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To SYD On QF:The World's Most Experienced Airline  
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 24074 times:

You've read numerous reports of First and Business class cabins offering wide comfortable seats, multi-course meals and pampering hostesses on a multitude of airlines (not to mention an unusually high number of Qantas trippies) over this holiday season. In this current economic climate when corporations are starting to downgrade the travel entitlements of their executives, it's a matter of time before one has to sink back to reality, recalibrate those soft focused images of air travel in exchange for a glimpse of Y class travel that average Joes like me ‘put up’ with on every trip.

I hereby present to you the latest report of my trip Down Under, where I finally got out of my comfort zone to check out a carrier that I have not flown with for ages. It has taken me a long time to get this report out and fit for viewing due to work commitments, the recent loss of a relative, and a mental block that didn’t seem to go away. With sheer determination, I finally managed to get this out, and hopefully bring you on a journey to savour the 'pleasures' of flying with shallow pockets. So off we go…*shudder*



Many who have flown with leading carriers know the level of service what airlines are capable of if they set their minds to it, or what is understandably undo-able due to operational constraints. It becomes immediately noticeable when an airline drops the ball for reasons within its control.
As competition amongst airlines become increasingly intense, few airlines have dared to venture beyond ambiguous marketing taglines that are ever so prevalent nowadays. Only the brave ones have gone on to proclaim the superiority of their product with superlatives such as "greatest" ,"best"... the likes of “The World’s Favorite Airline” come to mind.  The outcome of such marketing spiel is that expectations rise sky high to unrealistic levels that it can sometimes become detrimental to the airline. Yet there are few airlines that actually get away with it.  These are airlines that have consistently offered a good overall product that is backed by testimonies from loyal customers and the industry.

When Qantas decided to call themselves "The world's most experienced airline" to celebrate their 88 years in existence, I was intrigued and expectations ran high. With 88 years of uninterrupted flying under their belt, I naturally assumed that they have, through the years, developed an unbeatable product that satisfies the needs and comfort of the most discerning of passengers. It was with this lingering thought that I found myself surfing Qantas.com late one evening, hungry for an opportunity to test the authenticity of their latest spiel.

Where I am from, Qantas is regarded as a reliable, well-established airline, but seldom equated with great service - decent-average service at best, nothing more. It’s perhaps because we Asians have been spoilt by the sheer number of premium airlines serving our turf that offer internationally renowned service both on the ground and in the air. Ask what Qantas means to us and you would invariably receive a tongue in cheek reply that they deliver "Quick And Nasty, Typical Australian Service". Even more recently, Qantas has been synonymous with cabin decompression, mid-air ordeals, and the mile high club with Ralph Fiennes.

THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE
Confirmation and payment for my ticket over the airline’s website was a quick and easy affair until I realized that all the conveniences of modern day cyberspace transactions ended there. In an era where even movie theaters offer you seat selection on their websites, Qantas’ online infrastructure is, for lack of a better word, archaic and fails to meet the needs of its international customers. It appears that despite having been in existence for close to a century, Qantas hasn’t quite learned how to leverage on the wonderful capabilities of the internet; and neither has it understood the fact that there are many customers who like the option of reserving a specific seat prior instead of being offered ‘leftovers’ at the check-in counter. Online seat selection, seat changes, check-in or early check-in options on Qantas' home base in SYD were noticeably absent. These are services that I have come to expect from leading international carriers since the advent of advanced reservations systems! I was also sorely disappointed when Qantas’ reservation system decided to separate my traveling companion and me by assigning us middle seats at different ends of the aircraft.

I discovered, through a few kind souls from another popular forum, that changes to one's pre-assigned seat is actually possible. Just call Qantas’ customer service hotline and keep your fingers crossed that the agent at the other end of the line doesn’t fool you with a windowless window seat. Alternatively, for travelers who are intent on knowing what seats are available for selection, access to this information can be through a non-Qantas website that is linked to Sabre. It sounds complicated, and it is. That is one too many steps just to snag a preferred seat. Compared to what other international carriers like CX, SQ, NW (and I’m sure many others) have been offering its YCL customers for years, Qantas is sadly light years behind.

Seeing how my first brush with the airline didn’t go the way I expected, I decided that a change in mindset was necessary. Without any preconceived expectations in mind, I embarked on a journey to discover what the “world’s most experienced airline”.

PART ONE



EXPERIENCES ON THE GROUND
It was 7.30pm when I arrived at Changi terminal 1. There was no mistaking that the year-end holiday season was here. Christmas usually comes early to Singapore, and Changi was no different. The airport had been decked in full Christmas splendour since November. There’s something about Changi’s festive decorations this time round that feels out of the norm. It is as if the previous Hari Raya (traditional Malay festival) decorations have been recycled for Christmas. There’s a certain gaudiness that is usually associated with Malay and Indian festivals, and a far cry from the classy simplicity of previous years.



Even the streaming fairy lights on the control tower looks tacky - resembling a lighted lollipop of sorts. Perhaps the theme for this year’s decorations aims to accentuate Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage.



Terminal 1, home to more than 60 foreign airlines, was packed with holiday-makers taking time off from the accumulated stress of the past year and foreign labor returning home with their hard earned fortune. One immediately senses that an Air India flight is checking in its passengers nearby just by observing the steady flow of Indian men pushing trolleys loaded with enough home appliances and electronic gadgets to fill an aircraft.





Qantas hubs out of this terminal and check in for their flights to London, Frankfurt, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth was already in full swing when I arrived. It is evident that despite the current economic crisis, many Singaporeans are, like me, determined to end the year with a short getaway. Australia has proven itself to be a popular holiday destination over the years, and it shows. Queues of at least 10 souls deep had formed at every single one of Qantas’ 20 counters tonight, and almost 8 out of every 10 passenger in line appeared to be a Singaporean heading somewhere Down Under. As ticket prices are significantly cheaper than any Singapore Airlines flight to Australia, Qantas is often the choice carrier for any self-paid trip.

The queues moved at a snail’s pace and it was almost 20 minutes before I was finally served.



“Sorry to keep you waiting. Where are you traveling to?”
“That’s alright…QF82 to Sydney. Is the flight full tonight?”
“Very” said the agent, her eyes never once leaving the screen. She wasn’t in the mood for small talk, so I left her to handle my check-in formalities, turning instead to listen in on the problems the standby passenger was trying to resolve at the next counter.



I had chosen QF82 to begin my journey with Qantas primarily because it is operated by the airline’s newer A333 aircraft, and this being a one-stop SIN-SYD via ADL meant more time spent onboard; which to any aviation enthusiast is always a good thing. The likelihood of this flight being full was slimmer, or so I thought…for I had erroneously based it on the assumptions that most passengers would have preferred the faster, direct service that arrives in SYD much earlier, and that ADL hasn’t quite grown in status as a holiday destination amongst Singaporeans compared to other Australian cities. What I had failed to take into consideration was that QF82 is a code-share flight with 9W and AF and it was the holiday season. That basically meant that any hopes of an empty flight were dashed. I wasn't particularly concerned this evening, I had already secured my window and aisle through Qantas’ “complex” seat selection system weeks in advance, fortunately.



Changi Terminal 1 was last refurbished in 1995, and is already looking drab and retro compared to its glistening new and recently renovated sister terminals adjacent to it. This terminal is getting a much-needed upgrade at long last, and come 2011, it will sport a new look and tropical feel with more entertainment and retail choices. As much as I look forward to the promise of a complete facelift and state of the art facilities, the nostalgic side of me is reluctant to let go of the sights and sounds of the terminal that I grew up with and come to love. I will surely miss the multi-storey fountain in the departure hall, or the cascading waterfall where so many family photos were taken in front of just before our flights. The ‘old’ terminal 1 will forever have a place in my heart…

Little has changed despite the many minor renovations the terminal has had over the last 30 years. The duty free area looks exactly the way it was when I first set foot into Changi as a young boy.





The boarded wall is the first signs of on-going renovations. Unlike other airports in the world, construction work is well hidden and away from public eye, and disruptions to the flow of traffic and the comfort of passengers are never compromised. It’s little wonder that upgrading work will have to be carried out in 106 clearly defined phases. Such consideration for passengers is what makes Changi so different from others. There will be no exposed ceilings with dangling wires and lights to mar the surrounding aesthetic; neither will there be misleading signages like the ones I encountered at a certain airport in Europe. I love Changi and sincerely hope that the corporatized entity that will manage the airport come July will continue with the great work that the current team has done.

