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Topic: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-04 09:48:26 and read 27404 times.





”We’re here this early to catch the Air Austral arrival”
“Right, aren’t they from Reunion? I was asked to look into them at work”
“Yea, recently launched flights here”
“Didn’t know that. Where is it coming from? Bangkok or something?”
“No from Reunion. It makes a stop in Sydney and continues to *@%$#@”
“I’m Sorry, to WHERE?”
“*@%$# It’s in *&^%$##”
“Where the hell is THAT?”




I N T R O D U C T I O N
And in two shakes of a lamb's tail, one spotting trip in Sydney back in early 2009 had pretty much formed the foundation of my very last trip in 2010…

It was only a few months before then when I was recently acquainted with Air Austral, only to ensure that their prospect for work was very minimal, if anything at all. But however, the fact that such a small island somewhere, with an airline that had (at the time) announced an order for a few B777-300ER’s was nothing short of intriguing. Where the hell will they fly them to? And does the 77W even fit on the island?

I still had no idea where Nouméa was, when I was only just concluding my acquaintance with the whereabouts of Réunion. But knowing of the existence of an Air Austral same-plane service to the Islands of New Caledonia on a two stop milk-run was just what I needed to know; eventually it was going to happen.

Simply put and as its slogan says, Air Austral is the French airline of the Indian Ocean. It provides an ultra-boutique network of scheduled services from its home base in Réunion, to destinations across the Indo-Pacific African region, Bangkok, Sydney, Nouméa, and has an extensive reach to destinations in France such as Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, and Marsielle. And since the island of Réunion is technically part of France -as opposed to a colony- I think it is also safe to assume that Air Austral has some of the world's longest domestic flights!

Air Austral's stongest point -and for obvious reasons- is to connect Réunion Island to its flesh & blood in France, and while doing so, the airline can also boast some minimal -and rather unique- networking of traffic between France and Australia, and neighboring Indo-Islands such as Mauritius, Seychelles, and Madagascar, to places like South Africa and even as far as New Caledonia. Connect who to where and what to why???

When looking at the global map, none of these islands are visible on a typical view. Yet, there exists an entire world of airlines down south, plying the hell out of the Indian Ocean doing just about what any other airline would normally do, only unobstructed by today's competition that seems to take center stage further up north on planet Earth!

Not much attention is normally drawn towards Air Austral, and frankly, I really don't think the airline cares. They are proud enough to maintain their legacy mandate of connecting to France and its overseas colonies, and will do anything to keep this ball rolling -even if it involves the purchase of all Economy Class A380's and fully decked out B777-200LR's to do so.

They may not care, but I am here to shed some light on this airline as I embark on one of their flagship routes.

Join me!

Loisirs avec Air Austral: Réunion - Sydney - Nouméa



CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-04 09:49:38 and read 27790 times.





WELCOME TO MY 30th TRIP REPORT
This TR will cover the following flight on Air Austral:

A) Réunion - Sydney - Nouméa in Classe Loisirs (Economy Class) on the B777-200ER



B A C K G R O U N D
It was that time of the year when I take my longest holiday from work. The excuse of 'spending Christmas with my family' goes quite the long way to mentally self-justify two weeks away from work. But the twice-weekly Air Austral service can only demand this when a ridiculous amount of self-connects have to happen to get me to and from.

Air Austral UU771 was known for just about a year, to operate a two-stop flight between Paris and Nouméa via Réunion and Sydney. Unfortunately however, a plane change in Réunion was involved during the period I was able to travel. I was still contemplating to commence my journey from Paris -although the fares from Paris to Nouméa were not necessarily cheap, and Air Austral in general seemed quite expensive as it is- but I settled with joining the flight from Réunion instead and saving a little extra cash on the side.

Air Austral's website is very reminiscent of something that was top of its line in the early 2000's. While all the basic frills are there -timetables, online ticket purchases, flight status etc- features like online check-in were lacking, which by today's standards seem to be a must. Even the airline's booking management facility was a little lackluster as it only links you to Amadeus's generic 'Check My Trip' page, which isn't much really. On the up side however, the website was reasonably user-friendly and booking my flight to Nouméa was relatively easy.

Islander airlines seem to have this festive aura to them that always takes me to a very happy place. With Air Austral it is no different, where elements of these fiesta sensations are felt during the booking process on the website. Apparently, Air Austral comes in three flavors; Club Austral, Classe Confort, and Classe Loisirs for Business, Premium Economy, and Economy Respectively. Even sexier than this, are what the airline names as its different fare classifications which go by Coup de coeur E, Flamboyant, Vanille T, Orchidee, and Orchidee Plus depending on the typical level of flexibility with date changes, cancellations etc.

With all fetishes for French airline class names aside, my ticket was easily booked on www.air-austral.com , my seat was selected, and I was pretty much all set to go.



D É P A R T
I was at Roland Garros Airport at 8:50am, some 3 hours and 15 minutes before my scheduled departure time. At first glance, I was quite impressed with the look of the airport. A tropical island breeze embedded within something that is architecturally modern only signaled to me that while I was on some far away island in Africa, this clearly had top-quality French written all over it.

The main terminal building is quite small by today's standards, but for obvious reasons it serves its purpose adequately. Split into two main sections, the departure hall occupies the first half while the arrivals counterpart the other side. At the curbside today, activity seemed to be flowing in and out of the terminal as several flights were operating services to France, Australasia, and the usual neighboring Islands.



Curbside at St. Denis Roland Garros Airport



Departures entrance





Once inside, it was a little less of the modern and more of the tropical, and I was suddenly reminded of Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta's unique interior design that is dim, yet pleasant. On the departures side of the building, the usual array of check-in counters existed, which were mostly allocated to two Air Austral flights, and some 10 or so self-check in kiosks that solely belonged to Air France.



Inside the departures area







At the arrivals side, activity was almost nonexistent as the remains of a few Mauritius shuttle inbounds were practically concluding. Arriving passengers flow in from one area consisting of 4 exists and into your typical meet & greet section with a backdrop of an array of tour operator and DMC counters. All in all, a simple and practical airport!



Arrivals side





From the arrivals side





At 8:55am, I had proceeded to check-in for my flight. Today's service to Sydney and Nouméa was allocated to counters 17-21, one of which was for Club Austral, and the rest for Confort and Classe Loisirs.

The counters are permanently barricaded into groups, some consisting of five and others less, depending on the type of flight and its requirements. While the lack of dynamism in this concept can cause nightmares at busy airports, it seems to work reasonably well from a simple point of view.

At my allocated counters, a large old-skool banner cum document check station on wheels is placed at the entrance section to clearly identify the flight that is checked-in from this position.



Entrance to UU 771's check-in area







An Air Austral ground staff greeted me next to the banner after cross-checking the details on my ticket.

"Bonjour monsieur, you are traveling to Nouméa?"
"Yes I am"
"Is this your checked baggage?"
"No, this is my carry-on, I plan to have no checked baggage today"
"Weight is 10kg without laptop?"
"I think so"
"Ok. I think it would be no problem today, please proceed this way"



Counters 17-21 allocated to UU 771





Queues were minimal at check-in, which is always a pleasant indication of the possibility of an empty-ish B777 long-haul flight. At my turn, a friendly male agent began processing my details into the system after handing him the usual documents.

As it is a requirement for tourists entering New Caledonia to present proof of onward travels, I was asked to present a multitude of itinerary printouts that showed my travels -only a day after my Nouméa arrival- to Sydney, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur.

"You like to travel I see! haha"
"Do you have any baggage to check?"
"No I do not"
"Can I please ask you to place your hand carry on the scale?"

Stuffed with airline souvenirs from my flights on the previous day, my hand carry was well above the 10kg limit. However, the friendly agent gladly let it through as the flight was not full today. My boarding pass was eventually printed, and by 9:05am I was checked-in.



Boarding pass to Nouméa



Baggage tags etc



Such service notices always alert me of a nice flight that is momentarily upcoming





Proceeding airside, I first arrived at one of only two immigration counters at the entire airport. While my passport was stamped in no time, there was quite a queue to get to my turn. The staff was friendly all over, and this was also the case with security which followed right after. At 9:50am, I was airside.



Predominantly wooden and modern, and with a touch of industry, the airside hall consisted of just that; one small hall consisting of ample seating area, two duty free shops, a café and 4 gates that lead to one single pathway filtering out into several aerobridges. One small upper sub-level was also allocated to Air Austral's premium lounge - a facility which I will not be visiting today for commercial (or lack thereof) reasons.



Airside at St. Denis Roland Garros Airport







Duty Free







One interesting aspect of such small Islander airports is the abruptly loud thundering vibrations surrounding you that clearly manifest within all your senses to clearly identify a random arrival of a wide-body. Like a beached whale dumped on the shoreline, a humongous Air Austral B777-300ER came roaring in on arrival from a 12 hour flight from Paris. And today was a lucky day, as only several minutes later, an Air France B77W was also beached on the shorelines of Réunion. Why are these two airlines competing on this domestic route, and offering similarly timed services?



Fresh from the skies, arriving from Paris





At 10:50am, an announcement was made inside the terminal, both in French and in English, which I had difficulty understanding. However, I did think that I heard my name being called, which struck me at the time as a first!

I proceeded to the Air Austral transfer desk and enquired with the agent. After looking at my boarding pass and a few types at her keyboard, she made a quick phone-call to somewhere before returning back to me with a verdict that had me so curious.

"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

That was definitely a great add-on from Air Austral. Whether it was for weight & balance purposes or not, I think it was handled in a very personal way that left this passenger extremely happy, and it barely was the beginning of the journey too!



My new boarding pass





Even the gentleman that was standing in queue behind me, had looked at me and smiled as he overheard what was going on. When looking back at him he quickly greeted me with a "bonjour" just like that. Frankly, I have had a very positive experience in Réunion as everyone from your taxi drivers, restaurant staff, hoteliers, and street people were very nice and friendly!

Back at Gate 4, a larger crowd had congregated around the entrance, most of which were presumably transfers from the inbound flight from Paris. At 11:20am, boarding was announced, and it was to be conducted by row numbers. Naturally, Club Austral passengers can board at anytime.



UU 771 is now ready for boarding



Boarding passengers





My boarding pass was scanned under the boarding card reader, and after the beep, it was handed back to me when the nice agent had wished me a pleasant flight. Joining the single pathway to the gates, I had initially thought we were to board the only B772 that was parked at an aerobridge, when in fact we had to turn to the opposite direction and walk towards an exit leading outside of the terminal and to a remote stand where a second B772 was parked. Nice!



Boarding pathway





Proceeding down a flight of steps outside, we hop onto a bus that eventually took us to the aircraft that was basking under the deep blue skies of Réunion.



Boarding the aircraft





At Door 2L of this B777-200ER, I was greeted by a strikingly gorgeous female crew -presumably the purser- dressed in a red jacket wrapped around Air Austral's tropically patterned blue loose-fit skirt.

"Bonjour monsieur"
"Hello"
"Welcome on board. This way please to your seat"


By 11:35am I was onboard Air Austral .. Let the fiesta begin!



CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-04 09:51:36 and read 27785 times.

F L I G H T
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AIR AUSTRAL Flight Information:

SCR
/UU/30DEC
W10
30DEC
RUN
KUU771 31OCT03FEB 0004007 364772 RUNRUN1205 10301NOUNOU J
GI BRGDS


Registration: F-OMAY (Caribou)
Condition: 5.7 years old, leased from ILFC, and delivered to Air Austral in 2005

Remarks: This flight stops in Sydney

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



RÉUNION TO SYDNEY
RUN - SYD
Scheduled Departure: 12:05
Actual Departure Time: 12:25 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 06:05
Actual Arrival Time: 06:14 (Touchdown)



Bienvenue à Air Austral





Air Austral cabin crew -predominantly male, yet with a few ultra good looking females- were spread throughout the cabin welcoming the boarding passengers. Boarding today's flight was leisurely and in no hurry at all.

Facing the cabin from the front, the slick black leather seating is contrasted by the dramatic turquoise tone of the pillows and headrest covers, creating a very sexy feel to the ambience. Facing the cabin from the back however, not much is different apart from the lack of personal IFE screens. I may have seen many pictures of 777's without personal screens at every seat, but I think this is my very first time to see it live; and it needed some getting used to! All interior design aside, the cabin was spotless clean, and screamed my name to live in it for the next 15 hours.



The cabin











"Bonjour monsieur"
"Hi. I'm seated in 36C please"
"Alors, please follow me"
"Can I help you with your luggage?"
"No thank you, I can manage"
"Voila, your seat…Please enjoy your flight, and let us know if you need anything"
"Merci!"

