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Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class

Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class

Old Dec 31, 18, 4:27 pm
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Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class

After a quiet Christmas, Mrs. SFO777 and I are off tonight for 5 nights in Australia... three nights in Tasmania and two nights at the Great Barrier Reef. And we're back in Qantas First and the LAX-Melbourne A380, after being fortunate to land two LAX-Melbourne-Hobart saver award tickets at just 70,000 Alaska miles each. Not much traffic tonight on the 405 as we made it from south Orange County to LAX in a little over an hour. We found a nice parking spot in the T4 garage and used the Level 3 walkway to the Bradley Terminal.

After an easy check-in, we headed for security. Unfortunately, Qantas is too cheap and/or lazy to sign up for PreCheck. So, we headed to the opposite on the terminal for regular security where this isn't even a premium lane. And then to Level 4 and the Qantas First Class Lounge, one of my favorite US airline lounges.

I'm here quite a bit as my BA Gold status gives me access when I fly American in any class. The new Winter menu which was introduced a few weeks ago.

We both had a glass of the Nicholas Feuillatte Rosé. I started with the new Tingling Prawns with pickled cabbage and radish salad, sichuan pepper and coriander. Very nice.

Mrs. SFO777 had the always on the menu, delicious Salt and Pepper squid with green chili dipping sauce and aioli.

Then for her main, she went with the Spanish style braised chicken with tomatoes, olives, paprika roasted potatoes, braised kale and spinach.

I ordered the Grilled sea bass with fregola, braised lettuce, peas, broccolini and gremolata.

The dish was excellent with the sea bass prepared perfectly.

For dessert, the chocolate bread and butter pudding with mascarpone cream was good, but not as amazing as the fall pudding.

After dinner, we moved over to the lounge seating area until it was time to head down to the gate.

Last edited by SFO777; Jan 12, 19 at 11:57 am
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Old Dec 31, 18, 4:31 pm
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At around T-50, we headed downstairs for Gate 152.

Los Angeles LAX to Melbourne MEL
Qantas QF 94
10:55pm-9:50am +2
December 26, 2018
Suites 2A and 3A

We timed our departure and walk just right as boarding began a couple of minutes after we arrived at the gate.

Nice to see a separate jet bridge just for First Class.

With the other F pax waiting for the boarding announcement in the lounge, we had the cabin to ourselves for 10 minutes. Still a nice comfortable cabin and seats although a little dated and showing their age.

Pre-departure Taittinger Comtes was delicious...

... but the canapés were awful. The duck was so dry that it could have been left out all week.

The QF First amenity kit. No idea who Martin Grant is, but he must have paid for the exposure.

Not a bad kit with some usable take aways including the deoderant and facial mist.

PJ's were a one and done and not worth taking home.

The IFE system was pretty dated, although better than Alitalia's.

Tonight's menu which given the hour, was available on demand throughout the flight.

And wine list.

Not sure about the bad print job but clearly Qantas wasn't going to spend any money on a reprint.

Since we had both eaten in the lounge, we changed into our PJ's and went to sleep shortly after take-off. Kudos to Qantas for at least getting the bedding right. Nice mattress pad, sheet and comfy duvey and we were out.

I slept really well for a little over 7 hours. Mrs. SFO777 slept even longer... for nearly 9 hours. For food, I went with the "signature steak sandwich" with tomato and chilli (as opposed to chiii) relish. It was tasty.

The stairs to Business Class. Didn't take any pics but the snack offerings in the Business Lounge seemed better than those in the First galley, which you wouldn't know about unless you wandered back.

For the pre-landing meal, Mrs. SFO777 went with the cheese plate which looked and tasted pretty good.

I made the mistake of ordering the Ricotta pancakes with carmelized berries and maple cream, which I mistakenly took for maple syrup. This was dry and simply awful.

Although the sausages were delicious.

We landed about 20 minutes late and were at the gate a few minutes later. All in all, a disappointing and uninspiring fligjht, with no Wifi. But it was nonstop and you can away with a bad marginal product when there is no nonstop competition. Although if I was buying a ticket to Australia, I'd dump Qantas and go with AA's 77W 1-2-1 Business Class. Although if it was just me traveling, I wouldn't fly either of them but go with an Asian or Gulf connection on a real airline.

We decided to bypass the e-passport control and just followed the Fast Track lane which turned out to be the right choice as we waked to the front of the customs line.

