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Topic: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-05 12:31:44 and read 12280 times.

BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic run on Qantas' oldest B747-400

Four days after my SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE trip it was time for another domestic run. More about the first trip: Testing Qantas: SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE (B738, B763, A332) (by PlaneHunter Oct 4 2006 in Trip Reports)


Intro
Early in spring this year I had decided to choose another round trip to SYD because of reasonable fares and the scheduled equipment. Qantas uses B747s between SYD and BNE a few times per week, so I picked QF176 (which arrives from Los Angeles).
I booked QF546 for returning in the evening, with the B738 being the aircraft of choice. At this point of time in spring the equipment on my other QF flights hadn't been changed yet. Later, when it turned out I would get the B738 twice I checked for a B734 service, but such flights weren't available on that day.


Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Brisbane (BNE) - Sydney (SYD)
Qantas QF 176
07:45-09:15 (07:44-09:20)
Flying time: 01:07 (hrs)

Boeing 747-438
VH-OJA "City of Canberra" (s/n 731), delivered 08/1989
Economy, seat 66K



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Photo © Christoph Aschauer
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Photo © Chris Griffiths




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Photo © Brendan Vanderwerf
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Photo © Chris Sheldon




Check-in
Since QF176 always operates from the international terminal I couldn't use QF's check-in kiosks. So I had to go to a regular counter some 90 minutes prior to departure, but waiting time was minimal and the agent was very friendly and I got a window seat in the rear section without any problems.
After passing through security I noticed a QF had already arrived and it turned out to be VH-OJA, the very first B747-400 for Qantas, delivered in summer 1989.




Flight
Boarding was started on time and some friendly FAs welcomed me in the cabin which appeared to be in good shape. Picture from the database:


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Photo © Glenn Stewart



After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.



The IFE box is located under the middle seat, though it’s not as big as on Emirates' A332 and A345. The seats are not new, but still comfortable.



Load factor was probably around 50% and the middle seat remained empty. We were pushed back at 07:44, but the captain announced we would have to spend some time for taxiing to the runway.



Indeed, 22 minutes passed until the four RR engines powerfully accelerated the light B747, resulting in an early liftoff. Several Virgin Blue aircraft are parked at the domestic terminal, among those the sole "blue" model, B737-700 VH-VBY.



Rush hour at the international terminal: Freedom Air A320 (ZK-OJO), Qantas B734 & B763, Emirates and SIA B777s, a JAL B743 and one of the last JAL B742s (JA8141).



The light B747 climbed fast, leaving behind the thick clouds.




IFE
Though the flight only took barely over an hour, the IFE was fully available and I checked its basic features. It’s one of the earlier IFE systems without AVOD and only a limited number of channels. Here's a summary:


  • 11 movies (repeating every 2,5 hours)
  • 7 TV channels (repeating every 2,5 hours)
  • 16 radio channels
  • 10 games
  • airshow


The airshow channel features interesting background images:



Cruising altitude: 11582 meters.




Breakfast
A light breakfast was served, consisting of "Just Right" cereal, milk, fruit yogurt, a raisin bread roll, "Fruit Frusion" juice, tea and coffee. It was indeed "just right" and tasty.



The remaining flight was uneventful and I enjoyed looking at the scenery below.



After bad luck with all the flights to and from SYD before I was glad to be seated on the right side this time – so I could take pictures of Sydney's skyline…



…with the harbor and the famous opera house.



On approach to SYD we flew a long turn over the ocean…



…before reaching the coast again…



…and passing a large refinery.



It was a bit windy at SYD which resulted in a very rough touchdown at 09:13. Seven minutes later engines were shut down at the international terminal.


Spotting & a.net meeting
Arriving at the international terminal meant I had to pass the usual immigration and customs counters, but an orange sticker on my boarding pass identified myself as a domestic passenger and I could proceed without any further checks.

At the arrival hall I was awaited by a.net member PanAm_DC10 – we had arranged a meeting long before I departed for Australia. First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal and later drove to Terminal 3 where we spent most of the time at the excellent Qantas Heritage Exhibition lounge and discussed the latest developments in aviation as well as past experiences. Interestingly, one doesn’t need a boarding pass in order to go to the gate area.


Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Sydney (SYD) – Brisbane (BNE)
Qantas QF 546
18:35-20:05 (18:35-20:06)
Flying time: 01:05 (hrs)

Boeing 737-838
VH-VXT "Townsville" (s/n 1412), delivered 11/2003
Economy, seat 23A



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Photo © Michael Dawson
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Photo © Norbert Genci




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Photo © Jeff Gilbert - JGPhotographics
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Photo © Micheil Keegan



After VH-VXL last time it turned out that VH-VXT would operate the service to Brisbane (please see further information on QF's B738 in the other report).