Freshly sealed blankets and pillows are placed on every seat on top of the seatbelts. At my confinement of 36C, I notice no IFE box obstructing my leg space which is a breath of fresh air. However, legroom is quite tight at 32 inches. Apart from that, I knew it was going to be a very comfortable arrangement especially that I have the entire three seats to myself.



The seat







Leg space



Blanket



Pillow





During the boarding process, the same announcement was repeated by the crew every ten or so minutes to welcome passengers on board, and advise of a pre-brief on simple prepare-for-takeoff 101 rules. This I have only experienced once before in 1997 onboard Martinair's B742 bound for Orlando.

The French are known take pride in their heritage, and also in their possessions and achievements. Similarly, Air Austral is proud of its fleet, its company, and its overall offering, and this is shown on a video playing on the overhead screen about the technical specifics of the B777-200ER. Things like the seatmap, configuration, range, MTOW et al, and destinations the aircraft is deployed to are all aired above giving your average passenger an overview on what this top of the line machine is all about. Personally, I quite like that idea and wish that more airlines could adopt this.



It was most certainly looking to be a light flight today





At 12:05pm, the crew were asked to conduct a final passenger count, and at 12:15pm, our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board and advise us of the usual route basics for today's flight. Flying time to Sydney today was to be a beautiful 10 hours and 30 minutes hence, at the boarders of an Ultra Long Haul flight in my books.



Captain & crew announcements video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iva7VQtFaUM



The seatbelt sign was switched on at 12:20pm, when the crew assumed their working positions in relation to the aircraft's 8 emergency exists. The safety video was aired on the overhead screens while the crew stood upright in the aisles.

The video was relatively old-fashioned but the background music, along with the dominating French, and the subsequent English accent, was a rather uplifting mix that was reminiscent of an early morning sunrise trance party; I could not stop watching, and I could not wait to find that video on the Internet when I got home.



Air Austral safety video
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5s...demo-b777-of-air-austral-uu_travel



Would all ground staff kindly leave the aircraft, this flight is bound for Sydney



Corsair Fly seems to be a regular visitor here





Pushback commenced at 12:25pm, some 20 minutes behind schedule, and while the safety video was playing. F-OMAY may sound like the name of a female aircraft, but her engines churned the roaring thunders of a male in heat, as we pushed back into the view of Réunion's mountainous landscape.



Pushback video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI997Fdc3GI



The taxi to the runway was another unique experience for me. Apart from the contrasting views between mountains on one side, and the deep blue ocean on the other, part of this journey involved a quick taxi on the active -and perhaps only- runway. Passing over the threshold, the aircraft did a big fat U-Turn to the opposite direction, and aligned itself with the centerline in the normal way. After the usual thunders, shakes, rattles, and roars, we eventually lifted off at 12:35pm, and commenced our journey towards Sydney.



Taxi & takeoff video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFMhmjUM7k



Before reaching cruise, the captain signaled -with the seatbelt sign- that it was safe for the crew to be released for service preps. An announcement was then made that we were to be served a full lunch momentarily, which was to be followed by the displaying of a feature movie on the overhead screens. How 90's is that? I was suddenly reminded of my countless Lufthansa 9-hour transatlantic hops out of Frankfurt. That to me, and in my age of time, was when flying was at its height of glamour.



Plying the deep blue skies at cruising altitude over the Indian Ocean





The crew promptly took action in the aisles, and with their genuine smiles they seemed equally at ease with everyone. Similarly, the passengers were quite the laid back bunch which really made up for an enjoyable flight by everyone involved. Service was not rushed, and the crew smiled at each and every passenger as they distributed the prepackaged moist towelettes.

When countless debates are ongoing on many forums regarding the elimination of amenity kits as a cost-cutting initiative by many airlines, Air Austral practically craps all over that idea and offers its Economy Class passengers amenity kits that are considered above average in their league.



Towel service



Amenity kit



Barf bag & inflight magazine



Safety card







In time for the meal service, two trolleys were rolled out, which were manned by two sets of crew for each trolley. In the two main cabins of Economy Class, the meal service began from the front of the front cabin, and from the back of the back cabin hence, everyone is served their meals and drinks within a reasonable waiting period.



Meal service









Just when I thought that no menus were on offer on Air Austral in Economy Class, I was pleasantly surprised to find one nicely wrapped over the napkin on my sexy meal tray.



Beautiful menu





Menu backside





According to the menu, a choice between oriental lamb meatballs and a seafood gratin was on offer however, it seemed that only the lamb was available as I was not offered a choice. Nevertheless, the lamb was the choice I would have gone for in the first place anyways.

The meal tray was beautifully presented, and its contents were quite generous for today's Economy standard. A non-plastic glass, metallic silverware, and the usual condiments were neatly placed in between the plates. Included on the tray, was a bread bun, butter, a small tub of water, pretzels, cheese, and a bar of chocolate. For the starter, a large portion of salmon rilette was on offer which came with a salad consisting of crab, shrimp, risotto, and carrots. The main course consisted of a Moroccan infused fare of oriental lamb meatballs which were accompanied with couscous, raisins, and vegetable ratatouille. Finally dessert consisted of a small serving of strawberry mousse.



Meal tray





Starter



Main course



Dessert





"Monsieur, what can I offer you to drink?"
"Do you have vodka?"
"Yes sure"
"Is it possible to have a Bloody Mary? Or maybe just tomato juice & vodka?"
"Of course! But I am very sorry I do not have emm .. how do you call this, for spicy"
"Oh Tabasco, that's alright!"
"Ok, attend, I will get one for you"

After a quick trip back to the galley, the crew returned with a bottle of Tabasco!

"Okay, I found it for you monsieur. So you can now have a good Bloody Mary"
"Thanks for that"
"My pleasure"

And it didn't end here, he returned once again to the galley and fetched a packet especially designed for the Bloody Mary which consisted of a napkin, a plastic stirrer, and celery salt! How cool is that?

They say that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well the way to my heart is through the offering of a damn good Bloody Mary, and today, Air Austral found its way into me!



Introducing the Air Austral Bloody Mary!





While salmon (and tuna) are my very least favorites in the seafood area, I decided to go ahead and give the salmon rilette a try. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and in fact, the crab salad that accompanied it was rather tasty. The main course on the other hand, was out of this world! The lamb was the best of its kind I have ever had on a flight (and I usually find airline lamb to have an awful after-taste) and it came with a very nice gravy that perfectly complemented the couscous and the vegetables. In fact, everything on my meal tray was of exceptional quality and taste. I think I can assume that Air Austral's catering is one of the best I have ever tried!



Coffee / Tea was offered after the meal, and my tea came in a stylish cup





After the service, some passengers settled for the movie that played on the overhead screens (forgot what it was), most slept away, while some socialized within the confinements of their seating spaces. One thing about personal IFE on a flight -and including your very own route map- is that you tend to ignore the remainder of the flight and pass the time through a movie marathon of some sort. I had forgotten how refreshing it can be to just sit back, relax, reflect on life with a few thoughts, and do absolutely nothing apart from take in your in-flight surroundings, hour after hour.



Cabin after the meal service











I was starting to feel a little drowsy, and as such, I made myself a comfortable bed on my three seats, and played a series of Family Guy episodes on my new IPad to play in the background, the way I would normally do it at home.

By the time I was falling asleep, the crew had already begun a very consistent water run across the aisles, every 30 or so minutes.



In bed with Air Austral





Waking up approximately five and a half hours before landing, it was pitch dark inside as well as outside the cabin, and practically everyone had fallen asleep. A crew noticed me walking towards the galley, and immediately got up from his seat to assist me.

"Monsieur?"
"Can I have a cup of Diet Coke please?"
"Sure. Please also help yourself to some sandwiches if you like"
"Thank you"



My Diet Coke and cheese sandwich



Cabin view deep into the flight

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/UU001/066.jpg




A sneak peek at the Air Austral lavatory, which was beautifully maintained





Now this is very interesting! Was this plane owned by AF before?





With still another several hours to go, my leisure activities on board had their limitations, and all I could keep on doing was play on my IPad, look out the window, subscribe to one of the every-30 minute water runs, and so on and so forth.



Reading some Travel & Leisure on my IPad



Looking out the window I perhaps find the only strip of land along the way



And I settled for several of those along the way



I do like this cup holder





At this point during the flight, we were too close to Sydney to relax, yet too far away to do anything about it. While it was still dark outside, I think all of us were well-rested by then, and we were getting very antsy. Passengers kept going back and forth between their seats and the galley, when at some point, about 15 to 20 people had congregated in the back galley, surrounding the cabin crew that were manning the duty free cart. Not to worry however, the crew were not the least bit annoyed; in fact, they kept talking to the passengers to keep them company.



More cabin views in the dark









Back in the galley one more time, I had requested to purchase a few items from the inflight Duty Free. While that was happening, the crew had a friendly chat with me.

"Are you continuing with us to Nouméa today?"
"Yes I am. It is my first time there, and also my first time on Air Austral"
"Ah, Nouméa is nice, you will enjoy it"
"Will there be a crew change in Sydney?"
"Yes, we will stay in Sydney for 5 days before going to Nouméa"
"I hope you have enjoyed the flight with Air Austral"
"Yes I did. thank you very much"



Some essentials from the duty free





At 4:45am local time in Sydney, the cabin lights were switched on, but in the most unusual way. Instead of the regular cabin lights, the crew turned on all the personal reading lights at every seat. I had not seen something like this before, and perhaps it was a more private way to shed some light across the cabin as the atmosphere was still not too bright to sleep.



Reading lights on!



Hot towel service was promptly conducted with a smile







In a similar way as with the previous lunch service, two trolleys were rolled out for each opposing side of the two cabins. While the second serving on the menu indicated a light meal consisting of pineapple salad, a sandwich, and cottage cheese, the actual serving was a totally different continental breakfast.



Breakfast service





"Bonjour monsieur, petit dejeuner?"
"Yes please"
"Can I get you some something to drink? Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, some juices?"
"I'll have some tea with milk please"

Breakfast was a very simple serving which consisted of a small tub of fruit nectar, fruit yoghurt, two bread rolls, butter, strawberry jam, a fruit salad serving, my cup of tea that I had requested, and the usual condiments in between.



My meal tray





The overall breakfast serving was quite satisfying, and it hit the right spot. Though, I was expecting something a little more substantial.



Approaching dawn outside



Cabin after the breakfast service







At 5:50am Sydney local time, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards Sydney Airport, and that we were expected to land at 6:15am.

The crew made their final preparations to ready the cabin for arrival, and things such as blankets and headsets were collected and stowed. Also. the usual video on Australia's strict immigration and customs procedures was played.



Cabin shot during descent





At 6:05am, the seatbelt sign was switched on, and get this, an arrival safety video was played on the overhead screens! This was a simpler version that included a reminder on the basics such as fastening your seatbelt, and stowing tray tables, and seats in upright positions etc. The video concluded with a final reminder on emergency exit positions, and the reference to the safety cards for more information. How very interesting!



Sydney landing & arrival announcement video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-dbB-hAZ7c



At 6:15am, F-OMAY touched down at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport. Normally, the flight would come to an end at this stage, but I was well aware that I still had one more sector to go on this bird.

All passengers on the continuing service to Nouméa were asked to deplane during the transit stop while the aircraft cabins were cleaned.

At the gate, the engines powered out, and the seatbelt sign was switched off before everyone scrambled out of their seats to get the hell out. With all my belongings in hand, I walked to Door 2L where I thanked the crew for their outstanding efforts before proceeding down the jetway and into the terminal building.



CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-04 09:52:51 and read 27637 times.

TRANSIT STOP





Not much guidance was given to transit passengers, and in terms of signage leading to the international transfer area, there was very little of it at Sydney Airport. The few small signs that were available could have easily been missed, and not many staff were on hand to assist passengers.

Having said this however, transiting at Sydney Airport -whether it be self-connect or otherwise- was a relatively easy process. Upon arrival into the airport, transit passengers on international flights are to proceed through a security checkpoint that is located just before the arrival immigration area. Once through with that, you join the main airside departures hall through the escalators, one level up.



FIDS at SYD



A quickie spotting session



On my way to Gate 25



At the gate at 6:40am where a new set of crew awaits





Air Austral does not have 5th Freedom Traffic Rights between Sydney and Nouméa. A great way to bypass this was to get into a marketing agreement with Air Calin where all passenger uplift between Sydney and Nouméa technically belonged to Air Calin on a flight only operated by Air Austral.

Apart from two nuns, no one else seemed to join the flight from Sydney. In fact, I had assumed that most passengers from Réunion (and/or Paris) would continue onwards to Nouméa when in fact, it seemed to be the opposite today.

At 6:50am, the crew boarded the aircraft, and an announcement was made five minutes later to inform us that boarding would commence within 20 minutes.



