6 September 2007
SYD - AKL
B 767-338ER Reg: VH-OGD
Depart time, scheduled 11:35 Actual 11:47
Arrival time, scheduled 16:35 Actual 16:49
With the APEC disruption coming up, and the need for a break, I decided to go back home to Auckland for a long weekend and to see family. I chose the late morning flight to AKL as it allowed me to have a relaxing trip, and meant not having either to get up early, or get into AKL late.
With all the traffic disruptions around Sydney I decided to take the train to the airport, which took in all about an hour, longer than if I went by taxi, but with the chaos around the city, the taxi would have taken longer and been far more expensive.
As I wasn’t going away for long, I only had hand luggage, so check in was very quick, especially as there was no one else at the First Class counter. As I was given my boarding pass, I was also given a pass for ‘premium immigration & security’ line, which I hadn’t seen before. It looks like something arranged between Qantas and the airport, but it meant I avoided the long immigration and security lines, which are always bad early morning with all the flights to the US.
After purchasing the requested duty free, I went straight up to the First Class lounge and headed towards the dining area for some breakfast. From the menu I chose scrambled eggs, hash brown and bacon, and very nice it was to. During my meal I received a few calls from people at work, but they soon stopped calling once I told them how good it was in the lounge, and the food was great.
VH-OEG heading to LAX<
VH-OEB heading to LAX and JFK as QF 107
2 QF 744s, one to LAX the other to JNB.
Earlier in the week, a friend who works with Qantas gave me the [expected] regos of the planes I would be on, so I expected my first flight to be VH-OGE, but imagine my surprise and delight to see it was infact VH-OGD, the first plane with the new logo and interior colours.
The new interior of VH-OGD
Air Calin flight arriving
When I asked at checkin, if the flight was full and whether I could have a window seat with the isle next to me free, I was told that was not possible, as the flight was full due to a ANZ flight cancellation, so I had no expectations. However as the number of people getting on board got less and there was still no one next to me, I started to get a bit hopeful, and when the CSM said the front door was closed, and still there was no one next to me, I realised it was my lucky day.
We were quite delayed in pushing back, but the captain announced that due to good winds, and a short taxi to 16R we would make up most of the delay and arrive into AKL close to schedule, which was good as I had the mother ‘taxi’ waiting to pick me up.
Port Botany and the containership wharfs
Once the flight levelled out, I did the same, making the most of the spare seat next to me. The advertised movie, Licence to Wed, didn’t interest me, so I read until the meal service came around. Interestingly, the crew did not use a trolley but came to each person, asking what they wanted, (green chicken curry in my case), and went back to the galley to get the requested meal.
The rest of the flight passed uneventfully, but this time instead of doing a tour above Auckland City and coming in from the north, we came straight in over the Manukau Harbour, quicker, but less scenic.
Whatipu and the Waitakeres
Auckland City with Little Barrier just visible in the distance
Arrival was a few minutes late but disembarking was very quick, with customs and immigration even quicker. It took me less than 10 minutes from the time the plane reached the blocks, till I was outside the terminal waiting for my ride, very impressive.
When I go home, my father and I usually spend an afternoon spotting from the public viewing area, but the Northeasterly winds which caused the direct approach into AKL the previous day, were still around, meaning we were taking photos of departing planes, which are higher and harder to shoot than arriving planes.
SQ 744 heading home
EVA Air A332
10 September 2007
AKL - MEL
B 747-438E Reg: VH-OJS
Depart time, scheduled 06:30 Actual 06:50
Arrival time, scheduled 08:20 Actual 08:35
Thanks to a previous Qantas debacle, I had a voucher to use, so I decided to splash out and take a longer routing back to Sydney, so that I could gain some more status credits in order to retain Platinum. Going via Melbourne seemed like a good way to do this, except for the early start.
Earlier in the week I decided to put in for a points upgrade to business class so I could enjoy the flight even more – what a good decision that turned out to be.
My friend at Qantas had told me that the expected rego was going to be VH-OJA, disappointing as I think I have been on OJA at least once a year for the last 3 or 4.
