Sorry, I didn't take many photo's. I figured there were a lot out there of QF international business class as well as just about every airport in the USA. There are a couple pic's at the end of the report.
My two children and I undertook a holiday to visit my side of the family. We travelled from Alice Springs to Syd on Qantas Domestic Business, SYD to SGF on Qantas International Business, AA domestic First and Economy, SGF to SDF on AA domestic economy and First, SDF to DEN on AA domestic First and DEN to ASP on AA First, Qantas International Business and domestic Business.
22 May 2008
The day started early. The kids were dropped off at approx 0830. I finished up some last minute packing and shopping for snacks for the trip. We were picked up at 11:30 for our ride to the Alice Springs airport. My children and I were enrolled in the AA Plat Chalenge for this trip.
Sched departure 1330
Actual departure 1335
Sched arrival 1645
Actual arrival 1651
Seat 2D (children in 2A and 2C)
Load 9/12 in the business class cabin
Boarding commenced at 1310. Boarding was a general boarding call. We quickly grabbed a set of head phones and made our way some 200 meters to the Qantas 737-800 sitting on the tarmac. We boarded via the front stairs. Boarding was done using both front and rear stairs.
Kids were given a small Mrs Chatty activity kit as we boarded. We took our seats in the second row of the aircraft. We pushed back slightly late, but since we were staying over night in Sydney, we weren't worried about connections.
The aircraft taxied via the main runway and did a 180 degree turn at one end. We were quickly airborne and headed south accross the Simpson desert towards Sydney.
After the seatbelt sign was switched off, wihich was very quickly after taking off, drinks were offered. I had a red wine and the kids took a Sprite or a Coke. Lunch was on offer on this flight. The kids had children's meals ordered, which consisted of Spaghetti with a box of OJ , salad and a chocholate. I was given the choice of chicken curry with white roce and peas or a proscuetto salad with olives. I took the curry. The meal was ok, but nothing to write home about. Several glasses of red helped it go down.
Service on the flight was ok. I relaxed and tried to watch the movie, but I forgot what the name of it was. Landing was uneventful. Baggage delivery took longer then expected. We grabbed our bags and headed to the Sydney International Hotel. The hotel was very basic, but it had a restraunt and was close to the airport with transportation provided.
23 May 2008
We were up very early. Kids had no problem waking up as they were very excited to be going to the states. We caught the 7am shuttle to the international terminal. We quickly checked in all the way to SGF.
We made it through immigration very qucikly and I grabbed the kids some breakfast before heading to the Qantas lounge. I'm glad I grabbed the kids something to eat before hitting the lounge as it didn't have a lot on offer given the size of the lounge. We only had some juice and some coffees. We spent about 2 hours in the lounge reading the paper with the kids coloring in their color books.
We made our way downstairs to the gate before the boarding announcement was made. We were anxious to get on board and get on our way.
Sched depart 1020
Actual depart ?
Sched arrival (forgot this one too, about 6:05am)
actual arrival pretty much on time
Boarding was done via only 1 door, 1L. This ment that everybody on the plane (except first class) streamed passed us on their way to their seats. Being in the bulk head row, many people felt it necessary to cut between our seats and the bulk head. I don't know why they did this vice going thru the galley. It was annoying as we had a lot of stuff sitting on the floor in front of us getting ready for the long flight. I'm sure some of our pillows and blankets were trampled on. PJ's and ammenity kits were handed out before we pushed back.
Anyway, the door was closed and we were ready for departure. Load in the main business class cabin was full except for 2 seats. The seat belt sign was quickly turned off and we were "free to move about the cabin" Drinks were handed out and quickly the lunch service got under way.
Kids had a children's meal for this flight, and I forgot what it was. I had a choice of Seared snapper with creamed lentils and braised silverbeet, or chicken stir fried in XO sauce with Jasmin Rice and Asian greens, or Slow cooked lamb in rosemary and garlic with potato puree and broccoli. I took the Lamb and it was quite good.
The rest of the flight went pretty well. We watched movies and TV shows and played some games. I think I got a couple of hours sleep and the kids stayed awake for the entire flight except for the last two hours. I had some red wine and made several trips to the self serve bar to keep my glass filled up.
Breakfast was served about 90 minutes prior to landing. We had ordered our breakfast prior to departure. I had some scrambled eggs. The kids had the same with Toast. One comment on the toast here, it was rock hard. I can't imagine how it was prepared...maybe 14 hours ago on the ground prior to departure. Not good.
