QFFlyer From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 384 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 2 months 6 days ago) and read 7735 times:
Another quick trip to France had now been completed and I made my way to Nantes for my evening flight to CDG. Being a 19:00 flight, I didn’t expect to take any photos.
When checkin opened, I made my way to the desks, but thought I would try again the self checkin machines. I was not able to use them last time in CDG as they wouldn’t accept my ticket #. As I was keying in my ticket number at the machine a staff member came up to ‘help’. When he saw I was keying in a QF ticket # he said it wouldn’t work, to which I agreed based on previous experience, but for some strange reason and to both our surprise it worked, and I had my boarding pass printed out, then it was off to drop off my bags. Again I was asked if I wanted my bags to go direct to LHR as I had a connection this evening, but again I declined, not trusting CDG baggage handling. To carry my bag for 10 minutes from terminal 2D to 2B is less a problem than the potential for problems and delays.
Flight: AF 7725
Plane: A 320
For a Sunday evening, this flight was very lightly loaded, in fact everyone travelling alone had 2 free seats next to them. Departure was on time, and a quick taxi out had us in the air 10 minutes after pushback. Still being tired, I reclined as soon as was able and had a rest. Normally I don’t recline so that the person behind has enough room, but with such a light flight there was no one behind me. The weather was pretty cloudy but it broke just as we got to Paris and so we had a great view of the city lights and also CDG as we flew past to line up with 26L. I didn’t get any photos as I had left my camera in my bag in the overhead lockers, and figured by the time I got it out, the opportunities would have passed anyway.
Arrival was on time, but we had to go to a remote gate and be bussed to the terminal. I had a 90 minute connection to my BA flight to LHR, which just gave me enough time to collect my bag, and walk to terminal 2B for check in.
Flight: BA 315
I had checked in online 24 hours previously, but still I was not able to have my boarding pass printed off at the quick check machines. For some reason it wouldn’t bring up my details, even though I tried with my passport, ticket reference and name. The same thing happened last time I went through CDG, but this time a manager there saw what was happening and manually printed off my pass.
I then went to drop off my bags at the quick drop counter, and to my surprise my bag had a priority tag attached to it. Even though I am a QF Platinum, its not something I have had before on BA flights in economy, but my last experience with BA priority tags when I flew Club World LHR-SYD, left me expecting it to mean nothing in any case.
As usual, the incoming flight was very late, arriving only 15 minutes before our nominated boarding time, so I expected a good long delay, but to the credit of the ground staff, they turned the plane around very quickly and we left the blocks only 5 minutes late, even though the flight was almost totally full.
Again the crew were very good in their ability to feed a full plane in the short time of this flight.
Not sure if traffic is lighter around 9pm at LHR but we had a quick approach and landing, meaning that we made the gate right on schedule. As usual on a full flight disembarking is a fun event, but being close to the front meant I missed most of it, but I had the pleasure of being pushed aside by a woman who thought her carryon bag was further forward than it was, then being pushed aside again as she realised her back was actually aft a little.
The queues for customs were understandably short, which meant in less than 5 minutes I was waiting for my bag to arrive. To my amazement, the priority tag worked, my bag was one of the first off, and I made my way quickly to the Heathrow Express station. My luck seemed to be in today as there was a train ready to depart as I got there. Off at terminal 3 station and straight up to the bus station to wait for a Hotel Hoppa bus to take me to the Renaissance Hotel, and there was a bus right there waiting. So half an hour after getting off the plane I was happily ensconced in my hotel room, watching endless BA 744s taking off on 27R.
I was up early the next morning to answer work e-mails and get ready for my next flight to HKG. After being so tired from the trip to France I decided to put in an upgrade request for my flight to HKG and then one to SYD. Usually one can check if the upgrade was accepted on one booking page on the Qantas website, but I thought this time I would wait and be surprised (or not) when I checked in.
BA 763 departing
After a nice English breakfast at the hotel, I made my way via the Hotel Hoppa bus and Heathrow Express to T4. Checkin at the BA First Class area was quick and efficient, it seems that there are 2 agents dedicated to QF flights, as I was asked to wait for either of the 2 to become free in order to check in. As I was being checked in, I was told that one of my upgrade requests had come through, being this one, QF 30 to HKG, but the QF 188 form HKG to SYD hadn’t come through. I was a little surprised as the last time I checked availability it was wide open, in fact more wide open than the QF 30.
The last time I had come through T4, I had checked out the Bose QC headphones, and had been seriously contemplating a purchase since then. With the AUD being so strong against the pound, it seemed a good time to buy, so I did, a pair of QC2s. the QC3s, I felt weren’t what I wanted, and also the 2s were a good 30 pound cheaper.
