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1 Long Day, 3 Short Virgins: Virgin's New ATR72  
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 11358 times:



For aviation enthusiasts, I think it’s fair to say that there’s nothing quite like experiencing a flight on board a brand new aircraft – from the “new car” smell of the cabin, brand new clean seats which are yet to experience the butts of 10,000 passengers, the light and airy spotless cabin, to the clean wing surfaces and shiny engines or props. Sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find yourself on a 2 day old aircraft (as I did last year on the way home from Tenerife to London on Easyjet), and other times, you make a conscious effort, and will do almost anything to track down that newest bird in the fleet. For me, a trip back to Australia over Christmas provided the perfect opportunity to indulge in the latter.

TRYING OUT THE NEW ATR72

Virgin Australia recently took delivery of the first of a batch of new ATR72-500s, to be operated by Skywest Airlines as part of a franchise agreement. All aircraft carry the new Virgin Australia branding both inside and out and new routes are being opened up in Australia which cannot sustain a profitable jet service. Virgin announced which routes the ATRs would start operating, so it was just a matter of time before I started planning a short trip to try out Virgin Australia’s ATR72.

Another reason for doing this trip is that I wanted to see firsthand, to what extent the rebrand from Virgin Blue to Virgin Australia has resulted in changes at the airline, and whether the Virgin Australia of today resembles anything like the carrier I first experienced way back in the year 2000 on a Brisbane to Melbourne flight. In those days, they had less than 5 aircraft and flew only three routes. Today, their route network and fleet is almost unrecognisable from those early “virginal” days of 2000. Virgin Australia says that it is putting the magic back into flying. I’d like to see how much magic I could experience on the ATR72.

Until now, the ATR has remained relatively unknown in Australian skies. Air Queensland dabbled with a couple of early model ATR42s back in the mid 1980s. I remember seeing them in Brisbane when they were brand new. Fast forward 20 something years and niche carrier, Macair was flying an ATR42-500 around in the northern parts of Australia, but other than that, ATRs have generally not seen the same level of popularity as elsewhere in the world. That’s now changing.

Allrite has already provided an excellent report on his experiences aboard this new prop down to Canberra: see:

The Virgin Australia ATR72 To Canberra (by allrite Jan 16 2012 in Trip Reports) so readers will already have an idea of what to expect.

FLIGHT PLANNING: GOING SOUTH TO GO NORTH (AND THEN SOUTH AGAIN)

My flights with Virgin Australia consisted however, of 3 short ATR72 sectors: I would fly down to Sydney from Brisbane on a “mainline” Virgin Australia 737-800, then connect in Sydney for my first Virgin ATR flight heading north to the regional town of Port Macquarie (PQQ) in northern New South Wales. I would spend a couple of hours on the ground there, before returning to Sydney on the ATR, and I would then connect through down to Canberra on another ATR72. Why Port Macquarie? Being one of the first destinations for the new ATR service, I also remember on my first trip to Sydney in September 1986 and hearing boarding calls for all kinds of places I had never heard of. I specifically remember a boarding announcement being made for an East West Airlines flight that was going to Taree and Port Macquarie. I guess I always wanted to fly to PQQ from that day onwards:only took me some 25 years to get around to it!

Here’s the location itself -



Courtesy of Shoreline Freighters Pty Limited

In all, I had 3 flights booked via virginaustralia.com.au on the new aircraft – not bad at all. Booking was hassle free and the website is easy to navigate. There was no risk of an aircraft substitution as far as I could see, although it was possible that the SYD-CBR flight could have been upgraded to an EM190.

I had hoped to return to Brisbane that evening, but stupidly having booked my outbound flights without checking the relevant schedules first, I was stunned to discover that there was no way for me to return to Brisbane that evening after 6pm, even though I would be arriving into Canberra at the relatively early hour of 545pm, or thereabouts. I tried all kinds of connecting flights via Sydney, Melbourne and even Adelaide (although trying via ADL was an entirely desperate attempt). In a bid to try out the new ATR72s, I effectively ended up stranding myself overnight in Canberra. Silly bugger.

Now some might say that this is a fate worse than death, if you’ve ever been to Canberra or spent time there, but I feel sorry for the place. It historically has had bad press in Australia and labelled as the most boring place on earth. Any thoughts of voluntarily going to Canberra have usually been met with the response “Why the hell would you want to go there?”

A little harsh perhaps? I wanted to find out for myself whether the myths about Canberra were really true. I’d only been once before, and that was back in 2001 for work purposes, so I never really saw anything of Canberra at all. Being stranded there presented with the chance to see a bit more of the nation’s capital – for those non Australians (and perhaps those Australians with poor geography) Sydney is NOT the capital city of Australia.

I therefore booked myself a hotel for the night and would spend the following day being a tourist before flying home to Brisbane in the late afternoon aboard a Qantas 737-400.

Here’s how the map shows the journey. It’s a little jumpy and all over the place but perfect from an A.netter’s perspective?



That’s it for the background. Hope you enjoy the report.

DEPARTURE DAY

December 2011
Brisbane (BNE) to Sydney (SYD)
DJ904
B737-8FE, delivered 2004
VH-VOS “Kimberley Cutie”
Flight time: 1 hour 15mins
Seat: 19F

Still recovering from the excesses of Christmas, it was an early and difficult start to the day, as my first flight down to SYD departed at 530am. Thankfully, the end of December is still high summer in Australia, so it was at least light outside when I hit the road in a taxi to Brisbane’s domestic terminal. Arriving there at just before 430am, I headed for one of the SSKs to print out my boarding passes, having completed OLCI the day before. I had spent some time thinking about where I wanted to sit on the ATRs – as I wanted to take lots of pictures, and remembered from my flights on Binter last year that one of the flight attendant’s seats is located forward of row 1 in the aisle (it’s retractable) and I did not want to be in full view with my camera out. I’d read some stories about Virgin being funny about taking photos on the ground – particularly from Allrite, so wanted to make sure I did not fall foul of any cranky cabin crew. My seat selection process was largely in vain, as I later discovered. More on that later.

Virgin seems to have completely replaced all traces of its old Virgin Blue branding in the check in area in BNE. It’s all Virgin Australia now.



As are the jetbridges



Security at BNE was relatively free and easy going at this time of the morning although the airport was busy. There are a number of early morning domestic departures all leaving around the same time. BNE still allows non passengers to go through to the gate area upstairs airside – at least 9/11 did not completely ruin the airport experience for non travelling enthusiasts – at least in this part of the world.

Once airside, I decided to take a wander to see if I could spot any new Virgin Australia aircraft on the ground - there is usually quite a few aircraft that nightstop at BNE before heading out early in the mornings. I was hoping to see a mix of aircraft in the new colours, but sadly there were no 737-800s in the new colours at that time. I was pleased to see my aircraft already at the gate, being refueled and prepared for the early service south to Sydney.



Here’s VOS from the side on, with a welcoming glow from the cabin lights.



I was fortunate to see an EM190 in the new colours. Too much white? Too little red?



And also one of the new ATR72s! What better way to kick of the day than a teaser view of the ATR72 in Virgin Australia colours. I wondered whether this aircraft would be flying me anywhere today.



I wasn’t feeling particularly like anything substantive to eat at this time of day, so just got myself and juice and plonked myself down at the seats at Gate 41, where my flight was due to leave from.

FIDS - all of Virgin’s flights now carry both an Air New Zealand and Etihad flight number. This was something I had not seen the last time I was back in Australia.



The gate area remained relatively quiet but it soon filled up - here’s the view pre-passenger looking out on to the ramp and along the finger concourse, where there are a number of additional jetbridges. The central atrium of this concourse is landscaped with tropical foliage, such as palm trees.



Boarding was soon announced by a perky ground staff announcer (well, a little perky given the early hour of the morning for me - and I am most definitely not a morning person). A friendly check of the boarding pass (no ID check is made for domestic flights in Australia - not once did anyone want to know whether I was Mr Palmjet!) and I was heading down the jetbridge, and being just behind the wing, was asked to board from the rear of the aircraft. Oh no, how terrible (not) that was going to be!

FLYING SOUTH

Down onto the ramp, around the wing (sorry Markus, no under the wing shot this time round!) and over to the back door. Just after snapping the picture below, a fellow passenger explained that he had waited for me to take my pic before heading in front of me - how considerate. I thanked him, and we both headed up to the door.

Goodbye to this colourscheme after just over 10 years..



Definitely on VH-VOS today with the telltale bump on the fuselage roof for all the gadgetry needed for live TV and other assorted onboard communications.



