Qantas currently flies 4x weekly between Sydney, Australia and Santiago, Chile using Boeing 747-400s. (This route will switch to a daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service from 24 June 2020.) This review covers the Qantas 747 Business Class service on the upper deck of flight QF28 from Santiago to Sydney.
|Route||Santiago (SCL) to Sydney (SYD)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 747-400ER|
|Class of travel||Business|
|Seat number||14A (upper deck)|
|Route on-time performance||55% (my flight arrived 40 minutes early)|
I paid for this flight using Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I booked this as part of a Oneworld Award itinerary, but individually this flight would cost 96,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points + $421.21 taxes & charges.
I was connecting from another flight, so had already checked in at another airport earlier in the day. The transit at Santiago International Airport was easy enough.
Qantas Business Class passengers (as well as Qantas Club members and Gold, Platinum & Platinum One frequent flyers) can use the excellent LATAM Airlines VIP Lounge, which is hidden above the duty-free section. Spread over two floors, this would have to be one of the best airline lounges in South America. There is plenty of seating (including with runway views), a play area, a sleeping section, ample toilets and showers, functional wifi and a good selection of buffet food and drinks. The highlight for me is the South American wine and the Louis Roederer champagne. The food selection was a little light-on when I arrived around 10.30am, but the good stuff came out closer to QF28’s departure time.
The Hard Product
It’s no secret that the Qantas Business Class SkyBeds are starting to show their age. The seat converts to a lie-flat bed, but there is a slight droop in the middle of the seat. That said, a mattress cover, pillow and blanket are provided and I was able to sleep very comfortably during the first half of the flight.
As one of just 18 passengers sitting on the upper deck, the cabin feels private. The seats in this part of the plane are in a 2-2 layout; however, downstairs there is a 2-3-2 configuration (meaning you may end up in a middle seat!). I’m seated in 14A, which is a window seat in the exit row, and I can very easily get out even if the passenger next to me is sleeping. There is also plenty of storage space, with large storage bins by the window.
The Panasonic in-flight entertainment system is not Qantas’ latest version, but works well and there is plenty of content. I particularly enjoyed the music library – something that is sadly missing from Qantas’ domestic flights.
The Soft Product
The service from Nina, the flight attendant looking after passengers on the upper deck, is really what made this flight. She was just superb – friendly and attentive from the moment I walked on board until I disembarked 14 hours later in Sydney.
Pyjamas, amenity kits and menus were distributed before take-off, followed by a choice of water or champagne. We departed on time and for the first hour of the flight, had some magnificent views of the South American coastline.
The remainder of the flight was over the ocean, but the captain announced that today we’d be flying as far as 68 degrees south. This gave us the opportunity for a glimpse of the Antarctic icebergs mid-way through the flight!
Drinks along with pretzels and nuts were served after take-off, followed by lunch.
Here is the menu for today’s flight:
The empanadas starter was delicious, but I’m afraid I can’t say the same about the stale green leaf salad with Neil’s vinaigrette, which frankly was terrible.
My salmon main course was very good.
This was followed by a cheese plate, chocolates and tea for dessert.
The culinary highlight for this flight was the South American fish dish served about two hours before landing. It was juicy and very tasty.
We landed in Sydney just as the sun was setting, one day after we’d left Santiago (as we had crossed the International Date Line).
On arrival into Sydney, be prepared to wait for manual immigration processing. As you’re arriving from South America, the smart gate machines will not process you. This is where an Express Path card can come in handy.
Qantas Boeing 747 Business Class
The Qantas 747 SkyBed Business Class seats are not the most up-to-date Business class product out there. Despite this, I had an excellent flight. The service was attentive, the food was good and I was very comfortable for the long flight across the Southern Ocean. There is something special about flying on the upper deck of a Boeing 747, and it’s a shame these aircraft won’t be in the Qantas fleet for much longer.