I had already checked in and received my boarding pass in the morning so it wasn't necessary to leave the gate area again after our meeting. Boarding was started on time and I took my seat in row 23.



We were pushed back exactly on time at 18:35 but it took 21 minutes until we turned in for departure. Takeoff was quite powerful and shortly after liftoff I was glad about choosing the left side: excellent view of Sydney's nightly skyline.



Onboard service was started soon and included a hot dinner. The meal consisted of beef goulash, mashed potatoes, peas, a bread roll and a "Boost" chocolate bar – it was really tasty and filling.



Additionally, FAs were also quite generous with white and red wine – free of charge of course. I can only applaud Qantas for such a good service on a one hour-flight.

The remaining flight was uneventful and we touched down at 20:01, followed by an on-time arrival at 20:06.


Conclusion
The two further flights on Qantas confirmed my earlier impression: clean, efficient airport facilities, quick and easy check-in, friendly FAs and ground staff. Drinks (even wine) and food (even hot meals) on board are free of charge, seats are comfortable, pitch is not as humble as on most LCCs.
Virgin Blue may offer slightly cheaper fares sometimes (not necessarily, as I have experienced), but apart from the service difference Qantas operates many domestic flights with widebodies – and it's definitely more enjoyable to get a B763 or even a B744 rather than a B737NG. I can only recommend domestic flying on Qantas.


As usual, comments, questions and criticism welcome!


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: VHVXB
Posted 2006-10-05 13:11:32 and read 12240 times.

Great Trip report Hunter

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
and passing a large refinery.

they are the Kurnell Refineries to be exact

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal

not much traffic goes through here with all the work that is going
Once again great trip report  thumbsup 

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: JetMech
Posted 2006-10-05 15:07:58 and read 12116 times.

More please PlaneHunter. Keep up the excellent work bigthumbsup 

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PanAm_DC10
Posted 2006-10-05 15:44:37 and read 12083 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
At the arrival hall I was awaited by a.net member PanAm_DC10 – we had arranged a meeting long before I departed for Australia. First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal and later drove to Terminal 3 where we spent most of the time at the excellent Qantas Heritage Exhibition lounge and discussed the latest developments in aviation as well as past experiences. Interestingly, one doesn’t need a boarding pass in order to go to the gate area.

After all the years of exchanging views via A.net let me say that it was a pleasure to finally meet you and spend a day just watching the movements at SYD whilst discussing aviation. As I mentioned that day, you know more about the rego's here than I do  Embarrassment

Yet again another excellent trip report PH and I'm pleased you got VH-OJA and some splendid shots of your approach to SYD. Isn't it great that a boarding pass isn't needed for the gate area either?

Quoting JetMech (Reply 2):
More please PlaneHunter. Keep up the excellent work

Fear not! There will be more, keep posting them thanks PH and see you at an airport sometime soon and you're more than welcome in SYD the next time.

Regards, PanAm_DC10

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Pilotdude09
Posted 2006-10-05 16:04:51 and read 12049 times.

WOW!
Thanks for an interesting trip report, its good to see some pics of the pitch and so forth in the 744. Glad to see you enjoyed your time here in Australia  Smile

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Ndebele
Posted 2006-10-05 16:08:48 and read 12048 times.

Hi PlaneHunter,
an interesting report with some excellent pics, thanks for sharing. A hot meal?! Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world. One gets the impression that Qantas offers an overall pleasent service.
Regards, Alex.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-06 09:00:40 and read 11668 times.

Thanks for all your nice comments!

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
After all the years of exchanging views via A.net let me say that it was a pleasure to finally meet you and spend a day just watching the movements at SYD whilst discussing aviation.

It was a real pleasure for me as well!

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
Isn't it great that a boarding pass isn't needed for the gate area either?

Yes - and flying isn't less secure because of that.

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
keep posting them thanks PH and see you at an airport sometime soon and you're more than welcome in SYD the next time.

Thanks, I'm sure I'll be down in SYD again in the not very distant future.

Quoting Pilotdude09 (Reply 4):
Glad to see you enjoyed your time here in Australia

Traveling around Australia was definitely enjoyable - one reason is that nobody asks strange questions about spotting.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 5):
Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world.

I was positively surprised by that after getting used to today's European and U.S. standards.


PH

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-
Username: 767747
Posted 2006-10-06 17:11:32 and read 11453 times.

Great report! Qantus sounds great! That's great you got to fly on a B-744 on such a short flight. The last time I was at LAX, I saw the Qantus "Longreach" pulling back from the gate for SYD.

Looking forward to more reports!