I had 2 full hours to kill before my flight departed for SYD, and until terminal 3 becomes as old as terminal 2, no visit to Changi would be complete without a trip to Singapore’s latest pride and joy.


From padi fields to garden city…the border separating the new and the old terminals.




…and the only Hard Rock Café in Singapore…




The colouring station…something for the young ones to take home and remember Singapore by
 





For nature lovers...and perhaps the only airport in the world with a butterfly garden?

Changi tries hard to be everything to everyone, and they’ve succeeded in doing just that. Traveling through this airport is an experience in itself, a respite for even the most jaded traveler. It is true that Changi does not have the grand panoramic tarmac views that KUL or HKG offer, but to everyone else who do not soil their pants at the sight of a 747 or A380, Changi is the closest thing to heaven.


Little touches such as this free gadget charger mean a lot to passengers who may have inadvertently had their mobile or camera charger checked in…


Traveling on an airline that doesn’t offer PTVs? Catch a recent release before your flight!


Alas, Changi is still not quite perfect. A leaking ceiling in a brand new terminal… or thoughtful touches for those inclined to experience Singapore’s tropical showers?  

I was back at gate C1 where VH-QPD was patiently waiting to take me to SYD. I couldn’t help but feel that the Q in Qantas also meant “Queues”… long queues snaking some 25 meters had formed outside the gate, waiting to clear security. While it would be unfair for me to blame Qantas for the queue here, I do hold them responsible for the lack of queue management earlier at the check-in counters, where far too many passengers were hogging the counters bargaining over excess baggage charges and missing reservations when they could have been brought aside to have their issues sorted out by the Qantas representatives on duty – as any experienced airline would have done. Seeing no point in joining the queue, I decided to drop by the open air cactus garden cum pub cum smoking area cum viewing gallery for my nicotine fix before my 11 hour hop to Sydney.

I finally made it into the aerobridge some 10min before departure. I don’t say this very often of non-SQ stewardesses, but “WOW”, those Qantas crew do look stunning in their new Peter Morrissey “Wirriyarra” uniform! And were my eyes playing tricks on me? Whoever said Qantas cabins were staffed by tired grannies and whip wielding prison matrons was in for a surprise – for this flight at least… Standing by the door giving everyone a warm Australian welcome was a dignified senior looking male Customer Service Manager (CSM) with a strong German accent and a young, gorgeous lady of Caucasian-Asian descent. “Hellooo and welcome aboard Mr. Ner-nnn!!” the CSM greeted as he glanced at my boarding pass. It’s comical how Caucasians are never able to pronounce my surname correctly even though those very syllables appear in the English language, but hey, I was already impressed that he was addressing everyone by their names! “Do you know your way around? Straight ahead and turn right to 49J, you can’t miss it”

I noticed that the only 3 female FAs amongst the male dominated crew on this flight looked anything but Australian, or Caucasian. None of them looked a day more than 30! Waiting quietly at the back of the Y cabin was another 20 something beauty. I can only describe her look as Central-Asian with a hint of Indian parentage. For Singaporean members reading this, think Wendy Jacobs with blond hair. I’m never good with names, but for the sake of this report, I shall call her “Wendy”.

INFLIGHT WITH QANTAS
Wendy stood quietly by the aisle, giving passengers a hint of a smile that could have easily been missed, and watched the crowd settle into their seats, occasionally moving aside to let passengers through. Unlike their Asian counterparts, helping passengers store their hand carry is not part of a Qantas crew’s duties, it seems.
 
There are no puke-inducing technicolour seats onboard Qantas' A333, but relaxing and pleasing hues of blue and grey that are probably inspired by some aboriginal art form. I love how you know you are on an Australian carrier when you fly Qantas…from Kangaroos on their tails, Australian wines and produce to go with your meals, aboriginal prints on their uniform to crew from diverse multi-cultural backgrounds reflecting the country’s relatively open migrant policies. It is a far cry from the 70s, when Qantas was perceived as a predominantly ‘white’ airline, where a non-white cabin crew was a rarity, and cabin wall-papers depicted Captain Cook’s ship landing on Australian soil or western advancements in air navigation.








Cabin view from my seat (some taken under better lighting conditions on the second leg of this flight)

Push back was 15 min behind schedule, but we are told that we would make up for lost time en route. The usual safety video came on the individual PTVs.

As if to hint that Qantas’ safety video isn’t as detailed and informative as it should be, the airline complements their video with live demonstration on how to use the life vest, seat belt, oxygen masks and the locations of the emergency exit on this particular aircraft. I found this interesting but pointless. Qantas’ safety video in fact sufficiently succinct, informative and quite classy. Have the recent experiences with mid-air incidents led Qantas to realize that passengers don’t always heed the safety videos and that live demonstrations are a more effective means of getting safety messages across?

With the safety video completed, Wendy and the rest of the crew went about ensuring that tray tables secured, seat belts fastened and all seat were in the upright position. But despite numerous combs through the cabin, many seats in the obvious reclined position were left ignored. I guess if passengers didn’t mind having the seats in front of them reclined into their space, and possibly obstruct their evacuation in the case of an emergency, then Qantas deems it unnecessary to insist that passengers followed safety instructions.

Post take off, and that’s when the real Qantas inflight experience begins.



Amenity kits and menus were distributed. Knitted socks, eye masks, toothbrush set come in a neat little pouch that you can sling over your neck. These are definitely items to add to my airline memorabilia collection back home, and come in handy as Qantas only provides liquid hand soap in their YCL lavatories.


Headphones with a Change for Good envelop enclosed. This seems to be a common feature among One World carriers. I’ve found these onboard BA and CX as well.








Qantas’ inflight publications and AVOD entertainment consol.


A fluffy pillow, which is unfortunately a little too large and space consuming for Qantas’ narrow slim-line seats.

Qantas is one of the few carriers that still hands out menu in economy, raising them to the same league as a handful of premium Asian and Middle Eastern carriers. Small bottles of Evian (yes branded H20 typically reserved for F and J passengers on some airlines) were handed out to passengers prior to the meal service. These thirst quenchers are much appreciated on overnight flights, when moving around the darkened cabin to get a drink can be a hassle. However, it led me to wonder if this meant that there would be no water runs in between the 2 meal services on this 6 hr flight!




A useful journey planner for the SIN-ADL sector lets you know when the crew isn’t providing the service they are supposed to on your flight   I’ve not seen anything like this on other carriers' menus - it’s a brilliant idea!

SUPPER – Singapore to Australia
Coleslaw Salad
//
Wok Fried Chicken in Kung Po Sauce with Egg Noodles and Asian Greens
OR
Malay Style Lamb Curry with Steamed Rice and Garlic Beans
//
Gula Melaka – Sago in Brown Sugar
Chocolate
Coffee or Tea
# Fresh fruit will be served throughout your flight #


Qantas offers an ‘interesting’ choice of meals out of Singapore. I am not complaining that only Asian cuisine is served, but it does come as a surprise because judging from the profile of passengers on this flight, half were Westerners followed by a significant number of Indians (due to its code share with 9W).


The new service ware introduced in conjunction with the launch of Qantas’ A380 service.









There was nothing exciting about Qantas’ economy class meals, except for the Gula Melaka dessert. While not exotic by Asian standards, it is an acquired taste that not many non-Asians would appreciate…




Designed by Marc Newson – the creator of Qantas’ latest cabin and ground products. Design and practicality is everything and Qantas understands this.





Here’s a closer look at Qantas’ brand new service ware. A little retro, but sleek nonetheless…


The Qantas logo features prominently on its meal tray, and is unique to Qantas. I like it a lot.


A simple yet practical design that holds the bowls and casseroles snugly in its place…and the red - unmistakably Qantas…



The large number of Indian passengers on this flight invariably meant that an equally large number of special meals had been ordered. Wendy, realizing that a young Indian couple’s vegetarian meal request was not uplifted out of Singapore says that she will check if there are any vegetarian meals left. Norman (I think that’s his name), a young male FA serving my side of the cabin returned moments later, apologized for the lapse and went on to explain, in a manner that I thought only gentle Asian stewardesses are capable of. I was impressed that he never once doubted (as many airline crew would openly show) the couple’s insistence that they had made a special meal request with their travel agent out of Mumbai, and went on to cite possible scenarios (without any finger pointing) what could have caused this little hiccup. I ended up being more than satisfied with his explanation even though it did not concern me at all!   Now, as much as I love my SQ, I’ve never seen any Singapore Girl/Boy deal with and explained similar situations with such genuine concern and finesse.

