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Qantas/BA lounge in terminal 1 – Singapore Changi Airport
Dec 11th, 2009 by Olivier

Qantas/BA lounge in terminal 1 – Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore 918141

Waiting for my Qantas flight from Singapore to London Heathrow, I went to the Qantas/BA lounge in terminal 1. With such hot and sticky weather in Singapore, my priority was first a shower before the flight, and second a light snack that would hold me over to breakfast – so I could get straight to sleep on the flight.

Snack

Snack

Happily, I had time for both. The shower facilities at Changi airport are excellent and refreshed, I had time to grab a quick snack before the boarding call. I had a couple of tuna/cucumber sandwiches and a small carrot cake. Both were freshly made, and tasted better than they looked. Perhaps not the best airline lounge food I’ve ever had, but quite reasonable for a person in a hurry and the freshness made up for the limited imagination.

Qantas A380 meal in Premium Economy London Heathrow to Singapore
Dec 1st, 2009 by Olivier

Qantas A380 meal in Premium Economy London Heathrow to Singapore

London to Singapore

London to Singapore

Quantas Airbus A380 double deck

Qantas Airbus A380 double deck

Inside the A380 in Economy Premium

Inside the A380 in Economy Premium

Quantas A380

Qantas A380

My flight this time was on a Qantas Airbus A380. My first flight on this aircraft, which was sadly in premium economy only. As you can see from the photos, the premium economy cabin looks quite good – with wide seats and a respectable amount of legroom. BUT (and its a big but) be aware that the seats in economy do not recline by much. It isn’t just a matter of not having a flat recline, but that you can only recline by a few centimetres – in fact, if there is any extra recline above standard economy class, it is not noticable. So forget about getting any sleep on board in this class, or even really having a comfortable position from which to read a book. There really isn’t enough room for getting much work done with a laptop either – which really makes this class of travel a big waste of money (none of the reasons for paying extra apply here – unless it’s just some burning desire to be seated on the upper deck).

As for the food, well, let’s say it wasn’t really anything to write home about. I had fish (cod, I think, but I’m not prepared to swear to it) that was covered in some green crusty stuff that didn’t have much flavour. This was accompanied by some roast potatoes and courgettes, which were OK if uninspiring. Alongside this, there was a rather plain salad and a bread roll, plastic-wrapped crackers with butter. Now, if we were comparing this to Eurostar or even to my recent experience of Lufthansa’s offering on a recent long-haul flight in business class, then I could say that I did quite well on this Qantas flight. But that’s comparing against the lowest of the low. Overall, the food onboard the Qantas A380 was edible, but certainly not worth buying a higher class ticket for.

The meal

The meal

Average food...

Average food...

The rest of my experience on the A380 was quite good. It was a very new aircraft so still had that showroom “new car” smell to it. And I would say that it was quieter and had noticably better air quality than other, older, widebodies like the Boeing 747. So if you happen to be travelling on a route that has an A380 flying, its worth your while to try it. Just don’t get suckered into premium economy – this is NOT a business class alternative, and for the “extra” you get over standard economy (which as far as I can tell is nothing except a slightly wider seat) is is absolutely not worth wasting your money.

British Airways lounge Terminal 4 Heathrow
Dec 1st, 2009 by Olivier

British Airways lounge Terminal 4 Heathrow
TW6 3XA 

Heathrow Terminal 4

Whilst waiting for my flight from London to Singapore, I spent some time in the BA lounge in T4 (since moved to T3, I think). It wasn’t quite as comfortable as some of the new lounges in T5, but still not bad and the food is the same in both. See the photos below of the salad bar, pastries and (the usual) bacon rolls.

Salad bar

Salad bar

Pastries and bacon rolls

Pastries and bacon rolls

Eurostar Business Premier food
Oct 24th, 2009 by Olivier

Eurostar Business Premier food

Eurostar claims on its website “Travelling Business Premier affords you the efficiency and flexibility to make the most of your time on board, and in such a premier service you can expect the food and drink to reach the same high standards. That’s why when you travel Business Premier you’ll enjoy delicious meals suited to your time of travel.” 

Delicious meals? I travel quite frequently on Eurostar – and make a point of trying to reach the station early enough to be able to eat something in the lounge before the journey. Because the food onboard is so incredibly awful. Think of the worst of economy class airline food 20 years ago (they’ve improved enormously since then) and you’ve about matched Eurostar business class meals. I honestly don’t know how they do it. How can a train that travels to/from France multiple times a day still serve up stale and previously frozen (apt to crumble) bread? It is especially horrid on the Brussels route… How do they do it?

Airlines (whose food is rarely this bad) at least have the excuse of altitude, highly restricted space and time/distance from places where the food is produced. But a train that makes just a 2-hour journey? What follows is pretty typical Eurostar fare. And tasted about as good as it looks ;-)

Eurostar meal

Eurostar meal

Minced meat

Minced meat

Closer...

Closer...

What we have here is some wilted salad (that means salad most likely made yesterday, but in any case old and drooping), some minced lamb (I think – it really isn’t certain), and some (powdered?) mashed potato. No flavour, no seasoning. Honestly, unless you’re starving, do yourself a favour and either eat first or wait for the nearest McDonalds on arrival. Your stomach will thank you for it…  The dessert was an apricot pastry accompanied by some canned apricots. Again, old and dry. Probably made in the morning (this was an evening train) and left out or refrigerated uncovered since that time. If you really want an apricot pastry, I recommend trying them in the St Pancras lounge before departure in the morning – at which time they are actually fresh.

Cost and conclusion: the meal is appalling for a business class. Take advantage of the lounge before departure if you missed your lunch/dinner!  It is really too bad since the trip on Eurostar is much more comfortable than flying to Brussels/Paris where we waste time with all the security.

Heathrow Terminal 5 British Airways lounges
Sep 17th, 2009 by Olivier

Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways lounges
Hounslow, Middlesex TW6 2GD

Heathrow Terminal 5

Excellent view of the airport

Excellent view of the airport

Apparently 92% of British Airways flights at London Heathrow fly from or through Terminal 5, famous for its messy start where luggages failed to travel with their owners to the point they had to be sent to Milan to clear a backlog of 19,000 bags. At least this has been fixed.

The BA lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 are quite good. Perhaps still a bit below the standard of some of their Asian counterparts, but definitely better than those in the other terminals at this airport. One nice feature is that they have a lot of glass and a good view of the airport. Travelling to Nice, on this occassion I went to the South club lounge (since it was nearer my gate).

My bacon rolls, pastry and a nice cup of tea

My bacon rolls, pastry and a nice cup of tea

In hot options (my choice for this day) they serve bacon rolls – which is to say, bacon in small bread rolls. These are quite good, especially if you’re fortunate enough to get them nice and fresh from the oven. There are also a selection of small pastries also served hot. Of course, there is also a selection of fruit and various cereals if you feel so inclined, but I didn’t take those.

It was about as good as it looks

It was about as good as it looks

During the flight (economy) the meal was not great. I drank the orange juice – very ordinary (as expected). Was brave enough to try one bite of the sandwich, and that was more than enough. It tasted of nothing, so I would have had to have been very very hungry or to know there was no chance of alternative food for hours to have been persuaded to eat more.


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