767747

[Edited 2006-10-06 17:11:58]

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Pilotdude09
Posted 2006-10-06 18:01:27 and read 11413 times.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Qantus

Lol, you yanks are always a laugh comming up with new ways to spell QANTAS  Smile

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: MainMAN
Posted 2006-10-06 23:49:27 and read 11318 times.

Great report PlaneHunter. The last time I flew Qantas, I booked myself onto a 747SP between MEL and SYD (which was continuing to Honolulu). I missed it! The agent put me on the next available flight.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Safs
Posted 2006-10-07 11:23:44 and read 11138 times.

Great trip report, Plane Hunter! I am glad you enjoyed your time in Australia. It's always a pleasure to hear great comments about your national airline. Your photos added great insight into your experiences. Keep up the great work and I look forward to more trip reports from you in the future.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Leskova
Posted 2006-10-07 21:05:37 and read 10990 times.

So... would you say QF would be a good choice for the long ride from Germany to Australia? Or, given the choice, would you prefer EK again?

And, once again, thanks for a great report!  bigthumbsup 

Regards,
Frank

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: BNE
Posted 2006-10-08 06:55:43 and read 10903 times.

Read this report and the other SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE which were both interesting to read.

Jetstar is very cheap and Qantas can be expensive but you get good service. Virgin Blue tends to be in the middle service wise.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-08 22:20:35 and read 10806 times.

And again thanks for all new comments!

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 9):
I booked myself onto a 747SP between MEL and SYD (which was continuing to Honolulu). I missed it! The agent put me on the next available flight.

That's a loss - did you get it on another flight?

Quoting Leskova (Reply 11):
would you say QF would be a good choice for the long ride from Germany to Australia? Or, given the choice, would you prefer EK again?

Well, QF would certainly be a good choice for the long haul ride - though EK offers a more advanced IFE and apparently larger meals.


PH

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2006-10-08 22:43:02 and read 10794 times.

Another great report, many thanks.

I must say I really look forward to a trip to SYD in the near future, the spotting opps are superb & by the look of it, the locals are superb  Smile

Rgds

Mark

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: DeltaGator
Posted 2006-10-09 06:29:15 and read 10730 times.

Great report and pics. Seems like I was just there a few weeks ago. Oh wait, I was. Never mind  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.

You're either kidding or you're a midget.  Wink 31" is not what anybody would consider "generous." While I'm sure it was liveable for the quick flight to Sydney I suggest you try that on a almost fully loaded Melbourne to LAX flight. Not fun in the least.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Christao17
Posted 2006-10-09 06:35:45 and read 10728 times.

Very nice report.

I'm always interested to see how various country's domestic service compares. Nice to see you can actually get a meal in economy in Oz!

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Flynlr
Posted 2006-10-09 10:13:58 and read 10663 times.

wow! hot food on an hour flight ? how dare they :}
nice report and as another yank may I offer you
Kwantus?

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: MainMAN
Posted 2006-10-09 11:57:05 and read 10637 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
That's a loss - did you get it on another flight?

No, unfortunately not. Now the only possibility is Syrian Air.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-09 21:06:39 and read 10514 times.

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 15):
You're either kidding or you're a midget. Wink 31" is not what anybody would consider "generous." While I'm sure it was liveable for the quick flight to Sydney I suggest you try that on a almost fully loaded Melbourne to LAX flight. Not fun in the least.

It definitely felt roomier than on EK.

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 18):
Now the only possibility is Syrian Air.

And Iran Air with one active aircraft left.


PH

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Zkpilot
Posted 2006-10-09 21:33:56 and read 10503 times.

Firstly Great TR.. keep them coming!  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.

Hmmm... thats very generous of you to say so... 31" of seat pitch is pretty average for a longhaul aircraft... that is one of the very few negatives about QF... everything else is pretty damn good! 32-34" is generous for a seat pitch.
Having said that, it is a lot more comfy than flying in a little 737 or similar  Wink

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-09 22:06:22 and read 10494 times.

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 20):
Hmmm... thats very generous of you to say so... 31" of seat pitch is pretty average for a longhaul aircraft... that is one of the very few negatives about QF... everything else is pretty damn good! 32-34" is generous for a seat pitch.

It's strange, but QF's pitch seemed to be better than EK's (A345).


PH

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Sabena332
Posted 2006-10-09 22:13:58 and read 10491 times.

Thanks for another nice and interesting report about flying in Australia, the text and the pictures were entertaining as always!

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 5):
A hot meal?! Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world.

I thought exactly the same, service seems to be very good on domestic flights in Australia, really nice to see!