No question that this is a B737-800. My first ever 737-800 flight was actually on Virgin Blue, back in 2003 when I flew from Sydney to Perth. That was just over 5 hours flight time, so had plenty of time to experience the then new 737-800. Today, they are very common, even by Australian standards, as both Qantas and Virgin have a large fleet.



Passengers were greeted at the door and directed up toward their seats. A friendly welcome from the flight attendant - just as I remembered from previous Virgin Blue flights.

Here’s the view from 19F. Our neighbour, VH-ZPD at the gate. The aircraft interior was clean and well maintained, despite the aircraft being nearly 8 years old.



Seatback TVs are quite petite - the news was showing during boarding but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was too busy watching the boarding proceedings and getting settled. The flight looked like it was busy, but thankfully not full. I managed to have an empty seat beside me. The girl sitting on the aisle seat was part of a small group travelling together and was chatting (loudly at times and mostly in a language that I was unable to identify) to her friends sitting around her. She either clearly had not flown before or was just not used to following rules - she had to be told several times to turn off her mobile phone and store her baggage properly.



Importantly, legroom was adequate for the flight and I had enough space around me to ensure the flight would at least be comfortable. Although the outside of the aircraft was still in the old colours of Virgin Blue, the safety cards were all Virgin Australia branded.



Side on view showing legroom



Once we were all on board, another welcome message from the cabin crew, followed by that of the cockpit. The flight down to Sydney would be just over an hour and we would be approaching the airport from the north. We expected to be cruising at 35,000ft.

Pushing back and heading out of the gate area, not before passing some family members. The safety demonstration was completed and we were all set to go.



Take off this morning was on Runway 01, heading north. There were no departure delays and a powerful take off followed with the sun getting higher in the sky.



It was a gorgeous morning for flying out of Brisbane today, and just after take off, we made several hard right turns, giving me great morning views of the mouth of the Brisbane River and the mangroves down below. Ordinarily BNE-SYD is a route that has been covered many times here, but the show outside was amazing from 19F.



Still banking



The sharp turn also gave me the opportunity to see the airport and surrounds slipping behind us as we gathered more height. The runway we just departed from is clearly visible with the city of Brisbane in the far distance above the winglet.



Another view of the airport closer up, with the domestic terminal to the right, and the separate international terminal on the left.



Passing the Port of Brisbane facilities down below



A few more turns as we passed over Brisbane’s Moreton Bay-side suburbs. I was amazed at the light show outside. It was very pretty at this time of the morning. Perhaps there are advantages to being up so early?



Inflight service is all BOB on these flights - nothing has changed there from the early days. I decided not to partake in anything, and would wait til I got to Port Macquarie. I remained glued to the window for scenes like this (the city of Brisbane lit up by some early morning sunlight):



and this



Before taking a closer look at the Emergency Safety Card



And the Virgin Australia menu, now just called “The Menu” but with some hype about the airline’s connection with an Australian celebrity chef. How unoriginal and really, I don’t care that much. Does anyone else?



The flight passed smoothly as we headed south. Cabin crew seemed motivated and happy - which was just like I remember 10 years ago. No screaming babies onboard and other than the yappy girl sitting on the aisle seat, most people seemed to be snoozing or just reading or listening to music.

I tried playing around with the IFE, to see if I could at least get the moving map but shock horror, there was no moving map option. I tried every channel multiple times to see if I had missed it. Perhaps Virgin regulars can confirm. I found this quite disappointing. I like to know where I am flying over. Most airlines provide a map these days and I always end up watching the map more than I end up watching any TV!

It wasn’t long before we were about to start descending into Sydney. Another announcement from the cockpit with some arrival information which I appreciated.



Chasing our shadow on top of the cloud layer



Popping out underneath the clouds, we started to get a few views of the huge metropolis that is Sydney. Here’s some of the north-western suburbs



Gladesville Bridge?



I thought this had to be Parramatta Road snaking its way west - one of the oldest roads by Australian European history standards.



Getting very close and floating over the Qantas jetbase - a few heavies down there



Part of the Qantas domestic pier - with a 744 at the gate, getting ready to operate a domestic flight across to Perth. Yananyi Dreaming, the special logo 737-800 is also at the gate.



Just before touchdown on the most easterly of SYD’s runways, and passing the international terminal on the way.



More shadows



Hello terra firma!



Welcome to Sydney. In the summer months, New South Wales is on summer time, which Queensland does not observe. That means having to change your watch forward by one hour. There are numerous jokes in Australia about Queensland not being on summertime or daylight savings as it’s referred to there - most of which imply that Queensland and its population are “backward” hillbillies. Well, I’d like to know why so many people from the south have, over the last few years, moved to Queensland!   I think the population explosion there, particularly in the Brisbane area, speaks volumes about the great lifestyle that this part of the world offers, and the fact that many have come to realise this.  

Right, on with the trip. Sorry for the diversion.

SYDNEY TRANSIT

I only had a 30 min connection time in SYD, so was relieved to note that we had arrived on time and I still had plenty of time to get to the gate. We did hold for about 5 mins on one taxiway which made me start to feel a little antsy, but it was shortlived and we soon made our way to our gate. I was able to get straight to my next boarding gate in less than a minute - with the Port Macquarie flight leaving almost directly opposite from where I had arrived. This was the sight that greeted me. Yay!



Looks like VH-FVL is going to take me up to Port Macquarie this morning.



I still had a few minutes before boarding was due to start, so I wandered over to the next gate, where one of the two Virgin Australia A330s was getting ready to depart for Perth. Clearly it seems like there is some pretty intense competition between the two carriers for these transcontinental flights. Not sure what to make of these colours on the A330, but as I am a big fan of the aircraft type, I think it looks cool in any colourscheme - even one that is 90% white!



Going back to the gate, I hovered for a bit until boarding was called. Again, looked like the flight would be busy. Joining the short queue at the gate, we were soon ushered downstairs to board VH-FVL. I was stunned to see a family in front of me boarding the flight, whereby the father was not wearing any shoes whatsoever. Nobody said anything, even though we would be boarding by walking out on the ramp to the aircraft door. I know things in Australia can be very casual - but this seemed out of line. I let the family go on ahead, as I wanted to get a couple of snaps of our aircraft on the ground, without raising the ire of any ground staff.

Managed to snap this one - of course, it’s dedicated to Markus



And this one - the cabin exterior looking spotlessly clean



END OF PART ONE


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 11410 times:

PART TWO

December 2011
DJ1187
Sydney (SYD) to Port Macquarie (PQQ)
ATR72-500 VH - FVL “Preston Beach”
Seat: 12A

Boarding at the rear door, and reminded that we were definitely on an ATR72-500, my adventure was now ready to begin.



I was greeted at the door by one flight attendant before turning left toward my seat. Virgin have 2 flight attendants on each ATR72. I noticed that while they were both wearing Virgin Australia uniforms, they had small badges or something similar reflecting their Skywest connection. First impressions of the interior were positive. The cabin was spotlessly clean and had a feeling of spaciousness, despite the dark leather colouring of the seats. The carpet matches the seat colour.



My seat was about two thirds back - slimline seats not unlike you find on many larger aircraft these days. Mmmmm I can still remember the smell of that new cabin.



I was able to put one rucksack in the overhead container and kept my camera bag under my seat. I was hoping the seat next to me would stay vacant and I was lucky - it did. Having said that, I was unable to know how comfortable the flight would have been had it been full.

Here’s the view from the very clean window



Looking forward across the starboard side of the aircraft. Quite a few empty seats still - some of these filled up by the time boarding was completed.



Safety instruction card - also brand new and shiny and sans chewing gum and other assorted disgusting things that passengers shove into the seat pocket.



Legroom shot - note however that on the window seat, you will find the way the seats are designed mean that you have a seat anchoring metal spar in an akward place. You need to have one leg either side! The camera bag was later moved to make more room when the seat next to me remained free.



The door was closed and we were soon ready to be pushed back. Tugs are used to push back the ATRs - they don’t seem to reverse under their own steam, unlike some other ATR operators I’ve seen around the world.

Passing VH-VOB while being pushed back.



The safety demonstration was done manually while the aircraft was being pushed back. We were then pulled forward for a short way before the first of the props were fired up.

A row of Rex Saabs



Reminded me of my great trip back in March 2011 up to Ballina and back:

Ballina Boomerang: Coastal Flying With REX (pics) (by Palmjet Apr 10 2011 in Trip Reports)

Captain Johnson gave us some interesting information before take off about our expected flying time and conditions this morning. Flight time was just over 55 minutes up to Port Macquarie and conditions were to be fine and clear the whole way up, with perhaps some bumps on the way down into PQQ.

