Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Departure: Sydney, Australia (SYD) 3:00 PM
Arrival: San Francisco, California (SFO) 9:30 AM
Distance: 7,417 miles
It was a sad afternoon when Elizabeth and I had to check out of the Park Hyatt Sydney, but unfortunately our trip to Australia had come to a close. I'd held onto the minuscule hope that Qantas would open up some business class award space last minute, but unfortunately that didn't happen either. The harsh reality that we'd spend the next 13 hours flying back to the US in economy started to set in.
We got to the airport around noon for our 3:00 PM departure. We didn't have lounge access this time but I wanted to do a little plane spotting and explore Sydney's airport before we left. I saw quite an array of A330's while we were checking things out.
My biggest pet peeve about Sydney's airport, or more specifically our gate at the airport, was that I couldn't get a single picture of our Qantas 747! There were no windows below 10 feet tall in the boarding area and there wasn't a single window as you boarded the plane via the walkway! It was such a bummer.
Elizabeth and I had assigned ourselves seats 63K & 63H in hopes that no one would choose the middle seat, 63J. As luck would have it, no one booked that seat and we scored some much needed extra space! The economy cabin as a whole was probably less than half full, so there were quite a few open seats on our flight.
The seats themselves were your basic economy seats. Not much space, but I tend to fit in them with an inch or so to spare.
Each seat was equipped with 110V outlet as well as USB ports in each of the armrests, which I'd never seen before.
Waiting for you in each seat was a pillow, blanket, and a pair of headphones. The pillow was actually really fluffy and had a soft pillow case over it. It's a WAY better pillow than anything you'd find in domestic first class.
The blanket was also soft, but wasn't terribly big. I'd suggest bringing your own if you enjoy having a good blanket on the plane.
The headphones were a bit behind the times but that's probably the industry norm in economy.
Each seat had it's own entertainment system in the headrest. The screens were adjustable so you could angle it up or down depending on the lighting or your head position. This was also the first time I'd seen something like that.
We took off right on schedule and had a great view of Sydney on our climb out.
There were three meals scheduled for the flight: Lunch, a mid-flight snack, and breakfast. I know it's hard to believe but I slept right through the mid-flight snack AGAIN, so I'll only be reviewing two out of the three.
Once we hit cruising altitude the lunch service began with a bottle of water and Qantas' signature welcome drink. Qantas describes their drink as "Bickford's signature range since 1874," which really isn't a description at all... I'd compare it to some sort of lemonade with what tasted to me like an Australian twist.
For lunch I had the Salad of Chicken. It consisted of udon noodles, an Asian style slaw, and a sesame dressing. I thought the salad was pretty tasty. The chicken was kind of bland, but if you mixed it all up with the noodles and slaw it gave it a nice flavor.
The meal came with garlic bread and a rhubarb and apple trifle. I'm not even sure what a trifle is, but it was okay. Not the best dessert I've ever had, but not the worst.
I decided to splurge and try the Australian Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir with lunch. I know, It was a tough decision from such an extensive wine list.
After lunch was cleared we were served our choice of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. I decided to try Qantas' hot chocolate which came with a marshmallow and a Lindor chocolate
After the meal service ended I spent a few hours going through all of my photos from our trip. As we were passing over Fiji, Elizabeth and I decided to watch War Dogs with Jonah Hill. The plot reminded me a lot of The Wolf of Wall Street, so I was thoroughly entertained.
After the movie was over I went back to the lavatory to change into some shorts. At the back of the cabin there was a stash of these Weis Blackberry and Cream ice cream bars. This was the first time I'd ever seen an economy cabin with an open snack selection during a flight.
Despite having an empty middle seat, I didn't sleep all that great. I think I tried getting too comfortable and ended up sleeping better sitting straight up with my neck pillow. I must've slept for a handful of hours because I snoozed right through the mid-flight snack and woke up about an hour out from our final decent into San Francisco.
Breakfast service began a few minutes later. I picked the frittata which was the only hot option they offered. It was served with sausage, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, and beans.
You also got a muffin and greek yogurt with granola.
I'm a sucker for breakfast foods, but I really enjoyed the frittata. It wasn't overly filling but just enough to get me energized for my journey through US Customs.
It was a cloudy decent into San Francisco and we touched down a little ahead of schedule just after 9:00 AM local time.
All In All
I was initially dreading the 13 hours in economy, but it actually didn't turn out to be that bad. As fun as it is to fly business class, I had a good time reviewing Qantas economy. I think they offer a great product and wouldn't mind flying with them to Australia again.