ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 338 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7065 times:
Recently, Qantas announced that it would be entering into an alliance with Emirates and re-routing all LHR flights via Dubai instead of Singapore. This also means that Qantas would be withdrawing all its A380 services to SIN, leaving Changi with only 744 and A333 QF services to FRA and the various Australian ports. Especially with my previous pleasant experience onboard QF's A380 flight, it was the perfect opportunity for me to catch a trip down-under on QF's A380 services before they are all gone from Changi. This trip was also made possible with most of the payment using complimentary Qantas Customer Care vouchers that QF gave me due to a 5hr flight delay previously (read my last QF trip report). It was also time to catch up with some relatives in Melbourne!
The flights were booked SIN-MEL/MEL-SYD-SIN with the SIN-MEL and SYD-SIN on A380s. It was also cheaper to fly via SYD on the way back.
Qantas only allows online check-in 24hrs before flight and when I checked in, the flight was almost totally full! Grabbed a window seat at the rear of the lower deck economy cabin. Upper deck economy was all full! Luggage drop in Changi was seamless and I visited The Green Market at T2 for a quick dinner compliments of my credit card.
Boarding pass. Flight was delayed by 15min due to late arrival from London.
Starters from the appetizer buffet.
Set menu. I skipped the sashimi though as I am not a sashimi fan.
Back to T1 to do some spotting. British Airways B744.
2 of the many daily Air Asia and CX flights at SIN.
Had a rather long walk to the gate at C26 and the gate was totally full of passengers! Boarding was furthered delayed for a while as the plane was prepared for departure.
23 November 2012
Singapore (SIN) - Melbourne (MEL)
The flight is a continuation of the LHR-SIN sector (soon to be discontinued) and it seemed that most passengers are connecting either from London or code-share services from other airlines such as AF, BA, 9W, MU etc. Boarding was soon announced and conducted in an orderly manner by classes, statuses and row numbers.
While boarding, I caught a photo of my A380 parked beside TG's new A380, which had just arrived from BKK.
Was welcome at the door by name (the norm rather than exception on Qantas) and directed to the correct aisle. Passed the front red economy cabin.
Followed by the green cabin. My seat was at the rearmost orange cabin. On each seat was a blanket and headsets.
TG A380 beside. The TG logo seemed a tad small on the A380's tail fin.
Inflight magazine. There were also a safety card and duty-free guide.
The very cool A380 tail-cam! Still parked at the gate.
The flight ended up nearly full! Only a couple of empty seats can be spotted in economy. My middle and aisle seats were also taken up. Gonna be a looooong flight. Boarding was soon completed but pushback was further delayed due to traffic. Qantas pilots did a good job in updating us frequently on our departure status. According to the pilot, due to our slight delay, we could only pushback 10min after the SQ A380 flight to MEL has started its taxi. During the wait, I started on my movie "The Watch". QF allows passengers to use its entertainment system gate-to-gate, which is a much better option than the current "IFE switched off 30mins before landing" routine on some airlines.
Finally pushbacked and taxied to Rwy20C, departing towards the south-west. However we had to wait on the taxiways for a while due to a queue of departing planes. Departed an hour late. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50jsElPUrW8
Shortly after departure. As the flight time was rather short, we could make up for some of the delay.
First up, amenity kits and immigration forms were distributed. Amenity kit consisted of eyeshades and toothbrush kit.
Following this, a crew member was seen distributing menus, but halfway down the aisle, she finished distribution of the menus she had in her hands and went back to the galley, never to appear with more menus again. Not sure if there was shortage of menus. Another crew was handing out bottle water, but only to those who expressed interest in having one. There was not enough bottled water to go round the full cabin. My entire row was missed out completely. QF did not load enough bottled water on this flight?? This is a slight disappointment to the start of the flight and definitely not of the usual high QF standards. Never mind, settle back in my comfortable seat and enjoy the IFE.
