Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Posted (11 years 3 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7643 times:
Sorry for the delayed report, my business studies are taking most of my time at the moment… I had no intention of doing a RTW at first but somehow my trip ended up with a round-the-world routing. Unfortunately all but two flights were in economy. But I have included lounge and hotel reports too. I had stops in AMS/CDG/YVR/SYD/MEL/AKL/WLG.
16 August 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK711
Helsinki Vantaa – Copenhagen Kastrup
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 07:25/07:21
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 08:10/07:55
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
LN-RMN “Ivar Viking”
Economy Class, Seat 9A
Check-In using SAS Self service was quick, although economy lines were very long both at SK and AY that morning. A bit of a wait at the security checkpoint but nothing major.
SAS Business Lounge, Helsinki FI
Headed to this lounge next and was more or less the only person there for some reason. I asked the lady at the front desk for a better seat (got only row 24 at the machine). Nothing available but she said she’d take a look later.
Had some rolls with cheese and ham and crackers for breakfast as well as hot chocolate and tea. That’s more or less the selection for breakfast – I have no idea if it’s the same later or if they have something else for dinner etc. Took a seat near the windows and watched Finnair 92 landing from Bangkok and Hong Kong, operated by world’s first MD11 OH-LGA.
Being too lazy to do it at home, I then used their machine to polish my shoes before checking my mails at one of the two internet terminals. Before exiting, the front desk lady printed me a new boarding pass for 9A – not bad at all.
Boarded on time at gate 22 – one of the SAS direct machines for me again. Legroom felt a bit tighter and the aircraft had no footrests. Pushed back early and took off from 04R at 7.30 am after a 30 second roll. Service was the usual continental breakfast – rolls, cold cuts and cold scrambled eggs.
We left our cruising altitude of FL360 after about an hour and landed on CPH’s runway 30 at 7.50 am and quickly taxied to gate A4. A quick look at the monitors confirmed my suspects that this would be the aircraft going onto AMS as well…
I headed to this lounge to kill about 45 minutes before continuing on LN-RMN to Amsterdam Schiphol. TG950 had just got in and there were lots of pax going to the Scandinavian lounge as well. I had a cup of tea and some biscuits with a seat near the fireplace and then headed to the computers to write a few emails. I like this big lounge even though the food selection could handle some improvements.
SK551 boarded on time and we pushed back at 9.19 am and took off from 04R at 9.35 am. Not much to tell you about this short flight, a few cute Danish hostesses this morning though. Another breakfast was served before we started our descent and landed on runway 06 at 10.45am.
Sheraton Luxury Collection, Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam NL
I took the train to Amsterdam Centraal as usual and walked to the Sheraton. It wasn’t that long of a walk but it was so damn hot in Amsterdam! Room was small with one double bed but that’s usual in AMS I think. The wooden floor had some scratches, as did the walls. There was some water and waffles waiting in the room, which was nice of course. Maybe this was SPG Gold amenity? Minibar prices were outrageous, five euros for a bottle of water for example.
As I got back from the city in the evening, slippers and bathrobe were waiting by the bed. I was too tired to go anywhere so I ordered a burger from room service, it was tasty and service was quick but a bit costly for me. Slept well after that, checked out at around 9 am and took a taxi to the railway station to catch the train to Schiphol. I think this was a well spent Free Friday.
17 August 2002
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL1233
Amsterdam Schiphol – Paris CDG
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 11:25/11:24
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 12:35/12:30
PH-BTF ”Alexander von Hombolt”
Business Class, Seat 3A
I arrived at Schiphol at around 9.30 am and went to the business class check in. A guy asked if I’d mind using self service machines, no problem I said. He actually checked me in explaining the features of the new KLM e-checkin kiosks and I was on my way to the lounge in less than two minutes. Security on the way was quick and professional.
KLM Business Lounge Schengen, Amsterdam NL
The first thing I noticed was that the lounge was huge compared to LH lounges at FRA. It was pretty nicely decorated in blue of course. There were hardly any people there this Saturday morning, so it was very pleasant. The food selection was pretty ordinary, peanuts, crackers, some cake, cheeses and biscuits. Drink selection looked nice but unfortunately it was too early for liqueur for me… I liked the fact that they had small trays available so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the bar area to get your stuff. Before I left, I used the internet, €5.50 for 10 minutes or so.
PH-BTF was waiting at gate C6 and looked old and tired. Most of the KLM 737 classics seem to be in a desperate need of a new paintjob. Boarded at 11:05 and took my seat 3A in the last row of business class. I was lucky enough to have the seat next to me empty. We were pushed back at 11:24 am and cold towels and newspapers were given while taxiing.
We entered runway 01L via taxiway W7 after a United B767-300 took off. At 11:36 full thrust was applied and our 737 lifted off after a 27-second roll. We turned right almost immediately and I had some good views of Amsterdam. The snack today consisted of cold chicken salad and a piece of cake for dessert. Both very tasty actually. Warm rolls and drinks were served a few times.
Soon after the trays had been cleared, we left our cruising altitude of 20,000 ft and started the descent towards Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Landed on 09R at 12:25 pm and quickly taxied to CDG1 where I saw UA 777, US 330, NW D10 and TG 744 as well as some smaller machines.