Patrick

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: DeltaGator
Posted 2006-10-10 01:53:38 and read 10448 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):
It definitely felt roomier than on EK.

EK's A345 - 33" pitch, 17.5" width
QF's 747 - 31" pitch, 17.2" width

Sounds like you were in Seinfeld's Bizarro World.  Wink

I know what you mean though. I've been on planes where the numbers back up them having more room but for whatever reason it doesn't feel that way at all. The CRJs are a good example. IIRC they are supposed to have a little bit more wider seat than some mainline planes but the low ceiling makes you feel overly cramped. Part of the deal with that 747 is that the ceiling is so damn high in it compared to an A345. I just flew SQ on both plane types and the A345 seems like a puddle jumper compared to the 747 IMO.

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: CX777Fan
Posted 2006-10-10 06:25:21 and read 10391 times.

I've just finished reading all three of your trip reports to Australia and enjoyed all of them. Agree that QF's domestic product is of a high standard. Recently DJ have been as expensive, if not more on some flights yet thay still charge for junk food inflight and have all the LCC faff to deal with.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After passing through security I noticed a QF had already arrived and it turned out to be VH-OJA, the very first B747-400 for Qantas, delivered in summer 1989.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
VH-OJA "City of Canberra" (s/n 731), delivered 08/1989

I notice for all your A/C you have this info about delivery dates etc. I'm sure there must be websites where one can look up rego numbers and find delivery dates etc. Are you able to point me in the right direction?

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: DeltaGator
Posted 2006-10-10 06:31:36 and read 10394 times.

Quoting CX777Fan (Reply 24):
I'm sure there must be websites where one can look up rego numbers and find delivery dates etc. Are you able to point me in the right direction?

Here's one I've used in the past. I'm sure there are others.

http://www.plane-spotters.net/Airline/index.html

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2006-10-10 20:35:44 and read 10314 times.

Thanks for all new comments!

Quoting CX777Fan (Reply 24):
Recently DJ have been as expensive, if not more on some flights yet thay still charge for junk food inflight and have all the LCC faff to deal with.

True, I found DJ quite expensive compared to QF - though DJ's sandwiches were really tasty. I'll write more about that in my next trip.

Quoting CX777Fan (Reply 24):
I notice for all your A/C you have this info about delivery dates etc. I'm sure there must be websites where one can look up rego numbers and find delivery dates etc. Are you able to point me in the right direction?

There are several websites, e.g. the one DeltaGator mentioned, or this one:

http://www.airfleets.net/recherche/?file=recherche

I use www.aerotransport.org , but you need to subscribe for getting access to the whole database.


PH

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: LY777
Posted 2006-10-10 21:50:40 and read 10298 times.

just wow!!!Qantas looks so great!!I wish I could fly them!!!

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: ZKSUJ
Posted 2006-10-11 09:36:00 and read 10228 times.

Great report there. Thanks for sharing

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: CX777Fan
Posted 2006-10-11 12:13:28 and read 10201 times.

Thanks Deltagator and PlaneHunter for the links. I've now got many hours of happy plane geek net reading ahead of me  Smile

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Thadocta
Posted 2006-10-15 14:32:48 and read 9970 times.

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 15):
You're either kidding or you're a midget. 31" is not what anybody would consider "generous." While I'm sure it was liveable for the quick flight to Sydney I suggest you try that on a almost fully loaded Melbourne to LAX flight. Not fun in the least.

The thing with Qantas though is that they use "Slimline" seats - the seat backs themselves are a LOT thinner, and they have thinner padding on them (which is changed around every ten days) - so you can have more seats in the same space (hence the reduced pitch) but still have more room between the seats.

Dave

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: Vhqpa
Posted 2006-10-20 05:18:50 and read 9745 times.

Nice report,

I did the BNE-SYD 744 run 2 years ago was expecting a relatively light load until a JL 743 broke down while it was doing a KIX-BNE-SYD flight and all 300 or so pax where transferred to our flight for the BNE-SYD sector all their bags had to be loaded on our flight and also the caterer had to come back with more food we were over an hour late.



Jason

Topic: RE: BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Username: DeltaGator
Posted 2006-10-23 16:37:37 and read 9576 times.

Quoting Thadocta (Reply 30):
so you can have more seats in the same space (hence the reduced pitch) but still have more room between the seats.

I believe that is impossible based on the definition of seat pitch. If the pitch is 31" that means you have that much space from any one point on your seat to the same point on the seat in front of you. Slimline seats might allow you to get more seats in the plane but if the pitch is 31" you still only have that much space between you and the person in front of you.

Luckily on my flights it has been a somewhat sexy blond girl's head I got to stare at for 14 hours instead of some balding dandruff flaked guy.


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