Soon, dinner service started with the handing out of special meals followed by the normal meals using carts. The options were chicken curry or pork with noodles. Both are asian choices. Browsing the IFE system, I discovered an online menu for Premium Economy and noticed that the main course selections were similar to Economy. No online menu for Economy though.
Meal tray, which came with a potato salad, main, passionfruit with sago pudding, roll with butter and a piece of Toblerone chocolate. I had a Riesling and huge cup of orange juice to go along. The female crew serving my aisle was extremely friendly, addressing everyone as "Honey" or "Darling"!
Potato salad and Braised Pork with Vinegar and Garlic Sauce, Ee-fu Noodles and Bok Choy.
Bottle of Riesling.
This meal was definitely an improvement from my previous QF flight. However portion of the main could be a bit larger. Main was tasty while dessert was a bit disappointing, but not as bad as my previous flight. What is with all the pudding desserts out of Singapore?
Hot coffee/tea was also served. I was expecting to have the Qantas renowned hot chocolate service after meal, but that never came during tray collection to my disappointment. It was recently that I read that QF has removed its hot chocolate / peppermint tea service on mid-haul overnight flights due to feedback from passengers that the meal service is too long. If QF is long, then SQ must be eternity! However it seemed that hot chocolate is still available upon request, but I was unaware of it.
4.5hrs to go after dinner.
QF's fantastic self-service bar at the rear. It was well-stocked with drinks. However the cookies compartment was closed, making me wonder that there might be no cookies available on this flight. On hindsight, there might be cookies available if I lifted open the hatch!!
Lavatory visit. Only the basics in there.
Took a couple of hours' nap. The Economy seats may be tight at only 31" pitch, but are rather comfortable for sitting. I was also lucky that the passenger in front of me preferred not to recline her seat. Add an additional 2 inches of pitch and QF would have a winner!
2 hours later, flying into dawn
Cabin was gradually brightened and crew started the light breakfast service, slightly more than 1 hour prior to arrival.
The light breakfast consisted of a warm raisin pastry, strawberry yoghurt, orange juice and coffee/tea. Delicious, quick breakfast.
View of cabin while making a last visit to the lav before descend.
Disembarked from the aircraft and had only a short walk to immigrations. But horrors!! The immigration queue for foreigners stretched from the immigration hall, pass the duty-free shops and almost reaching the gates!! Having a couple of full A380s (SQ and QF) arriving within 10min did not help either. I queued more than an hour just clearing arrival immigration!! The sole counter for aircrew was not much better as the arriving SQ crew also stood in line for more than an hour!! Melbourne airport authorities really need to expand their immigration facilities, and fast!
This flight on QF was not as great as my previous experience. Service was initially slightly uncoordinated (missing menus, no bottled water) but improved later on. Crew were however friendly and casual. Seats were comfortable on the A380 and food was passable. Not a fantastic flight but not too bad either. Lets see how the return (and my final) QF A380 flight performed.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 338 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (5 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5170 times:
For the return leg, I was booked on the MEL-SYD-SIN sectors instead of direct MEL-SIN as it was much cheaper to fly via SYD. Apparently not only me was doing this as there were also a number of Singaporean families doing the same, mostly connecting to the earlier QF5 in SYD. For me, I would be connecting to QF1, my 'final' QF A380 ride! The transit stop did not bother me much as I would also be flying on a new (but old) aircraft type, B767-300ER, on the short hop to Sydney.
I arrived at Melbourne Terminal 1, where all Qantas domestic flights depart from, about 1h15min before flight. All passengers with international connections would have to check in at dedicated desks for document checks and luggage drop. Domestic passengers may perform self check-ins at the automated booths. Again, I had checked in online prior the day before and only needed to pick up boarding passes and drop my luggage. The check-in attendant also ensured that I do know how to transit in Sydney. Been there, done that, so not much of a worry but for newbies, it could be quite confusing as it entails a change of terminal and a shuttle bus ride. Could be kinda stressful if the connection time is short.
Departure boards and security screening.