Boarding commenced at 7:15am

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/UU001/096.jpg


And through the aerobridge

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/UU001/097.jpg




At Door 2L of the aircraft again, a new set of crew is greeting all boarding passengers. As with the previous crew, they are happy to do their job without any attitude or what have you.

"Bonjour monsieur, welcome on board"



By 7:20am, I was back on board the aircraft.



CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-04 09:54:49 and read 27705 times.

SYDNEY TO NOUMÉA
SYD - NOU
Scheduled Departure: 07:40
Actual Departure Time: 07:35 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 10:30
Actual Arrival Time: 10:10 (Touchdown)



Back in the cabin, it was as clean as it was in Réunion, only without the blankets and the pillows.



Seat & cabin views at Sydney











At 7:30am, our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board, and advised us of our short 2 hour and 20 minute flight time to Nouméa.



Cabin before pushback





Pushback occurred at 7:35am, and the Sunrise Ecstasy Trance Safety Video was played again on the overhead screens.



Taxiing to the runway and passing by some of Sydney's morning activity



I think we used the 'far' runway at SYD?



Lining up



And finally taking off at 7:46am



A slight bank to the left, and Nouméa here we come!





When it was safe to do so, the crew were released from their seats to commence the service. As with the previous sector, an announcement was made to inform us that the service on this flight included a breakfast, followed by tea/coffee/hot chocolate service, and that short programming was to be featured on the overhead screens.



RJ-style take-home headsets were handed out



Enjoying the view until Brekkie arrived





Due to an even smaller amount of passengers on board, the meal service was conducted rather swiftly, and if I remember correctly, only one trolley was adequate for both Economy Class cabins.

My breakfast tray was -again- neatly presented, and consisted of a more substantial breakfast than the one served on the last sector. Included on the tray was a cup of fruit salad, fruit yoghurt, a bread bun, a small tub of orange juice, butter, jam, Nutella (!!!), my cup of tea, a muffin, and the usual condiments. The main course included an egg omelet which was accompanied with one piece of breakfast sausage and a serving of grilled tomato.



Breakfast to Nouméa





Fruit



Main course





Again, breakfast was of excellent quality, and I have always enjoyed the good catering efforts at Sydney Airport. The omelet was perfectly cooked, and the sausage wasn't drenched in oil. Finally, I am a HUGE sucker for Nutella (I can eat this thing with a spoon), and that was simply the icing on the cake! Well done Air Austral!



Cabin during the meal service





The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful, especially when the crew had announced that there was a problem with the IFE system that it was not to operate for the remainder of the flight.

Soon enough, and at 9:45am local time at Nouméa, the aircraft took a slight dip into lower altitudes which signaled our initial descent towards Tontouta Airport. Everyone was far too tired to notice anything, as most passengers were sprawled on the 4 sets of middle seats fast asleep. However, after the captain made the arrival announcement, in no time did everyone jump out of their sleep at the same time, and immediately return to their original seats for landing. We were expected to land at Nouméa within 20 minutes.



Some final cabin shots prior to arrival











Nouméa landing & arrival video (beautiful scenery):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIT8zBH3Qr0



A R R I V É E
At 10:10am, F-OMAY had touched down at Tontouta Airport in Nouméa, bringing an end to this enjoyable journey.

"Ladies & gentlemen we have just landed at Tontouta Airport, welcome to New Caledonia. Ten past ten is the local time and the temperature is 32 degrees. Please keep your seatbelts fastened until the seatbelt sign has been turned off. On arriving at the parking bay, be careful when opening the overhead lockers, as objects might fall out. We hope you have enjoyed this flight, and look forward to welcoming you again soon on another Air Austral flight. Our ground staff will be happy to welcome you should you need any assistance. Goodbye and have a nice day!"

Tontouta's airfield is very small, and the taxi to the stand was barely a few minutes. After exiting the runway, we turned left and straight into the Apron where the aircraft was to park overnight before its flight back to St. Denis the next day.

Arrival into Nouméa was a little messy as the immigration staff were too slow. Moreover, only two counters were available to process all the passengers. It would have been more chaotic had the flight been full, and even with the handful of passengers today, the queue was moving slowly as it is.

I had expected a little more out of Nouméa for some reason. I was quite disappointed at the terrible state of its airport. It was worse than a third world offering, and it seemed like it was completely neglected. The landside terminal building was undergoing an expansion plan to upgrade the facilities, but until that is complete, you practically walk through the construction site to get out of the airport.



C O N C L U S I O N
I am happy to say that Air Austral is now one of my favorite airlines alongside Cathay Pacific, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, and the bunch.

They have a top notch Economy Class product, that even with the lack of any modern hardware, can easily outdo many other offerings out there. The entire journey with two sets of crew was extremely consistent and flowing smoothly. The crew were really there to help the passenger enjoy the long journey, and their willingness to help never stopped, even had they been quite exhausted after working on such a long flight.

Furthermore, the quality of the food was exceptional and the meal quantity was quite generous overall. I would love to make Air Austral a regular airline I can fly on, but the logistics of that would be quite difficult from where I live.



This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!

Regards,
Roni







E Q U I P M E N T
- Camera:
- Canon 50D
- Canon PowerShot G11

- Lenses:
- Sigma 10-20mm Wide Angle
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye



PREVIOUS WORK
El Tasman Caliente!: LAN Vs Aerolíneas Argentinas (by ronerone Dec 19 2010 in Trip Reports)
Dancing In The Dark: An Emirates A380 Inaugural… (by ronerone Oct 24 2010 in Trip Reports)
This Suite Has Sliding Doors: Emirates F DXB-JNB (by ronerone Sep 5 2010 in Trip Reports)
Transito!: A Connection On TAAG-Angola (B743/B772) (by ronerone Jul 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
Keeping Up With The JETs: 9W Première HKG-DEL-DXB (by ronerone Jul 18 2010 in Trip Reports)
Petra Express!: On Royal Jordanian's A330-200 (by ronerone Jun 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Suite Redemptions: Cathay Pacific BKK-HKG In F (by ronerone May 14 2010 in Trip Reports)
Uniquely Boutique: Oman Air Business Class To BKK (by ronerone Apr 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH (by ronerone Feb 20 2010 in Trip Reports)
SriLankan Airlines: The Treasure Of Serendib! (by Ronerone Jan 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK (by Ronerone Dec 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
OpenSkies From British Airways: A New Era's End? (by Ronerone Oct 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class (by Ronerone Sep 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)



F L I C K R
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jy-rwh79/sets/72157625850327291/



F A C E B O O K
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
Someone hacked into my previous Facebook account while I was at the Silver Kris lounge in Singapore. This mystery person changed all the details in my account, and now it belongs to someone that goes by the name Michal Katz. I would suggest deleting this person from your friends list.

I have created a new account, and I am still in the process of recovering my friends list, though some are not searchable on Facebook. Please feel free to add me here:

Fly Roni
Please mention who you are when (and if) you want to add me as a friend



YOU TUBE
Username: ronerone
I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!







THE END

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: luxair747SP
Posted 2011-02-04 10:25:25 and read 27228 times.

Hi Roni,
an outstanding report with many high quality pictures.
Air Austral is for sure an airlines not covered at all in th TR section so thank you for showing us.
The seats look very comfortable and I think sometimes its nice without screen in front of you, especially with such a light load.
Do you know how the C-class looked like?
The food seems to be okay for Y-class.
Thank you a lot for sharing
Cheers
Johannes

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: akhmad
Posted 2011-02-04 11:10:45 and read 27077 times.

Hi there my friend,

I was in heaven when I saw your report popping up. Loisir avec Air Austral? Oh la la mon ami, je ne savais pas que tu parlais français aussi. Just look how you get inspired to fly an airline by a spotting session. Tres bien!

Allow to indulge myself in the whole sequence and to say what I would have said if I was there with you.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Roland Garros Airport

Nice airport name! What an honour to Roland Garros.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was suddenly reminded of Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta's unique interior design that is dim, yet pleasant

Hey, I am missing something here. Roni, is there anything else we should know?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
However, the friendly agent gladly let it through as the flight was not full today
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

The ground service at its best! The hidden gem of the Indian ocean!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Bienvenue à Air Austral
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
F-OMAY may sound like the name of a female aircraft, but her engines churned the roaring thunders of a male in heat, as we pushed back into the view of Réunion's mountainous landscape.

What a sultry, sexy experience. A promising beginning of the journey.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
"Monsieur, what can I offer you to drink?"
"Do you have vodka?"
"Yes sure"
"Is it possible to have a Bloody Mary? Or maybe just tomato juice & vodka?"
"Of course! But I am very sorry I do not have emm .. how do you call this, for spicy"
"Oh Tabasco, that's alright!"
"Ok, attend, I will get one for you"

After a quick trip back to the galley, the crew returned with a bottle of Tabasco!

"Okay, I found it for you monsieur. So you can now have a good Bloody Mary"
"Thanks for that"
"My pleasure"

And it didn't end here, he returned once again to the galley and fetched a packet especially designed for the Bloody Mary which consisted of a napkin, a plastic stirrer, and celery salt! How cool is that?

  

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
and do absolutely nothing apart from take in your in-flight surroundings, hour after hour.

Accompanied with a digital camera and a huge memory card.

I am speechless, Roni. Great pictures. Exciting story. You are truly inspiring me for my upcoming journey. Thank you so much.

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2011-02-04 11:21:59 and read 27003 times.

Hi Roni,

what a nice surprise to find an Air Austral report created by ronerone! You posted a stunning review with excellent pictures, what a pleasure to read!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):

"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

Very nice!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Frankly, I have had a very positive experience in Réunion as everyone from your taxi drivers, restaurant staff, hoteliers, and street people were very nice and friendly!

Interesting, it seems I should go there one day.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Facing the cabin from the front, the slick black leather seating is contrasted by the dramatic turquoise tone of the pillows and headrest covers, creating a very sexy feel to the ambience.

Wow, that cabin looks great...

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Facing the cabin from the back however, not much is different apart from the lack of personal IFE screens.

...but the lack of PTVs really shocked me. In contast to the two other 772ERs in the fleet, F-OMAY was delivered factory fresh to UU, so I assumed it would be equipped with decent IFE. I really hope the 77Ws are equipped with modern IFE.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):

The meal tray was beautifully presented, and its contents were quite generous for today's Economy standard. A non-plastic glass, metallic silverware, and the usual condiments were neatly placed in between the plates. Included on the tray, was a bread bun, butter, a small tub of water, pretzels, cheese, and a bar of chocolate. For the starter, a large portion of salmon rilette was on offer which came with a salad consisting of crab, shrimp, risotto, and carrots. The main course consisted of a Moroccan infused fare of oriental lamb meatballs which were accompanied with couscous, raisins, and vegetable ratatouille. Finally dessert consisted of a small serving of strawberry mousse.

Very impressive meal service!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Air Austral does not have 5th Freedom Traffic Rights between Sydney and Nouméa

That's bad to hear...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
Nutella (!!!)

UU made a good choice...


PH

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2011-02-04 11:34:57 and read 26943 times.

Thanks for sharing - Air Austral flies some interesting routes! The cabin looks nice, although 32" leg room and 3x4x3 looks pretty tight - not sure I'd be great on a CDG-NOU flight. Lucky your flights weren't full.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: luv2fly
Posted 2011-02-04 12:09:36 and read 26841 times.

Another well written report. No shoe shots, I wanted to see what new ones you now have.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: SOBHI51
Posted 2011-02-04 13:11:27 and read 26632 times.

Hello Roni
Again a very nice report and the usual great pictures, but due to you traveling in Y??? no leg shot.

How did you get to La Reunion?
You stayed there for 24 hours did you like the island?
No pictures of Nouema airport?
Where did you fly from there, not sure there is a lot of choices?

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: fasty
Posted 2011-02-04 13:23:21 and read 26601 times.

Salut Roni,

WOW, excellent report, extremely detailed as are actually all your previous posts as well.

I saw some adds about this route in a french magazine a few months back and I was really curious about what it would look like.
Now I have my picture thanks to you !

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
And does the 77W even fit on the island?

Haha well now your doubts are cleared

It's obvious from the descriptions you draw that you tremendously enjoy flying, I wish you to have the opportunity to keep up the good job for long ...

A la prochaine.

Thomas

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: Planemad1
Posted 2011-02-04 13:29:01 and read 26583 times.

Excellent.

Thankyou.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: Aflyingkiwi
Posted 2011-02-04 13:41:53 and read 26550 times.

Hi Roni,

Congratulations on your part for creating another outstanding report complete with superb pictures. I've always wondered how UU could fill the 77E on the RUN-SYD-NOU route. Doesn't really seem like a route that would get high loads but they're still operating that route so I guess they find a way.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

Excellent ground service.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
and offers its Economy Class passengers amenity kits that are considered above average in their league.