Our departure was off 16L this morning (the same runway I arrived on earlier). The ATR’s take off was relatively quick and flat. We just simply seemed to float into the air and slowly gain height. Nice views of Botany Bay and surrounds could be had while we made a gentle left turn away from land and headed out over the Pacific Ocean. We would then turn left again and start tracking north again for our destination, some 240 miles away.



The weather in Sydney this morning was definitely not as nice as in Brisbane when I left



Heading out over the ocean with Sydney’s Eastern beaches down below.



Still turning and starting to begin our track northwards.

PORT MACQUARIE (PQQ)

What’s to say about PQQ? A small regional town in New South Wales, it was first visited by Europeans in the early part of the 19th Century. In 1821, it was selected as a penal settlement for convicts who has committed offences in New South Wales. The town was named after the then governor of New South Wales, the Scot, Lachlan Macquarie, who is credited with having transformed Sydney from a ramshackle run down settlement, to creating a permanent framework and infrastructure for a fast growing township. There is still lots of evidence today of Macquarie’s works, and multiple references to the name Macquarie can be found all over Sydney.

Here’s the guy himself in all his oil painted glory



By pure co-incidence, Mr Macquarie and I have some common history. Ancestors on one side of my family come from the Isle of Mull and Macquarie was born on Ulva in 1762, which is just off Mull.

Back to 2011, and soon after we got to our cruising height, there were signs of onboard service from the two cabin crew. They announced that we would be getting a small breakfast bun and coffee or tea. We were also told, as I recall Allrite saying, that not all Virgin group flights offered complimentary snacks and drinks. Seems like Virgin may be heading down the perilous road of SAS by having all kinds of inconsistencies creep into their service if they have to start announcing to passengers something along the lines of “You get this free on this flight but don’t expect it if you fly on another Virgin group flight”.

The crew came down the aisle and this is what we all got. Service was polite but not overly warm or as friendly as previous flights I had with Virgin Blue.



The pastry was tiny, cold and somewhat stale. Nice try I guess but it was nothing to get too excited about - other than to note that it was all free.

Supporting local growers!



By this time, the skies had become brighter and clearer and it very smooth. I was very impressed at how smooth the flight actually was - and it was not loud in the cabin at all. I really enjoyed the experience of being on a new aircraft and the ATR72 should win more friends in Australia once it becomes more well known on these regional routes.



Just before starting our descent, it clouded over again



I took another snap of the cabin looking forward. Most passengers were reading or just passing the time by looking out of the windows. The flight was about 70% full.



Following the New South Wales coastline



Given the short flight time, it was not long before we started our descent into Port Macquarie.


.



Not having flown into this airport before, I had no idea of how we would make our approach but simply crossed fingers and toes that I would be on the correct side of the aircraft for some nice views. Lady luck was looking down today because the views were simply lovely.



From this picture, you can just make out the airport in the distance under the wing.



Closer up the runway and airport is under the wing tip. The town of Port Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean starts to come into view.



Now getting great views of Port Macquarie on our downwind leg. It looks like we would pass the airport to our left, head right over the centre of town and out to sea before making a series of sharp left turns to align ourselves and approach the airport from the north.



The Hastings River, and its mouth along with Settlement Point and Pelican Island are now clearly in view.



Passing over the North Shore and the Pacific Ocean just before we commenced our sharp turns. It was at this point that the air got a little bumpy. Thankfully we were all seated and strapped in, ready for landing.



Let the turns begin!



Wide angled view, looking south and west as we keep turning. The town and surrounds are clearly visible. It was a great vista. One of my favourite pics from the trip.



Passing over the Hastings River on final approach - with a lot of wobbling to the left and right. It was tricky keeping the camera steady at this point.



Just before touch down



Given the bouncy approach, I was surprised at the very smooth landing. In no time, we were backtracking to the small terminal, with a short welcome to Port Macquarie message from the cabin.

Looks like we have a welcoming party. PQQ has a very nice little open air observation area where anyone can come and meet the arriving aircraft. It’s very bucolic and reminds me a lot of my childhood when many airports (including those which are much larger than PQQ) used to offer similar facilities. It was great to see that at least at smaller airports in Australia, this is still possible.



It’s a shame however that there isnt more variety at PQQ to make the observation area more worthwhile - I guess you can’t have everything?

The props came to a standstill, and the rear door was popped open. Like most flights, the passengers were eager to be off the aircraft, but I decided to hang back for a bit before making my exit. A polite thank you from one of the cabin crew and I made my way over to the terminal and followed the Arrivals sign - not like you could get lost though.

I had not decided what I was going to do during my transit there. I had a couple of hours, and was planning to go into the town. However, I decided to stay and watch my aircraft depart. Rather than return to Sydney, the aircraft was heading up to Brisbane - where I had just come from!

Here is FVL resting on the ramp, before continuing her journey north.



Close up of the Virgin nose art. Quite distinctive but a little washed out? I wish the artwork was a little darker in colour.



The aircraft was only on the ground for about 30 minutes before boarding for the next flight was completed.

Goodbye little ATR - I suspect you’ll be coming back down to PQQ to pick me up on the way to Sydney? See you in a couple of hours.... or so I thought.



PQQ seems to have an arrangement whereby a couple of shuttle buses turn up to meet every flight - they then offer service into town, which must only be a short drive away. As I had elected to stay and watch my ATR depart, by the time it did, the shuttle buses were long gone. I could have called a taxi, but decided to explore the airport surrounds for a bit. I did not have that long on the ground as my flight back to Sydney was due to leave in a couple of hours.

Outside views of PQQ - nothing spectacular, although they seem to be proud to have won Australian Regional Airport of the year a few years back - so much so that they decided to include that with their branding!



Wider view from the carpark - looks like a large shed?



The interior of the terminal is modern, and consists of a small check in area - there are only two airlines flying here: Qantaslink and Virgin Australia. Moreover, flights either go to Sydney or Brisbane. The Brisbane - Port Macquarie route is a new addition from Virgin Australia and they are the sole operator on that route.



I decided to have a late breakfast so sampled the delights of the small airport cafe. With a much wider menu than expected, I opted for some coffee and raisin toast (which is very popular and common in Australia but must less so here in the UK). Both were delicious - thanks to the friendly lady behind the counter there. I also bought the Sydney Morning Herald to see what was going on in Sydney and the wider world.

The time passed quickly and although the terminal was practically deserted when I started munching on my toast, it gradually started to get busier, as there was a Qantaslink flight due to arrive, followed by my flight, which as I suspected, must have been coming back from Brisbane.

FIDS - you’ve got two choices....



BA definitely don’t fly here! All codeshares - which depending on how you feel about it, I consider is borderline misleading to many consumers, who may be led to believe that the airport is actually much busier than it really is!

I wandered outside to grab some much needed sunshine - although the UK winter this year has been until recently, relatively mild compared to last year, it was still good to feel the rays while watching the scheduled Qantaslink Dash 8 - 400 pull onto its stand, literally right in front of me.



Not just me watching the ramp action!



The Dash 8 turnaround time was very short, and before long, it was off, with an almost full load of passengers, back down to Sydney.

Props just about to start



Ready to go - I noticed that this was VH-QOB which was actually an old friend. I had flown her up to Rockhampton a couple of years ago - my first Qantaslink Dash 8. Nice to say hi again and farewell her back to Sydney.

CHARLIE DELTA or CREEPING DELAYS

Now here’s where it got annoying. I wandered back into the terminal to see if our flight was due to arrive on time and was horrified to see that the Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane was showing a 2 plus hour delay. Yikes! Something must have happened up in Brisbane as the aircraft certainly left PQQ on time and I was sure it was the same aircraft (this was later confirmed). At this point, there was no announcement from the Virgin groundstaff about the delay and when I had checked in for my return flight back to SYD, there was no mention of any delay. People just seemed to be wandering around the terminal. I had a connection in Sydney but thankfully I had allowed for nearly 3 hours transit time as I wanted to wander around the airport for a bit. Looks like my time in Sydney would be cut short, but at least I would still make the Canberra flight.

Unfortunately the curse of the Charlie Delta, or creeping delay was evident today as our departure time started to slip, and get pushed back a little, then a little more and then a little more. Now I was starting to get a bit antsy. Wouldn’t you?