My boarding passes for both flights.
Through security and into the terminal. Time to do some spotting, but at Terminal 1, there were nothing much except QFs and more QFs. My B763ER, VH-OGT, already at the gate.
Jetstar A321 and A320 at the opposite end of the terminal. No aerobridges for the budget travellers!
Blue ribbon B738 to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Another view of VH-OGT.
The boarding gate. Flight was code-shared with BA as well. Load seemed good and mainly were business travellers. As usual, newspapers were available at the gate for free.
28 November 2012
Melbourne (MEL) - Sydney (SYD)
Soon, boarding was announced and passengers formed an orderly queue to board. Once stepping into the aerobridge, headphones were also available to be picked up for the inflight entertainment. Yes, QF offers IFE on all flights, even as short as a 30min Sydney-Canberra hop! Was greeted by name again at the door by a friendly set of crew. I was seated at 48A, towards the rear of the plane.
Boarding in progress. Boarding was swift as I guess most passengers were frequent flyers on the route. Cabin definitely looked old but was clean.
Inflight magazines, safety card and headphones.
Legroom was more than sufficient for the short flight.
Old school IFE controls. Music channels were already playing.
At the gate. The flight time was announced to be 1hr. Flight filled up to the brim even for this mid-afternoon shuttle. Not bad considering that there are almost one QF flight every half hour between MEL-SYD!
Shortly after seatbelt signs were switched off, cabin service started. Short comedies were played on the overhead TVs. For today's mid-afternoon flight, afternoon tea would be served. Service started from the front economy cabin, moving towards the rear. 2 crew on each aisle, 1 serving drinks while the other distributing snacks. Again, this set of crew were generally friendly and casual, the usual QF-style.
On offer were a cookie or an apple, but I believe you can request for both too. I only had the cookie, which was tasty!
When the drinks cart reached, I had a coffee and a bottle of juice.
Not long after, the plane started its descent into Sydney. Skies turned overcast when we neared SYD.
Cabin was cleared and we descend into SYD. I was hoping that we would arrive from the north and luckily, we really did! But weather in SYD was horrid. Lots of low clouds with no sunshine.
Over the outskirts of Sydney.
Flaps and gears down. Getting lower..
Spot the Opera House!
Nearly there. The entire Sydney skyline in the distance.
Disembarking and passing the Business Class cabin.
Upon disembarkation, passengers with international connections would have to proceed to the transfer bus gate located beside Gate 1. There was a short wait for the bus as the gate agent wants to get all transfer pax departing on the earlier QF5 to Singapore onto it. All passenger connecting to QF5 were paged to hurry to the transfer bus gate.
Very soon, all connecting passengers arrived and we were allowed onto the bus. Time to tour SYD airport! Firstly, I got a glimpse of the bird that flew me in.
All the QFs, with a special livery in between.
Air Pacific B744 undergoing maintenance.
QF whale meets SQ whale.
Up close and personal with SKM!
The QF A380 would be flying me home today.
Suddenly the mid-sized A330 seemed so gigantic!
After reaching T1, I proceeded through immigration for my flight. Outbound immigration in Sydney was much smoother, with rarely a queue. On the other hand, I heard that MEL outbound immigration queues were as bad as the inbound. Through immigration and security and into the duty-free shops area. The upgraded terminal really is so much better now.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 338 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4497 times:
After getting some duty-free liquor which is not available in Changi, I did a bit of aircraft spotting again. Here is a QF B738 landing with Sydney skyline in the background.
VH-OQL, Qantas's newest A380, will be flying me back to Singapore today!
BA B744, also departing to Singapore.
QF5 operated by a B744, also going to Singapore and onwards to Frankfurt. This flight is scheduled 30min prior to my flight.
