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After the evening's lounge hop it was time for us to make our way over to the gate, to board our whalejet.
The QF gate area at LHR is absolutely enormous, so large in fact that there are two distinct areas separated by a large wall of glass doors, in the middle.
Y and F board on one side and J on the other.
We sat next to the doors so that we could get on asap and get some shots of the cabin.
When boarding was called for premium passengers, we headed straight to the desks. It was funny to see how the disparaging look on the desk agent's face immediately melted into a smile, when I produced the gold, Qantas emblazoned, wallet containing our boarding passes.
"Good evening Mr Jermyn, just follow the path straight down and head through the door on the left".
I'm always super excited to be walking down a jetbridge. I'm even more excited when it leads to the F cabin of an airline which I've never flown before. Add to this the fact that this particular F cabin was on an A380 and well... that's enough excitement to lead a man to drink.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves though.
My only other A380 experience was on TG F, which is located on the upper deck. My initial impression of the QF cabin was one of space. There is a notable extra height to the lower deck of the A380. The spacious feeling is also compounded when the plane is on the ground, as all the privacy screens are down.
Whilst the seats may not look all that private, the design is very clever. Once you are seated, particularly on the K side, the seats are staggered in such a way that you cannot see anybody at all.
Although the K side shares an aisle with the the centre F seats, the Fs are actually angled towards the As so in this sense the K seats feel the most private. Foot traffic is a non-issue in F cabins generally, so the aisle was no bother.
(I usually check trip reports as well as seatguru and seatexpert when choosing seats. On this occasion I stumbled upon this site: Air Review. Although I may not agree with all the seat choices, I absolutely love the layout. Seriously, great job).
After putting down my things, I joined K in seat 3K. More specifically, in my habitual position as 'buddy'.
My other experience of a buddy seat was on a CX 747; the QF F offering is far better. As far as the main seat is concerned, it doesn't have the 'wow factor' of CX but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in comfort. I am also a big fan of the quality of the finishes in the cabin. Everything was spotlessly clean and had that great heavy feel to it. Brushed metal and sleek wooden surfaces abounded.
Awesome detail here, the TV screen from the seat behind blends with the wood to form a very congruous privacy screen.
We had been greeted and shown to our seats by a really friendly set of FAs that did a great job of getting everybody settled in, particularly given the fact that all 14 F seats were taken.
We were handed menus and asked what we wanted to drink. Although three champagnes were listed in, only the VC Grande Dame was loaded for this flight. Whilst it would have been great to have some Comtes de Champagne or Cuvee Winston Churchill I manged to soldier on through with just the one champagne
I love this photo: the stemware is so elegant, the canapes were superb and to top it all off, an SQA380 was parked next to us!
The FAs were highly proactive, they topped us up twice before take-off.
K switched to G and Ts and got into a conversation with the FA about lime vs cucumber, different tonic waters and brands of gin. Usually I'd be all for it but when I'm on a plane I am single minded in my champagne focus.
Soon enough it was time to buckle our seat belts, ready for take off. I slid my shoes off and got into the slippers that were lain in front of my seat.
I loved the fact that I could put my bag away take off my shoes and still have plenty of room to store other items and move around. QF's use of space really is excellent.
An FA had also left PJs and an SKII amenity kit on my seat. I photographed these the next day, as the lighting post take-off was quite dark:
The contents are from the female amenity kit. K loved the small mirror. The men's kit had a similar selection with male versions of the various lotions and potions.
Once we reached cruising altitude, the FAs sprung into action. They are obviously aware that people want to sleep on this sector (the flight continues past DXB and on to SYD), and quite a few people asked for an immediate turndown service.
The FAs took our orders and brought drinks over before getting started with the turndowns.
I've already mentioned how comfortable the buddy seat is, the table is also massive and there is plenty of space to place drinks on the side and even to get up and move around once the table is set. This has to be one of the best setups for couples dining in the air.
I didn't manage to take any snaps of the menu before the FA took our order, so I will just leave you with the pictures.
The dinner service consisted of a number of 'small plate' options. As you can see, the plates were not exactly miniscule.
The catering in F is a stratospheric leap over the offering in QF J. From the beautifully rare beef carpaccio slices to the tender lamb, succulent fish and myriad cheeses. Every dish was presented fantastically and the FAs were warm and engaging throughout the service.
I skipped dessert and asked for a herbal tea to end the meal. K couldn't resist ordering the ice cream.
After the meal service I asked the FA to turn our beds down for us and headed to the bathroom to change into the extremely comfortable PJs.
The seat can be adjusted in an extensive number of ways, using the control screen, but the FAs need to intervene to set up the bed with the mattress, sheets and pillows.
The bed is the most comfortable I've ever slept in, in my opinion it beats the newest F products on ANA, CX, TG and OZ.
I awoke around 45 minutes before landing. After all the food and drink the night before I wasn't too hungry so just ordered a flat white.
What a way to start the day. It never ceases to amaze me. The night before, I was in London, and now I was enjoying a decent coffee flying over the Middle East, the bright morning light streaming through the windows, whilst seated comfortably in one of humankind's greatest technical achievements.
I was sad to leave this flight. I felt like I'd only really had a chance to scratch the surface of the QF F offering, given that I'd spent so much of the flight asleep.
In a strange way I'm a little disappointed that EY has now got such a good hard product, not only to the UAE but also continuing on to SYD. This probably means that I won't fly QF F again, given the fact that both can be had for the same number of AA miles.
Still, if EY is not available and I have to take QF F again for some reason, I'll be far from disappointed.