Next thing I know, I am called to one of the check in desks and told by one of the Virgin ground staff that my seat had been re-allocated for weight and balance reasons - and my new seat would be 1F. I accept that airlines sometimes have to do this, but was not pleased that I had been chosen to be moved around. I really did not want to be in the first row of the ATR72 in full view of the cabin crew with my camera in hand. I was also slightly miffed that Virgin decided to also change my seat allocation on the Sydney - Canberra sector to 1A! I asked why this had been changed as well and explained that I would prefer my original seat toward the rear of the aircraft. This was then changed back accordingly without any problem. Phew (at least that’s what I thought).

After what seemed like ages, I finally spied our ATR72 on final approach into PQQ, some 2.5 hours later than scheduled. Yep, same aircraft as this morning: VH-FVL! All the while I heard no apology from Virgin for the delay, which seemed a bit casual to me. It’s not like it was a short or minor delay - we were over 2 hours late! I wondered whether Virgin are having some teething problems with the new aircraft?



As you can imagine, most of the passengers on the flight were eager to get going, and to be fair to the ground staff, the aircraft was turned around very quickly. In no time at all, we were being ushered through security, into the small boarding lounge and out onto the ramp.

I watched the aircraft pull onto its stand



After boarding was called, getting up close and personal



Here’s the view from the dreaded and detested 1F! The cabin crew welcomed me aboard, and it was a different crew to the one this morning. Again, similar to the other crew this morning, they were quite polite but not overly warm, at least that was my first impression.



Here’s the forward flight attendant seat in the stored position. It basically pulls out from the slot and folds out into a proper seat.



Everyone was onboard and we were welcomed by the cockpit crew. For the first time since the delay was announced, there was an actual apology. This came from the New Zealand born captain - although the reason for the delay was fairly high level “we had some issues in Brisbane” but at least that was a start. No apology from either cabin crew as people were boarding, which perhaps would have been a more natural and friendly approach? I don’t know whether Virgin, like some other airlines I’ve travelled with recently, have a policy with respect to who makes any apologies for heavily delayed flights - and whether the flight attendants are simply advised to let the cockpit crew make any announcements.

Props were fired up and we started to move away from the terminal. In saying good bye to the little terminal at PQQ, I mused that although it was a much longer stay than expected, the sun was shining, my connecting flight was still within my grasp and I was on a brand new ATR72. What could be better?



At this point, I watched the flight attendant who was almost directly in front of me. I think it must have been her first day at work because she proceeded to strap herself into the cabin crew seat before having undertaken the safety demonstration! She was just about to get comfy, when she must have seen the senior flight attendant down the back, who must have been making some kind of gesture to her along the following lines “get up and do the demonstration!!”. Hastily, the flight attendant at the front unstrapped herself and got prepped for the demo. Thankfully she ran through this without any hitches and we were soon good to go. Phew. Nothing like the confidence of a first day flight attendant! After this, I spent the rest of the flight being charming and being super polite to her - I know it’s a tough job so I wanted to be as positive as possible. I think she was pretty nervous throughout the flight but she held it together.

Seeing that I was in an emergency exit row, this was the special safety card.



I was also intrigued to see this notice, which was laid across the seat next to me. I guess this is for safety reasons again but I don’t remember seeing this on my Binter or Islas ATR72s. Is this a feature of the newer ATRs I wonder?



Take off was from the same direction as we landed, and after a short but powerful take off roll we were (finally) on our way back to Sydney.

The flight was entirely uneventful - I was able to take some pictures on climb out from PQQ and was not yelled at to turn the camera off. The views were similar to those on the way up here although it was a bit more cloudy than this morning.



Service on the short sector south (try saying that quickly after a few pints?) consisted of something a little different.



Three savoury biscuits and some juice, and a handy bag to hold all the rubbish for easy collection. The passenger table in row 1 folds out from the seat’s arm rest. It almost felt like a “faux” business class seat - pretty nifty on an ATR? What do you think Jonas?



Once again, an announcement was made that while we would be receiving some nosh, complimentary food and drinks were not offered on all Virgin group flights.

I spent most of the flight dozing and staring out of the window. Not much else to do as I did not feel like reading or listening to music. The cabin service was relaxed and they two flight attendants managed to finish their work in good time before our descent into Sydney commenced.

Here’s some of Sydney’s northern beaches coming into view. The weather here had improved vastly compared to this morning. You can see Manly which is the beach at the top of the photo. Sydney Harbour lies behind.



It was a nice afternoon for flying - a few bumps as we got closer though. The cabin was secured for landing and all that was left was to enjoy the views. I was actually very fortunate to be on the correct side of the aircraft for some great views of Sydney.

The Harbour Bridge and the centre of the city in the disance



I love this view. Bondi Beach in the foreground and the city in the background. Reminded me of the great 3 years I lived there.



More snaps of the Eastern Suburbs and local beaches. Here is Tamarama and Bronte beaches. Bondi Junction is in the middle of the pic (with a few high rise apartment blocks) and the centre of town at the back. You can just make out the Opera House.



We were coming on on the East-West runway in Sydney so we had turned inland to fly directly over the Eastern Suburbs. You can see parts of Randwick in the pic, with one of the high rise buildings in central Sydney glistening in the afternoon sunshine.



Sprawling suburbia as we’re on final approach



Landing was smooth and we made a fast exit off onto the taxiway as a 737 soon landed behind us. On our way to the terminal, we passed this A320 - flying again after having been grounded earlier in 2011 by the CAA. Not sure I’d be rushing to fly with these guys - from what I have read that they are not very popular and have a poor reputation for customer service.



Our parking stand was different to the one we left from this morning which gave me a chance to get up close and personal with a 737-800 in the new colours. Looking sharp.



We came to a stop at our gate, where the props were shut down. Passengers were thanked for flying Virgin Australia, although again, I can’t say that I found this flight to be a particularly warm or friendly experience. Very much like the outbound flight to be honest.

I made my way out, thanked our young and newly qualified flight attendant, and headed inside the terminal to find my next gate. It was only a short walk away and within 30 mins of arriving there, my next ATR72 arrived at the gate. This one was coming in from Canberra and would be going back there again - with me on it!

Yay - a different aircraft too. Planehunter would be happy!



While waiting, I had a chance to see the other Virgin A330 being towed to the gate, presumably to operate another service across to Perth. This time, the light was better for pics.


.


Waiting at the gate for DJ660.



While in the boarding lounge, which was not overly busy with waiting passengers, I was called to the gate area and once again, I was told that my seat had been re-assigned. I was now being moved to 2A ! Argh. At this point I felt compelled to be somewhat frustrated - given that this was the second time today that I had been moved at short notice. The lady at the gate simply said for weight and balance reasons I had to be moved because the flight was not full and they could not have passengers in the middle of the aircraft. Fair enough. Safety first. I then asked to be moved to the rear of the aircraft but was again told the same thing (almost as if she pressed replay in her mind). I then asked again about at seat at the rear (not the middle) and got the same response almost word for word. At this point I just gave up and accepted 2A and went back to my seat.

A boarding call was soon made and we were on our way to the aircraft, again, walking out on the tarmac - is there any other better way of boarding an aircraft?


.
December 2011
DJ660
Sydney (SYD) to Canberra (CBR)
ATR72-500 VH - FVH “Four Mile Beach” - 1st ATR72 delivered to Virgin Australia
Seat: 2A

When boarding, I was surprised to see it was the same crew who had brought us down to SYD from PQQ so once again, I was up the front with the same flight attendant. We had a bit of a giggle about seeing each other again so soon, and at least I could relax about taking pics because I knew she was not bothered (and rightly so - particularly when even Qantas expressly say that cameras are not banned at any time of the flight on their safety cards).

Like its sistership, the cabin was spotless and I was soon settled into Seat 2A.

Our take off to Canberra would be on the main north-south runway, which actually resulted in a piece of useless trivia about today’s flight experience. SYD has 3 runways and in one day, I had managed to fly into or out of there using all 3! This time the flight attendant remembered her safety briefing before getting strapped in!  

Props fired up and ready to go



Just after lift off and overflying the East-West runway that I had just landed on earlier.



Gaining height with the East-West runway down below.



Our rate of climb was fairly flat so we still had good views of the airport - here’s a DJ 737 getting ready to go on the runway that I took off from that morning up to PQQ.



Passing over Botany Bay



The coastline, Pacific Ocean, and the Royal National Park down below



Another snack box on this sector, which was a little more substantial than the one we got on the PQQ-SYD sector. I wondered whether this was deliberate? The snack consisted of a choc brownie and some trail mix. It was quite tasty, even if minimalistic. At least it was free.



There were again great views to be had on the way to Canberra. The coastline remained in view for the first 10 minutes or so.



Soon to be replaced by farmland as we headed further south and inland



Mother nature was putting on a very nice afternoon show today, so I managed to snap away without any problems.


.