I was curious if Norman and Wendy would leave the matter as that and forget all about the two hungry passengers, but they didn’t. They returned, moments later, with warm towels presumably for the couple to “clean up” before serving them with what looked like a vegetarian meal from business class. That, to me, was going beyond expectations that Asian airlines are famous for. Unfortunately, Norman and Wendy’s gestures were not appreciated as the couple continued to grumble, poking and picking at their business class meal with suspicion.

The rest of the flight was as uneventful as any Y class flight usually is, as cabin lights were dimmed and crew retreated into the galley, appearing only once to offer bananas and water to anyone that was awake.


“Call me Bubbles, everyone doezz…” Another side-splitting episode of Little Britain


Is that Pauline Hansen on a flight from ASIA??!!

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
Orange Juice, Fresh Fruit Salad, Hazelnut Danish, Shortbread Biscuit, Coffee or Tea

Unscented warm towels were handed out and a cold breakfast were served as the first glimpse of daylight emitted into the cabin a little more than an hour prior to descent into ADL.




Breakfast was a refreshing change from the boring muffin, roll and yoghurt that I’ve come to expect on Qantas’ only competitor on the SIN-ADL route.







Qantas’ A333 sporting the new generation design features from Airbus – lighted mirrors, one-touch temperature control taps et al. But what struck me was foul smell of a toilet that had not been cleaned for the past 6 hours, and the fact that there were no moisturizers, shavers or mouthwash to help one freshen up before arrival. The last time I was in an aircraft toilet that smelled this foul was on an Olympic Airways flight just after take-off from Athens!!







Cursory checks to ensure that the cabin was secured for arrival into ADL were made. Once again, the crew failed to notice that some passengers still had their seats reclined; neither did they insist that a sleeping toddler did not remain lying across 2 seats for landing…

ADELAIDE AIRPORT
It was early in the morning and there is really nothing much to do at Adelaide’s new airport except wait out the next one hour for QF82 to continue its trek to SYD. All I can say is that ADL is a nice, quiet airport to be in. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting…just the occasional Virgin Blue, and SQ, MH morning arrivals whizzing by.




Our VH-QPD being prepared for the final leg to SYD

THE FINAL LEG
The same set of crew welcomed us on this flight, making this probably one of the longer flights the A333 crew has to operate on. They were noticeably less chirpy as fatigue set in, but I had no complaints about their service. With a load factor of just over 30% (including domestic passengers joining the flight from ADL), passengers were requested to remain in their allocated seats (due to aircraft trim) for the take-off, and it was free seating thereafter.




Flying over Adelaide…



I found myself an empty seat once the aircraft had leveled off and entertained myself with Qantas’ alternative program selection…







It appears that Qantas doesn’t institute any form of censorship on their inflight programming and the end result is a program like this – nudity, dicks galore, gory scenes of a dick enlargement operation and what do you know, a glimpse of my London based colleague walking on the streets of Piccadilly totally unaware that she had just appeared in an adult documentary about dicks!!

Another very interesting sight caught my attention….



…This Boeing 767 safety card placed in my seat pocket (apparently by mistake). I began to wonder if the safety cards of other aircraft types were also arbitrarily placed on this A333 flight, and felt at this juncture that Qantas was perhaps getting a bit too lax for comfort in the passenger safety department…  

A light snack was served, making this my 3rd meal on this flight! The only other occasion when I had more meals on a flight than this was when I flew SQ from SIN to ORD via AMS back in 2002! I simply love airline food, and it doesn’t get any better than this!




Very tasty passionfruit biscuits which are available for sale at SYD airport.


Qantas paper cups come in a number of colors… just how many different colors are there?

SYDNEY AT LAST AND SIMPLE AFTER THOUGHTS
 


Arriving in Sydney more than 11 hours since my departure from Singapore the night before, I must admit that this flight managed to change my impression of Qantas. The relatively young set of crew provided the level of service that I would usually only associate Asian carriers with. While not exactly outgoing and chatty by Australian standards, they were polite and attentive (but not to the same level of friendliness their Asian competitors are renowned for).

IN SYDNEY

This is my 4th visit to Sydney and I still can’t get enough of this wonderful city. The beautiful waterfronts, the majestic Opera House, fresh seafood, Bondi Beach, Blue Mountain, the caves and friendly Aussie blokes easily made for beautiful photos regardless of your photography skills…




Darling Harbor on a Sunday afternoon…


...and in the evening






The grand ol’dame by day and night…after catching a play in one of the theatres…




Do not miss this summer’s hit musical – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert playing at the Lyric Theatre. It’s hilarious, tacky, gay and touching all at once. Did I also mention that with the strong Singapore dollar, it’s now cheaper to watch musicals in Australia?!






The QVB and its imposing Romanesque architecture.


Sydney Tower – don’t bother if you are afraid of heights and claustrophobic elevators…










A day at the Rocks – great for last minute souvenir hunting and great bargains


I have no idea what these road signs mean…




Traveling Aussie style...in blistering 35deg C heat on an non-airconditioned bus








Bondi Beach, where only the body beautiful are welcomed…






Last but certainly not least, you can’t go wrong with Australian seafood and meat! It wasn’t surprising that I added another stone to my weight after a few days…  


This mate says it all…2 thumbs up for Sydney!

Sydney ranks as my second favorite Australian city after Melbourne. However, the city has changed much in recent years. I couldn’t help feeling that Sydney (and Australia in general) is fast becoming the external wing of China and Southeast Asia. The number of Asians living and working within the confines of this city was mind boggling, and there were moments during this trip when I had to remind myself that I was really in Australia, not China. Having said that, Sydney has maintained its charm, and remains a favorite holiday destination for many.

I caught this Australia Tourism ad on my last night in Sydney just before the screening of the movie “Australia” (huge let down I must say). It appropriately sums up my feelings and thoughts on this trip…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQGMuxJ0vCc

“Sometimes we have to get lost to find ourselves….sometimes we have to go walkabout”…. It says so much without showing too much, a stark contrast to those “Uniquely Singapore”, “Malaysia Truly Asia” ads we get here that basically tries way too hard to cram a 20 page brochure into 60 seconds of air time.

PART TWO



9 days in Sydney flew by and it was sadly time to head back to Singapore, to return to the humdrum of corporate life, 12hour days in the office, deadlines…

We left what is arguably one of the most conveniently located, reasonably priced and comfortable hotel that I’ve managed to find on Zuji in years, on the regular airport shuttle, with its luggage container in tow…





KINGSFORD SMITH T1
Meeting every arriving shuttle bus at the international terminal’s curbside was a customer service staff whose primary job is to welcome passengers to the airport and answer any queries passengers may have or giving directions. As many passengers instinctively know where the entrance to the departure hall is or are usually too busy unloading their luggage to pay any attention to her, her job inadvertently becomes an easy and insignificant one that involved merely running from one arriving vehicle to another to greet passengers as they stepped out of it. While I fully appreciate Macquarie’s attempt to personalize the welcome, her enthusiasm could have been better placed inside the terminal directing people to their respective check in rows.











There doesn’t appear to be any way to avoid the queues when traveling Y on Qantas. Getting in line behind almost 50 other Y class passengers bound for various QF destinations, I was surprised how dingy Qantas’ home base looked. The lack of lighting above this portion of the departure hall made the whole experience gloomy - as if to serve as a precursor to the flight that I was about to board. I’ve never found Australian airports particularly impressive compared to the massive structures that are seen throughout Asia, and SYD airport, under the fine management of Macquarie Airports is in dire need of an upgrade and expansion.











With just 8 counters opened, the speed at which the queue moved was surprisingly fast. I received my boarding pass just 30 minutes after joining the queue and was informed that my flight would be completely full all the way to Singapore, and less so out of Singapore to Frankfurt when I hinted at the possibility of getting a seat in the less crowded section of the aircraft. Maybe I should seriously consider flying less popular airlines next time… but alas, the thought of flying a 5 star value carrier wannabe immediately sends shivers down my spine.



Having heard so much about the open-air viewing gallery that Sydney’s terminal 1 offers, I insisted on trooping up (to the chagrin of my travel companion) to where the smell of jet fuel and screaming engines never fail to get me high. The view that awaited me was without any doubt extremely rewarding – especially since I grew up peering through tinted glass viewing galleries that shrunk in size with every major renovation.