After landing we were quickly off the plane and thru immigration. There wasn't too big of lines when we arrived so there were no issues. The kids did well as they were very tired now (I told them to try and sleep!!)
Bags were supposed to come off on two carosels, one was marked "premium or priority" and the other "economy". We stood by the priority belt and waited and waited and waited. Nobody told us that they were going to off load all the premium passengers bags accross the two belts. Finally found our bags going round and round on the "economy class" belt. This caught a few other passengers out as well.
We got through customs without a second glance. We offered our bags up for transfer just outside of customs. We stepped out side to get some "fresh" LA air. After about ten minutes we thought we should get inside to the lounge. The security on the economy class side of the terminal was very very long. We cut accross to the First/Business class line which was very short.
After we spent a bit of time in the lounge we made our way to the gate for our flight to DFW.
At this stae I was quite tired and missed some of the details, like the flight number.
It was the 0900 hour flight to DFW on an MD80.
This flight was full. There were many stand by pax who didn't make it on the flight. We were seated in 3A/B/E. The kids fell asleep before we pushed back and I didn't wake them until we pulled into the gate. This was a standard MD80 flight, no IFE. I think I got a few hours sleep.
We were offered breakfast on this flight. FEBO was observed and I had a choice of cheese omlet or cereal. I had the omlet with potato cakes, a bowl of fruit and a cinniman and raisin bagle with a couple cups of coffee.
We landed and taxxied to our gate. Coming from Australian fall, we noticed the heat once we hit the airbridge. Jeez, it would be nice if they could put some aircon into these.
We caught the skylink train to the Eagle terminal for our flight to SGF.
23 May 2008
This was a very uneventful flight. It left on time, landed on time and took only 56min.
We were given one drink and I fell asleep. We were seated in 3A/B and C i think. This was economy class service adn the load was 100%
27 May 2008
We made our way to the airport for our 11:10 departure by 0930. Plenty of time.
Shortly before our plane was to depart the announcement was made the DFW was shutdown due to weather. Another announcment would be made soon. Also, we were told that the toilet was not working on the plane so if we had to go, go now otherwise we'd have to hold it. The kids must have thought they were on survivor...only a few sips of water here and there so they ddni't need to go to the toilet during the flight.
At 1220, we boarded (over an hour late) We were told that there may be a chance we wouldn't make it out at this time, but would taxi short of the runway and hold if we were given authority to take off. Well, after an hour we didn't get the authority, the airport was shut down again in DFW. We headed back to the gate. They couldn't keep us on the plane with the toilet not working. We off loaded and waited and waited. We were given updates every 30 minutes. I went out to the ticket counter and rebooked our flight to SDF to the last flight of the day.
Anyway, we finally departed at 5:00pm for our flight to DFW. There was a comment made that our plane was needed later in ORD otherwise our flight may have just been cancelled.
At least we were 6 hours late vice cancelled.
Landed in DFW at 6:06pm and it was crazy. People were everywhere. All flights were delayed coming and going. It turned out we could have made our initial flight to SDF as it was delayed until about 7pm.
We had several gate changes announced before our departure. AA did very well I thought in getting people out. No complaints here.
This flight was a blur. I fell asleep after several baileys on ice. We did however have time for a predeparture drink, first one on AA domestic during this trip. Guess we had to wait for a few people who didn't get one of the many gate changes.
We did get a warm cookie and some warm nuts on this flight as well. Kids were zonked out for the entire flight.
After landing the bags were out very very quickly, almost as if we parked right next to the baggage carosel. We arrived at my brother's house at 1:15 am ready for sleep.
5 June 2008
Scheduled departure 0700
Actual departure 0709
Drinks were brought around shortly after take off. I had some coffee. Breakfast was scheduled for this flight FEBO was observed. I had cereal with a bagel and a bag of rasins.
We landed a few minutes late and pulled upto gate C19. Our next flight was scheduled to depart from C26.
5 June 2008
MD80 Seats 4A/B/E
We boarded and took our seats. I watched people get on with their carry on's. If AA is going to charge for the first checked bag, people are going to carry on more and more. It amazes me how much people carry onto the aircraft. I feel carry-on rules should be enforced.
anyway, this flight was scheduled for breakfast. We had a choice of pancakes with sausage or an omlet with potato cakes and a bagle or biscuit. I had the omlet and buiscut as I had the bagel on the last flight.
Late in the flight, I had some baileys on ice. It was raining in Denver so we had some last minute routing changes resulting in us landing about 20 minutes late. It was 48 and rainy..Brrr.