Wide angle shot



More nature down below as we got closer to Canberra. The flight time was only just over 40 minutes in total. Plenty of time to enjoy the views though.


.


Our little ATR soon started its descent into Canberra and again the cabin was secured for landing. Again, no problems with photos - thank you to the lovely flight attendant for not ruining my day out with the camera!



Unfortunately I was not able to get any descent pics of the final approach or landing as the sun was very strong and shining directly toward me. I did manage to get a shot was we rolled off the runway to go back to the terminal. In this pic, you can see the old and new terminals with the new structure sitting behind the old one, where the Canberra sign is. A lone E190 is at the gate.



Here’s the view once the props were shut down. A gorgeous and sunny afternoon in Canberra, where it was 24C.



After saying my thank yous, I passed on to the ramp and across to the terminal, but not before getting a close up shot of our aircraft.

Looking good in the afternoon sun!



Upon entering the terminal, you go upstairs, and pass a cafe area, which allowed me to get this last shot looking down at our ATR.



The long day was over. I was off to find a taxi and head into town to my hotel.

WRAP UP

My objectives were to fly on a brand new aircraft on a route I had not flown before. Both could be checked off at the end of the flying day. The ATR72s were fantastic inside - bright and airy, and comfortable for the short hops they are mostly used for. PQQ was an interesting little airport which reminded me of flying in the old days before everyone got so paranoid. It was a nice blast from the past. Flying with Virgin Australia left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed, although I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps my expectations were set too high? Although the airline has re-branded in an attempt to create a classier image than before, I am not so sure this is yet to translate across into classier or better onboard service and ground handling. That side of things were, on my flights, pretty ordinary. I certainly preferred the way they were during their Virgin Blue days.

I was also slightly miffed to discover perhaps the reason why the Virgin ground staff refused to move me to a seat at the rear of the aircraft in SYD. When I was leaving the aircraft in CBR, I noticed there was a complete set of Virgin crew seated in the last few rows who were clearly deadheading. It seemed to me that the ground staff in SYD did not want to move their colleagues even though a request had been made by a paying passenger to sit at the rear of the cabin. If that’s right, then I think it was a poor decision - I always thought paying passengers always take preference when it comes to seating requests where there are deadheading crew onboard?

Finally, it was great to spend some time in Canberra. Don’t believe any of the stuff you read about it. I found it was well worth the visit, even if it was very quiet. However, I really enjoyed my full day wandering around. The weather was lovely and there was plenty of native Australian wildlife, especially birdlife around to remind me where I was - nothing like being screeched at by several sulphur crested cockatoos while walking around Lake Burley Griffin!

DESTINATION PICS - CANBERRA

Parliament House - replaced the old building in 1988 to commemorate 200 years of European settlement in Australia. It feels like a bunker as it seems to be built into the side of a hill!


.


Main entry with Australian Coat of Arms



Black swans in Lake Burley Griffin, with the National Museum in the background



National Museum entry



Inside the National Museum


.


Finally, a few days later, when I was travelling back to London (via Sydney), I was lucky enough to get some of the most amazing views of Sydney I have ever experienced. The weather was just perfect. This last pic is dedicated to the City of Sydney and my lovely friends there whom I apologise to for not being able to catch up with when I was last in Australia.



Thanks for reading - please feel free to leave any comments!

Other recent trip reports:

The Reindeer Route To Australia In J (by palmjet Dec 15 2011 in Trip Reports)

Arctic "Dash" With Wideroe: 2 Days, 7 Stops (pics (by Palmjet Jun 22 2011 in Trip Reports)

"888": 8hrs, 8 Segments On An Aussie Dash 8 (pics) (by Palmjet Apr 3 2011 in Trip Reports)

Keep Climbing & Don't Stop - 48hr DL Marathon (by Palmjet Dec 15 2010 in Trip Reports)

Snow-2-Sun: BA J To Tampa And Beyond (pics) (by Palmjet Dec 22 2010 in Trip Reports)

Iceland Yes, Volcano No, FI451 LHR-KEF (pics) (by Palmjet Oct 9 2010 in Trip Reports)



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1744 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10967 times:
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Hi P/J,

Wow! Absolutely stunning review of your ATR saga. Man your pics are really breathtaking and capture every heartbeat of every single thing you encountered that day. I have no other words  

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
to what extent the rebrand from Virgin Blue to Virgin Australia has resulted in changes at the airline

To be honest, I had no idea they were rebranded? Then again, Australia is quite some distance from Belgium. How's that for a lame excuse?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
VH-VOS “Kimberley Cutie”

Cute name and even cuter reg. VOS means 'fox' in Dutch.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
It’s all Virgin Australia now.

I like the stylish lettering of the name.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I was fortunate to see an EM190 in the new colours. Too much white? Too little red?

Perhaps it's a bit the same as with the new AY livery some years ago? It takes some getting used to, although at first I find the white to be more contemporary and less screamy.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
such as palm trees.

Hence your username?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Does anyone else?

I for one certainly don't...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Boarding at the rear door, and reminded that we were definitely on an ATR72-500

Nice decalls, is that the factory ATR logo or the Virgin enhanced version?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Tugs are used to push back the ATRs - they don’t seem to reverse under their own steam, unlike some other ATR operators I’ve seen around the world.

I think your plane was maybe parked too close near a terminal? Hence a possible reason as to why it was being pushed rather than ... errr not pushed.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
while watching the scheduled Qantaslink Dash 8 - 400 pull onto its stand, literally right in front of me.

So now the question is: are you still in love with the Dash or do you have a new crush for the ATR   

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Nothing like the confidence of a first day flight attendant!

Good one. Did you feel safe  

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Once again, an announcement was made that while we would be receiving some nosh, complimentary food and drinks were not offered on all Virgin group flights.

I just wonder what the point is in announcing that? Don't expect too much and be glad with what you get?

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5173 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10945 times:

Hi, PJ,

such a very nice bunch of pictures from Australia and a really well done story.
Sure a good catch to fly these fairly new Virgin planes.
Also you´re destination pictures, really good. I should go again to Australia, for sure.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):

Down onto the ramp, around the wing (sorry Markus, no under the wing shot this time round!)
Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):

Managed to snap this one - of course, it’s dedicated to Markus

Perfect, I like it this way, you know.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineparton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10882 times:

Hello Palmjet!

Thanks for the nice story with great pictures from down under!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I was fortunate to see an EM190 in the new colours. Too much white? Too little red?

Actually, I think the new livery look better then the old one!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
the A330

Interesting, I didn´t know that they have A330´s!?

Thanks again

Greetings
Robert


User currently offlineVSMike From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 318 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10654 times:

Palmhands,

Another trip report worthy of an American "World Series" title!! Well done as always!

I have a couple of comments (would I be me if I didn't?):
]

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
No question that this is a B737-800. My first ever 737-800 flight was actually on Virgin Blue, back in 2003 when I flew from Sydney to Perth.

- I didn't know that DJ flew 737-800s. Guess I don't keep up much with goings-on Down Under...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find yourself on a 2 day old aircraft (as I did last year on the way home from Tenerife to London on Easyjet)

- You've been to TFN? Meee tooo! You've flown Easyjet? Meee tooo!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
My seat was about two thirds back - slimline seats not unlike you find on many larger aircraft these days. Mmmmm I can still remember the smell of that new cabin.

- I, too, love the smell of new aircraft in the morning (afternoon, or evening for that matter). Like Nicki Minaj, it makes me drop my pants...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Just before touchdown on the most easterly of SYD’s runways, and passing the international terminal on the way.

- I honestly didn't know SYD used this runway for arrivals. Spectacular overviews of the terminal complexes

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
The carpet matches the seat colour.

- Just the same way I take my women

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
With a much wider menu than expected, I opted for some coffee and raisin toast (which is very popular and common in Australia but must less so here in the UK).

- Barftholemule

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I’d read some stories about Virgin being funny

- This I know first-hand

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
The central atrium of this concourse is landscaped with tropical foliage, such as palm trees.

- Same as most airports in Florida. Although for standardization purposes, I believe all airports should be interior landscaped with palm trees

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
great morning views of the mouth of the Brisbane River and the mangroves

- Why does Brisbane need a river named after it?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
There are numerous jokes in Australia about Queensland not being on summertime or daylight savings as it’s referred to there - most of which imply that Queensland and its population are “backward” hillbillies.

- If the shoe fits...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
board from the rear

- Yup, right up the back

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Sydney is NOT the capital city of Australia.

- I wholeheartedly disagree. I read somewhere that Queen Sydney, from Charlotte, founded the town in 1984? Liar!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
Bondi Beach in the foreground and the city in the background. Reminded me of the great 3 years I lived there.

