After 54 consecutive days on the African continent, I wanted to depart in comfort on the Dreamliner 787-8 by Qatar Airways. Cape Town International Airport does not have an official Qatar Airways lounge so the airline contracts with a third-party provider, the Bidvest Premium Lounge. By business lounge standards, the place was small but served its purpose well enough.
Cape Town International Airport
Upon check-in for a business-class flight, the agent offered me this certificate to use the Bidvest Premium Lounge.
Self-serve alcohol bar
Self-serve soft drinks refrigerator
Small plates, of which I did not try any. Knowing that I was about to be served divine food on the flight, I saved room in my stomach. Maximizing business and first class value is a delicate balance between restraint and unbridled gorging.
The flight I took had 232 economy seats with a pitch of 31 inches and a width of 17.2 inches. In addition, there were 22 flat bed seats with a pitch of 80 inches and a width of 22 inches. Upon entry into the aircraft, I turned left and opted for one of the business class configurations.
I sat in seat 5K, which had a window. In this business class configuration, each seat had its own massive overhead compartment. If one was seated in the middle, the ceiling room was the highest I had ever seen on an airplane since no storage was there.
I have written about the awesome features of the Boeing Dreamliner on a previous Royal Jordanian flight. The business class product of this Qatar Airways Dreamliner exceeds the first class product of many flights. There are first class seats with less than 80-inch pitch, which should be an aviation corporate crime. The entryway into the aircraft was floored by wood, the closest the common economy passengers will ever get to taste of the good life. I appreciated how quickly they were whisked away to the right behind some vague curtain. Almost all of the time I fly, I am familiar with that humbling feeling.
The Dreamliner I took.
The business class has the luxury for decorate space, holding more than a dozen roses, Godiva chocolates, champagne on ice, and magazines.
80-inch bed is even large enough to fit my frame.
Windows on Dreamliners don’t have physical shades. They operate with a 5-level electronic dimmer at the bottom.
Watching Birdman. I also finished Two Days, One Night and Foxcatcher. The screen is a massive 15 inches, but I don’t understand why the bezel is so thick. Use a newer looking monitor please.
A few minutes into the flight, after my first film had already commenced, I was interrupted annoyingly with this save-the-children charity plea. Not what I want to see when I am indulging in my luxury flight.
In armrest compartment are a pair of noise-canceling headphones and a bottle of water. The bottle of water is pointless since the attendants are at my beck and call.
The seat product is flexible.
Nothing like rosé champagne and a hot towel to start of a nine-hour flight.
Menus are presented in a leather folder.
You can basically eat unlimited quantities as long as they have supply.
The wines in this business class flight all retail for less than $100. A Singapore Airlines flight attendant revealed to me that some bottles in its first class product go for more than $1000. Per health regulations, all opened bottles have to be poured out at the end of each flight, even if 90% of it is remaining! Sadly, crew and passengers are not allowed to take bottles home. Apparently, the number of bottles are now audited before and after the flight, to guard against theft.
Amenity kit by Salvatore Ferragamo
Salman gravlax (never seen this word before)
Each time food was brought, the tablet set and a napkin set in my lap. The wood table was huge.
Cheese and corn crispy roll appetizer. 15 year Glenfiddich.
Bocconcini, cherry tomato, and olives salad
Wild mushroom soup
Grilled filet of beef with pepper sauce
The bathroom was even nicer with a deep basin. The faucet was touch-sensitive. There were 2 bathrooms for 22 business class passengers, a ratio of 11-1. In economy, there are 6 bathrooms for 232 passengers, a 39:1 ratio.
Lotion, fragrance, shaving cream, shaver, toothbrush, and Colgate toothpaste are provided in the bathroom.
Business class passengers can’t be bothered to flush their own toilet so it is automatic.
Charging for Internet is ridiculous. Note how the higher data package actually costs more on a unit basis!