After taking the train to the baggage claim, it took a very very long time for the bags to come out, maybe 20 minutes, possibly more. Off to the rental car bus and hotel we went after collecting our bags.
7 June 08
We arrived at the airport at 2:45 for our 6pm departure. We had to turn in the rental car so had some time to waste in the airport. We checked in at the vacant First Class check in.
I think the agent must have been sick, she coughed the entire time we were at the counter.
We went to the AA lounge and sat in the little area next to the bar. There were some kids books and I put on the kids TV shows. There weren't many in the lounge when we went in.
About 20 minutes after we arrived somebody come in and sat at the bar. I believe he ordered a wine and then made some loud phone call littered with expletives. I almost went around to complain as I had the little ones with me. I guess the bar tender took notice as he was cut off, no more alcohol. He got a bit irate, but seemed to settle after getting offered some water. We watched the Belmont stakes and the guy offered to buy everybody drinks. I don't think anybody took him up on the offer.
A little later, he became quite unhappy that he was cut off. He tore into the bar tender about how she wasn't doing her job...how he OWNED all those AA planes and would make phone calls. As we left the lounge to go the the gate, 3 of Denver's finest entered the lounge. From the next level down, we saw him being escorted out of the lounge. Not sure what happened in the end.
We boarded our aircraft and took our seats. Dinner was to be served on this flight. Drinks were offered shortly after take off with warm nuts. For dinner there was a choice of cheese totellini wiht tomato sauce or shortribs with green beans and rice. I had the pasta and a few glasses of wine followed by a couple baileys on ice. We landed on time and went outside again for some of LA's finest fresh air.
Returning to the terminal we zipped through security. There was nobody in line for either economy side or the premium passanger side. We spent some time in the AA lounge. I grabbed a couple of beers and then was asked to leave the Kids room as they didn't allow alcohol in there. There wasn't any sign on the door about that, but I stepped outside the room and finished my beer. The kids played on the computers for a while before we headed towards out gate for our next flight
Sched depart 1020
Actual dpart 1040
We boarded as soon as the boarding was called. We took our seats and settled in. Breakfast was ordered and a pre-departure champagne was drunk. It was a struggle for us to stay awake; I wanted to eat right away. One kid fell asleep and I asked for her meal to be held until later.
About two minutes after take off, the seatbelt sign was turned off. It seemed like a very long long time before drinks or meals were served, but it was probably due to me being very tired and just wanting to get on with it. PJs and amenity kits were finally handed out. I think handing them out before departure is a better idea as it frees up the lavs a bit more. There was a line of about 10 people for 2 lavs to get changed .
Finally dinner was served to go with my post departure glass of wine. The choices for dinner were Toasted Panini with smoked salmon, cream cheese, roasted red peppers and spinach; or a large bowl of chicken, noodle and coriander laksa; or slow cooked pork with green olives and parsley, polenta and zucchini; or beef fillet with bordelaise sauce, fondant potatoes and braised Peas. I chose the beef fillet which was nice.
Shortly after dinner was finished, we all fell asleep. I got about 6 good hours and woke to watch some more of the IFE and have a few glasses of wine from the self serv bar.
Breakfast was served 90 minutes from landing. Once again, rock hard toast...surely there is a better way. The seat belt sign come on right at 4400 Feet and we were on the ground shortly after.
We sped through immigration, gathered our bags and went to quarantine. Our bags were xrayed and just a couple of questions on the food we declared. All packaged food, candy ect that was good to pass - I was just a bit surprised that the bags weren't open.
We caught the transfer bus to the domestic terminal. We hung out in the lounge for about an hour drinking coffee and reading papers before heading down to the shops and eventually our gate.
Scheduled departure 9:55
Actual departure 9:55
We boarded the aircraft first and took our seats, 1A/B/C. The load on this flight was 4 out of 12 business class seats. I had some juice for the pre departure drink. We took off quickly from 34L I think.
We were given the option to eat when we wanted, it was just after 10 so we decided to hold lunch for 30 minutes. I had a glass of red and moved to a window seat. My first window seat of the flight. When lunch was ready we were given the choce of Lamb or a cold salad. the lamb come with green beans and rice and a couple of bread rolls. A few more glasses of Shiraz made it all the better. the 3 hour flight seeme to pass quickly. Soon we were landing back in the Alice. We deplaned and gathered our bags and headed home.
Here are a few pic's I managed to take while on QF790.
Leg room on 1A, QF 737-800
Lunch QF790 business class
another shot of the leg room on 1A QF 737-800
The Simpson Desert
nearing Alice Springs
Runway at Alice Springs