- You know what I want to say about this. Lots of cultural minorities living in this part of town, and the best Matzo Ball soup in town!?

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
What’s to say about PQQ? A small regional town in New South Wales, it was first visited by Europeans in the early part of the 19th Century. In 1821, it was selected as a penal settlement for convicts who has committed offences in New South Wales. The town was named after the then governor of New South Wales, the Scot, Lachlan Macquarie, who is credited with having transformed Sydney from a ramshackle run down settlement, to creating a permanent framework and infrastructure for a fast growing township. There is still lots of evidence today of Macquarie’s works, and multiple references to the name Macquarie can be found all over Sydney.

- Europeans can do no wrong. Clearly their vision of a penilecolony was accomplished?


Fun!

Best,
VSM



Skyteam. Caring More About Me.
User currently offlineaflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 515 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 10408 times:

Hi Palmjet,

Awesome trip report & your pictures are very impressive. Aside from the delay it seems like you had a fun day out trying out some new Virgin planes!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I tried every channel multiple times to see if I had missed it. Perhaps Virgin regulars can confirm. I found this quite disappointing. I like to know where I am flying over. Most airlines provide a map these days and I always end up watching the map more than I end up watching any TV!

I'm pretty sure there is an airshow channel though it's mixed in with ads so that's probably why you missed it.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
The pastry was tiny, cold and somewhat stale. Nice try I guess but it was nothing to get too excited about - other than to note that it was all free.

It's good to see that they offer some kind of food, On my SYD-MEL flight with them recently all we got was either tea, coffee or water.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
PQQ has a very nice little open air observation area where anyone can come and meet the arriving aircraft.

Very cool

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I was actually very fortunate to be on the correct side of the aircraft for some great views of Sydney.

Great shots!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Although the airline has re-branded in an attempt to create a classier image than before, I am not so sure this is yet to translate across into classier or better onboard service and ground handling

I agree with you here. They still feel like an LCC to me at least on the SYD-MEL route. No free food, still have to pay for baggage etc. Overall I'd prefer to fly QF unless there was a drastic difference in price.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10120 times:

Wow. Stunning pictures - I wish I had your skill. I found your report of interest because I personally find the inconsistencies of SK's product as mind-numbing and makes me not fly them. Have you figured out what the logic to VA's product offering madness is?

I am surprised that you got no apology - that is really poor. Virgin Australia seems like a mixed airline to me - surprising because I would have credited them to be better. Virgin America is supposed to be very good.

Thanks a lot for taking us on-board the ATR.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineamsspot From Netherlands, joined Jun 2005, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10100 times:

Nice report with Stunning pictures! I've only flown on the ATR-42 and I love it. I'd love to fly in one of them again.

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10058 times:

Hi Palmjet,

excellent report with many great pictures! What a nice surprise to find a report about these new Skywest ATRs!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
For aviation enthusiasts, I think it’s fair to say that there’s nothing quite like experiencing a flight on board a brand new aircraft – from the “new car” smell of the cabin, brand new clean seats which are yet to experience the butts of 10,000 passengers, the light and airy spotless cabin, to the clean wing surfaces and shiny engines or props.

Well said!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Too much white?

Absolutely. The design is fine, but not the colors. I will miss the shiny old scheme.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Getting very close and floating over the Qantas jetbase - a few heavies down there

Nice shot. The size difference between the A380 and the 744 is amazing, isn't it?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Not sure what to make of these colours on the A330, but as I am a big fan of the aircraft type, I think it looks cool in any colourscheme - even one that is 90% white!

And it looks best with RR engines!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Not sure I’d be rushing to fly with these guys - from what I have read that they are not very popular and have a poor reputation for customer service.

Ah, you should really fly in such a comfortable Tiger cabin one day...  

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Yay - a different aircraft too. Planehunter would be happy!

No doubt about that!  


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineryan h From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 1558 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9939 times:

Nice report and photos.

Every time I have flown Virgin Blue (not Virgin Australia yet), they have been touchy about having the camera out during take off, yet other airlines no problem.

The new Virgin Australia livery looks good on the ATR and ok on the 737 and ERJ-190, but looks awful on the A330.

The A330 reminds me of an aircraft that gets leased out to short lived holiday airlines, one the first one goes bust, it is wheeled into a hangar and a sticker with the name of the old airline ripped off and a new one stuck on until that airline goes broke.



South Australian Spotter
User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8458 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9723 times:

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
It feels like a bunker as it seems to be built into the side of a hill!

That's because it is  


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27110 posts, RR: 60
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9715 times:

Very nice report on Virgin . Love the interior of the ATR . Looks modern and comfy. I love those type of seats anyway . Just shows the cabin interior can really make a difference. Lovely photos of the coast also .


OA260  


User currently onlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2144 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9581 times:

Despite the fact that I've done most of these legs myself countless times (not Port Macquarie, but it's between Sydney and Brisbane anyway) I cannot get tired of seeing your fantastic photos or reading your report. So many memories! And thank you for referencing my trip reports too!

I agree with your sentiments about Virgin Australia. It will be interesting to see what changes service wise over the next year or so.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I tried playing around with the IFE, to see if I could at least get the moving map but shock horror, there was no moving map option.

The sole time I've been in a Virgin Blue 738 with IFE (October 2010) we had a moving map. The IFE service was free on that trip due to a big delay, but normally you would have to pay. Not sure about now. It was a pretty shoddy map as well and not much use.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Any thoughts of voluntarily going to Canberra have usually been met with the response “Why the hell would you want to go there?”

I was initially underwhelmed by Canberra, but I clearly remember the day I "got it". I then spent 3 years of uni there. I suspect that you need to live there to really understand the place. I had just moved there from Rockhampton and Canberra had the facilities, intellectual activity and shopping that most Australian rural cities lack. But then I could enjoy the views and solitude of the countryside by walking a few hundred metres out my door. So easy to go for long walks and bike rides on the weekend. In contrast Sydney feels stifling. But if your main joy in life is crowds and pub/club crawls then it's probably not your cup of tea.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9461 times:

Hey PalmJet. What a great (and very detailed) TR! I really enjoyed every word of it. And what can I possibly say about the photos? Amazing...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I think it’s fair to say that there’s nothing quite like experiencing a flight on board a brand new aircraft – from the “new car” smell of the cabin, brand new clean seats which are yet to experience the butts of 10,000 passengers, the light and airy spotless cabin, to the clean wing surfaces and shiny engines or props.

I hear ya. It's been awhile since I experienced that feeling.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I guess I always wanted to fly to PQQ from that day onwards:only took me some 25 years to get around to it!

Better late than never!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
It historically has had bad press in Australia and labelled as the most boring place on earth. Any thoughts of voluntarily going to Canberra have usually been met with the response “Why the hell would you want to go there?”

Quite honestly I had no idea that Canberra had this kind of reputation...

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Here’s how the map shows the journey. It’s a little jumpy and all over the place but perfect from an A.netter’s perspective?

The more tangled the route the better. Most of us I bet are drooling looking at it.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I think it looks cool in any colourscheme - even one that is 90% white!

Wow, it puts Eurowhite to shame. Maybe we should start calling this style Ozziewhite from now on?


Very nice cabin in the ATR (no surprise given the age of the aircraft). Last time I was on an ATR (flying with RO), the cabin was in less than perfect condition.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Happy Landings,

WBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9402 times:

Hi Palmjet!

As usual a great tripreport, a very enjoyable read.
Good idea to fly that new aircraft, my first flight on an ATR was with a flyBE-Nordic -72 series. I was lucky enough to fly a 2 months old bird, also with the new-plane smell.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
How unoriginal and really, I don’t care that much. Does anyone else?

I care more about how it tastes and how much it cost!

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Tugs are used to push back the ATRs - they don’t seem to reverse under their own steam, unlike some other ATR operators I’ve seen around the world.

Maybe they don't allow aircraft to push back under their own power at SYD? I know ARN has a similar rule.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Close up of the Virgin nose art. Quite distinctive but a little washed out? I wish the artwork was a little darker in colour.

Agreed.

Martin


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2486 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9342 times:

Hi Palmjet,

Still three weeks and counting down to my own journey, your beautifully written report makes me dream away.   

I can just feel the warmth of the sunny weather, the stunning view of the nature of Down Under, the friendliness of easy going Australians and last but not least, the delight of domestic flying, thanks to your crystal clear pictures.  


Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
I guess I always wanted to fly to PQQ from that day onwards:only took me some 25 years to get around to it!