28 November 2012
Sydney (SYD) - Singapore (SIN)
The gate that I was departing from is definitely too small to handle a full A380 load. Passengers queuing to board actually spilled over to the previous gate. Boarding was slightly delayed today, apparently due to the late arrival of this aircraft from the inbound destination. Finally boarding commenced at 1715hrs, only 10min prior to our STD. Boarding was only segregated by class, but not by row numbers, resulting in a bit of queue in the aerobridge. However surprisingly, it was still rather swift and orderly. A cabin crew was in the aerobridge guiding passengers to the correct entrance.
Up close with VH-OQL.
Welcomed at the door but was not addressed by name this time round (the exception). No worries though. My seat today was at 77K, the last row of the "green" cabin. Again, The IFE was available for use immediately after boarding.
At the gate, with JQ A332 to Honolulu beside.
This aircraft was fitted with inflight Wi-fi service! However, I just read that QF had since suspended the inflight Wi-fi service from end November due to low demand from passengers. Looks like I was on one of the last flights that offered it.
The entire flight again was extremely full! Must be near 100% load factor! Again, I was squashed beside 2 other pax on the middle and aisle. Departure was further delayed due to a no-show, who finally appeared just when the bags were about to be offloaded. Eventually we pushed back at about slightly 6pm, more than half hour behind schedule. However the captain assured that with the short flight time of only 7h40min, we would make up most of the lost time.
Best entertainment, skycam! Pushing back.
Safety video was shown, proudly presented by the Australian Cricket Team.
docpepz From Singapore, joined exactly 12 years ago today! , 1938 posts, RR: 3 Reply 4, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4389 times:
Very nice report - I flew almost the same sectors but slightly up the front
The Y catering looks quite substandard compared to SQ. Small portions, and the second meal for SYDSIN isn't even a real meal. I think SQ has a quiche or fried rice/noodles as the dish for the second meal (which really is a completely unnecessary meal)
dirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 206 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4341 times:
Nice to see a report on your 'final' QF A380 flights.
Great to see pictures of Melbourne as well. When you passed the alley in Chinatown, you probably passed the office building where I spent most of my time in MEL.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): QF allows passengers to use its entertainment system gate-to-gate, which is a much better option than the current "IFE switched off 30mins before landing" routine on some airlines.
This is one of the features of QF In-flight entertainment that I enjoyed.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): QF did not load enough bottled water on this flight?? This is a slight disappointment to the start of the flight and definitely not of the usual high QF standards.
Sorry to hear your 'disappointing' start of the journey, but from what I've seen the return flight part that you've written, the QF1 flight performs much better, and hopefully would be a memorable 'last QF A380' flight to Singapore.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): The female crew serving my aisle was extremely friendly, addressing everyone as "Honey" or "Darling"!
From my several flights onboard QF this year, I found that their International crew members are really friendly. Made your flying experience much more relaxed.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): QF's fantastic self-service bar at the rear. It was well-stocked with drinks. However the cookies compartment was closed, making me wonder that there might be no cookies available on this flight. On hindsight, there might be cookies available if I lifted open the hatch!!
On my recent QF 9 flight, initially the hatch were closed but there are cookies available when the hatch was opened. I guessed they just closed the hatch throughout the flight to prevent the snacks from falling over in case of sudden turbulence (but these are just my thoughts).
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): The sole counter for aircrew was not much better as the arriving SQ crew also stood in line for more than an hour!! Melbourne airport authorities really need to expand their immigration facilities, and fast!
I thought I was the only one complaining for their immigration service. They really need to improve the immigration service efficiency.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): I just read that QF had since suspended the inflight Wi-fi service from end November due to low demand
Really sad they removing that service, but I guess with their amazing 'Q' Inflight entertainment system, its more than enough to entertain QF passengers like me.
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 338 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (5 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3938 times:
View of the cabin. No empty seats at all!
Starting on my movie. Managed to catch 2 movies on the flight.
Very soon, dinner is served. My row was served directly from the galley behind. The portions were definitely more substantial than on the SIN-MEL sector. I had a sparkling wine to go along.
Items unveiled. The salad was simple and refreshing. I chose the lamb with pasta for main.
