Flight: BA 331
Plane: A 319-131
The day before the flight, I noticed that on some sites there was some discussion about pending fog and potential delays at LHR. This concerned me a bit because, being on a separate ticket from JFK, I wondered how it could transpire, and whether I would be looked after if I missed the JFK-DFW flight due to LHR delay.
That evening I received a phone call from Qantas, asking if I would be amenable to being offloaded the QF8 due to expected strong headwinds, and put on the QF108 in business. After some consideration I agreed to it, but I made the mistake of checking if the SYD-AKL flight would give me enough time for the AKL-SYD flight as I was on separate tickets. That seemed too hard, so they said they would leave me on the QF8.
The day of, I was wake at 5:30am, and got into a pre-arranged taxi at 6am, for the trip to ORY, as RER etc didn’t seem to be a great idea at that time and temperature at -4.
Checked straight in, and passed quickly through security and waited at the gate for boarding. Everything seems normal then, but just before scheduled boarding, the sign above the gate noted “retard”. Now it starts…..however boarding started 10 minutes later, and all seemed ok again, but when the gate staff noted mine [and others] onward boarding passes, they asked us to stand aside because they weren’t sure we could make the connections. After boarding had completed, and a few phone calls made, they said we would make our connections – phew.
Once on board, the captain announced that due to the fog in London, ATC wouldn’t give us a departure time until 8:20, 30 minutes after the scheduled departure. Not bad, as I had 2 ½ hours in LHR so connection to JFK flight should be easy.
Cold ground near Biggin Hill
London City or parts of
More of London
BA 744s in “fog”
Touchdown in a cold LHR
Departure was at the new scheduled time, and we seemed to have a good quick flight to LHR, no holding, and hence I thought all would be good – until after landing on 27L, turning off onto the taxiway, and instead of turning right to any T5 terminal, we turned left…..what the???
BA and QF hiding in the fog
AA 767-323/ER N354AA
Pink AA 77-223/ER N759AN
My plane from a few days ago
Fog was rather heavy
From my window I could see a queue of traffic, which we seemed to be joining, and then the captain announced that there were no gates for us, and we would have to wait….the icy fog was causing problems and each engine had to be warmed before starting to remove the ice, it should be only 20 minutes. If only 20 minutes I would still be ok. My boarding pass for the JFK flight said gate closed at 09:40, so that would give me 30 minutes to get to my flight – tight but doable.
Unfortunately 20 minutes turned into an hour, so we ended up at the gate at 09:50, but I still thought worth a go, so I quickly ran to connections, but after waiting 10 minutes in the queue I was told I had missed the flight – great in a day like today a flight that leaves on time!, and I had to go to the re-booking desk.
When I got to the counters I found a huge queue for the “normal” passengers and a sign for Business and First passengers, except there was not entry in the lines for the Business and First passengers – very strange and there were a lot of people wandering around, curious about why the line was closed. Eventually I ignored it and joined the queue anyways. This and the fact that there were 4 desks unmanned, I thought was very poor organisation. After 30 minutes I was finally seen, and seeing as I had had a lot of time to think about my options, I suggested I was re-booked on a direct LHR-DFW flight, and the next JFK flight wouldn’t have got me into JFK before 4pm when my next flight was scheduled.
Flight: AA 79
Plane: B 767-323ER
This seemed agreeable and I was given a ticket for the AA LHR-DFW direct flight, but meant turning around and going to T3.
Even though I missed my JFK flight, I still thought I was pretty lucky, if I missed the direct DFW flight I would have been in trouble. Luck was still in when I walked straight onto the transfer bus with no waiting, and straight to T3, and a very quick security line.
BA 744 at T5 from a different angle
BA “Dove” A320
Then it was to AA ticketing, to get a boarding pass for the DFW flight. I was lucky to get a seat on this flight, it was almost fully booked, so the best seat I could get was 43E, middle of the middle – just great, but the agent told me she thought many people would misconnect due to the weather so it was likely that I would get a better seat, and put a note in the computer to request me a better seat if possible.
So then it was to the lounge for some food and drink, oh and a quick call to QF to advise them I wouldn’t be on the JFK-DFW flight so the onward flights wouldn’t be cancelled – which was no problem.