25 years or longer, you did make your childhood dream come true.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
at least 9/11 did not completely ruin the airport experience for non travelling enthusiasts – at least in this part of the world

The people there know who we really are. Innocent and completely harmless.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Too much white? Too little red?

Don’t you think any livery would suit E-190? Just like the A330?

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
a fellow passenger explained that he had waited for me to take my pic before heading in front of me - how considerate.

  


Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
was chatting (loudly at times and mostly in a language that I was unable to identify)

Definitely neither English nor Chinese.

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
Gladesville Bridge?

Correct.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
Mmmmm I can still remember the smell of that new cabin.

It sounds so addictive. I hope I will be able to experience it one day.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
By pure co-incidence, Mr Macquarie and I have some common history. Ancestors on one side of my family come from the Isle of Mull and Macquarie was born on Ulva in 1762, which is just off Mull.

Pure co-incidence? If you would go further back in the history, I am sure there would have been some family connections.  


Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
One of my favourite pics from the trip.

Gorgeous. What a clear sea water!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
FIDS - you’ve got two choices....

Or you can imagine flying a third airline, BA


Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
I think she was pretty nervous throughout the flight but she held it together.

Thanks to you for making things easier for her.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
walking out on the tarmac - is there any other better way of boarding an aircraft?

Nope! Nobody can deny.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
SYD has 3 runways and in one day, I had managed to fly into or out of there using all 3!

Congratulations!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
Don’t believe any of the stuff you read about it.

I believe you.


Thanks again for sharing.

Best wishes,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 999 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9194 times:

What a great TR! Very extensive and very detailed, I loved reading it!

User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8890 times:

Hiya Pj.

It's good to get the full picture from this trip after the few little snippets you gave away during the ARN meet.

A Pj report with amazing, detailed and sharp pictures, there is no other way I guess? Great work.

I think that livery really looks smart on the -72. Perhaps as it's a smaller ship it doesn't look too bland, I feel the 330 in this scheme looks o.k but a little bland.
The cabin and slimline seats look good too. A actually don't mind these thin seats (NKE style).

Good that you didn't get an overly zealous crew at the front with you. It would have been a real shame to miss out on these spectacular approach shots into both PQQ and SYD. Speaking of PQQ, love the little viewing area. Ah, like the good old days.

The snack services looked ok. I found the SYD-CBR offerings would appeal to me most. Well, my sweet tooth likes the brownie, and the juice looks a refreshing idea.

Thanks for the story buddy.
Cheers, Lee.


User currently offlinebritjap From Japan, joined Aug 2006, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8810 times:

Quoting palmjet (Thread starter):
For aviation enthusiasts, I think it’s fair to say that there’s nothing quite like experiencing a flight on board a brand new aircraft

An experience I am yet to enjoy. Very jealous.

I have only flown an ATR72-500 once in India, but yours was unquestionably much more shiny, inside and out. The Virgin livery looks great on the ATR. Makes it look ultra modern. But I agree it doesn't work on the A330.

Gorgeous pics of Oz from above. Thanks for sharing. I think folk from Canberra will be pleased too.

Rgds.


User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 20, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 8736 times:

Thanks everyone for your comments. Great to hear from you all!

Hi Nils

Quote:
Wow! Absolutely stunning review of your ATR saga. Man your pics are really breathtaking and capture every heartbeat of every single thing you encountered that day. I have no other words

Pleased you enjoyed the report! At least back in December I was capable of getting on flights without missing them!

Quote:
To be honest, I had no idea they were rebranded? Then again, Australia is quite some distance from Belgium. How's that for a lame excuse?

Yep, with much fanfare back in 2011, they wanted a fresh new look to reposition themselves in the market. Belgium is not that far away surely? You guys knew about the floods in Brisbane in early 2011!

Quote:
Cute name and even cuter reg. VOS means 'fox' in Dutch.

Cool! I wonder whether they will retain all the aircraft current names with the rebrand. I hope so

Quote:
Nice decalls, is that the factory ATR logo or the Virgin enhanced version?

It seemed like the factory ATR logo on the side of the aircraft.

Quote:
I think your plane was maybe parked too close near a terminal? Hence a possible reason as to why it was being pushed rather than ... errr not pushed.

Yes, you're probably right. We were packed in with aircraft on either side of us.

Quote:
So now the question is: are you still in love with the Dash or do you have a new crush for the ATR

Ha! Good question. I am still a huge fan of the Dash 8, but as I've not done many flights on the ATR, I am very much warming toward it being one of my favourites as well.

Quote:
I just wonder what the point is in announcing that? Don't expect too much and be glad with what you get

I know, it was very odd. I guess they dont want people to think that if they step off a Virgin ATR onto a Virgin 737 that they will get seamless and consistent onboard service when it comes to F&B !

Hi Markus

Quote:
such a very nice bunch of pictures from Australia and a really well done story. Sure a good catch to fly these fairly new Virgin planes. Also you´re destination pictures, really good. I should go again to Australia, for sure.

Thanks for your comments - I am sure Australia is just waiting for a visit from you! Hope you can plan something soon - I know you'll come up with a creative way of getting there!

Quote:
Perfect, I like it this way, you know.

 

Hi Robert

Thanks for your comments - glad you enjoyed the report.

Quote:
Interesting, I didn´t know that they have A330´s!?

Yep they arrived in 2011 (there are 2 and both are ex EK). Virgin use them on the lucrative East Coast - Perth services (flight time varies but usually between 4 - 5 hours) which is easy for the A330 but it's all about capacity and comfort. QF have retaliated by re-instating a B744 on one of their SYD-PER rotations!

VSMike - always a pleasure to hear from you (and shop at Publix of course)

Given your VS heritage, I am surprised you have not been keeping up with all things down under...!

I can't believe you've been to TFN and flew EZY there too. What an amazing coincidence!

Nicky is amazing. I will grant you that!



aflyingkiwi

Quote:
Awesome trip report & your pictures are very impressive. Aside from the delay it seems like you had a fun day out trying out some new Virgin planes!

Thanks for your comments - glad you enjoyed. Yes, despite the delay it was a good day for flying!

Quote:
I'm pretty sure there is an airshow channel though it's mixed in with ads so that's probably why you missed it.

I tried all the channels several times and could not find it. Very annoying!

Quote:
I agree with you here. They still feel like an LCC to me at least on the SYD-MEL route. No free food, still have to pay for baggage etc. Overall I'd prefer to fly QF unless there was a drastic difference in price.

That's exactly how I felt as well!


Hi A

Quote:
Wow. Stunning pictures - I wish I had your skill. I found your report of interest because I personally find the inconsistencies of SK's product as mind-numbing and makes me not fly them. Have you figured out what the logic to VA's product offering madness is?

Thanks for your feedback. Glad you liked the pics as well. Yes, I fear that DJ are moving down a slippery SKesque slope of having multiple service propositions for different routes and markets, which is only going to end up confusing people just like SK ! Never managed to figure out where the madness comes from with Virgin. I suspect the complimentary snacks on the ATRs are because they are operated by Skywest for DJ but you'd think they would want to save money too and not offer anything other than BOB - however, I guess it still costs to offer BOB because you've got to stock the F&B in any case onboard - whether anyone buys it or not is another question!!


Quote:
I am surprised that you got no apology - that is really poor. Virgin Australia seems like a mixed airline to me - surprising because I would have credited them to be better. Virgin America is supposed to be very good.

It was poor. Having looked back at my notes, I recalled that once onboard, it was described as a "short delay" which I found amusing. I did not think 2.5 hours was a short delay at all!


amsspot

Quote:
Nice report with Stunning pictures! I've only flown on the ATR-42 and I love it. I'd love to fly in one of them again.

Hi there- thanks for your comments. Glad you liked the report and pics too. Yes, I am certainly becoming more of a fan of the ATR for sure.



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 8715 times:

Good evening PH

Quote:
excellent report with many great pictures! What a nice surprise to find a report about these new Skywest ATRs!

Thanks very much for your feedback too. Glad you enjoyed too!

Quote:
Absolutely. The design is fine, but not the colors. I will miss the shiny old scheme.

Me too - I look at those colours fondly!

Quote:
Nice shot. The size difference between the A380 and the 744 is amazing, isn't it?

Very! The 744 almost looks small in comparison!

Quote:
Ah, you should really fly in such a comfortable Tiger cabin one day...

After having read your report on Tiger - no thanks!

Hi Ryan

Quote:
Every time I have flown Virgin Blue (not Virgin Australia yet), they have been touchy about having the camera out during take off, yet other airlines no problem.