There was sense of déjà vu at Sydney’s Terminal 1. Like Changi’s terminal 1, it is also going through major renovation works. However, that again is where the similarity ends. While Changi tries not to ruin the surprise that awaits you after renovation works are completed, Sydney is proud to show you, in all its glory, the renovation works that are taking place around you. Clearing Sydney’s infamous security lines and walking through the sterile area is akin to taking a tour of a busy construction site. There are just so many things to see and hear and side-step that there’s really no need for movie theatres or entertainment complexes at this airport, NOT.



Macquarie's masterplan for Terminal 1 reveals that it will add 7,300 square metres to the departures level to provide world class passenger facilities including centralised processing, new retail, food and beverage outlets, and passenger waiting areas under its on going upgrading plans for Terminal 1.




The duty free mall that you have no choice but to pass through to get to your gate




An exorbitantly priced sandwich and yoghurt

This terminal has just enough facilities to keep passengers who prefer to arrive at the airport just in time to catch their flight occupied. But if you are like me, and have 3 solid hours to kill, you might have to linger on the limited internet kiosks a little longer, spend more time selecting over priced souvenirs, or slowly savour an equally over-priced sandwich. If that still doesn’t take all of the 3 hours, one can check out the insipid views of the tarmac. For spotters, terminal 1 is a paradise. For everyone else, I would have to recommend giving yourself just an hour to discover this terminal - for there’s really not many things one can do here, even if the sights and sounds of a construction site intrigues you. So while Changi touts itself as an experience, Sydney endeavors to be merely an airport that gets you to point B.






Unsightly views of the on-going airport upgrading work


Qantas new and improved livery – love the stylised 'roo


CX to Hong Kong at a nearby gate





Larger passenger waiting areas will certainly be a welcome relief for travelers in the near future, and hopefully by then, the airport operators will know better than to allocate a 50 seat gate to a fully loaded B744.



In line with good industry practice, Qantas accords priority boarding for its premium passengers as well as families traveling with children. All others will have to wait for their row numbers to be called to ensure minimal congestion in the cabin. This apparently, only happens on paper. What the world's most experienced airline fails to comprehend is that boarding by rows only happens when it is enforced and followed through. We were all informed of the plan to board by rows. However, when no further announcements made after that, those who heeded the original boarding instructions soon realized that they had been suckered, as everyone else had already flocked to the entrance to the aerobridge.



Sure enough, boarding was a disorderly affair and continued way past the official departure time.

ONBOARD QF5
There were no “Wirriyarra” clad stewardesses to welcome passengers on QF5, and I found that to be a good thing. None of the grannies serving today's flight would have looked good in them anyway. Perhaps well aware of how unflattering the one piece dress would look on their plus-sized figures, everyone donned Qantas' simpler white-top-black-pants uniform this evening. In contrast to my A333 flight the week before, this flight was staffed by probably Qantas' most senior crew, with everyone not looking a day younger than 50, confirming earlier rumors that young good looking crew are not common on this airline.

Only 2 females served in economy today, with the rest of the male crew being an equally senior bunch. Many in this forum argue that service delivery by your typical grannies and grandpas far surpasses that of their younger, inexperienced counterparts. But like many travelers in Asia, I hold on to the perception that younger crew tend to be more energetic, willing to please, and inadvertently provide better service overall compared to their jaded, “I'm here for your safety, not kiss your axx because I have already spent the last 3 decades doing that” seniors. It would be interesting to find out if my beliefs are correct on this very flight...

Push back was 40 minutes behind schedule due, and from what I observed, it was largely due to the slow boarding process. QF5 was destined for Frankfurt, so inflight announcements were naturally made in both English and German. The latter announcements were by a senior looking lady with a little German flag on her name tag. There were also a number of crew with Italian and French flags on their tags. As Australia is predominantly an immigrant society, I would assume that many of them are native speakers of the language, and not crew that are specially trained in them .

Due to a longer than expected ATC clearance, the crew made full use of the extra time on the ground to distribute menus and disembarkation cards. Qantas' caterers had evidently mixed the SYD-SIN-FRA and FRA-SIN-SYD sectors menu together, so depending on your luck, you would either receive a menu for the outbound sector, or like my seat mate, an inbound menu.


Yawn... what holding us up??

Hot towels and bottled water were also handed out before the usual safety demonstrations, and like my previous flight, it is no longer a requirement to keep your seatbacks fully upright for take off and landing.


No amenity kits given on this flight... only for overnight flights I presume

We were soon off the ground when the steep ascent resulted in an expected 'shower' from the overhead air vents pelting down on an entire ow of passengers seated in the forward economy cabin! Improvised shelter made out of blankets and pillows quickly propped up, making for a rather comical sight. The crew seemed equally amused, as they remained strapped in their seats, smiling and quietly looking away to avoid eye contact with the shocked, half-soaked passengers. “Ah... it's no big deal...we've seen this a thousand times” they must have thought to themselves. Once the seat belt signs were extinguished, the crew nonchalantly got off their seats, retrieved a stack of paper towels from the galley, passed them out the affected passengers without a word and went on their duties.


It's been a long time since I last saw such first generation air-vents on a B747. These are completely absent on the airline I usually fly with

A search on the internet would probably tell you that VH-OJB is one of the older 744s in Qantas' fleet, and is in a high density J/Y configuration. On the onset, the cabin looked clean and well maintained, but as the flight wore on, problems with headrests getting dislodged from the backrest when attempting to adjust them started surfacing. These were merely met with a shrug when assistance from the crew was sought.

You can tell if a steward or stewardess is having a good day just be looking at his/her face as they walk down the aisle, and the German speaking stewardess obviously still loves her job. Her face lighted up with a smile whenever she made eye contact with passengers. For everyone else crewing this flight, even forced smiles were few and far between.

DINNER IS SERVED
Mesclun Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
//
Chicken in a Spinach and Basil Sauce with Sweet
OR
Lamb Provencal with Herbed Risoni and Green Beans
//
Cheese, Crackers and Chocolate
//
Coffee Tea
//
Ice Cream

Relax & Unwind
Cadbury Hot Chocolate or Organic Peppermint Tea

*Fresh fruit will be served throughout your flight














Dinner was substantial, and I particularly enjoyed Qantas' “Relax and Unwind” service. How does one resist a nice hot chocolate with marshmallows, served in a nifty looking paper cup? Needless to say, I have become quite addicted to this beverage... ever since my return, I have found myself making pit stops every morning at the nearby Coffee Bean for this rich milky drink before heading into the office.



I was expecting fresh fruits to be handed out sometime during the flight, but unlike my inbound flight, the aisles were unusually silent. To be fair, I never bothered checking to see if they were available from the galley preferring instead to check out the IFE on offer; but I do not recall seeing anyone having fruit throughout the flight.






Empty aisle as everyone settles in, waiting for the next meal service...


The last row of economy can get a little bright and distracting – not great for a snooze

It's times like these that I begin to miss the carrier that I fly regularly on, where service is predictable and one is comforted by the thought that the crew will somehow appear with a tray of water or juice just as you are beginning to feel thirsty.

Then again, I was glad that this set of crew didn't prowl the cabin too often due to the fact that a grouchy plus-size granny serving my side of the cabin had hips that were wider than the width of Qantas' economy class aisle. And whenever she hobbled (yes, literally, as if suffering from arthritis) down the aisle, her hips would 'slam' (not gently brush, mind you) into shoulders at both sides of the aisle. I managed to dodge her soft hips on a number of occasions, but unless I had eyes at the back of my head, it was impossible to do likewise whenever she came from the back. It was also not very pleasant to be jolted out of dreamland as she wandered up or down those aisles.

Now, I wouldn't even dare suggest that Qantas hires its crew based on the same strict physical yardsticks as their Asian counterparts - I would like that to remain as the Asian airlines' competitive advantage. With all due respect to plus-size granny, but it would have been nice if Qantas can ensure that their crew do not outgrow the width of the aisles that they have to serve in. For shallow Hals, such sights aren't aesthetically pleasing, and in the name of safety, these crew can make or break a successful aircraft evacuation – trying picturing this...

Aircraft makes an emergency landing, everyone survives but fire is fast spreading onboard. Passengers scramble for the nearest unobstructed exit. Plus size granny appears, painfully hobbling towards the exit. Desperate passengers have no way of getting past her as she 'clogs' the aisles with her hips and end up clammouring 'over' her instead...