  

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Air Austral does not have 5th Freedom Traffic Rights between Sydney and Nouméa. A great way to bypass this was to get into a marketing agreement with Air Calin where all passenger uplift between Sydney and Nouméa technically belonged to Air Calin on a flight only operated by Air Austral.

It's a shame that they don't have fifth freedom rights but good ingenuity on UU's part for finding a way around this.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-04 13:48:06 and read 26513 times.

Hey Roni!

Another masterpiece brings us some insight into this less-known airline which plies its trade not too far from where I live, but it is still so hard to catch - even trying to spot it in the air! And I must say, at A$1100 one way from SYD-NOU, it doesn't sound too appealing! Though I should look out for cheap flights! Well written as always and accompanied by superb pics. I guess your flight to RUN was too uneventful for a TR?  

The meals look wonderful, service fantastic and seats look very comfortable even though the seat pitch seems a touch tight but 32" is not really anything out of the ordinary these days. Then again, with all your F and J travel, it must feel pretty tight  How did the seats feel?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
“No from Reunion. It makes a stop in Sydney and continues to *@%$#@”
“I’m Sorry, to WHERE?”
“*@%$# It’s in *&^%$##”
“Where the hell is THAT?”

LOL. And this is in Sydney??

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
all Economy Class A380

Seeing that they have Business Class, are they still going ahead with an all-economy A380?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Roland Garros Airport

I was expecting to see a tennis court somewhere around but after doing a little bit of online searching, I see that this is a justified naming in honour of a great person.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

What great service!


I assume that J was solely in front of 2L? What did Classe Confort look like?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
They say that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well the way to my heart is through the offering of a damn good Bloody Mary, and today, Air Austral found its way into me!

What a great touch! You know a cabin crew is good when they go the extra mile to ensure the satisfaction of passengers.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
With still another several hours to go, my leisure activities on board had their limitations, and all I could keep on doing was play on my IPad, look out the window, subscribe to one of the every-30 minute water runs, and so on and so forth.

Good to see they stuck to a water run routine.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Looking out the window I perhaps find the only strip of land along the way

Perth, I'd guess? The only thing I'd like to see added would be mood lighting. I wonder if their 77Ws have it because it'd just add a little extra to that dark cabin.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
"Yes, we will stay in Sydney for 5 days before going to Nouméa"

Sounds like the joys of having a French union behind you as well as the infrequency. I wonder how long they have in Noumea!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
In a similar way as with the previous lunch service, two trolleys were rolled out for each opposing side of the two cabins. While the second serving on the menu indicated a light meal consisting of pineapple salad, a sandwich, and cottage cheese, the actual serving was a totally different continental breakfast.

What a nice surprise! Sounds great.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Air Austral does not have 5th Freedom Traffic Rights between Sydney and Nouméa. A great way to bypass this was to get into a marketing agreement with Air Calin where all passenger uplift between Sydney and Nouméa technically belonged to Air Calin on a flight only operated by Air Austral.

Apart from two nuns, no one else seemed to join the flight from Sydney. In fact, I had assumed that most passengers from Réunion (and/or Paris) would continue onwards to Nouméa when in fact, it seemed to be the opposite today.

Interesting to know.. Must be a reason why SB only fly A320s to SYD whereas AKL also sees A330s.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
only without the blankets and the pillows.

I guess they're not really needed for 2.5 hr flights..

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I think we used the 'far' runway at SYD?

Haha, no... You can see what looks like a 763 departing on that 'far' runway at SYD   You just went down to the end of the normal runway - 16L.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):

Again, breakfast was of excellent quality, and I have always enjoyed the good catering efforts at Sydney Airport. The omelet was perfectly cooked, and the sausage wasn't drenched in oil. Finally, I am a HUGE sucker for Nutella (I can eat this thing with a spoon), and that was simply the icing on the cake! Well done Air Austral!

Indeed, well done! It looks great. Doesn't seem too far off what Air NZ serve on trans Tasman flights.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):

Some final cabin shots prior to arrival

I swear you could add to your A.Net photo tally if you wanted - that first pic is fantastic.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I was quite disappointed at the terrible state of its airport. It was worse than a third world offering, and it seemed like it was completely neglected

Sounds like a typical South Pacific type airport..

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):

They have a top notch Economy Class product, that even with the lack of any modern hardware, can easily outdo many other offerings out there. The entire journey with two sets of crew was extremely consistent and flowing smoothly. The crew were really there to help the passenger enjoy the long journey, and their willingness to help never stopped, even had they been quite exhausted after working on such a long flight.

Furthermore, the quality of the food was exceptional and the meal quantity was quite generous overall. I would love to make Air Austral a regular airline I can fly on, but the logistics of that would be quite difficult from where I live.

Indeed, the conclusion just sums it up. It is a product which seems like it is up there with the leading airlines of the world.

Thanks a lot for sharing! Looking forward to your next leg!


Cheers,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: airbuseric
Posted 2011-02-04 13:57:44 and read 26492 times.

Hi Roni,
what a fantastic report. I was totally not aware about Air Austral flying this odd route. 10h30m is a long flight, but definitely not ordinary by any means, many Europe-Asia flights are of similar or longer duration. But you're from DXB usually, I understand it's different for you maybe.
I'm also impressed by their service, all real good. Such a shame to see lower loads. I hope it's not the usual thing, otherwise they cannot succeed long with keeping this in the air.

Regards
Eric

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2011-02-04 14:15:03 and read 26437 times.

What a perfect report to read when all I am surrounded by here is snow and icy cold weather!! Another great installment Roni and looking forward to more in 2011.....Let's say we finally see that QR report, sorry I just had to say it!! Now back to Air Austral !!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was still contemplating to commence my journey from Paris -although the fares from Paris to Nouméa were not necessarily cheap, and Air Austral in general seemed quite expensive as it is- but I settled with joining the flight from Réunion instead and saving a little extra cash on the side.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
was at Roland Garros Airport at 8:50am, some 3 hours and 15 minutes before my scheduled departure time.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Stuffed with airline souvenirs from my flights on the previous day, my hand carry was well above the 10kg limit.

So how did you get to Roland Garros. Your hand carry stuffed with airline souvenirs indicate that you travelled on perhaps a new carrier, or one you are terribly fond of you that you still cannot help yourself to more souvenirs LOL

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Is this your checked baggage?"
"No, this is my carry-on, I plan to have no checked baggage today"
"Weight is 10kg without laptop?"

What that is all you had...a hand carry!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
As it is a requirement for tourists entering New Caledonia to present proof of onward travels, I was asked to present a multitude of itinerary printouts that showed my travels -only a day after my Nouméa arrival- to Sydney, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur.

Oh okay, you were in Noumea for just a day.....And then travelled back to Sydney, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur...Hmm is this a sign of things to come....Please say it involves a trip report on my beloved MH!!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Like a beached whale dumped on the shoreline, a humongous Air Austral B777-300ER came roaring in on arrival from a 12 hour flight from Paris. And today was a lucky day, as only several minutes later, an Air France B77W was also beached on the shorelines of Réunion.

You can feel that thunderous roar at an airport like LAX at night with all those heavies departing. Imagine feeling that at this island airport. Probably felt like the thuds of the Dinosaurs at Jurassic Park lol

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I had initially thought we were to board the only B772 that was parked at an aerobridge, when in fact we had to turn to the opposite direction and walk towards an exit leading outside of the terminal and to a remote stand where a second B772 was parked. Nice!

I thought Air Austral was using the Boeing 777-300ERs on this route? Which is one reason I got excited when I read your trip report title. But no worries, I'm still excited even though it's the 777-200ER

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
An announcement was then made that we were to be served a full lunch momentarily, which was to be followed by the displaying of a feature movie on the overhead screens. How 90's is that?


How about a pain in the neck!! Overhead screens on a 777...that is 90s!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
In the two main cabins of Economy Class, the meal service began from the front of the front cabin, and from the back of the back cabin hence, everyone is served their meals and drinks within a reasonable waiting period.

Very interesting.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Just when I thought that no menus were on offer on Air Austral in Economy Class, I was pleasantly surprised to find one nicely wrapped over the napkin on my sexy meal tray.

Did you quickly have to open the menu when the meal tray was handed to you and make a decision while the FA wait? Excusez-moi Monsieur, je vous attend!! Qu'est-ce vous desirez pour manger  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
They say that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well the way to my heart is through the offering of a damn good Bloody Mary, and today, Air Austral found its way into me!

Roni you and your bloody Mary's!! Looks like Air Austral shot a cupid's arrow right into you LOL

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
One thing about personal IFE on a flight -and including your very own route map- is that you tend to ignore the remainder of the flight and pass the time through a movie marathon of some sort. I had forgotten how refreshing it can be to just sit back, relax, reflect on life with a few thoughts, and do absolutely nothing apart from take in your in-flight surroundings, hour after hour.

Yes sometimes it's just wonderful to not have the marathon movies to take away the actual flight experience! Leave the movies to rent when you are back on the ground  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I made myself a comfortable bed on my three seats,

Like on the new Air New Zealand's Couch class or whatever you call it!!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
A crew noticed me walking towards the galley, and immediately got up from his seat to assist me.

"Monsieur?"
"Can I have a cup of Diet Coke please?"
"Sure. Please also help yourself to some sandwiches if you like"
"Thank you"

Compare that to some renowned carriers discussed on here where you have to get their attention, even after they have seen you coming! Air Austral looks like a real gem of an airline.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2011-02-04 16:46:56 and read 26143 times.

Interesting uniforms, the red coat the lustfulness of the French, and the Blue Skirt the expanse and beauty of the Indian Ocean. Those seat head rest covers have a very ex-BWIA feel to them.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: jetblue777
Posted 2011-02-04 17:53:46 and read 26006 times.

I usually skip some parts of a TR when I read them because I'm that lazy, but this one, I had to read every word you wrote! It was a great trip report, a masterpiece! What's more appealing is that it's a report about an airline that a lot of a.netters hasn't been on and a lot of people has never heard of! I was surprised by the quality of service and food that you got from Air Austral! The food looks delicious and the crew, as you said, was fantastic. I assumed that UU would be like AF and I've heard horror stories about AF! And that empty 772 is the way to go! You get flat beds but with the price of a Y ticket (but like NZ107 said, the price isn't too appealing.)

One of the best trip reports I've read! Air Austral and Reunion shall be in my bucket list!

BTW, how was Noumea? How were the beaches? the people? And did you take UU on the way back?

JetBlue777

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: caleb1
Posted 2011-02-04 18:09:13 and read 25981 times.

I have been waiting for another TR from you and as usual, this one was of the same quality as your experience on Air Austral...Excellent!! Just when I thought your reports could not get more interesting, you spring this rare gem on us. As always, I look forward to reading about your next travel adventure. Well done, Roni. Well done!!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-05 11:14:33 and read 25160 times.

For those who are interested, the following add-ons will show you the interior shots of Air Austral in different flavors, and also my 24 hour stay in Nouméa.



AIR AUSTRAL CABIN SHOTS
Taken from www.air-austral.com



Club Austral on the B777-200ER



Classe Confort on the B777-200ER



Club Austral on the B77W



Classe Confort on the B77W



Classe Loisirs on the B77W






A pretty darn good product all around I would say!



NOUMÉA
Nouméa in all honesty, was simply not my cup of tea. People were a tad cold, if indifferent at all, and the place was so expensive beyond belief.

The airport was practically in the middle of nowhere, and a 45 minute taxi ride -the only available mode of transport on the spot- could easily cost you almost 170 Euros!

One funny incident was when I was on my way to the airport the following day (another 170 Euros trashed), the cab driver was too lazy to get out of the car to open the trunk for me after we arrived at the curbside. Instead, and while she was busy speaking on the telephone, she turned the car off, handed me the key for me to open the trunk and pull out my suitcase by myself while she remained inside chatting away on the phone. This for almost 200 Euros!

Another downside was the hotel. Also known as Le Lagon (supposedly a famous global chain), this 3-star hotel charges approximately 250 Euros for a room that was infested with roaches. In my 24 hour transit, I must have killed over 20 roaches which kept creeping out the wooden panel that is strapped onto the bottom of the room walls. It was absolutely disgusting! (though the room itself was nice and spacious).

Furthermore, an extra 20 Euros were paid online for a continental breakfast. The hotel website did mention that breakfast is served daily from 7am to 10am however, this never happened in reality, and they tried their best not to give me a refund.

"Oh I am sorry sir, today the restaurant will open for breakfast at 9am"
"I cannot make it for 9am, I have a flight to catch and your website mentioned that breakfast will be served at 7am"
"But sir it's happy new year!"
"Yes I know it is happy new year, but your website took 20 Euros and did not mention happy new year timings, I will not have breakfast so I don't need to pay for it"

The beaches in Nouméa on the other hand were beautiful, and I spent most of the day basking under the sun.





































Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: SOBHI51
Posted 2011-02-05 13:17:13 and read 25008 times.

Nice pics of Noumea, but do you anything to report about La Reunion? Thanks

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: 9W748Capt
Posted 2011-02-05 15:52:15 and read 24745 times.

170 euros for the taxi!? good lord - and then she stayed on her phone and gave you the keys - LOL. I still can't get over that cab fare though. Seriously you'd think you were in Japan or something. That is just insane. Is there no other way of getting from the airport to the city? And do you have any pics of Noumea's airport?

Brilliant report as always though - I had no idea Air Austral operated such an exotic route. Thanks for bringing it to our living rooms in the entertaining way you always do.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: chepos
Posted 2011-02-05 20:09:48 and read 24551 times.

Another excellent trip report. Thank you for sharing your experience on Air Austral, this must be the debut of Air Austral feautred on A TR as I have never seen another Air Austral report around. Funny you mention eating Nutella with a spoon, as a child I grew up eating nutella with a little plastic spoon as it was sold back home as candy you would eat as an after school treat. When i vsited Europe for the first time I was puzzled when I was offered nutella as a spread to put on bread "how weird I thought". Here in the US alot of Americans don't even know what it is. So from what I read in your report the main purpose of this route is to bridge France with OZ/Noumea? By the way how did you make it back home from Noumea?

Regards,

Chepos

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ryanair!!!
Posted 2011-02-05 21:33:20 and read 24474 times.

Salut,

I am at work now but somehow reading about your flight made me feel so ooh-la-la... so relaxing! hahahaha... Must be that "island" spirit radiating from this airline.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
But however, the fact that such a small island somewhere, with an airline that had (at the time) announced an order for a few B777-300ER’s was nothing short of intriguing. Where the hell will they fly them to? And does the 77W even fit on the island?

That's exactly what people said when SQ received 2 747-200s in 1976.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I think it is also safe to assume that Air Austral has some of the world's longest domestic flights!

Add Russian domestic flights to that! I am sure flights to the Far East can be just as long.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Once inside, it was a little less of the modern and more of the tropical, and I was suddenly reminded of Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta's unique interior design that is dim, yet pleasant.

Oh honey... CGK stinks of kretek ciggie smoke, but Reunion's airport looks like it is drenched in Chanel No. 5! So much more glam that CDG.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
And today was a lucky day, as only several minutes later, an Air France B77W was also beached on the shorelines of Réunion. Why are these two airlines competing on this domestic route, and offering similarly timed services?

Well, imitation is the best form of flattery?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Air Austral cabin crew -predominantly male, yet with a few ultra good looking females- were spread throughout the cabin welcoming the boarding passengers.

Reminds is of another island-airline - Air Mauritius. Remember my experience with them? Oooh-la-la indeed...

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The crew promptly took action in the aisles, and with their genuine smiles they seemed equally at ease with everyone. Similarly, the passengers were quite the laid back bunch which really made up for an enjoyable flight by everyone involved. Service was not rushed, and the crew smiled at each and every passenger as they distributed the prepackaged moist towelettes.

This reminds me of a prelude to untold disaster... Somehow passengers are always relaxed with cabin crew smiling along the aisle before all hell breaks loose. I must have been watching too many episodes of Air Crash Investigations on Nat Geo.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
A sneak peek at the Air Austral lavatory, which was beautifully maintained

Hahahahahaha for some reason, I read that sentence so fast and I thought you typed "... well marinated"!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Apart from two nuns, no one else seemed to join the flight from Sydney.

We really do need to catch up. I have so many "nun" jokes to unleash.  

Au revoir et a bientot!

R

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: Airbusa322
Posted 2011-02-06 00:19:56 and read 24400 times.

Their loads have always been miserable in/out of Sydney, I dont even know why they bother with the route, hardly making money.

Almost never do these flights break 100.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: The777Man
Posted 2011-02-06 00:42:59 and read 24343 times.

Hi Roni!

Excellent report with fantastic pictures! You flew the same UU aircraft that I was on in May 2007! Lots of things seems the same but the interior of the aircraft including the seats are completely differerent. I flew RUN-CDG and also had a great dinner and a very nice breakfeast. My flight was full though......I also got a similiar menu card that I kept. One big difference; the cabin crew told me a few times NOT to take any pictures on board......so I had to be very discreet. I guess my crew in general was less friendly than yours but they were okay on my flight. I also remember them being very picky with carry on bags and made me check my roll on bag which I never have to do otherwise.

My Air Austral trip came just a few days after my trip on TAAG's 777.

Air Austral will soon start flying to BKK so you will see them more around where you usually go.

Nice model; what scale is it?

Link to my trip report:

Air Austral 777 Reunion - Paris With Pics (by The777Man Jun 14 2007 in Trip Reports)

The777Man

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: stylo777
Posted 2011-02-06 02:31:24 and read 24268 times.

great report roni!
good pictures as well as a nice written story.
Air Austral seems like a decent airline with quality crews onboard.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: JL418
Posted 2011-02-06 03:32:04 and read 24186 times.

Thank you Roni for yet another marvelous TR! Whenever I read from you or other A.net "seniors" I feel ashamed about posting my small European short-haul trips.

Anyway, Air Austral proved itself to be quite a nice carrier, I loved the laid-back and festive feelings transpiring through your words. Maybe such a pleasantfulness is derived by the low load on both flights, I wonder how a packed 77W flight from Orly to la Réunion would look like.

Thanks for the pictures of Nouvelle Caledonie, it felt so weird to see a Rénault 5 with an old black plate, as if it was in some sleepy French village, and knowing this actually is a Pacific island! Have you got something to share about la Réunion as well? I understood you liked it most...

keep 'em coming!

JL418

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ojas
Posted 2011-02-06 09:28:56 and read 23824 times.

Hi Roni,

As always brilliant, it took me a long research before I started reading your TR. Just a request, next time you do these odd airlines please let us know before hand   . Never even knew such a route existed and it'sn cie of you to explore the Indian Ocean.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
All in all, a simple and practical airport!

I love these airports, it's something special than your terminal 3s of the world.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Introducing the Air Austral Bloody Mary!

Yes how can we miss that. The other day I had a bloody Mary, I just had to tell everyone about Roni.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I am happy to say that Air Austral is now one of my favorite airlines alongside Cathay Pacific, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, and the bunch.

And a side note ... you STILL have not flown QR.

Thanks for sharing and looking forward for your next TR.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: lukeyboy95
Posted 2011-02-06 09:37:12 and read 23809 times.

Well done yet again Roni. You do a great service to us lot with the effort and time you put in your reports.

I was very curious about this airline, and you have satisfied it a little bit. The offerings looked superb, sophisticated and it definately broke the mould. I liked your meal trays.... brekkie a little crappy, but the other two offerings looked superb. FA;s sounded quite charming.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Stuffed with airline souvenirs from my flights on the previous day, my hand carry was well above the 10kg limit.

My lord, I would hate for my hangluggage to be searched after a flight. I think I would need an empty suitcase if I flew business class.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Instead of the regular cabin lights, the crew turned on all the personal reading lights at every seat. I had not seen something like this before, and perhaps it was a more private way to shed some light across the cabin as the atmosphere was still not too bright to sleep.

This is wonderful, I really like it, like meteorites rather than stars, and quite innovative for those that dont have mood lighting! Did anyone turn theirs off straight away!? I would if I was sleepy.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
At 5:50am Sydney local time, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent

In the photo above this, the young girl seems to be forlornly looking at you like 'Why is this guy taking so many photos?!' Taking one for the team Roni...!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
Nouméa in all honesty, was simply not my cup of tea. People were a tad cold, if indifferent at all, and the place was so expensive beyond belief.

The airport was practically in the middle of nowhere, and a 45 minute taxi ride -the only available mode of transport on the spot- could easily cost you almost 170 Euros!

One funny incident was when I was on my way to the airport the following day (another 170 Euros trashed), the cab driver was too lazy to get out of the car to open the trunk for me after we arrived at the curbside. Instead, and while she was busy speaking on the telephone, she turned the car off, handed me the key for me to open the trunk and pull out my suitcase by myself while she remained inside chatting away on the phone. This for almost 200 Euros!

Another downside was the hotel. Also known as Le Lagon (supposedly a famous global chain), this 3-star hotel charges approximately 250 Euros for a room that was infested with roaches. In my 24 hour transit, I must have killed over 20 roaches which kept creeping out the wooden panel that is strapped onto the bottom of the room walls. It was absolutely disgusting! (though the room itself was nice and spacious).
www.sleepinginairports.com! I live by this gospel. How disappointing. My friend mentioned that Reunion is lovely though.

So, excellent report..... and.... I hear the fares on QR these days are quite competitive. You need to experience the old airport soooooooon before the behemoth becomes operational.

Luke

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: lychemsa
Posted 2011-02-06 09:53:45 and read 23779 times.

Thanks for the pictures of Noumea. I was told that the island one must visit is Ile des Pins nearby.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: 767747
Posted 2011-02-06 10:50:51 and read 23664 times.

Hi, ronerone!

Another fantastic report on an airline that we do not hear much about! As usual, every aspect of your trip was documented perfectly.

I have an Air Austral (Just Planes DVD) that shows quite a bit about this interesting airline ... The service and food in Economy Class looks unparalleled. What a nice looking cabin, and I'd agree with you how nice it is to take a few moments on a long flight like that, just to reflect on life and not have anything to do.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
According to the menu, a choice between oriental lamb meatballs and a seafood gratin was on offer however, it seemed that only the lamb was available as I was not offered a choice. Nevertheless, the lamb was the choice I would have gone for in the first place anyways.

Sure beats many other airlines' offerings ...

What kind of camera do you use? Those night shots in the cabin are amazingly clear!

Thanks for sharing,

Matthew

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2011-02-06 12:32:38 and read 23558 times.

Awesome report, ronerone!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
It was only a few months before then when I was recently acquainted with Air Austral, only to ensure that their prospect for work was very minimal, if anything at all. But however, the fact that such a small island somewhere, with an airline that had (at the time) announced an order for a few B777-300ER’s was nothing short of intriguing. Where the hell will they fly them to? And does the 77W even fit on the island?

I must admit that I share your intrigue for Air Austral. Reminds me a bit of TAAG in that it's this "random airline nobody has heard of" that has brand new planes.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Predominantly wooden and modern, and with a touch of industry, the airside hall consisted of just that; one small hall consisting of ample seating area, two duty free shops, a café and 4 gates that lead to one single pathway filtering out into several aerobridges. One small upper sub-level was also allocated to Air Austral's premium lounge - a facility which I will not be visiting today for commercial (or lack thereof) reasons.

I really like the looks of the departure area at RUN. Really impressive for an airport that size as well.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
That was definitely a great add-on from Air Austral. Whether it was for weight & balance purposes or not, I think it was handled in a very personal way that left this passenger extremely happy, and it barely was the beginning of the journey too!

That's very impressive! It's very rare to see such things happening even on the best airlines.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
At Door 2L of this B777-200ER, I was greeted by a strikingly gorgeous female crew

ALWAYS a good start to a flight.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Facing the cabin from the front, the slick black leather seating is contrasted by the dramatic turquoise tone of the pillows and headrest covers, creating a very sexy feel to the ambience.

I agree, that cabin looks very sleek from the front.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Facing the cabin from the back however, not much is different apart from the lack of personal IFE screens. I may have seen many pictures of 777's without personal screens at every seat, but I think this is my very first time to see it live; and it needed some getting used to!

For some reason, I really don't like the look of the cabin from the rear. Not really sure why, but I just don't like the way the seats look.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I notice no IFE box obstructing my leg space which is a breath of fresh air. However, legroom is quite tight at 32 inches. Apart from that, I knew it was going to be a very comfortable arrangement especially that I have the entire three seats to myself.

Had the flight been full, it would've been hell with a 3-4-3 configuration and a pitch of 32 in.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Similarly, Air Austral is proud of its fleet, its company, and its overall offering, and this is shown on a video playing on the overhead screen about the technical specifics of the B777-200ER.

I love stuff like this. It shows that they aren't just in it for the money, but really have a passion for aviation.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
And it didn't end here, he returned once again to the galley and fetched a packet especially designed for the Bloody Mary which consisted of a napkin, a plastic stirrer, and celery salt! How cool is that?

Again, this is very impressive.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
Nouméa in all honesty, was simply not my cup of tea. People were a tad cold, if indifferent at all, and the place was so expensive beyond belief.

It seems just awful from your narrative. An apparent far cry from Reunion.

I must say I am very impressed with Air Austral. Truly a hidden gem!