The lamb was really tender and juicy, and accompanying pumpkin mash (not stated in menu) and veges sweet, coupled with the egg pasta. Overall a very satisfying main course and rather large portion too! Thumbs up for this.
Cheese and crackers, as well as the dessert of cookies and cream mousse. The dessert may be off-the-shelf type, but was very tasty! I could have more of it!
Scenery outside while having dinner.
Everything was gone within 15 minutes!
Crew serving coffee or tea.
Had a cup of tea to end the meal before meal tray were collected.
By this time, the sun was setting.
Did a bit of exploration of the A380 after meal, since it would most probably be my last QF A380 ride anyway. View of the rear cabin.
Magazine rack just beside the rear stairs. There were actually a variety of magazines in the racks!
The self-service bar again, well-stocked with drinks. Fresh apples were also available.
And the cookies compartment, which you would have to open to select your cookies.
2 types of cookies on offer, sweet or savory.
About an hour after dinner, crew conducted the "Relax and Unwind" service, which first consisted of hot chocolate with marshmallow or peppermint tea. Of course I went with the hot chocolate!
This was followed by a mango ice-cream bar!! My sweet tooth was really satisfied on this flight!
After this, I again settled into my movies for the rest of the flight. What a comfortable way to fly! Watch the IFE all the way till about an hour prior to arrival, when a refreshment was served. The refreshment consisted of a pizza, which actually tasted great! A chocolate dessert also accompanied the pizza. Interestingly, passengers who ordered special meals got served an entire casserole of food, similar to portions served for dinner. Looked like passengers ordering special meals got a better deal.
Descend started about 30min out of SIN, but the captain only announced for the crew to prepare for arrival 20min out. Not too early, not too late. Guess QF's pre-landing preparations are much simpler, without the need to collect headsets and stuff. Seatbelt signs only came on 10min prior to landing.
Arrived 15min late. Not too bad considering the almost 1hr late departure. Had a short taxi to Terminal 1 and parked beside the QF B744 which had also just arrived from Sydney.
A final shot of my green seat before disembarking.
Goodbye, QF A380. We will miss you in SIN from Apr next year. Sob...
My 'final' flight on Qantas A380 was great! Service was friendly and casual as usual (those who flew Asian airlines regularly might not be used to the casualness), and offerings on the SYD-SIN sector was definitely above my expectations. Also, the QF A380 is a really comfortable aircraft to fly in, and the great IFE as well as the self-service bar, will definitely be missed coming April. Hopefully, QF will be sending its retrofitted B744s to SIN after the withdrawal of the A380s, so that us passengers from SIN would still be able to experience the seats and cabin fittings similar to A380s on the SIN-MEL/SYD routes.
This report would also be my very last review of 2012. Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks for all the support so far!
My upcoming flights:
1) SIN-BKK-SIN on Myanmar Airways International, over New Year's Day. Definitely an exotic airline to try!
2) SIN-KTM (via KUL) on MH in mid January, with the return KUL-SIN sector on SQ (code-shared with MH). Winter trip to Kathmandu!
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 338 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (5 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3934 times:
Quoting docpepz (Reply 4): The Y catering looks quite substandard compared to SQ. Small portions, and the second meal for SYDSIN isn't even a real meal. I think SQ has a quiche or fried rice/noodles as the dish for the second meal (which really is a completely unnecessary meal)
The return SYD-SIN sector has much better catering than the SIN-MEL sector, with the extras thrown in. Comparable to SQ. I guess the pizza is sufficient for the second meal, but of course it would be better if we had a choice. However one would not get hungry on the short 7hr flight, with the free-flow cookies, apples and drinks from the self-service bar!
Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 5): Sorry to hear your 'disappointing' start of the journey, but from what I've seen the return flight part that you've written, the QF1 flight performs much better, and hopefully would be a memorable 'last QF A380' flight to Singapore.
Yep, QF1 was a better flight, offerings wise. Definitely leaving me with fond memories of QF A380s.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81