You get my drift...

REFRESHMENTS

Seasonal Melon Salad with Fruit Juice
//
Penne Pasta with Roast Vegetables in a Basil and Parmesan Sauce
//
Chocolate
//
Coffee Tea







Qantas serves a proper hot second meal prior to arrival in Singapore, unlike the world's favorite airline that merely serves a cold sandwich in a bag on the same route. It's things like this that make me see Qantas in a different light. The airline is clearly aware of who its real competitor on this route is and has taken the effort to match them in hardware and product.

[Edited 2009-01-17 21:41:58]


There's always a better way to fly...
61 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 24053 times:

MY VERDICT
Overall, Qantas provides value for money. To say that it is a in the same league as some of its Asian counterparts is stretching it a little too far, but it is by no means a second tier airline that some people make it out to be.

Qantas’ onboard hardware is decidedly en par with many of Asia's leading carriers. What it lags behind in are services on the ground. There’s also no doubt that Qantas has a very good inflight product. The airline's meals are sufficient in portion and variety, their cabins are relatively well maintained cabin, they offer good quality amenity kits, and have an entertainment system that is user friendly and just as good, if not better, than what many of the other premium airlines are offering, not to mention the delicious hot chocolate beverage service after meals.

My main grouse stems from how some crew don their uniforms – rolled up sleeves, crooked scarfs and ties or ill-fitting shirts, lack of make-up (on grouchy granny at least) are some of the things that one would only expect to see on an American carrier...Perhaps I'm just too accustomed to the strict standards and decorum Asian airlines impose on their crew, but looking neat and smart does go a long way in projecting a professional image of the airline that they represent.

The service on both flights were fundamentally different – as different as night and day so to speak; and I wonder at this point which set of crew was the true representation of Qantas' inflight service. That being said, I have to qualify that the crew were generally courteous and never once rude.

So, is Qantas truly the world's most experienced airline? Technically speaking, yes and no. Yes to 88 years of non-stop operations,and an unblemished safety record, but no to the lack of basic services on the ground that I had highlighted earlier in this report.

Would I fly Qantas again, my answer would be a resounding yes – if the price is right! For sure, they are no Singapore Airlines, Cathay or Jet Airways in terms of inflight service, but compared to everyone else, I would rank their economy class product rather highly.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your no holds barred comments and thoughts.

PS: I do apologize if my seemingly politically incorrect comments in this report has ruffled some feathers. I'm from Asia after all...where it's still alright to call a rose a rose  duck 



There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offline9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 24026 times:

Hmmm, great report. Even I didn't get Evian on SQ222 back to SIN. The crew gave out bottles of Mount Franklin instead. When were you in Sydney? I was there mid-Dec.


9V-SVA | B772ER
User currently offlineDCAjet From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 422 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 23769 times:

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Then again, I was glad that this set of crew didn't prowl the cabin too often due to the fact that a grouchy plus-size granny serving my side of the cabin had hips that were wider than the width of Qantas' economy class aisle. And whenever she hobbled (yes, literally, as if suffering from arthritis) down the aisle, her hips would 'slam' (not gently brush, mind you) into shoulders at both sides of the aisle. I managed to dodge her soft hips on a number of occasions, but unless I had eyes at the back of my head, it was impossible to do likewise whenever she came from the back. It was also not very pleasant to be jolted out of dreamland as she wandered up or down those aisles.

Now, I wouldn't even dare suggest that Qantas hires its crew based on the same strict physical yardsticks as their Asian counterparts - I would like that to remain as the Asian airlines' competitive advantage. With all due respect to plus-size granny, but it would have been nice if Qantas can ensure that their crew do not outgrow the width of the aisles that they have to serve in. For shallow Hals, such sights aren't aesthetically pleasing, and in the name of safety, these crew can make or break a successful aircraft evacuation – trying picturing this...

Aircraft makes an emergency landing, everyone survives but fire is fast spreading onboard. Passengers scramble for the nearest unobstructed exit. Plus size granny appears, painfully hobbling towards the exit. Desperate passengers have no way of getting past her as she 'clogs' the aisles with her hips and end up clammouring 'over' her instead...

Perhaps this is where different cultural outlooks kick in, but I do find your comments rather on the offensive side. You see, some of us prefer to be a bit more inclusive with our fellow human beings. I can assure you that if the lady you mentioned had not passed her QF emergency training, or be a safety hazard to the plane, paxs and fellow crew she would not be there. And the same individuals you make fun of - older and perhaps, (HORROR) slightly overweight are the ones that evacuated a fully loaded USAirways A320 that landed in frigid water this past Thursday in NYC. In 3 minutes, with frozen water up to the waist... And with no casualties. FYI, 3 F/As on board, aged 57, 58 and 51, all female. Try that with the airline you fly all the time on... a nice "competitive edge" built on sexism and age discrimination...

My 2 cents!

[Edited 2009-01-17 23:15:25]


"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
User currently offlineQantasA333 From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 538 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 23643 times:



Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
As if to hint that Qantas’ safety video isn’t as detailed and informative as it should be, the airline complements their video with live demonstration on how to use the life vest, seat belt, oxygen masks and the locations of the emergency exit on this particular aircraft. I found this interesting but pointless. Qantas’ safety video in fact sufficiently succinct, informative and quite classy. Have the recent experiences with mid-air incidents led Qantas to realize that passengers don’t always heed the safety videos and that live demonstrations are a more effective means of getting safety messages across?

Qantas do this on all their flights, including domestic flights. It's nothing unusual. Great report, very detailed, and good to see you make a brief stopover in my home city ADL.


User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 23477 times:

Hello SQ 772,

What a fantastic trip report! It makes me want to go back on holiday to Australia!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, Norman and Wendy's gestures were not appreciated as the couple continued to grumble, poking and picking at their business class meal with suspicion.

They were not making themself easy that way!



Friends forever
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4749 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 23448 times:

You decided to do this "controversial" report after all...

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
It is evident that despite the current economic crisis, many Singaporeans are, like me, determined to end the year with a short getaway.

Do not forget there are a lot of Singaporeans who are PRs down under and who are in fact, "returning home" for the holidays. Walk down Murray Street Mall in Perth and you would be forgiven for thinking you are in Orchard Road in Singapore with all the "lahs" and "lehs" peppering the everyday conversation of the people around.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I had chosen QF82 to begin my journey with Qantas primarily because it is operated by the airline’s newer A333 aircraft, and this being a one-stop SIN-SYD via ADL meant more time spent onboard; which to any aviation enthusiast is always a good thing.

Hahahahaha... I did the one stop BKI and I know what you mean. it if fun walking in and out of planes.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
From padi fields to garden city…the border separating the new and the old terminals.

I wonder after T1's reno, will they sync the carpets? I might be OCD but it disturbs me a little.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I don’t say this very often of non-SQ stewardesses, but “WOW”, those Qantas crew do look stunning in their new Peter Morrissey “Wirriyarra” uniform!

From what I have observed, the A330 crew are generally younger. I think they are also classified as "regional" crew compared to their more senior 744 ones.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
There are no puke-inducing technicolour seats onboard Qantas' A333, but relaxing and pleasing hues of blue and grey that are probably inspired by some aboriginal art form.

You had to go there... Thanks for the reminder!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
They returned, moments later, with warm towels presumably for the couple to “clean up” before serving them with what looked like a vegetarian meal from business class. That, to me, was going beyond expectations that Asian airlines are famous for.

Now THAT'S service. Regardless of what the passengers in question had in mind, and what their reaction was, but the fact that they even bothered to go a step beyond their call of duty was heartening in itself. I am reminded of Christao's flight from Narita to SFO (I think) on UA and Tawn's VGML wasn't loaded. The FAs basically gave them a "too bad" attitude and left it as it is.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Is that Pauline Hansen on a flight from ASIA??!!

Nice try. Pauline Hanson (proper spelling) is ginger.  Smile

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
a glimpse of my London based colleague walking on the streets of Piccadilly totally unaware that she had just appeared in an adult documentary about dicks!!

Hmm... dicks. I wonder if I could get a copy of that? Hahahahah did you tell your colleague abt that when you returned?

