Picture this: an exclusive inflight lounge with its own tended cocktail bar, where well-heeled flyers can relax in a private club-like space with plush seating and contemporary finishes.
We could be talking about the bar of the Emirates Airbus A380, or the lounge of Qatar Airways' own superjumbo. But of course, we're not.
Instead, we're reflecting on the Captain Cook lounge of the original Qantas Boeing 747, as the era of the Qantas jumbo jet – which began in 1971, lasting just shy of 50 years – draws to a close with this year's retirement of the last Boeing 747s in the fleet.
While the Boeing 747 is often said to have democratised travel by enabling airlines to carry many more passengers at much lower prices, the Captain Cook lounge made the upper deck unapologetically upper class.
The jumbo's 'hump' was the exclusive domain of Qantas' first class passengers, who otherwise spent their journey cocooned in the nose of the jumbo's downstairs lower deck.
The lurid colours and patterns were on-trend for the early 1970s, as was the nautical theme of lanterns and globes, a ships' wheel and faux wood dividers.
1970 was the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Captain James Cook, who claimed Australian for the English empire, so the Captain Cook lounge drew on his name as well as his Naval heritage.
And it's not as if Qantas' crew uniforms from the same era were any less 'fashion-forward'.
15 passengers could settle themselves on the curved bright-orange sofa, the blue island settee or the hip swivel chairs.
First class cabin crew circulated with food and drinks and handed out cigarettes, if you'd left yours downstairs (the ban on inflight smoking was still some 25 years away).
Such luxury didn't last long. Once Qantas was able to obtain approval for passengers to sit on the upper deck during take-off and landing, the aspirational allure of the Captain Cook lounge made way for reality of revenue-raising seats, while Qantas also coined the term 'business class' in creating a new level of service between the rarified first class cabin and the entry-level economy class experience.
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