Thank you for sharing!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: CaptainRed
Posted 2011-02-06 23:11:15 and read 23191 times.

Hi ronerone,

what an awesome and enjoyable trip report! Air Austral really seems to be a great little airline, I am quite impressed by the service you got on board and on ground.

Also nice to see another report covering La Reunion, that always reminds me of my very first long haul flight, which was with AF from CDG to RUN back in 1989 with a stop in Dubai and in Nairobi on the return flight, it was quite an adventure back then. And I have to agree with you about La Reunion, it is a very nice island, great scenery and very nice people.

Also thanks for the pictures of Noumea, certainly something we don't see very often. Really nice from the looks, just a shame that you had some bad experiences there. I had no idea everything is so expensive there.

Thanks again for sharing this trip with us
CaptainRed

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ba319-131
Posted 2011-02-07 02:57:44 and read 23030 times.

Hi Roni,

Good to see another report, you have been far too quiet!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I am here to shed some light on this airline as I embark on one of their flagship routes

- Good stuff, a little reported upon airline for sure.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Facing the cabin from the front, the slick black leather seating is contrasted by the dramatic turquoise tone of the pillows and headrest covers, creating a very sexy feel to the ambience.

- A very inviting cabin, like it!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
The meal tray was beautifully presented, and its contents were quite generous for today's Economy standard. A non-plastic glass, metallic silverware, and the usual condiments were neatly placed in between the plates. Included on the tray, was a bread bun, butter, a small tub of water, pretzels, cheese, and a bar of chocolate

- Now that's an impressive Y tray, presentation looks very good, especially the salad, even if it is seafood, yuck!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
One thing about personal IFE on a flight -and including your very own route map- is that you tend to ignore the remainder of the flight and pass the time through a movie marathon of some sort. I had forgotten how refreshing it can be to just sit back, relax, reflect on life with a few thoughts, and do absolutely nothing apart from take in your in-flight surroundings, hour after hour.

- This goes back to the glory days of flying, long before individual IFE screens, nothing but you, a good book, food and drink, perhaps conversation with others but most of all, just a chance to shut down and relax away from the constant ringing of phones or beeping of another e-mail in the in box.

Thanks for the pictures of Noumea, the beach looks ok, though it seems the place is a tad expensive and if your hotel experience is anything to go by, there are better places to go for sure - I won't be visiting.

Out of interest, how did you get too and from the two islands?

Cheers

Mark

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: airpearl
Posted 2011-02-07 03:59:13 and read 22969 times.

Hey Roni!

Another top notch and fascinating read on a really low profile (but surprisingly high quality) airline. Even though I'd heard some of the details of this flight from you earlier, this report made it all come alive - very well done, my friend! The photos are of top quality - as always- and tell the story well too. I am impressed by your description of the on-board service, and the standard of catering - a quintessentially French trait it seems. Air Austral seems like an airline really worth trying - now, I wonder if they do decent fares ex-BKK to Paris via RUN  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Even sexier than this, are what the airline names as its different fare classifications which go by Coup de coeur E, Flamboyant, Vanille T, Orchidee, and Orchidee Plus depending on the typical level of flexibility with date changes, cancellations etc.

And these are fares? You're right about the names - they are definitely exotic, bordering on the erotic I would say. LOL!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was asked to present a multitude of itinerary printouts that showed my travels -only a day after my Nouméa arrival- to Sydney, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur.
"You like to travel I see! haha"

Hahahaha... for you, that's an understatement of course.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

Very nice of Air Austral. I wonder what prompted them to do this.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
In fact we had to turn to the opposite direction and walk towards an exit leading outside of the terminal and to a remote stand where a second B772 was parked. Nice!

What a great start to a long flight - boarding a 777 via stairs in paradise.  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I may have seen many pictures of 777's without personal screens at every seat, but I think this is my very first time to see it live; and it needed some getting used to!

Ah, I see you're not familiar with my most frequented airline TG.  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Facing the cabin from the front, the slick black leather seating is contrasted by the dramatic turquoise tone of the pillows and headrest covers, creating a very sexy feel to the ambience.

It looks very good actually - but were the seats comfortable at 10-abreast? Any noticeable difference with those airlines doing 9-abreast?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I could not stop watching, and I could not wait to find that video on the Internet when I got home.

Wow, this is amazingly retro. I can understand why you're transfixed! hahaha

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Some essentials from the duty free

Looks very familiar!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I am happy to say that Air Austral is now one of my favorite airlines alongside Cathay Pacific, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, and the bunch.

That's quite an honour you've bestowed on Air Austral. Just wondering, has MH fallen off that list for you now?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
The airport was practically in the middle of nowhere, and a 45 minute taxi ride -the only available mode of transport on the spot- could easily cost you almost 170 Euros!

That's madness, though the beaches of Noumea do look good. I can't imagine tourists forking out that much just on transport to the airport - I presume many come here on inclusive packages?

Thanks again for this report my friend and I do look forward to your next one. Is another imminent?


Cheers,
airpearl

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: signol
Posted 2011-02-07 05:33:10 and read 22899 times.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):

Fascinating report, thank you! Seems like Austral would rank about top of the customer service charts, in Y at least? I suspect the route exists more fpr political reasons than any other, though I'm sure with better marketing they could capitalise on the Australia - South Africa market...

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 21):
Nice pics of Noumea, but do you anything to report about La Reunion? Thanks

I second this request, if at all possible  

signol

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2011-02-07 06:31:52 and read 22842 times.

HI Roni. As always a wonderful TR. Do you have any pictures of Noumea to share? UU looks like a fantastic airline. I cannot wait for them to add the A380 although I believe it will be in an all Y layout (that is a lot of seats)! Thanks for sharing! Excellent pictures! Cheers!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-07 08:01:53 and read 22802 times.

Dear All,

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
Hi Roni,
an outstanding report with many high quality pictures.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 6):
I am speechless, Roni. Great pictures. Exciting story. You are truly inspiring me for my upcoming journey. Thank you so much.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
what a nice surprise to find an Air Austral report created by ronerone! You posted a stunning review with excellent pictures, what a pleasure to read!
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Thanks for sharing
Quoting luv2fly (Reply 9):
Another well written report
Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 10):
Again a very nice report and the usual great pictures
Quoting fasty (Reply 11):

WOW, excellent report, extremely detailed as are actually all your previous posts as well.
Quoting Planemad1 (Reply 12):
Excellent.

Thankyou
Quoting Aflyingkiwi (Reply 13):
Congratulations on your part for creating another outstanding report complete with superb pictures
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Another masterpiece brings us some insight into this less-known airline which plies its trade not too far from where I live
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
what a fantastic report
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
What a perfect report to read when all I am surrounded by here is snow and icy cold weather!! Another great installment Roni and looking forward to more in 2011.....
Quoting jetblue777 (Reply 18):
I usually skip some parts of a TR when I read them because I'm that lazy, but this one, I had to read every word you wrote! It was a great trip report, a masterpiece!
Quoting caleb1 (Reply 19):
I have been waiting for another TR from you and as usual, this one was of the same quality as your experience on Air Austral...Excellent!! Just when I thought your reports could not get more interesting, you spring this rare gem on us. As always, I look forward to reading about your next travel adventure. Well done, Roni. Well done!!
Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 22):
Brilliant report as always though
Quoting chepos (Reply 23):
Another excellent trip report. Thank you for sharing your experience on Air Austral
Quoting The777Man (Reply 26):
Excellent report with fantastic pictures!
Quoting stylo777 (Reply 27):
great report roni!
good pictures as well as a nice written story.
Quoting JL418 (Reply 28):
Thank you Roni for yet another marvelous TR!
Quoting ojas (Reply 29):
As always brilliant, it took me a long research before I started reading your TR.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 30):
Well done yet again Roni. You do a great service to us lot with the effort and time you put in your reports.
Quoting 767747 (Reply 32):
Another fantastic report on an airline that we do not hear much about! As usual, every aspect of your trip was documented perfectly.
Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 33):
Awesome report, ronerone!
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 34):
Thanks again for sharing this trip with us
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
Good to see another report
Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
Thanks again for this report my friend and I do look forward to your next one
Quoting signol (Reply 37):
Fascinating report, thank you!
Quoting globalflyer (Reply 38):
HI Roni. As always a wonderful TR
Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
The seats look very comfortable and I think sometimes its nice without screen in front of you, especially with such a light load.

Many thanks for your great comments and usual support   Glad this report was as enjoyable as the journey itself  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
I guess your flight to RUN was too uneventful for a TR?
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
So how did you get to Roland Garros
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
Oh okay, you were in Noumea for just a day.....And then travelled back to Sydney, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur...Hmm is this a sign of things to come....Please say it involves a trip report on my beloved MH!!
Quoting jetblue777 (Reply 18):
And did you take UU on the way back?
Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 21):
but do you anything to report about La Reunion? Thanks
Quoting chepos (Reply 23):
By the way how did you make it back home from Noumea?
Quoting JL418 (Reply 28):
Have you got something to share about la Réunion as well? I understood you liked it most...
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
Out of interest, how did you get too and from the two islands?
Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
and I do look forward to your next one. Is another imminent?
Quoting signol (Reply 37):
I second this request, if at all possible

I will be posting a separate (and much smaller) TR soon, and that should include something in La Reunion   That should also give an indication on some other flights that got me to and from too  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 6):
Just look how you get inspired to fly an airline by a spotting session. Tres bien!

Bonsoir Suryo  

I think all of us here need any excuse -even if it was a fly passing us by- to justify a confirmed e-ticket  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 6):
Hey, I am missing something here. Roni, is there anything else we should know?

Haha .. That Sokerno-Hatta also has a very 'islandy' feel to it  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 6):
Accompanied with a digital camera and a huge memory card.

Absolutely!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Interesting, it seems I should go there one day.

Hi PH!

I think an island like St. Denis can be optimally enjoyed with a significant other for sure!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
...but the lack of PTVs really shocked me. In contast to the two other 772ERs in the fleet, F-OMAY was delivered factory fresh to UU, so I assumed it would be equipped with decent IFE. I really hope the 77Ws are equipped with modern IFE.

And this is just the type of information we rely on PlaneHunter to provide us with!  

You'd think that the factory fresh delivery would have the top of the line fare!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Air Austral flies some interesting routes! The cabin looks nice, although 32" leg room and 3x4x3 looks pretty tight - not sure I'd be great on a CDG-NOU flight. Lucky your flights weren't full.

Hi gabrielchew,

32" was indeed a tad tight, and had the flight been full, i definitely would have felt a slight difference in comfort.

Quoting luv2fly (Reply 9):
No shoe shots, I wanted to see what new ones you now have.
Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 10):
but due to you traveling in Y??? no leg shot.

Hi luv2fly & Sobhi,

The silver-ish shoes with the bright yellow laces were featured on this trip   .. I guess i would need a premium seat to be able to reveal them though  
Quoting fasty (Reply 11):
I saw some adds about this route in a french magazine a few months back and I was really curious about what it would look like.

Hi fasty,

And i think Air Austral does have some catchy ads!

Quoting Aflyingkiwi (Reply 13):
I've always wondered how UU could fill the 77E on the RUN-SYD-NOU route. Doesn't really seem like a route that would get high loads but they're still operating that route so I guess they find a way.

Hi Aflyingkiwi,

There are a ton of French tourists that fly to New Caledonia. But as with all leisure flights, it would be on a seasonal basis i would assume.

I've randomly looked at the booking profiles for UU77 before, and on many instances, the booking was closed ex RUN.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
And I must say, at A$1100 one way from SYD-NOU, it doesn't sound too appealing! Though I should look out for cheap flights! Well written as always and accompanied by superb pics.

Heya Nicholas,

Seriously, NOU to Australia / NZ and vv ticket prices are just MAD! By the way, A$1,100 is pretty much what i paid for RUN-NOU on UU just put things into perspective!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Then again, with all your F and J travel, it must feel pretty tight How did the seats feel?

LOL .. The seats were quite comfy. Only legroom would have definitely felt tight had the flight been full.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
LOL. And this is in Sydney??

With none other but the spotter himself .. Sam   LOL

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Seeing that they have Business Class, are they still going ahead with an all-economy A380?

Apparently so. If my flight ws anything to do by, i think all Y would be the way to go!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
What a great touch! You know a cabin crew is good when they go the extra mile to ensure the satisfaction of passengers.

Agreed!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Perth, I'd guess? The only thing I'd like to see added would be mood lighting. I wonder if their 77Ws have it because it'd just add a little extra to that dark cabin.

You think so? .. I thought it was a little before we had reached Australia.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Sounds like the joys of having a French union behind you as well as the infrequency. I wonder how long they have in Noumea!

They stay one night in Noumea, and turn around with the same aircraft back to Sydney where they will layover until the next flight.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
You can see what looks like a 763 departing on that 'far' runway at SYD You just went down to the end of the normal runway - 16L.

