At the moment, Australians are only able to travel interstate. The Federal Government has banned all Australians from travelling overseas and banned all non-Australians from entering the country, unless they hold an exemption. However, due to COVID, certain states need to undergo mandatory quarantine. So, on the day that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Government announced that Queensland would allow people from both New South Wales and Victoria to visit the state of Queensland on 1 December 2020 without needing to be quarantined. My friends and I decided to make our way down to attend our friend’s wedding, which had been planned well before COVID-19 was on our radars. Though, it took more convincing from my friends as it was a hasty decision given there were family commitments and me moving home at the time to consider.
I decided to make the trip. On the way to the airport I noticed that the roads and at the airport, I noticed that it was generally quieter than usual. But my airport shuttle driver noted that it was busier than the past couple of weeks, since both the Qantas and Virgin domestic terminals were breaming with people.
The day before, I received Qantas’ upgrade bid email and decided to take part to support the business and with no intention of being successful. Normally, I would do economy, but luckily I managed to have my offer accepted at $205. Within 24 hours of my trip, I was $205 lighter on my credit card and found out I was traveling Business Class.
I noticed that when booking flights that the prices were more than double their usual pre-COVID prices and that there were less flights on offer, most started around 9 am and stopped around 7 pm. Long gone are the days of super early flights at 6 am and super late flights at 11 pm.
I noticed in the early morning at 7 am that the Business Class bag drop and security screening were not open. Though, I noticed they opened eventually when the clock hit around 8 am. For me at least, there was no exclusive business class line for bag drops and security screening on the day. Oh well…
I walked past the security screen and walked through the sliding doors into the Qantas Business Lounge, which was the only lounge that was open. I noticed that the Qantas Club Lounge was still closed with its shutter down and lights off.
I have been in the Melbourne Business Lounge once before. So, I noticed all the differences immediately:
- All the shower suites were closed. So no showering and getting clean before or after the flight.
- No access to the Business Lounge on landing at the destination.
- No magazines on display on the various shelves
- All foods is served by an attendant. There were few self serve options. Breakfast was served behind the counter. Plus the yoghurt and fruit stand was served by an attendant.
- Drinks were most the same, except there were fewer things available from the counter bench.
- Hand sanitizer bottles everywhere.
I had breakfast and chose scrambled eggs, bacon and toast and also had a jar of Berry yoghurt from the yoghurt and fruit stand.
In terms of the flight, I had all the usual perks of being able to jump the queue and have better seats at the front of the plane. The main changes were that I had to wear a mask throughout the flight and there was no inflight entertainment available.
I flew from Melbourne Airport to Brisbane Airport on Business Class. My first flight since the start of the pandemic. It’s definitely a different experience from pre-pandemic days. The lounge was definitely quieter with more people socially distanced.
I think Business Class on the flight was relatively the same. But I understand that Economy Class only had a small snack instead of the usual hot meal.
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