AC 767-375/ER C-GEOU
At the last minute I went to the gate to see if there was a better seat, which I was rudely and abruptly told there wasn’t, so 43E it was.
After being seated for a while I and my seat mate noticed a lot of spare seats, so when it was announced that the door was closed, we both bolted to seats we had our eyes on, and fortunately they weren’t the same – 38 A & B ended up being mine for the 10 hour flight - my luck continues.
Ironically considering the weather, we departed on time, 27R, and headed north towards Wales and Ireland.
VH-OQG and VH-OQL waiting for their trip back home
Virgin 747-4Q8 G-VFAB
Big Black again!
The first meal was served 1 and ½ hours into the flight, but after having sampled the First Class lounge foods, I hadn’t left much room for the meal.
A not so bad meal
Being a daytime flight and a 16 hour flight to come, I figured sleep wasn’t a good idea, so I ended up reading much of the way across the Atlantic and Canada until the clouds disappeared, and some great views came into sight. From there until we landed in DFW there were hardly any clouds, so plenty of good photos.
Views across Quebec
Views of Lake Abitibi
Shores of Lake Michigan
A rather disgusting [vegetarian] meal
Descent into DFW
Short final to DFW
N399AN from above
Flight: QF 8
Plane: B 747-438ER
Once through immigration, I went straight to Qantas checkin and got my boarding passes to BNE and AKL, and went to the lounge for the 3 hours before scheduled boarding. The 3rd party lounges in DFW aren’t all that great, but I have seen worse.
At 9:20pm I headed off to the gate, as I was getting so tired, I was worried I would fall asleep at a bad time and miss the flight. Boarding was pretty much on time, and seemed pretty full, so I guess the expected winds that QF wanted to offload me for didn’t eventuate. Once on board, I did fall asleep for a few minutes, waking just on pushback.
As soon as the seatbelt light was out, so was I, on and off for about 12 hours. The Y+ seat is actually pretty comfortable for sleeping I find, so I slept pretty well. I woke for good just over Fiji and first light.
Sunrise near Fiji
Unfortunately it was cloudy so no views of land, not that being 300 miles away helped either!
Soon after breakfast was served, and with 3 hours to go, a bit too early I thought, but allows for some rest afterwards I guess.
Views of New Caledonia
Turning to final approach
Port of Brisbane
We landed in BNE pretty much on schedule, and there ended my longest flight by time.
Air Niugini 767-366/ER P2-PXV
Flight: QF 123
Plane: B 737-838
Being off QF8 quickly meant I was also quickly through security and went straight to the lounges for a shower. When I asked for a towel the lounge agent told me there were already 2 people in the FC lounge but to use the Business class showers instead, a nice proactive move on her behalf. With only an hour between flights, I quickly checked e-mails, made a couple of calls, and then it was time to head down to the gate.
Seemed a pretty full flight with business completely full, but we were delayed due to some passengers being held up on the late arrival of QF52 from SIN..
Air Pacific 737-8X2 DQ-FJH
Queue behind us
After a delay of 35 minutes we pushed back and made our way to 19 for a path that would take us over Brisbane city and back past the airport and to AKL. I was a bit annoyed with the delay as I had arranged to meet up with my father between flights, so the delay meant less time with him
QF 52 and QF 16 just arrived from SIN and LAX
Views of Brisbane
Views of BNE airport and Port
West Coast beaches approaching AKL
Another Black livery A320
Air New Zealand 767-319/ER ZK-NCJ
As I was still tired, and there was nothing but cloud and ocean to see, I read for a bit and slept until just before we started our descent in AKL. With a northerly wind in AKL, it meant we took the quick route into AKL and landing on 05R. Not that that helped making up any time, we landed about 45 minutes late, but I managed to get through customs and immigration quickly and on my way picked up some duty-free I promised my mother a week ago.
Flight: QF 44
Plane: B 737-838
After a quick lunch with my father, it was time to go back to the airport and back onto a plane, the last flight for some time I hoped. I love flying, but by now I was pretty tired and looking forward to my own bed. Boarding was on time, as was departure, but due to the northerly winds, it meant a tour over Auckland before heading toward Sydney.
