Christmassy (not sure why – maybe it’s sweet spice reminding me of the spice of mulled wine) feel. It is a nice comfort dish to end the night. The ice-cream adds a nice temperature contrast and cleanses the palate in the finish.

BED
I soon ask for the bed to be made and then drift off to sleep in the clouds as the A380 roars on towards Sydney.

BREAKFAST
Toasted Wheat Bread with Avocado Crème Fraiche and Smoked Salmon: I decide to have a light breakfast and pair it with champagne. The crunch of the bread and smoothness of the avocado is a lovely textural contrast. The crème fraiche adds a lightness to the dish while the rich oily smoked salmon infuses a lovely hit of flavour into the dish. The acidity and lemony notes of the Taittinger dance perfectly with the salmon for a harmonious taste experience.

LANDING
As we land there are beautiful views of Sydney Harbour. I couldn’t describe it in words and one photo couldn’t do it justice, so here is the video as we jet into Sydney. So ends my round the world trip.
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Old Mar 8, 17, 9:08 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Programs: UA Platinum, Starbucks Gold
Posts: 661
Amazing! As a wine lover I very much enjoy reading your tasting notes!

Did you prefer the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne to Krug? Can't decide which I prefer.
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Old Mar 10, 17, 2:28 am
  #19  
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Sydney
Programs: Qantas Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by CappuccinoAddict View Post
Amazing! As a wine lover I very much enjoy reading your tasting notes!

Did you prefer the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne to Krug? Can't decide which I prefer.
Thank you - appreciate the feedback.

I preferred the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne as its a blanc de blanc. I love the pure chardonnay rather than the blend with the pinots. In fact (on a side note) my favourite champagne would have to be Salon (which is served on JAL).
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Old Mar 10, 17, 8:30 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Programs: UA Platinum, Starbucks Gold
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Originally Posted by ArrowFlyer View Post
Thank you - appreciate the feedback.

I preferred the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne as its a blanc de blanc. I love the pure chardonnay rather than the blend with the pinots. In fact (on a side note) my favourite champagne would have to be Salon (which is served on JAL).
Makes sense. It would be quite the treat to try Krug Clos du Mesnil (their blanc de blancs)! Out of my typical price range though, haha.
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Old Mar 12, 17, 7:58 am
  #21  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Sydney
Programs: Qantas Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by CappuccinoAddict View Post
Makes sense. It would be quite the treat to try Krug Clos du Mesnil (their blanc de blancs)! Out of my typical price range though, haha.
Indeed, I might petition Qatar to serve the Clos du Mesnil. Though I doubt I would get very far.
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