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Last edited by SFO777; Jan 12, 19 at 11:59 am
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Old Dec 31, 18, 4:33 pm
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After we cleared customs, we followed the signs for Qantas domestic Terminal 1.

And the Priority security lane which apparently operates on the honour system since no one checked our boarding passes or ID's.

And the Qantas Lounge...

... the Gold Lounge.

Apparently lunch starts at noon, so food options were slim.

Not sure whether it was some state law or just Qantas being cheap, but you are SOL if you want any alcohol before noon.

LOL. Thank you for your patience.

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Last edited by SFO777; Jan 12, 19 at 12:00 pm
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Old Dec 31, 18, 4:34 pm
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We left the lounge at around T-40 and headed to Gate 1 in a part of the terminal that was oddly 15 feet lower than the rest of the terminal... with no escalator. Which meant stairs with rollerboards or some mystery elevator around a corner. We opted for the stairs.

Melbourne MEL to Hobart HBA
Qantas QF
December 28, 2018
Seats 3AC

Boarding began at T-20 with a call for all to board despite the Priority lane signage.

Excellent service today on a very short 50 minute flight.

Including a meal, choice of a hot chicken dish or feta, chickpea, nut salad. Pretty impressive and what turned out to be the best flight and meal of our domestic Qantas flights.

On approach to Hobart.

No jet bridges at Hobart but an impressive set of multi-ramps...

The only line at the rental counters was at Avis, naturally. Despite the line, there was a staff of four who pleasantly and efficiently processed all the customers pretty quickly.

A gorgeous day in Hobart for the pleasant walk to the rental car lot.

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Last edited by SFO777; Jan 12, 19 at 12:01 pm
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Old Dec 31, 18, 5:17 pm
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I remember flying into Hobart airport in 2000. Felt like nothing more than a shed. There was no baggage carousel. Bags were loaded onto carts and pulled into the shed by something akin to a tractor. Also I'm fairly sure we flew a regional jet (Ansett) between Mel and Hobart.
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Old Dec 31, 18, 5:33 pm
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I was just thinking the other day that we needed a new TR from SFO777 to finish up 2018. Very nice so far.
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Old Dec 31, 18, 8:21 pm
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Fabulous. I'd love to go to Tassie, maybe on my next trip to Australia. Sadly when I was in Sydney in November I fractured my shoulder in two places in the surf at Bondi. Caught the wrong wave too close to shore- even people from Hawaii make mistakes in the water.
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Old Dec 31, 18, 9:17 pm
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Great start to the report SFO777, looking forward to seeing the rest. I recently watched a show about Tasmania and have been thinking about visiting some time, I'm sure you'll whet my appetite even more.

Re. the "Thank you for your patience" on the booze counter; I remember a film (though not the name of it) in which John Hurt lit a cigarette in a London Cab. The cabbie exclaimed "The sign says no smoking sir", Hurts reply was rather excellent: "No, it says Thank You for not smoking, I do not expect to be thanked".
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Old Jan 1, 19, 4:55 am
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I was starting to go feel SFO777 trip report withdrawal symptoms

I'm looking forward to the rest of the report. BTW how far in advance did you book your TPAC flight using Alaska miles?
As always thanks for the great text and photography!

Last edited by catmndu; Jan 1, 19 at 4:55 am Reason: caught typo
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Old Jan 1, 19, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by HawaiiTrvlr View Post
I was just thinking the other day that we needed a new TR from SFO777 to finish up 2018. Very nice so far.
I was thinking the same. We are missing some regular posters lately......
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Old Jan 1, 19, 8:13 am
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Excellent start to your trip, SFO777 and great to see a new report from you! Qantas F looks a bit underwhelming by the looks of your LAX-MEL flight. I would love to visit Australia sometime, the hotel you stayed at looks amazing!

Looking forward to the next parts.

All best - and Happy New Year.
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Old Jan 1, 19, 9:17 am
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Sounds like a little stressless trip
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Old Jan 1, 19, 10:52 am
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Great report!

Shame QF F food/drink has fallen so far. Even 5 years ago they had a degustation menu, top wine selection and generally good quality servings.

Its almost as QF isnt really trying with F anymore, only 3 routes have it I think and it shows. (lax/lhr/dfw?)
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Old Jan 1, 19, 12:10 pm
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We were in Tasmania in early December. It was much more than we expected, from the Saffire Freycinet to the Hobart food scene. I look forward to reading your report.
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Old Jan 1, 19, 12:27 pm
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What a great way to start the new year!! Thanks for sharing SFO777 ^^
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