Glad you enjoyed the report. Yes, I had read that DJ have been funny about cameras. Allrite certainly said the same thing so I was cautious in most part. Hence why I did not want to sit up the front of the cabin!

Quote:
The A330 reminds me of an aircraft that gets leased out to short lived holiday airlines, one the first one goes bust, it is wheeled into a hangar and a sticker with the name of the old airline ripped off and a new one stuck on until that airline goes broke.

I think a little more colour certainly would not have hurt. It's very bare on the A330 but looks ok on smaller aircraft.

Hi Philip

Quote:
Very nice report on Virgin . Love the interior of the ATR . Looks modern and comfy. I love those type of seats anyway . Just shows the cabin interior can really make a difference. Lovely photos of the coast also.

Thanks for your comments - the inside of the ATR was very nice indeed. I wonder how well they will stand the test of time? Thanks also for your recent reports - I am getting around to posting some comments on those.

Hello allrite

Quote:
Despite the fact that I've done most of these legs myself countless times (not Port Macquarie, but it's between Sydney and Brisbane anyway) I cannot get tired of seeing your fantastic photos or reading your report. So many memories! And thank you for referencing my trip reports too!

I agree with your sentiments about Virgin Australia. It will be interesting to see what changes service wise over the next year or so.

Thanks for your comments. I was very inspired by your CBR tripreport that I could not resist pulling one together too. Interesting that you feel similarly about Virgin Australia. I will be keen to see how things evolve - I am sure you will get another chance to sample DJ service in the coming months. Look forward to hearing all about it if you do!

Quote:
I was initially underwhelmed by Canberra, but I clearly remember the day I "got it". I then spent 3 years of uni there. I suspect that you need to live there to really understand the place. I had just moved there from Rockhampton and Canberra had the facilities, intellectual activity and shopping that most Australian rural cities lack. But then I could enjoy the views and solitude of the countryside by walking a few hundred metres out my door. So easy to go for long walks and bike rides on the weekend. In contrast Sydney feels stifling. But if your main joy in life is crowds and pub/club crawls then it's probably not your cup of tea.

Probably why I enjoyed it so much - despite living in London, I go out of my way to avoid crowds. There was such a great feeling of space in Canberra and lots of interesting things to look at and see. I would def go back!

Hi Stojan

Quote:
Hey PalmJet. What a great (and very detailed) TR! I really enjoyed every word of it. And what can I possibly say about the photos? Amazing...

Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed.

Quote:
Quite honestly I had no idea that Canberra had this kind of reputation...

Oh yes, for many years for sure. I think it very much depends on what you are interested in. I would def go back again and enjoyed it.

Quote:
The more tangled the route the better. Most of us I bet are drooling looking at it.

Ha! Thanks. Well, my flight schedules are not as creative or as complex as some people's here on A.net (particularly those of a certain Finnish reporter!)

Quote:
Very nice cabin in the ATR (no surprise given the age of the aircraft). Last time I was on an ATR (flying with RO), the cabin was in less than perfect condition.

Oh interesting - why no report on your RO ATR? That's gotta be pretty rare !

Hi Martin

Quote:
As usual a great tripreport, a very enjoyable read. Good idea to fly that new aircraft, my first flight on an ATR was with a flyBE-Nordic -72 series. I was lucky enough to fly a 2 months old bird, also with the new-plane smell.

Thanks for your comments. I saw my first FlyBE Nordic ATR in CPH last weekend. Seems funny seeing a FlyBE aircraft with an OH register!

Quote:
I care more about how it tastes and how much it cost!

Me too!

Quote:
Maybe they don't allow aircraft to push back under their own power at SYD? I know ARN has a similar rule.

Yes, you're probably right.

Hello Suryo

Quote:
Still three weeks and counting down to my own journey, your beautifully written report makes me dream away.

I am counting with you! I bet you are very excited. Are you going to do any Virgin ATR hops while down under??

Quote:
25 years or longer, you did make your childhood dream come true.

Yes, it felt good to have finally got there after all this time!

Quote:
Definitely neither English nor Chinese.

Very true - it sounded like one of the Balkan languages but I could not be sure  
Quote:
Gorgeous. What a clear sea water!

The ocean along the east coast is gorgeous - some of the best beaches in the world too!

Thanks again and take care!

Hi Lee

Quote:
It's good to get the full picture from this trip after the few little snippets you gave away during the ARN meet.

Glad I finally got around to finishing it too! I think it was therapy for a certain mishap which we shall never mention again!

Quote:
I think that livery really looks smart on the -72. Perhaps as it's a smaller ship it doesn't look too bland, I feel the 330 in this scheme looks o.k but a little bland. The cabin and slimline seats look good too. A actually don't mind these thin seats (NKE style).

Agreed - on the smaller aircraft it looks fine. The 330 could do with more colour!

Quote:
Good that you didn't get an overly zealous crew at the front with you. It would have been a real shame to miss out on these spectacular approach shots into both PQQ and SYD. Speaking of PQQ, love the little viewing area. Ah, like the good old days.

Tell me about it! Yes, the viewing area there was very cute. Nicely landscaped with seats and everything. Perfect if only the airport was busier!

Quote:
The snack services looked ok. I found the SYD-CBR offerings would appeal to me most. Well, my sweet tooth likes the brownie, and the juice looks a refreshing idea.

Sadly no burgers on the menu but glad you would have enjoyed the sweet stuff. The brownie was actually not too bad. Reminds me of those photos of when you "went to Manchester for cake and stuff"  

Hi britjap

Thanks for your comments!

Quote:
An experience I am yet to enjoy. Very jealous.

Being in Japan, I am sure you will get the chance - esp on a nice new shiny 787 perhaps?

Quote:
I have only flown an ATR72-500 once in India, but yours was unquestionably much more shiny, inside and out. The Virgin livery looks great on the ATR. Makes it look ultra modern. But I agree it doesn't work on the A330.

Agree.

Quote:
Gorgeous pics of Oz from above. Thanks for sharing. I think folk from Canberra will be pleased too.

Sure - thanks for that. Glad you liked these. It was a great day for flying. CBR folk will no doubt be pleased and perhaps shocked/surprised?!

When are we next going to get a report from you? So far the ones you've posted have been super and I have really enjoyed them!

Cheers again all - Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3017 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 8505 times:

Hi Palmjet,

thanks for another great report!

Virgin Aus are certainly expanding in a big way down under, moving away from the "single type" LCC operation favoured by most other LCCs - indeed they are moving away from the LCC model towards full service / legacy...

Nice to get on a new plane too. A new FA is good, they have to gain experience from somewhere and it helps to have an experienced passenger who doesn't need any "do this, don't do that"!

As for Canberra, I spent a couple of days there and was pleasantly surprised. Nice shops, the museum was great (if quiet), the tour of parliament informative, and only a few hours from Sydney by train! This was in 2002.

Thanks again!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 8411 times:

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
Oh interesting - why no report on your RO ATR? That's gotta be pretty rare !

That was about 3.5 years ago, way before I started taking photos for TRs. A shame really because that trip was one of the most eventful I ever been to. Cancelled flights, re-routings, verbal arguments with gate agents, encounters with celebrities, incorrectly tagged checked-in luggage (only to be found out later), overnight stay at the completely frozen OTP airport with no cash (but a few coins) at hand and all the vending machines at the airport broken, my luggage in complete limbo yet again (a RO agent took my faulty luggage tags at 10pm in order to fix them and returned them to me at 7am, just minutes before I departed) and of course a flight with an ATR. What a trip that was. But because of the lack of photos I'm a bit reluctant to put together a TR.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 24, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 8390 times:

Hi Palmjet

Nice trip report, thanks for sharing!
Those ATR's sure look fresh and inviting to try out a ride on myself.
Maybe If I make it once myself down there I can fly these..
Great spotting pics as well! Did not realise that Virgin Australia haves 330s as well


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
25 gabrielchew : Nice long report Palmjet! always dangerous to make bookings before you've finshed planning! Strange that there were no sameday connections, esp via SY
26 Post contains images palmjet : WBRoga That would have been some trip report! Hi Marc Thanks for your comments. Hope you are well? Yes, the ATRs were factory fresh! Yep, DJ now have
27 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi PJ, An amazing report! Your photos are always top notch and they definitely make those beautiful Australian summer (in the middle of the winter, bu
28 Post contains images palmjet : Good morning FF Thanks for your comments. It was certainly a lot warmer than ARN was in the middle of January! I have warmed to the ATRs although I st
29 Post contains images akhmad : Thank you. Still two weeks to go now. Unfortunately not, but we are going to do domestic hops with a new airline (at least for me) on board of an air
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