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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Business Class Monopoly

Saturday, March 31, 2007

We've written before about QANTAS (not QUANTAS, but QANTAS - Queensland and Norther Territories Aeronautical Service) and how the business class experience was substandard in a lot of ways.

Well, I just got off an eight hour flight and some parts of the poor experience were consistent.

The good:
The flight attendants were very helpful. Not particularly attractive (even the men - the purser had this strange mini-me look uniform going on) which is curious since Oz is full of very very attractive people. (And this will be more pronounced as my next let is on Singapore Air!)

The food was slightly better than I recall, but still AA cira-90's quality. Once again I punted and had the pannini, which took a long time to come, but they warned me and were very solicitious during my wait.

Good beer service. Not a problem to drink really all I should/wanted to.

The bad:

Jesus, the seats were terrible. Not cushiony and hard - mine even had a kind of cushion seam and bar under my rear (and I got plenty of padding, you may well imagine. Or not.) and they recline to about 11 degrees. So if you combine hard, smooth, and non-flat, you feel like you're sliding off. Lovely.

Beer selection = poor. For a country with a dozen or so world class beers and just as many very good beers these guys picked: Tooheys, Fosters, and Victroria Bitters (VB). VB is ok, it's the Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) of Australia. Tooheys is not to my taste, but is fairly popular. Think one of those 'boutique' beers from Budweiser. And you can't even really buy Fosters in Australia. In fact, if you want to embarrass someone from Down Under, mention that beer.

First class lounge at the airport. Sadly lacking in good quality booze (best Scotch was Johnny Walker Black or MaCallan 10) and the snacky things were pretty thin on the ground. Again, like the UK, Australia has great chips - my current favorite is Bacon and Sour Cream, or Sweet Chili, and the wife is over the moon for Thai Ginger and Lime. And they put nothing out. The beer selection mirrored the aircraft's with the exception of Hahn's, which I pretty much like.

The OK

The AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand) system was pretty good, with lots of movies and TV. I'd have given it a "good" if they'd had any first run-ish movies on it. But Oz is always 6-9 months behind, so perhaps I should have given them a pass on that.

Airbus. I'm a Boeing fan. I just trust the guys from Seattle more than a bunch of Engineers that brought us Renault. Sorry, sue me. Plus Airbus's rattle on descent, which is disconcerting. Especially in the absence of sufficient beer.


Why can they get away with this? Because they have a virtual gate and thought monopoly in Oz. I got no beef with the marketing (thought) monopoly, but this gate thing has got to go - free skys says I. Like taxi medallions, there may be no good solution to getting to infinite Wal-Mart style competition, but let's let supply float as much as possible.



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