I thought I would make my way to the gate a little early in order to get some good pictures, but by the time I got there, boarding was already well underway, so I figured I would board anyway.
It looked a full flight judging by the people in the holding area, and also the number of people walking past my seat into First Class. Business was also very full, only one free seat downstairs, and I imagine all full upstairs.
I was amazed by the, well stupidity for lack of a better word, of one person in middle seats of row 23. She insisted on using the overhead lockers designated for 23A and B, which were pretty full of mine and my seat mates carryon luggage, instead of the lockers for 23 D E and F which were empty. At one stage during the flight she got up to get something out of her bag, and proceeded to take my bag out of the locker, before she realised she had got it all wrong – duh.
We left the blocks pretty much on schedule, but a long taxi to 27L together with a long wait in the queue meant we didn’t get in the air until 45 minutes later.
The weather was very good and clear for taking photos, but unfortunately there were big problems with the AVOD so I have no idea of where I was taking photos of.
While the crew were trying to fix the AVOD, I just read and took photos. The meal service started about 2 hours after we were in the air, maybe delayed while the AVOD was being fixed.
The choice was not great to my surprise, so I went for a chicken dish which I quickly finished and reclined to watch the Bourne Ultimatum while waiting for the sleeping tablet to take effect.
I woke up with about 3 hours to go into Hong Kong, so I finished the book I was reading. The crew, when they noticed I was awake bought me the breakfast I had ordered at the start of the trip, a hot English type breakfast.
With just over an hour connection time in HKG I was pretty keen to make a quick getaway from the plane and into the lounge for a shower, especially as I would be in economy for 9 hours, so changed out of the nice Qantas PJs that business class now get in overnight flights, and packed up my book, camera and headphones. Despite the late departure from LHR we landed pretty much on schedule into HKG. Bing so close to the door in 23A meant I was able to make a quick getaway, through security and into the Qantas lounge for a shower.
After showering I figured I could do some work, as it appeared I had some time before the flight was called, but no sooner than I had my laptop open, the flight was called. I made my way down to the gate and found what looked like to be a totally full flight. As most people had boarded by the time I arrived, I struggled to get my carryon luggage into any locker. Not helped by the fact the lockers are quite small on the A330.
As with at LHR we left the blocks close to schedule, but a 30 minute taxi and wait meant we were significantly behind schedule by the time we were airborne, and my experience on the A330 told me that we would never make up any time, and I was correct.
Although I wanted to stay awake on this leg in order to get to Sydney tired so I would have a good nights sleep, I was so tired I fall asleep anyway and missed the first meal service.
The crew must have been just as tired, as their attitude was pretty surly, quite a contrast to that of the crew on QF 30. Unusually for a daytime flight in economy, the cabin was kept dark, so I didn’t get many photos, and spent my time reading.
As we got closer to Sydney, and more and behind scheduled arrival time, the captain advised us that we would be further delayed as ATC had asked us to slow down due to severe storms in Sydney.
Upon descent into Sydney it was apparent from the lightening outside that there had been a lot of storm activity and in fact as I was looking out the window, there was a huge flash of light right next to us. I thought that we had been hit by lightening, and I heard the person behind nervously ask to her seatmate if we had been hit. Pretty quickly afterwards the FO came on the PA saying that yes we had been hit by lightening, but as the plane was designed for this occurrence all would be ok.
We landed about an hour late, just before 2230, and made our way quickly to the gate.
Disembarking was the normal chaotic process, but being near the front meant I was quickly off and through to customs and immigration. Fortunately my bags came off quickly again, and I was in a taxi 30 minutes after arriving at the gate.
In all the flights were good, and nothing really to complain about, but I am finding it is getting more and more tiring now. This year I was supposed to do much less due to my role changing at work, but as I write this report, I have already booked for another in 3 weeks, planning for another in June, and also October.
Thanks for reading. My next trip is to France in 3 weeks, but I will be going via BCN, but this time it will be an F trip with BA and QF.
DALCE From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2007, 2018 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7102 times:
What a trip! A lovely read!!!
THe 3th picture with the small Island is the city of Den Helder with Texel Island north of it. The small Island west of it, is called Noorderhaaks and used to flood with high tide. Since 15 years it's also dry with high tide.
Actually you missed my house just, as I live less than 5km east of the right picture border
I must compliment you with the superb quality aircraft pics! Amazing!!!
QFFlyer From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 384 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6974 times:
Quoting DALCE (Reply 4): THe 3th picture with the small Island is the city of Den Helder with Texel Island north of it. The small Island west of it, is called Noorderhaaks and used to flood with high tide. Since 15 years it's also dry with high tide
Thanks I appreciate that, with the flight path not working I couldn't work out where we were, so nice to have some idea.