Air New Zealand 777-319/ER ZK-OKP
3 A380s in AKL not a usual sight
Air New Zealand 767-319/ER ZK-NCL
Another view of the A380s
China Southern A380-841 B-6139
Big Black again 3rd time in this trip!
Air New Zealand 777-319/ER ZK-OKP
Aerial view of AKL
View over Auckland City
View towards Rangitoto
Manukau Harbour & Heads
Piha Beach looking south
Piha Beach and Lion Rock
I can’t remember what the meal was, can’t have been too exciting, as I didn’t take any photos.
At this time I just wanted the flight to be over, and luckily for me we were running about 15 minutes early, and landing on 34L meant a quick trip to the gate, and a quick getaway to the exit.
Looking towards Cronulla
Descending into Sydney
Air Pacific 737-8X2 DJ-FJG
Deserted Sydney International Terminal
After 32 000 miles, 10 days, and 12 legs, I was home for a long rest – or so I thought.
After getting back home late on Friday night, I received a call from a friend in WA, asking me if I could come across to help him with a meeting with a client, on Monday. Being close to Christmas, and being away for some time already my partner wasn’t keen for me to stay longer than I had to, so Perth for the day it was.
As I wasn’t paying for the flights, I couldn’t argue when I was asked if Virgin Australia would be ok, as it was cheaper, and timing was better.
Flight: DJ 551
Plane: A 330-243
A 7am flight meant another early morning getup, and still feeling the effects of a long trip didn’t make it any easier. A rather empty flight, meant I had a spare seat next to me, which was great.
Departure was pretty much on time, and a very quick roll saw us airborne very quickly, I can’t imagine how light we must have been.
“Breakfast” was served pretty quickly, and looked, and was pretty disgusting – sorry no photo, but as I was hungry I ate it anyway.
Afterwards, it was back to the usual, sleeping ,reading and taking photos the flight away. Arrival was 9am Perth time, the lack of daylight saving makes the westbound trip pretty hard.
VH-XFD at the gate
cabin view of VH-XFD
Botany/Quibray Bay Bay
Views of SW NSW
Town of Mildura
Mildura & Wentworth
Lake Newland Conservation Park
Cape Arid National Park
Near Dundas Nature Reserve
Flight: DJ 562
Plane: A 330-243
5 hours later, and it was back on a plane again. Almost 10 hours of flying for a 3 hour meeting, seems a bit extreme, not sure how many others would do it.
VH-EBI at Qantas Domestic
XFB is one of the older ex Emirates 332s, and its age shows, and the legroom, well atrocious, would be a nice way of describing it, so between that and a seatmate who was large and wanted to take all my room as well, it wasn’t going to be a comfortable flight.
PER International Terminal
Departing PER looking over Tonkin and Roe Hwys
Again departure was on time, at 3pm, and a longer takeoff roll this time, the flight looking almost full. Soon after “dinner” was served, again pretty disgusting, but not having eaten since “breakfast”, there wasn’t much choice.
Fortunately it was a quick flight and we landed 30 minutes before schedule, but then had to wait 10 minutes for a gate.
So ends my year;
In Miles 103,729
In Kilometres 166,935
Longest Flight (distance): 8,589 mi, 15:04 h, Sydney (Kingsford Smith) - Dallas/Fort Worth (International), 09.05.2012
Longest Flight (duration): 16:05 h, 8,313 mi, Dallas/Fort Worth (International) - Brisbane (International), 12.12.2012
Shortest Flight (distance): 152 mi, 0:35 h, Port Lincoln - Adelaide, 20.02.2012
Shortest Flight (duration): 0:35 h, 152 mi, Port Lincoln - Adelaide, 20.02.2012
Fastest Flight: 570 mi/h, 8,589 mi, 15:04 h, Sydney (Kingsford Smith) - Dallas/Fort Worth (International), 09.05.2012
Slowest Flight: 66 mi/h, 228 mi, 3:27 h, Paris (Orly) - London (Heathrow), 12.12.2012
Average Flight: 2,305 mi, 4:52 h