On Sunday afternoon, I checked my points balance and found I had been deducted the 16000 points for the upgrade, and then checked my seat allocation, 1K, great at the nose of a 744, doesn’t get much better than that. Reading some other airline news, I saw that OJC had done a 5th pod ferry for OJB which was stuck in FRA, and so began to wonder whether OJA would infact be changed.
4am Monday morning arrived a little to quickly, but I was soon checking in at the airport getting my pass from Mel and SYD. The SYD seating was 24J, so I asked to have the window seat. It wasn’t till later that I realised I should think about these things first.
Surprised that they were open before 5am, I did some dutyfree shopping, getting some All Black gear to give some friends in France during next months trip there [work trip to France at the end of the World Cup, sometimes my timing is good].
After clearing immigration and security I went up to the small room that passes as the QF First Class lounge, and waiting for boarding.
Boarding was called at 06:00 and I walked to the gate to find it was a bit disorganised, general boarding by rows had been called, but also business class were told they could board at any time, but there was no one taking their passes. Flight didn’t seem to full, so it didn’t seem to matter much.
Due to the position of the plane I was not able to check the rego, but as I walked inside the plane and was told to turn left, I saw them, the 14 First Class seats. This was not a 2 class plane as expected, but a 3 class substitute.
Upon sitting in 1K, the FA asked me if I wanted a drink, which I did, and I also asked for the rego. When she came back with my orange juice, she told me the plane was VH-OJS. I was initially disappointed as I had been on this plane before, but after the mind woke up, I realised that this was one of the few 744s that had the new interior.
First Class cabin
More First Class cabin
Pushback was about 20 minutes late due to the loading paperwork from Australia taking time, but a the familiar announcement of good winds, arriving on schedule etc from the captain was heard. At this point in time, relaxing in 1K, I didn’t mind how long we were delayed for.
View from the nose of the plane
Turing onto the runway
Unusual visitors at AKL
After the seatbelt sign had been turned off, I got up and had a walk around the plane, seeing the new red colours of the pleb economy class, which is really the only major difference. There were about 8 people seated in business class downstairs and only 4 of us in First Class, which seemed a bit unusual, not that I was complaining.
The usual hot or cold breakfast options were available so I went for the scrambled eggs and sausage, not amazing but better than what I guess was served down the back.
After breakfast, I took advantage of the seat and reclined fully and started to watch a program on the building of the Millau bridge in France, which was followed by a program on the A380. Unfortunately I went to sleep half way through and missed most of it, but couldn’t be bothered rewinding to watch especially as we had just made landfall over Australia and outside was more interesting than the video.
On finals into MEL
VH-OJF which I imagine arrived into Mel as QF 10 from LHR earlier in the morning
Due to traffic congestion we were slightly delayed arriving into Melbourne, but by only 15 minutes, and I had a good 1.5 hours connection to my flight to Sydney, so there was no concern.
We arrived at a 2 aerobridge gate, however the forward bridge didn’t want to work so we all had to disembark at 2L, but the plebs were still being held back to allow the business class folk to deplane first.
On arrival at immigration there were large signs saying that Channel 7 were filming ‘Border Security’ and if you didn’t want to be on TV, say so, but I didn’t see any signs of filming much to my disappointment.
As with Auckland, clearing immigration was very quick, and I was very soon in the Qantas Club.
10 September 2007
MEL - SYD
B 767-338E Reg: VH-OGI
Depart time, scheduled 10:00 Actual 10:01
Arrival time, scheduled 11:30 Actual 11:18
At 09:30 I wandered down to the gate to see what the rego of my next plane was, and found another 763 that I hadn’t been on. Boarding started with 20 minutes until departure, and when I found my seat, I was suitably annoyed with myself. I hadn’t remembered that row 24 is a window blank. Making this more annoying I had made a note of window blanks as I left the 763 in AKL.
With no way of taking photos, I put my headphones on and rested the journey to Sydney.
Unusual coloured Jetstar A332
Thanks for reading.
Next trip SYD-LHR-CDG-NTE and return