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
This Boeing 767 safety card placed in my seat pocket (apparently by mistake). I began to wonder if the safety cards of other aircraft types were also arbitrarily placed on this A333 flight, and felt at this juncture that Qantas was perhaps getting a bit too lax for comfort in the passenger safety department…

You should have done QF a favour and pocketed the 767 safety card. Can't say you did anything wrong there as you were merely trying to set things straight for them!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I have no idea what these road signs mean…

END SHARED ZONE: Remember way back when before ERP came about when we had to car pool to get into CBD? I suspect this is the mystery.

END LOAD LIMIT: Heavy vehicles are allowed thereafter.

END $ AREA: You can stop thereafter.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Sydney ranks as my second favorite Australian city after Melbourne. However, the city has changed much in recent years. I couldn’t help feeling that Sydney (and Australia in general) is fast becoming the external wing of China and Southeast Asia. The number of Asians living and working within the confines of this city was mind boggling, and there were moments during this trip when I had to remind myself that I was really in Australia, not China. Having said that, Sydney has maintained its charm, and remains a favorite holiday destination for many.

I love Sydney, I always have. It is my favourite city in Australia but it is becoming too ridiculously expensive to live there. The real estate prices are just CRAZY!

That being said, what is happening to Sydney is happening to much of Australia generally. As they welcome more migrants into the country, the demographics are bound to get very diverse. For "slower" developing cities like Adelaide, the South Australian government is throwing so many grants and support services at would-be migrants it becomes hard to say "no" to a perceived better live down under. Tempted to follow me?  Wink

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
… but alas, the thought of flying a 5 star value carrier wannabe immediately sends shivers down my spine.

And once again.... another one cannot resist to take a swipe at our porr friend.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
We were soon off the ground when the steep ascent resulted in an expected 'shower' from the overhead air vents pelting down on an entire ow of passengers seated in the forward economy cabin! Improvised shelter made out of blankets and pillows quickly propped up, making for a rather comical sight.

Ahhhh... The sights of flying the old queen of the skies. Enjoy it while you can because experiences like these will become rare sooner than you think!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
With all due respect to plus-size granny, but it would have been nice if Qantas can ensure that their crew do not outgrow the width of the aisles that they have to serve in. For shallow Hals, such sights aren't aesthetically pleasing, and in the name of safety, these crew can make or break a successful aircraft evacuation – trying picturing this...

Woah... You went there...

All jokes aside, I mean I am sure she was well trained and passed her exams otherwise she would not be allowed to be on this plane. However, I wonder if these "exams" included how to be customer service oriented?

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 1):
My main grouse stems from how some crew don their uniforms – rolled up sleeves, crooked scarfs and ties or ill-fitting shirts, lack of make-up (on grouchy granny at least) are some of the things that one would only expect to see on an American carrier...Perhaps I'm just too accustomed to the strict standards and decorum Asian airlines impose on their crew, but looking neat and smart does go a long way in projecting a professional image of the airline that they represent.

Sigh... I hate it when you have a bunch of crew that has their uniform in all stages of disarray. First off, it makes fun of the word "uniform" because it is anything but. Secondly, where is the pride in all looking cohesively well presented and full of pride?

Quoting DCAjet (Reply 3):
Perhaps this is where different cultural outlooks kick in, but I do find your comments rather on the offensive side. You see, some of us prefer to be a bit more inclusive with our fellow human beings.

Come on.... take it with a pinch of salt. We all know that Asians like us are not as "forward thinking" as you guys in the west so sometimes we like to poke fun at ourselves. But that being said, allowing the US airline industry to sink to levels presently is what happens when you become a forward thinking society. Sometimes it is nice to look back at days gone by and hope that perhaps one day... maybe one day flying can be glamorous again.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineGlobetraveller From Germany, joined Apr 2008, 379 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 23024 times:

Hi there SQ772.

An excellent trip report! Great detail and stunning pictures!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Now, as much as I love my SQ, I’ve never seen any Singapore Girl/Boy deal with and explained similar situations with such genuine concern and finesse.

Wow, the crew on the SIN-ADL sector was amazing. I guess if you find a good crew they are really good and visa versa. That reminds me a little of Emirates actually.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
the thought of flying a 5 star value carrier wannabe immediately sends shivers down my spine.

Hehehe... I see lots of love and affection for MH. Don't worry, I am not much of a fan either...

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Perhaps well aware of how unflattering the one piece dress would look on their plus-sized figures, everyone donned Qantas' simpler white-top-black-pants uniform this evening.

I am not so sure about this comment - even if it is taken with a pinch of salt, it is a little harsh. Then again, one does get a little spoilt flying too much SQ.

I also loved the pictures of Sydney! Thanks for all your efforts.

Globetraveller


User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4627 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 22949 times:



Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
As if to hint that Qantas’ safety video isn’t as detailed and informative as it should be, the airline complements their video with live demonstration on how to use the life vest, seat belt, oxygen masks and the locations of the emergency exit on this particular aircraft. I found this interesting but pointless. Qantas’ safety video in fact sufficiently succinct, informative and quite classy. Have the recent experiences with mid-air incidents led Qantas to realize that passengers don’t always heed the safety videos and that live demonstrations are a more effective means of getting safety messages across?

Qantas have always done a manual demo along with the videos - ever since I can remember, and I've been flying them for years and years now!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
and the fact that there were no moisturizers, shavers or mouthwash to help one freshen up before arrival.

Did you forget you were flying Economy?  Smile



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineAirpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 22917 times:

Hi SQ772, what a fabulously rich report for economy class. Thank you for the unbeatable pictures, they're really first class. Thank you also for taking the time for the in-depth look at the QF experience. It was a cracking good read... but my, weren't you a bit harsh in your assessment of QF? As far as I could tell, your flights seemed as close to faultless as Y can be these days and yet...

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 1):
Overall, Qantas provides value for money. To say that it is a in the same league as some of its Asian counterparts is stretching it a little too far...

Looking at your trip, and having been on QF a few times myself, I honestly think the airline provides quite a bit more than just 'value for money'. What you got and experienced was pretty high quality stuff. It's true that SQ has a similarly high standard, but it is misleading imo to categorize "Asian" airlines as if they were in a league above the rest: they are not.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
As if to hint that Qantas safety video isnt as detailed and informative as it should be, the airline complements their video with live demonstration on how to use the life vest, seat belt, oxygen masks and the locations of the emergency exit on this particular aircraft. I found this interesting but pointless.

It's true QF has had some highly publicised safety issues. But this style of safety demonstration has been with the airline ever since I can remember flying with the airline years ago. Rather than it being pointless, I think it shows a seriousness that's missing from the moody muzak rendition which 99% of passengers on a competing airline totally ignore.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
We were soon off the ground when the steep ascent resulted in an expected 'shower' from the overhead air vents pelting down on an entire ow of passengers seated in the forward economy cabin!

Interesting, this happened to all the port-side seated J class passengers on my last SQ 744 flight too.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 1):
The service on both flights were fundamentally different - as different as night and day so to speak; and I wonder at this point which set of crew was the true representation of Qantas' inflight service.

The major difference being their ages, and the way they looked?


User currently offlineQantasAirways From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1277 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 22710 times:

Nice trip report! Thanks for posting the pics, they are great.
I enjoyed it!

Peace
Johann



Spirit of Australia
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 22650 times:

Thanks guys for reading this TR and I really appreciate you taking the time to post your replies. And as I had predicted, some feathers have indeed been ruffled...

Quoting 9V-SVA (Reply 2):
When were you in Sydney? I was there mid-Dec.

You weren't paying attention to my pictures were you   SIN-SYD on 6Dec, SYD-SIN on 15Dec... did our paths cross?

Quoting DCAjet (Reply 3):
Perhaps this is where different cultural outlooks kick in, but I do find your comments rather on the offensive side. You see, some of us prefer to be a bit more inclusive with our fellow human beings. I can assure you that if the lady you mentioned had not passed her QF emergency training, or be a safety hazard to the plane, paxs and fellow crew she would not be there. And the same individuals you make fun of - older and perhaps, (HORROR) slightly overweight are the ones that evacuated a fully loaded USAirways A320 that landed in frigid water this past Thursday in NYC. In 3 minutes, with frozen water up to the waist... And with no casualties. FYI, 3 F/As on board, aged 57, 58 and 51, all female.

Thanks for your 2 cents worth, and I do appreciate your being so civil in your response, seriously   My comments on the age and weight of the FAs were meant to highlight the differences in the way the crew on my 2 QF flights looked and behaved. I have no issues with senior crew members as long as they deliver the high level of service that the have been trained to provide. While I can understand why you think I was picking on the FA who was overweight, I would like to point out that she did look as if she had great difficulty walking. The rest of the 'senior' crew on that flight were evidently much more nimble, and I have no reason to doubt their abilities in the event of an emergency.

