luxury travel

Entry Info

17th (Wed)
Mar 2010

[day46] Sydney to Dubai 1

Sydney to Dubai1Seven days I stayed in Sydney and restarted the life as a backpacker in a hostel as I had been staying friends' houses at each places for a month. However, I just did sightseeing only one of seven days because the hostel was bit too far from the city. I had to switch my round the world ticket to an e-ticket and went to JAL which is located in a very central area. Using this opportunity, I also visited the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, amongst other tourist spots and soot some photos. Apart from the day, I spent my time just relaxing like writing journals at cafes and cooking steaks by myself.

In fact, the highlighted event at Sydney was the flight to Dubai via London. Although it was possible to fly to Dubai directly, the flight between Sydney and London is one of the longest haul of the world. It is almost a 24 hour flight and what's more it is operated by A380 well known as the newest and biggest, most luxurious aircraft. This should be the best flight to savour what the first class is. Though this single flight would have cost more than 13,000AUD if I'd purchased with a full-fare rate, the round the world ticket allowed me to book the flight as just one segment of 16 allowances. It's a damn good deal indeed.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

I'd have preferred staying at the lounge than the cheap hostel and checked out of the hostel early but I made too much haste. As the check-in luggage procedure was available 4 hours ahead of the boarding and I arrived 2 hours earlier than start, I had to wait on the couch in front of the counter. Anyways, the soft couch was much more comfortable than the hard bench at the hostel.

Sydney to Dubai1At length, the lounge's gate was in front of me. As Sydney is their home airport, Qantas puts the best effort on this lounge. The ceilings are very high and the spacious room makes an absolutely luxurious atmosphere. Yet the interior design keeps a very simple and modern Australian style. I actually used some Qantas and in general I like their sense of design styles. When I sat a couch, one of the staff walked by me and asked "What would you like to drink?" For the time being, I ordered fresh juice and started browsing the internet with my iPhone. There are many airplanes going and coming in front of me through huge bright windows.

Sydney to Dubai1As it was lunch time, I decided to eat meals as well. Though the lounge has some self service snack counters, basically we order from the menu. Thanks to its descent kitchen, they have quite nice range of menus from a daily full course to a la carte plates and the quality is indeed very high, probably higher than in-flight meals. And of course all meals and drinks are free of charge for the visitors. Though in terms of wine lists, in-flight menus of first class are better than the lounge, as presumably the lounge is accessible for not only first class flyers but also high ranked mileage members, it can be a good idea to eat good amount of meals on the ground. The boarding time came when I was eating ice cream after having a shower.

QF44 Sydney to London

Sydney to Dubai1With a quick glance of the aircraft I found strangely an old Boeing moored there. The interior was identically the same as the one I used before from Hong Kong. I asked CA where A380 was and the answer was "it's working in Melbourne today". Uh, when I booked the ticket, I definitely saw the letter of “A380” on the display. Well it was long time and half a year ago and the schedule must have been changed without any notice. We can't trust flight companies for such a long scheme. Of course the old Boeing which had full flat seats and a lot of private spaces looked amazing. Nevertheless, I couldn't stop myself feeling disappointed with it as I had used it already and anticipated a far better one. Maybe someday I should try A380 on my own.

However, the wine list more than consoled me. As I wrote here often, I have lived in Australia for a year and got some knowledge about Australian wines. And I found a superb item which wiped out my discontent. "Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay" This is the best Western Australian white wine which once won a blind tasting competition of the world, surpassing other renowned world class wines. I didn't find any unpleasant smells and it's very easy to drink. Last time, from Hong Kong to Sydney, I had only a few hours to enjoy in-flight meals but for this occasion literally a whole day was available. Paying attention to not drinking too much, I fully relished the beautiful meals and the wine.

To be continued to Dubai.

Entry Info

9th (Tue)
Feb 2010

[day14] Hong Kong to Perth

Hong Kong to PerthI traveled from Hong Kong to Perth on the day. As there were no direct first class flights to Perth, I moved to Sydney at first and then to Perth by a discount ticket bought separately. After this I was going to travel around Australia and New Zealand by the separated flights. Despite the round the world ticket's 16 times restriction rule, you can actually visit a lot of places by purchasing other flights like this time.

QF128 Hong Kong to Sydney

Qantas First Class Lounge was located at just beside the customs but I missed the sign and went to the business class lounge instead. Although this might be for the security reasons, I wish there were some maps after the customs. However, once I entered the first class lounge, my eyes caught a totally different world from the outside. The ceilings were extremely high as they made good use of the airport's building. Having a shower and eating ice cream I was relaxing there and the boarding time had come before I noticed.

Hong Kong to PerthThe exemplary first class seats, which were different from the old ones I used at the JAL Bangkok line, excited me in the cabin. The near feature look seats were separated from each other and with an ottoman the seat changes to a full flat bed. The cabin attendants would've made the bed withs a seat if I'd asked them to turn down. But I was too sleepy to ask and had fallen asleep without the seat. It was comfortable enough though.

