I, along with my two travelling companions who were booked in RB cattle class were happy to oblige. The QANTAS flight left an hour earlier than the scheduled RB flight which meant an hour earlier into London at 5:30 which was a bit of bummer.
DAY 1 - The Flight left Melbourne, stopped in Perth for 90 mins then travelled non-stop to London, around 17.5 hours from Perth. Needless to say, after avoiding QANTAS for around 15 years I was interested to see how the in-flight service would go, also bearing in mind that the QANTAS business fare was around $3,500 more than RB's $5,300.00 fare.
The in-flight service was impeccable...totally faultless. Spoken to by name by the in-flight crew, meals on china plates on linen with steel cutlery, as much wine as I could consume before becoming delirious, the cleanest in-flight toilets ever seen, cleaned seemingly after every visit. Nightcap service before 'retiring' to bed and a genuine wish to please and to make the flight as enjoyable as possible. The in-flight manager even asked for constructive criticism of where they can do better and gave me her business card in case I wanted to write to QANTAS later...which I did to praise her and her teams professionalism. The only thing I thought of that could possibly be a negative is the vegetables in today's fad cooking were too hard
Arrival was 15' late and I was pleased for any lateness at all...and as I was travelling Business, I was entitled to go to the Star Alliance Business lounge for a slap up breakfast and take a shower and freshen up whilst my friends, also full of praise for the in-flight service in cattle class grabbed a coffee at a cafe at Heathrow before we headed into Paddington First class on Heathrow Express on the first day of our 8 day South West pass.
Next Monday, I'll be flying home RB, so it will be interesting to make a comparison of the two aeroplanes which are scheduled to be the same, therefore only the in-flight service will be able to be compared.
Is it worth paying around $3,500.00 extra than RB on a Business class fare to keep an Aussie in a job...this is what seriously weighs on my mind...it's a lot of money...but I have a conscience, but also a limited holiday budget...
It was 27c in London that day and London, nor I for that matter does NOT cope with heat over around 25c. London has almost hopeless or non-existent air-con so our first hotel room which wasn't air-con at all became an oven after the sun rose around 5:00 next morning. Anyway, the first day, we left our bags at the hotel and caught the tube to Rotherhithe station so we could visit the Brunel museum. Me being a Brunel fan I learnt much and had a great time at the former 'site office' for the first tunnel to be built under the Thames which is now the tube line through Rotherhithe.
By the time we got back to the hotel and found a good olde English pub for a meal and a pint, we had settled in...though my friends from cattle class were a bit jet lagged...
DAY 2 - Friday...we were off to Brunel's Paddington station late morning to enjoy the First Class lounge off platform 1 before departing on the midday 'Royal Duchy' 10 car, 2 set, electric and diesel Hitachi service to Liskeard, Cornwall. This getting close to school holiday time the train was packed out with people as the Great Western Railway (GWR) seat booking service had generally turned up its toes and there were people standing everywhere in the train...even in First class where we were there were two people standing the 200 miles and 2 hours to Exeter
GWR in my opinion, if they had any input into their new train acquisition have sadly bought a turkey with these new Hitachi's.
- Too narrow therefore 'mind the gap' is heard ad-nauseum.
- not as quiet to travel in as the former HST sets.
- toilet door micro-switches go out necessitating a shove to the revolving toilet door to get it to work effectively.
- seats in First are hard...and not covered in quality materials making them look cheap.
- Carriage interiors look cheap.
- carpets in First look like industrial carpet...no class whatsoever that the HST's used to have.
- toilet modules have hand wave operated taps, detergent and driers which are awkward to use and the water goes everywhere.
- no buffet car as the former HST sets did.
Nevertheless we departed Exeter and the poor conductor is also dispensing tea and coffee for the second time whilst attending to the still packed train as he pushes the trolley along offering 'free' sandwiches, cakes, cool drinks and everything else one may desire in First class with the cars struggling in the heat of the barely cooled carriages whilst still running the train with red and green FLAGS, no less...hows that for safeworking being behind V/Line