As for the USAirways incident, I personally think that the pilot saved the day, and that was the primary reason for the lack of casualties. Kudos to the quick thinking FAs as well.

Quote:
Try that with the airline you fly all the time on... a nice "competitive edge" built on sexism and age discrimination...

I see that you have also succumbed to judging one's capabilities by the way they looked...welcome to the club?  

Quoting QantasA333 (Reply 4):
Qantas do this on all their flights, including domestic flights. It's nothing unusua

Thanks for highlighting this, but Qantas' safety video does provide all the information and instruction one needs to know. From what i observed, most passengers were paying attention to the abridged live demonstration than the very comprehensive safety video. The rest just couldn't be bothered.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 5):
They were not making themself easy that way!

And it 'pains' me to see such great service from Norman and Wendy go unappreciated...

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 6):
I wonder after T1's reno, will they sync the carpets? I might be OCD but it disturbs me a little.

I doubt. I believe each terminal will eventually have their own distinct character and look. Looks like you'll be terribly disturbed the next time you set foot into Changi; so it might actually be a good thing that your default gateway is the Budget Terminal heheh...  

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 6):
You had to go there... Thanks for the reminder!

Well, I hope they have no plans to extend those smarties seats to their long haul fleet!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 6):
Hahahahah did you tell your colleague abt that when you returned?

I think I'll spare her the agony...she's such a pious Christian that I'm afraid she may not be able to handle it.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 7):
Hehehe... I see lots of love and affection for MH. Don't worry, I am not much of a fan either...

Seriously, I wouldn't mind flying with them sometime soon, just to get my hands on those pretty snack boxes since Ryanair!!! has refused to trade his for my QF amenity kit.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 7):
I am not so sure about this comment - even if it is taken with a pinch of salt, it is a little harsh

Now now, I do think they made the right choice by wearing the pants-suit. Can you imagine how my report would turn out if they wore their aboriginal inspired dresses??   

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 8):
Did you forget you were flying Economy? Smile

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me... I did forget that I wasn't flying SQ or OZ or CX or ... //insert the airlines that do offer moisturizers, EDT etc in Y//.   

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
what a fabulously rich report for economy class.

Thanks, but really nothing compared to the high quality reports that you churn out regularly   

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
It was a cracking good read... but my, weren't you a bit harsh in your assessment of QF? As far as I could tell, your flights seemed as close to faultless as Y can be these days and yet...

I would agree with you if you are referring to my flight to SYD, but I had much higher expectations of the highly experienced crew on my second flight as well as the services they provide on the ground. Having said that, I do admit that Qantas' Y class product is a notch above many leading carriers.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
but it is misleading imo to categorize "Asian" airlines as if they were in a league above the rest: they are not.

Ok, my bad. Not all Asian airlines are equal.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
It's true QF has had some highly publicised safety issues. But this style of safety demonstration has been with the airline ever since I can remember flying with the airline years ago. Rather than it being pointless, I think it shows a seriousness that's missing from the moody muzak rendition which 99% of passengers on a competing airline totally ignore.

As much as I would like to agree with you, I can't. Qantas' pre-take-off or arrival cabin checks are, for want of a better word, lacking. It's one thing to have a very comprehensive safety video/demo, it's another when the crew do not faithfully enforce these safety checks.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
Interesting, this happened to all the port-side seated J class passengers on my last SQ 744 flight too.

Yes I read about that and how did the crew deal with it?...

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 9):
The major difference being their ages, and the way they looked?

Well... the major difference being how warm and friendly the crew were.

[Edited 2009-01-18 06:59:35]


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineYvrtoyyz From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 22541 times:



Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I decided to drop by the open air cactus garden cum pub cum smoking area cum viewing gallery

WTF?


User currently offlineManekS From Singapore, joined Oct 2008, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 22482 times:

Excellent report SQ772. I flew SYD-SIN not long after you on the A380. Yes, Sydney's an awesome city. Just to let you know, there's a really big hard rock cafe next to the forum mall on Orchard road  Smile

User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4627 posts, RR: 23
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 22282 times:



Quoting Yvrtoyyz (Reply 12):
Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I decided to drop by the open air cactus garden cum pub cum smoking area cum viewing gallery

WTF?

That's pretty funny actually, especially if you read it after the word garden only  Smile

Surely you know what he meant though?



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlinePumaknight From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 22094 times:

Excellent and very detailed trip report. Like the writing style very much.

Thanks for posting.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8506 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 21891 times:
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Great report & pictures SQ772,

Really enjoyed your wrighting style on this one, quite amusing at times!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Small bottles of Evian (yes branded H20 typically reserved for F and J passengers on some airlines) were handed out to passengers prior to the meal service

- Nice touch.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
A useful journey planner for the SIN-ADL sector lets you know when the crew isn’t providing the service they are supposed to on your flight I’ve not seen anything like this on other carriers' menus - it’s a brilliant idea!

- I too have never seen it, a good idea indeed.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
There was nothing exciting about Qantas’ economy class meals, except for the Gula Melaka dessert. While not exotic by Asian standards, it is an acquired taste that not many non-Asians would appreciate…

- Hmm, not sure about the look of that!

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
It appears that Qantas doesn’t institute any form of censorship on their inflight programming and the end result is a program like this – nudity, dicks galore, gory scenes of a dick enlargement operation

- Amazing!

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinePoadrim From Norway, joined Oct 2008, 173 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 21552 times:

Ehum... Can't see any of the pics..? It just says:

Upgrade to Pro today!
Bandwidth Exceeded
photobucket



Good judgment comes from experience. Good experience comes from someone else's bad judgment.
User currently offlineB707forever From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 21398 times:

I'll come back to read when the pictures are available, can't see them now.

User currently offlineDocPepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1969 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 21355 times:



Quoting Yvrtoyyz (Reply 12):
Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
I decided to drop by the open air cactus garden cum pub cum smoking area cum viewing gallery

WTF?

I think the use of the word "cum" as an alternative to "and" is not used very often outside Singapore and is quite an archaic word in the English speaking world, hence Yvrtoyyz's shock.

SQ772 - Excellent trip report by the way. The QF meal portions still look tiny. Was it sufficient? I also find their hot towels not all that great. I mean if they wanted to do it they should either give proper ones like what SQ does, or not bother. Getting those flaky hot paper towels gives an impression of just being "not there".

I also believe QF doesn't give free newspapers in Y?


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4749 posts, RR: 26
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 21128 times:



Quoting DocPepz (Reply 19):
I also believe QF doesn't give free newspapers in Y?

Are u saying pax have to pay for newspapers on QF's YCL?



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offline9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 20595 times:



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 11):
You weren't paying attention to my pictures were you SIN-SYD on 6Dec, SYD-SIN on 15Dec... did our paths cross?

Unfortunately no. I arrived in SYD on 16 Dec and left on 22 Dec. Right after you. And I'm still regretting not spending longer in SYD.  Sad



9V-SVA | B772ER
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 20594 times:

Hi all, sorry for the disappearance of pictures earlier on in the day. It has since been fixed. You should be able to see them now, hopefully.

Quoting Pumaknight (Reply 15):
Excellent and very detailed trip report. Like the writing style very much.

Thanks Pumaknight. It's always nice to know that the efforts that go into writing a TR gets appreciated  

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
Hmm, not sure about the look of that!

Hahaha... yes, it doesn't look appetizing, but Southeast Asians love it. It's essentially a Malay dessert.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
Really enjoyed your wrighting style on this one, quite amusing at times!

Thanks... am glad it made you 'smile'.

Quoting Poadrim (Reply 17):
Ehum... Can't see any of the pics..? It just says:

Upgrade to Pro today!
Bandwidth Exceeded
photobucket

Fixed.  

Quoting DocPepz (Reply 19):
I think the use of the word "cum" as an alternative to "and" is not used very often outside Singapore and is quite an archaic word in the English speaking world, hence Yvrtoyyz's shock.

Ok, I didn't know that 'cum' is no longer used as an alternative to 'and' everywhere else. I should refrain from using it in my work related reports as well... just in case my bosses get the wrong idea.  Wow!