How on earth did you manage to know that little dot was a 767?  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
I swear you could add to your A.Net photo tally if you wanted - that first pic is fantastic.

Really? Thanks! ... Maybe i should try!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
Sounds like a typical South Pacific type airport..

I wonder if Papeete is as run down  
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
10h30m is a long flight, but definitely not ordinary by any means, many Europe-Asia flights are of similar or longer duration. But you're from DXB usually, I understand it's different for you maybe.

Hi Eric!

Very true! .. After my first 15hour flight between DXB and EWR many years back, i now find it hard to be on a shorter flight haha  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
What that is all you had...a hand carry!

Haha ..yes believe it or not! haha

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
I thought Air Austral was using the Boeing 777-300ERs on this route? Which is one reason I got excited when I read your trip report title. But no worries, I'm still excited even though it's the 777-200ER

They just resumed the 77W service between CDG and NOU recently. Perhaps the extra capacity is needed to and from CDG during certain periods? Not sure.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 17):
Interesting uniforms, the red coat the lustfulness of the French, and the Blue Skirt the expanse and beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Thanks for your expertise on this area!  
Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 22):
Is there no other way of getting from the airport to the city?

Hi 9W748Capt,

Well, organised tours have their own transportation to/from the airport, and supposedly so did the hotel i was staying in (but i did not know that until i reached the hotel).

Having said this, i was assured that i can opt for the cheaper hotel transportation back to the airport at the time of check-out -and without any pre-booking necessary- only to find out by another hotel staff during my check-out that i had to pre-book it in advance! Hence, i had to take a taxi!

Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 22):
And do you have any pics of Noumea's airport?

Sorry, this was the only part i did not take pictures of. I had planned to do this on the next day when i departed, but i had an issue with my NOU-SYD-MEL booking that took quite a lot of time to rectify!

Quoting chepos (Reply 23):
Funny you mention eating Nutella with a spoon, as a child I grew up eating nutella with a little plastic spoon as it was sold back home as candy you would eat as an after school treat.

Hi chepos!

Now that you mention this, i do remember that flat and clear plastic spoon that came with a small tub of nutella (similar to the one on my meal tray here).

Quoting chepos (Reply 23):
Here in the US alot of Americans don't even know what it is.

I always used to find in the imports aisle at Publix  
Quoting chepos (Reply 23):
So from what I read in your report the main purpose of this route is to bridge France with OZ/Noumea?

Priority is to bridge Reunion to France, and to also conenct most the French colonies to each other (Mayotte, Noumea, etc)

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 24):
Reminds is of another island-airline - Air Mauritius. Remember my experience with them? Oooh-la-la indeed...

Hi Lion  

You and your Xanadu fantasy .. I do remember the insane amount you oozed after that trip  
Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 24):
Hahahahahaha for some reason, I read that sentence so fast and I thought you typed "... well marinated"!

Your toilet mind needs to be marinated in disinfectant   Haha

Quoting Airbusa322 (Reply 25):
Their loads have always been miserable in/out of Sydney, I dont even know why they bother with the route, hardly making money.

Almost never do these flights break 100.

Hi Airbusa322,

I think this route is subsidized, so they shouldn't mind a little bleeding here n there  
Quoting The777Man (Reply 26):
You flew the same UU aircraft that I was on in May 2007! Lots of things seems the same but the interior of the aircraft including the seats are completely differerent. I flew RUN-CDG and also had a great dinner and a very nice breakfeast. My flight was full though......I also got a similiar menu card that I kept. One big difference; the cabin crew told me a few times NOT to take any pictures on board......so I had to be very discreet. I guess my crew in general was less friendly than yours but they were okay on my flight. I also remember them being very picky with carry on bags and made me check my roll on bag which I never have to do otherwise.

Hi Lars,

I do remember reading your TR from your website! .. Of course, i think your TR's give me an excellent brief prior to my next 777 flight  
Quoting JL418 (Reply 28):
as if it was in some sleepy French village,

Hi JL418,

Perfectly described!  
Quoting ojas (Reply 29):
I love these airports, it's something special than your terminal 3s of the world.

Exactly! .. Though the T3's of the world can be quite addictive in their own way.

Quoting ojas (Reply 29):
The other day I had a bloody Mary, I just had to tell everyone about Roni.

LOL .. I hope it was a good Bloody Mary too!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 30):
My lord, I would hate for my hangluggage to be searched after a flight. I think I would need an empty suitcase if I flew business class.

Heya Lukey!  

I love how my carry-on always goes up a few Kg's after each flight.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 30):
Did anyone turn theirs off straight away!? I would if I was sleepy.

I tried to, but it wouldn't turn off! They must have used a master switch or something.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 30):
My friend mentioned that Reunion is lovely though.

It's lovely! Wished i had more time to explore i!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 31):
Thanks for the pictures of Noumea. I was told that the island one must visit is Ile des Pins nearby.

Hi lychemsa,

I think i heard the same too. And i also heard that Noumea has a nice domestic airport with nice flights to such neighboring islands.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 32):
I have an Air Austral (Just Planes DVD) that shows quite a bit about this interesting airline

Hi 767747,

Great video! I did see part of it on Youtube.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 32):
What kind of camera do you use? Those night shots in the cabin are amazingly clear!

Canon 50D.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 33):
Reminds me a bit of TAAG in that it's this "random airline nobody has heard of" that has brand new planes.

Hi MHTripple7!

Agreed! Glad that TAAG is still a 'safe' airline after the recent mysterious incidents!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 34):
that always reminds me of my very first long haul flight, which was with AF from CDG to RUN back in 1989 with a stop in Dubai and in Nairobi on the return flight,

Hi CaptainRed.

Nice! I did not know that AF operated a DXB-RUN route before. Then again, AF was known for it's sexy multi-stop flights, well after the days many range-capable aircraft had been introduced!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
you have been far too quiet!

Heya Mark!

Now you know where in Australasia i was on New Year's day hahah!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
even if it is seafood, yuck!

Glad to know someone else that doesnt fancy seafood!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
This goes back to the glory days of flying, long before individual IFE screens, nothing but you, a good book, food and drink, perhaps conversation with others but most of all, just a chance to shut down and relax away from the constant ringing of phones or beeping of another e-mail in the in box.

Totally agree

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 35):
Thanks for the pictures of Noumea, the beach looks ok, though it seems the place is a tad expensive and if your hotel experience is anything to go by, there are better places to go for sure - I won't be visiting.

Yea, there are many other comparable beaches out there, and for more than half the price for sure!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
Air Austral seems like an airline really worth trying - now, I wonder if they do decent fares ex-BKK to Paris via RUN

Hey hey Airpearl!

An airline you haven't flown, and one you can tick off your list!  
Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
Very nice of Air Austral. I wonder what prompted them to do this.

I also wonder the same thing!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
but were the seats comfortable at 10-abreast? Any noticeable difference with those airlines doing 9-abreast?

They are slightly narrower in width -like EK, but it's not such a biggie- but the legroom is quite tight for sure. And i think the 77W's feature the same legroom.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
Just wondering, has MH fallen off that list for you now?

Haha .. I am sad to say that UL topped them. But i will need to fly MH's A380 to update my audit records  
Quoting airpearl (Reply 36):
I can't imagine tourists forking out that much just on transport to the airport - I presume many come here on inclusive packages?

They seemed so, and most were Japanese. So i would assume New Caledonia is either cheaper or equally as pricey as Japan.

Quoting signol (Reply 37):
I suspect the route exists more fpr political reasons than any other, though I'm sure with better marketing they could capitalise on the Australia - South Africa market...

Hi signol,

They could perhaps make some money connecting France to Australia had the flight been a daily service; with the growing number of French tourists in Australia and all.



Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: FlySSC
Posted 2011-02-07 09:57:44 and read 22649 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Lucky your flights weren't full.

Those flights RUN-SYD-NOU are never full ... Acually they are almost empty most of the time ...

Quoting Aflyingkiwi (Reply 13):
I've always wondered how UU could fill the 77E on the RUN-SYD-NOU route.

See above ...  
Quoting Aflyingkiwi (Reply 13):
Doesn't really seem like a route that would get high loads but they're still operating that route so I guess they find a way.

They, for sure, found a way : Public money.
Air Austral is nothing but a "political" airline. They survive only thanks to the public subsidies from the local "Government".
If UU was a "normal" airline, they would have already gone bankrupt quite a while ago ..

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-07 15:09:48 and read 22495 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
Seriously, NOU to Australia / NZ and vv ticket prices are just MAD! By the way, A$1,100 is pretty much what i paid for RUN-NOU on UU just put things into perspective!

Woah, in that case there's no way I'll be trying them out to NOU. Noumea is priced way out of my zone too after what I saw with your experience.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
With none other but the spotter himself .. Sam LOL

*facepalm* hahahaha.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
Apparently so. If my flight ws anything to do by, i think all Y would be the way to go!

I just hope there is no dilution of the wonderful product seen on your flight when it comes to the A380s.. It'll make them sound like Emirates!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
You think so? .. I thought it was a little before we had reached Australia.

SYD-PER is (block time, via QF) 4 hr 15. I don't think you changed your camera clock between those two times which sounds about right - 4 hours between crossing over PER or some town in WA and landing in SYD. Plus, there's not a hell of a lot between RUN and PER  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
How on earth did you manage to know that little dot was a 767?

Haha, did I get it right?   It looks like it's a bit long for a 737.. Plus it's in QF colours so it can't really be much else (bar the A332, which are much less frequent users of the 'far' runway).

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):

Really? Thanks! ... Maybe i should try!

Check your email sometime!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 39):
I wonder if Papeete is as run down

Haha, I'd hope not. Most NZ airports are excluded from that list too, btw  


Cheers,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: T8KE0FF
Posted 2011-02-08 09:50:22 and read 22147 times.

As usual from you, a fantastic TR!
I don't usually comment on TR's but I have to say that the Lamb meatballs look amazing!!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: reifel
Posted 2011-02-08 13:20:10 and read 22027 times.

Thank you so much for this exotic report! Really enjoyed it and it felt as if I was on the plane. They seem to have a terrific product and such a light load makes it even more enjoyable.

Thanks a lot once again for sharing!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: directorguy
Posted 2011-02-09 06:06:46 and read 21786 times.

Another masterpiece, Roni, well done! The French DOM-TOMs are incredible to read about, and I truly feel like I've visited them by reading this. Much appreciated, as always
:D

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-09 06:25:52 and read 21797 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 41):
SYD-PER is (block time, via QF) 4 hr 15. I don't think you changed your camera clock between those two times which sounds about right - 4 hours between crossing over PER or some town in WA and landing in SYD. Plus, there's not a hell of a lot between RUN and PER

It probably was PER. On the great circle mapper it showed a more southerly typical route that would make Sydney pretty much the only landfall we would have made. But other than PER, no other possibility could be there!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 41):
Haha, did I get it right?

Hahah .. probably!  
Quoting T8KE0FF (Reply 42):
As usual from you, a fantastic TR!
I don't usually comment on TR's but I have to say that the Lamb meatballs look amazing!!

Hi T8KE0FF,

Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed  

The lamb meatballs not only looked amazing, they tasted great too!

Quoting reifel (Reply 43):
Thank you so much for this exotic report! Really enjoyed it and it felt as if I was on the plane. They seem to have a terrific product and such a light load makes it even more enjoyable.

Thanks a lot once again for sharing!

Hi reifel,

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!

Quoting directorguy (Reply 44):
Another masterpiece, Roni, well done! The French DOM-TOMs are incredible to read about, and I truly feel like I've visited them by reading this. Much appreciated, as always
:D

Salam directorguy! Good to hear from you!  


Many thanks once again!
Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: Econojetter
Posted 2011-02-09 08:40:16 and read 21708 times.

Hey Roni,

Very very fine report. UU seems like such a charming little airline. The cabin is stylish, the catering looks awesome and the crew seem to be having a good time making passengers happy. While their 772 lacks IFE, their 77W product looks as good as some of the best in the sky.
It's a pity that your experience in Noumea left such a poor impression of the destination. The beach and the sea look nice but, hey, that's not the only place in the world with such landscape.
Thanks for putting it all together and sharing it with us here. Reading it makes me feel like I've just gone on a vacation.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-09 14:23:00 and read 21579 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 45):
On the great circle mapper it showed a more southerly typical route that would make Sydney pretty much the only landfall we would have made

Yeah, I looked at that too.. It comes to a grand total of around a 200km difference between the gc distance and via PER!

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: Burj
Posted 2011-02-11 01:26:14 and read 21331 times.

Awesome TR! Finally have time to sit down and read it all and soak it in and then read all the comments!