Hong Kong to PerthA huge Aussie beef steak had come to me as I ordered the beef course for the dinner. The taste was very simple but it went well with wines which were from some of the most prominent Australian wineries. Leeuwin Estate, Penfolds, Pierro, it was positively difficult to choose the one from those luxurious labels. Taking sleeping time into account, I had only 2 hours for the dinner but enjoyed a wide variety of wine drinking a little amount from each bottle like wine tasting.

QF571 Sydney to Perth

As mentioned before, I used a discount economy flight from Sydney to Perth and spend 8 hours in Sydney domestic airport for the transit. Initially, I hoped to use the business lounge at the domestic airport since I arrived there by first class but Qantas didn't allow me to use it and I had to kill time at the airport. Writing an entry for this blog and finishing off some work from Japan, what I was doing didn't differ thanks to the free power source with the paid internet connection.

Luckily nobody sat next to me on board and in terms of the seats it was maybe more comfortable than the business class flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong. Undoubtedly the quality of the services in the business class way surpasses the one in the economy class but there is indeed a 10 times price difference between a discount economy and a decent business. I hope to be a person who wouldn't mind the difference.

Entry Info

4th (Mon)
Jan 2010

[day1] JL717 Narita to Bangkok

JALFirst Class Check in CounterThe limousine bus drove me to Narita Airport along the Tokyo high way at dawn. As it was a holiday season, I was worried about the traffic condition but the early morning on New Year eve doesn't cause any traffic jams and the bus arrived at Narita Airport Terminal 2 before 7 o'clock. Besides, few people were there and only a couple of them were waiting in front of the check in counters which hadn't opened yet. No sooner had I joined them than the counter opened and I started checking in.

Check in

JAL first class counter in Narita was indeed just a ordinary counter. While I heard some international airports have services which let customers sit on soft sofas and process the ticket, this time doesn't vary with the usual economy class counters. Well, it was only a short process to leave my luggage and check the passports and tickets and doesn't take long anyway. Incidentally, my check-in luggage had 23KG weight including the carry-on luggage of the laptop and the camera equipment, the total weight of my luggage was almost 30KG. I'm wondering how this figure will change hereafter. Actually as part of my luggage consists of souvenirs, the bag should become lighter as I give out these gifts.

JAL First Class Lounge

JALFirst Class LoungeAfter crossing the passport control, the JAL first class lounge was in front of me and I entered there immediately. The truth to be told, it was my first experience of entering a lounge at the airport and my heart was beating faster than usual. I may be flattering myself but it's first class indeed. I wouldn't have come there unless I'd used such a tricky technique.

Nevertheless the first word uttered from my mouth was 'Hmm.' Though they are well furnished and the airplanes seen though the windows are beautiful, I would say they lacked a sort of premium atmosphere which rouses your inspiration. I know I was comparing with Park Hyatt which is an embodiment of premiums but the lounge should be on a par with the hotel. Taking a seat at the business centre and updating the blog with a light meal, the boarding time had come much earlier than I felt. I went for the boarding gate making final phone calls in Japan.


JAL First Class SkysleeperAnd at last, I was on board. The priority lane induces a bit of my feeling of superiority. Again however, the seat disappointed me because its type was way too old style. Even though I had known the fact that the old type would be used on the flight, I couldn't be shocked as I was thinking about cutting edge first class seats. Well, I can use them later. Typically, the flight from London to Sydney will be Qantas A380's first class. This must be the real one.

Actually, despite the previous complaint, the seat was way better than normal economy seats. I had 4 windows by my full flat seat. Since it was a day time flight, I didn't recline it completely but it was a nice refreshing nap on the seat.

In flight services

Japanese LunchDue to the lack of sleep and a little jet sickness, I decided to have a light weight Japanese course. What is more, since there will be fewer chances to eat a decent Japanese meal as of now, it was a good chance to eat the one when it's possible. The theme was Winter Taste of Japan and there are many dishes of Fugu fish! I guess, actually I don't have many experiences to eat formal Japanese dishes but anyway the meal was excellent. Besides, the Japanese Sake which went really well with Sashimi added extra enjoyment.

I still didn't find any feelings of leaving from Japan maybe because of the atmosphere made by a Japanese company JAL. I know a person who always uses non Japanese flight companies when he goes to abroad because this prompts his feelings towards abroad. Surely my flight kept a totally Japanese atmosphere. Incidentally, we had 3 stewardesses for 8 passengers in first class. Whenever I asked them something, they responded very politely. Although we see a lot of negative news about JAL's business in these days, I realised their service for the top level remained unsurpassed.


After the 7 hour flight, the airplane arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. On Arrival it was very hot and humid as if I'm in a soft sauna. Though it's actually winter, it is definitely hotter than Japanese summer. I used a taxi for the accommodation and the strange view through the window made me realise that I at last had come to a different country.

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