Quoting DocPepz (Reply 19):
SQ772 - Excellent trip report by the way. The QF meal portions still look tiny. Was it sufficient? I also find their hot towels not all that great. I mean if they wanted to do it they should either give proper ones like what SQ does, or not bother. Getting those flaky hot paper towels gives an impression of just being "not there".

Actually, the towels that I received were of decent quality. Not thick and fluffy like SQ's, but certainly not wet tissues or the first aid gauze that some airlines use. It would have been better if QF's towels were scented cos the scentless ones just doesn't help to perk you up.

I try not to over-eat onboard flights, so after devouring every crumb and licking off every plate, I have to say that the portions were just right. I didn't feel full like I normally would on SQ, but it was sufficient.

Quoting DocPepz (Reply 19):
I also believe QF doesn't give free newspapers in Y?

Now that you mentioned it, I didn't see any newspapers being offered at the entrance of the aerobridge or in the cabin. Maybe it's only available to Business or First Class passengers.

Quoting ManekS (Reply 13):
I flew SYD-SIN not long after you on the A380. Yes, Sydney's an awesome city. Just to let you know, there's a really big hard rock cafe next to the forum mall on Orchard road

Oh ok, thanks for clarifying!   Someone told me that the Hard Rock Cafe in Orchard Road had closed down! As you can see, I don't get out of the house enough...  
[Edited 2009-01-19 04:14:51]


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently onlineThomasCook From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 793 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 20537 times:

Hey,

I am glad you enjoyed your flights with us, I will answer some of your questions;

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Unlike their Asian counterparts, helping passengers store their hand carry is not part of a Qantas crew%u2019s duties, it seems

We are not allowed to leave our door areas during boarding as if we became trapped in the aisle assisting during boarding, we would be unable to get back to the door in the event an evacuation is ordered.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Have the recent experiences with mid-air incidents led Qantas to realize that passengers don%u2019t always heed the safety videos and that live demonstrations are a more effective means of getting safety messages across?

Manual and Video demonstrations have been a standard procedure on all Qantas flights for a long time.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
Unscented warm towels were handed out and a cold breakfast were served as the first glimpse of daylight emitted into the cabin a little more than an hour prior to descent into ADL.

Towels are unscented so as that nobody has an unwelcome reaction to any fragrance etc...

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 1):
My main grouse stems from how some crew don their uniforms %u2013 rolled up sleeves

The rolled up sleeves are permitted for Male crew wearing long sleeve shirts whilst wearing an apron to create a café style appearance.

Hope this helps!
ThomasCook



A380 Crew
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6407 posts, RR: 38
Reply 24, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 19978 times:

Great TR, thanks for sharing!

Very artistic photos: I love it! Hopefully I can do similar things in Sydney when I head there tomorrow.

Quoting SQ772 (Thread starter):
This Boeing 767 safety card placed in my seat pocket

How disturbing! If there was a crash.. And if someone tried to go for the over-wing exits.. To no avail.. Those people should really know what plane is flying!



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
25 Ryanair!!! : This is an amusing incident of mine. Picture this... Overnight transpacific flight on JAL... NRT-HNL. Dark cabin and everyone is asleep after the mea
26 Crdaus : What an interesting and entertaining read. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed report. I haven't flown in Y for many years so it wa
27 Nicholaschee : SQ772, Great coverage of your trip. Been waiting for the TR to surface . It's rather disappointing that QF doesn't offer OLCI for it's cattle class tr
28 SQ772 : Thanks for your clarification. Does that mean that there are always as many crew as there are exits onboard Qantas? Based on my experience with a few
29 Nicholaschee : I realised my statement wasn't exactly very thorough and I should clarify it. QF does offer OLCI but only for it's domestic & Tasman sectors. Based i
30 Ryanair!!! : Darling... There is something called GOOGLE MAP to find those spotting locations. How do you think I found the one in KK? I went there without the he
31 AirNewZealand : Hey there SQ772, As anoter QF crew member, let me add my 2cents... Thanks for flying with us by the way. Always nice to have a report on my work plac
32 SQ772 : Thanks ANZ for the clarifications... very detailed indeed. Yes, I was rather shocked as well especially when I noticed such lapse on both flights. Wha
33 Elevate : Fantastic report, SQ772 - defiantly one of the best economy reports on here! Sam
34 AirNewZealand : Hi there SQ772, In regards to the towel service, we only do 1 per International flight for Y/C passengers. The reason is we just donot have the room
35 Docpepz : Hmm.... Then where does SQ get the space to store 2 fairly large towels for each pax for longhaul flights? On an A380 that would be Over 1000 towels
36 AirNewZealand : No Docpepz... As stated, our compartments are full of Hot Chocolate/Peppermint Tea, Hot Chocolate Jugs (their are specific ones With Cadbury written
37 Docpepz : Thanks for the clarification. I suppose the individual water bottles in Y + snack on Q bags would take up heaps of space. SQ does not give out indivi
38 SQ772 : Thanks Docpepz for the additional queries and ANZ for the patience in answering them. I've always been fascinated by what the crew do onboard prior to
39 ClassicLover : This is quite smart - there have been evacuations of aircraft while boarding in the past, so this is quite a good thing. This is a typical Australian
40 AirNewZealand : I have flown SQ and seen how hard the crew work. They are a true credit to their Airline!!! I find in general, SQ routes are ALL similar, unlike ours
41 Ronerone : My oh my! ... This is one hell of a Trip Report! Your TR's may be few and far apart, but they certainly hit the right spot, and leave you satisfied ti
42 BNE : Thanks for the trip report. Thats normal even domestic we get to see the cabin crew performing the demonstration. BA has them and I even used a BA one
43 Smi0006 : Perfect report superb and well balanced! A most enjoyable read! Depends not really regional crew, but short-haul crew doing regional patterns, both lo
44 FCA767 : Hey...Nice Report...And really nice Pictures...I liked your arty way of taking those sydney shots and all I did T3 also at Changi...I stayed there on
45 SQ772 : Some rules are meant to be broken, but others are there for a reason. If and when anything happens, there's no proof to show that the crew had done t
46 TravellerPlus : The best example I saw of that was the meal timing on the daylight LAX-SYD service. We left at noon and arrived at 9pm after a 14 hour flight. The fi
47 Ronerone : Oh, Ryanair!!! will be just fine, don't worry about him Get crackin' with those TR's In terms of route planning and development, yes they are in the
48 SQ772 : As much as airlines put in lots of effort to time their meals, I guess it's sometimes difficult to please everyone. I've heard of passengers complain
49 Ryanair!!! : The reason I say that is because we all know what happens on SQ flights with our eyes closed. EVERYTHING happens on cue like clock work that is has b
50 AirNewZealand : RyanAir!!!, you truly are funny!!! It would be very ammusing having you as one of my passengers onboard QF...hope to welcome you onboard soon , aswel
51 Ronerone : Yes definitely. Ive been recieving a lot of intelligence regarding QF's Middle East expansion. But can't really share here. Should PM you Regarding t
52 Maxisno1 : Fantastic trip report. Your comments on SYD airport were spot on. I also chuckled while reading your comments about the 'granny' flight attendants. Th
53 SQ772 : hahaha... You actually sound like you would be very intrigued by the above sights. Ok, I can never understand what you mean by excitement on an LCC..
54 Ronerone : Wow. Nothing goes past you does it You read behind the lines...and then some Just PM'd you. Are there any 772's fitted with regional F? When the serv
55 Ryanair!!! : 9V-SQ* series are the 777-200 with a first class cabin and de-rated engines.
56 Nicholaschee : I disagree with the above There's nothing really much to fault with the SQ FSSs whereas there're plenty of things I can fault with the AC FAs - Stay
57 TravellerPlus : True, but in the case of the LAX-SYD flight it was a 14 to 15 hour long daylight flight, with most people awake for most of the flight. Its the only
58 SQ772 : Ah yes, I forgot all about the older 3 class 772s. Hopefully those remaining in the fleet would have had their cabins retrofitted with the new F,J,Y
59 Scanorama : I flew on QF A330-300 VH-QPA SYD-MEL (domestic leg of NRT-SYD-MEL) and I also saw a mixture of A330-300/B767-300 safety cards. I thought it was a rath
60 SQ772 : This is interesting... so it wasn't a once off case on my flight. Why would Qantas intentionally place the safety cards of 2 distinctly aircrafts on
61 FCA767 : Ah...I know what you're thinkin that maybe I only transited nope I spent 15 days there...took the bus a few times...rode the underground...Went to Se
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