Only thing I can add is that it was great NOT to see those fugly red shoes and I was so proud of you for NOT wearing torn pants/jeans on your flight!

BTW how AWESOME is that safety video? I LOVE how it actually shows the people getting onto the raft...the sky looks so blue and the people look so calm...almost like going on a cruise instead of a life raft!
 

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-12 07:07:50 and read 20993 times.

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 46):
Very very fine report. UU seems like such a charming little airline.

Hey Econojetter!

Thanks for stopping by! UU is indeed one charming little airline. Hope they maintain such consistency on other flights too!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 46):
While their 772 lacks IFE, their 77W product looks as good as some of the best in the sky.

Very true. But it was also nice not to have any in-set IFE's, as that way, it was reminiscent of the long hours of flying. Nowadays, in-flight time passes ever so quickly!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 46):
but, hey, that's not the only place in the world with such landscape.

Exactly!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 47):
Yeah, I looked at that too.. It comes to a grand total of around a 200km difference between the gc distance and via PER!

Makes sense!

Quoting Burj (Reply 48):
Awesome TR! Finally have time to sit down and read it all and soak it in and then read all the comments!

Thanks Burj! Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting Burj (Reply 48):
Only thing I can add is that it was great NOT to see those fugly red shoes and I was so proud of you for NOT wearing torn pants/jeans on your flight!

Haha So i should fly more Economy Class and you wont see my shoes  
Quoting Burj (Reply 48):
BTW how AWESOME is that safety video? I LOVE how it actually shows the people getting onto the raft

I know right!


Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-02-13 08:55:39 and read 20611 times.

Another nice and detailed report, thanks for sharing. Apart from not having personal IFE UU looks to have a pretty good product.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: oa260
Posted 2011-02-17 01:34:51 and read 20134 times.

Hey Roni ,
Sorry for late reply I have been travelling myself and have just got back. Been trying to catch up on all the TR's I missed.

Another great report on a unique airline. Im glad you had a great experience.Lovely photos as usual.

I wondered what happened on your Facebook. Shame you cant hunt this idiot down.. I always wipe data in lounges where ever I can but I know sometimes if you are in a rush or tired its easy to forget.

Anyway looking forward to the next one .

Philip  

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: QANTASFOREVER2
Posted 2011-02-17 07:20:26 and read 19968 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
Nouméa in all honesty, was simply not my cup of tea. People were a tad cold, if indifferent at all, and the place was so expensive beyond belief.

Hmmm. Yes, Noumea does have some way to go. It is so close to Australia but feels a million miles away. With absolutely EVERYTHING imported from France, the whole place is artificially expensive, a lot like French Polynesia. To its detriment, I feel!

An excellent TR, I really loved reading it. La Reunion is a new frontier for us Australians, but your report made it seem wonderful. I just hope it's cheaper than Noumea!

As for Air Austral, as wonderful as it is to hear about good, old-fashioned service on board a full service international carrier, the lack of decent IFE in this day and age is completely unacceptable. Especially from an airline that deals almost exclusively in ultra long haul. The situation would have to be rectified before I would even consider flying with them. Even with an iPad I would be very wary.

QFF2

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: CARST
Posted 2011-02-17 15:00:01 and read 19777 times.

An awesome TR ronerone! Was a great read, pictures are looking good and it seems Air Austral is a really top-notch airline.

Hope you enjoyed your stay in Noumea.




How many flights did you make in 2010 ?

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: vivekman2006
Posted 2011-02-17 21:05:30 and read 19699 times.

What a brilliant TR Roni - on an airline which is hardly reported on the forum and to places which very few people know existed!

Great pictures and insight into Air Austral.

Cheers,
Vivek

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: lhr380
Posted 2011-02-18 02:26:14 and read 19602 times.

Roni,

Thank you!!!

As always you have produced an amazing Trip Report. You actually nearly made me start planning a trip to fly with them and I love a TR that makes me do that.

Shame to hear about NOU not being that nice a place, always wanted to pay it a visit. Would you recommend Reunion?

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: SR 103
Posted 2011-02-19 12:41:37 and read 19287 times.

As always, another masterpiece! Sorry about the late response, its been a busy couple of weeks.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
WELCOME TO MY 30th TRIP REPORT

Wow, congratulations! I had no idea you had produced so many. Hopefully we will get to see many many more.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
All in all, a simple and practical airport!

It gives you that quiet island feel, it tends to relax you. No hustle and bustle of a modern terminal.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Predominantly wooden and modern, and with a touch of industry, the airside hall consisted of just that;

I really like the look of this airport, very well done.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Monsieur, we change your seat because you have two passenger seated next to you"
"We move you to another row, where you have three seats for you, and for more comfort on the flight"
"Thank you!"

Thats absolutely amazing, going above and beyond. Shows what kind of airline Air Austral is.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Amenity kit

A lot of airlines could a learn a few things from this Amenity kit. What was inside by chance?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Apart from two nuns, no one else seemed to join the flight from Sydney. In fact, I had assumed that most passengers from Réunion (and/or Paris) would continue onwards to Nouméa when in fact, it seemed to be the opposite today.

I would have also thought most passengers would have been headed to Nouméa. Interesting.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I am happy to say that Air Austral is now one of my favorite airlines alongside Cathay Pacific, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, and the bunch.

They impressed you that much? I also noticed that Etihad has been replaced with Emirates!  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
The crew were really there to help the passenger enjoy the long journey, and their willingness to help never stopped, even had they been quite exhausted after working on such a long flight.

This is good to hear, but I did not expect anything else from Air Austral at this point. I think a certain leading European airline that competes with Air Austral could learn a lot from them.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
People were a tad cold, if indifferent at all, and the place was so expensive beyond belief.

I have a friend (from ERAU) who swears by Nouméa and Réunion. Then again he is French himself so maybe he is a bit biased.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
The airport was practically in the middle of nowhere, and a 45 minute taxi ride -the only available mode of transport on the spot- could easily cost you almost 170 Euros!

Holly cow! Thanks for the heads up, scrapping this place off my list till I am a millionaire.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 20):
In my 24 hour transit, I must have killed over 20 roaches which kept creeping out the wooden panel that is strapped onto the bottom of the room walls. It was absolutely disgusting! (though the room itself was nice and spacious).

Oh come now, you lived in Florida, you should be used to killing 20 roaches a night!  

Again, fantastic report and I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: QFKangaroo747
Posted 2011-02-22 13:32:13 and read 18827 times.

What a wonderful trip report! Thank you for your efforts. I have been curious about the Air Austral service between RUN and SYD since it started a couple of years back. You have answered many of my 'wonderings' with this trip report.

It does look like a lovely product that Air Austral offer, despite the lack of PTVs for IFE. And Reunion looks like an amazing place. As other Australians have commented above, the idea of Noumea doesn't thrill me. However in the opposite direction, I think flying SYD-RUN-CDG would be a great way to get to Paris if I ever need/want to go. A short vacation in Reunion enroute would be so much fun!

Then again, it does seem like the Air Austral prices are not particularly competitive, when there are so many one-stop options on Asian carriers from SYD - CDG.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):

I think we used the 'far' runway at SYD?

Sort of. You took off from 34L, which is quite far out in Botany Bay, but not as far out as 34R.

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: LH4116
Posted 2011-02-25 18:49:17 and read 18396 times.

Hey Roni, great report!

Seems like you had some good flights on Air Austral. Nice to see a report of this airline on the forum, since they're not much covered around here.

The Y class seats on the 77W looked quite interesting. To me they look like a hybrid between a QR long haul Y seat, and an old AF EU Y seat. Spending 10+ hours in that seat without any form of entertainment must be a hell!

The food looked really nice, especially the first meal. Layout of the menu and the presentation of the meal looked very similar to what many airlines seem to serve in Y+, or even J in some cases.

As always the pics were stunning! However the story about the taxi drivers really pissed me off. I would never pay €170 for that treatment, and if I were you I wouldn't even bother to pay for the ride! Is this a way of ripping tourists off, or are the living costs really that high in Nouméa?

Anyway, this was a truly enjoyable read as always and I hope to see more reports from you soon!

//Jonas

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-26 09:07:42 and read 18295 times.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 50):
Another nice and detailed report, thanks for sharing. Apart from not having personal IFE UU looks to have a pretty good product.

Thanks MSS658, Glad you enjoyed  
Quoting oa260 (Reply 51):
Another great report on a unique airline. Im glad you had a great experience.Lovely photos as usual.

I wondered what happened on your Facebook. Shame you cant hunt this idiot down.. I always wipe data in lounges where ever I can but I know sometimes if you are in a rush or tired its easy to forget.

Thanks Phil  

Yea lesson learned, i do not log onto my email or facebook without logging out after i am done!

Quoting QANTASFOREVER2 (Reply 52):
Hmmm. Yes, Noumea does have some way to go. It is so close to Australia but feels a million miles away. With absolutely EVERYTHING imported from France, the whole place is artificially expensive, a lot like French Polynesia. To its detriment, I feel!

Hi QANTASFOREVER2,

Very true. Even the QF crew on my NOU-SYD flight were so curious about Noumea and kept asking me what it was like there, as they have never been there before.

Quoting QANTASFOREVER2 (Reply 52):
An excellent TR, I really loved reading it. La Reunion is a new frontier for us Australians, but your report made it seem wonderful. I just hope it's cheaper than Noumea!

Thanks! .. Reunion is pretty much like another European city, and for me, it is equally as expensive as Europe. But it does not come close to Noumea!

Quoting QANTASFOREVER2 (Reply 52):
the lack of decent IFE in this day and age is completely unacceptable. Especially from an airline that deals almost exclusively in ultra long haul. The situation would have to be rectified before I would even consider flying with them. Even with an iPad I would be very wary.

Not to worry as Air Austral has already rectified this with the deployment of their B77W's on this route, which feature their best product to date  
Quoting CARST (Reply 53):
How many flights did you make in 2010 ?

Hi CARST,

In 2010, i made a total of 49 flights on 18 airlines, flying 103,168 miles.

Quoting vivekman2006 (Reply 54):
What a brilliant TR Roni - on an airline which is hardly reported on the forum and to places which very few people know existed!

Great pictures and insight into Air Austral.

Cheers,
Vivek

Cheers Vivek!  
Quoting lhr380 (Reply 55):
Shame to hear about NOU not being that nice a place, always wanted to pay it a visit. Would you recommend Reunion?

Hi lhr380,

While i have not visited Reunion's main sites, i much preferred it to Noumea. People are much nicer, and the city is cleaner.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
As always, another masterpiece! Sorry about the late response, its been a busy couple of weeks.

Thanks SR 103  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
Wow, congratulations! I had no idea you had produced so many. Hopefully we will get to see many many more.

Yeah time passes too quick!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
A lot of airlines could a learn a few things from this Amenity kit. What was inside by chance?

I am not sure. I have not opened it! haha. I like to keep it as it is  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
They impressed you that much? I also noticed that Etihad has been replaced with Emirates!

Haha .. EY is included in the 'bunch'  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
I have a friend (from ERAU) who swears by Nouméa and Réunion. Then again he is French himself so maybe he is a bit biased.

Definitely Reunion, but no thanks Noumea   haha

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 56):
Oh come now, you lived in Florida, you should be used to killing 20 roaches a night!

LOL .. trust me, Noumea was THAT bad! .. But i must say Florida's roaches are enormous!

Quoting QFKangaroo747 (Reply 57):
As other Australians have commented above, the idea of Noumea doesn't thrill me. However in the opposite direction, I think flying SYD-RUN-CDG would be a great way to get to Paris if I ever need/want to go. A short vacation in Reunion enroute would be so much fun!
Quoting QFKangaroo747 (Reply 57):
Then again, it does seem like the Air Austral prices are not particularly competitive, when there are so many one-stop options on Asian carriers from SYD - CDG.

Hi QFKangaroo747,

A SYD-RUN-CDG trip would make a great alternative! But as you said, the Gulf carriers would be much cheaper!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 58):
Seems like you had some good flights on Air Austral. Nice to see a report of this airline on the forum, since they're not much covered around here.

Thanks Casablancas  
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 58):
However the story about the taxi drivers really pissed me off. I would never pay €170 for that treatment, and if I were you I wouldn't even bother to pay for the ride! Is this a way of ripping tourists off, or are the living costs really that high in Nouméa?

The costs seem to be that high (plus a little ripping off of tourists here n there). I have recently come to know that New Caledonians have to travel to Australia / New Zealand for medical treatment such as that dealing with cardiology etc because the facilities are not available there!


Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Loisirs Avec Air Austral: Réunion-Sydney-Nouméa
Username: UALDUDE
Posted 2011-02-26 13:29:41 and read 18186 times.

EXCELLENT as always! I really enjoy your trip reports Roni. Thanks.


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