There was a passport check upon exiting the aircraft and the customs guys also had their cute little dogs with them . CDG1 was truly ugly, I felt like I was in a dirty public toilet when looking at the floor for example. I then took the Air France Bus to Etoile, it was ok but legroom was horrible!
It was my first time in Paris – what a great city, definitely one of the nicest places I have been to so far. I did the usual touristy stuff, Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees etc. I should have researched the location of that hotel better – due to it being pretty far from the city centre, I didn’t go to any bars etc. at night.
18 August 2002
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL1240
Paris CDG – Amsterdam Schiphol
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 19:00/19:23
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 20:15/20:34
PH-BDR “Willem C. Schouten“
Economy Class, Seat 4A
AF bus ride back to CDG was quick and pretty comfortable. After a few minutes of walking around the zoo called CDG1, I managed to find the KLM/buzz check-in desks. Luckily I had my SilverWing card, the economy lines were real bad, processing a buzz flight to Stansted.
The guy at the business class counter was a total moron, kept joking with his friend for a while when he was supposed to check me in… He gave me a strange look when I asked for a seat in the front but managed to give 4A. Not bad. I asked about the lounge and he literally threw an invitation at me and shouted “upstairs”.
The first passport control station I found happened to be a police station… I entered it with some other pax and the guy shouted “get the hell out of here NOW”. Friendly, eh? Anyway, I found the right passport control and after a little bit of searching also this 21st century lounge called Salon Bleriot…
Salon Bleriot CDG1, Paris FR
Entering this lounge was like going directly to the 70s… It was very dark inside with ancient furnishings. Drinks were available as well as chips and cookies. I got myself a vodka coke and almost threw up… It was some real nasty cheap stuff. I had never heard the other liqueur brands either so I just settled for some Heineken. It didn’t feel like a business class lounge though with kids shouting and playing around.
There was one “everyday Internet” terminal there, but with the mouse broken you can’t obviously do much. The washrooms behind the bar were actually in pretty decent shape and also had two showers I believe.
I left around 6:30 pm for satellite 7 where KL1240 would shortly be boarding. My bag was hand-searched by a rather rude guy who seemed totally disinterested in what he was doing. The gate was a zoo, the monitors weren’t working and neither was the door. The KLM manager managed to find some help and finally opened the door and shouted “Amsterdam now boarding”.
The purser was greeting us at the door, took a look at my bag with KLM tag and said “welcome aboard KLM, sir”. I took my seat in the first row of economy and luckily again the seat next to me was empty. The purser turned out to be a funny guy, he grabbed the microphone, stood tight in the middle of the aisle and made the announcements. Unfortunately due to thunderstorms we would be delayed for about 25 minutes.
We were pushed back at 7:23 pm and taxied to runway 27L. While taxiing I saw a Concorde being towed very slowly to a hangar… nice sight. A good old Air France 747-200 took off for some sunny destination I guess and KLM’s F70 landed before it was our turn. PH-BDR took off at 7:36 pm for the 35-minute flight to Schiphol Airport. Soon after takeoff I saw an airport on the left (must be Le Bourget?) and also the city of Paris before we turned right and headed towards Brussels and Rotterdam. It was a bit bumpy for a while but got smoother as we approached AMS. Service was a piece of cake, peanuts and drinks.
We landed at AMS runway 19R a few minutes shy of 8:30 pm and quickly taxied to gate C6, the same gate where I left from the day before. Took the train to the city as usual.
Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel, Amsterdam NL
Great location close to the Centraal Station, I was there in no time at all. The lady at the reception was very friendly and talkative and the fact that I had a Priceline reservation definitely didn’t lead to third class treatment or anything. She wished me a nice stay and I made my way to the room.
Newly renovated, the room was very pleasant with a double bed, a working desk, two chairs and a table. Minibar prices were pretty acceptable compared to the Sheraton. I was thinking of using the business centre to check my mails but someone else was there. No problem.
I had a refreshing shower and headed out to the city…
After a fun weekend it was time to head back home for just one night… The train to Schiphol was quick and convenient as usual. SAS Self service machines again refused to accept my LH Senator card – this must be some sort of software problem with the AMS machines. The agent at the C-class desk didn’t bother printing me a new set of passes showing the correct FFP, how nice.
Security was quick and I headed to the transfer desk to ask for a new set of passes… She gave me a real rude look and thought I was crazy I think. All I wanted was that my boarding passes showed my LH# instead of my RG one. I am overly worried about my miles I guess…
BMI British Midland Lounge, Amsterdam NL
I was refused entry to this lounge a few months ago flying SAS and contacted BD about the matter since they have a Star Gold sign outside the lounge door. No problems this time.
The lounge looked modern and nice with different shades of blue and red used for furnishings. Snack selection was poor though, some biscuits and peanuts. I must say that drink selection was pretty good though. Different British newspapers and magazines were available as well as the same rip-off internet access as in the KLM lounge. I would rate this one a little better than the LH one (part of this same lounge) and the SK one next door.
I made my way to B18 and was nicely surprised to see an MD90 waiting. Again I had scored a bad seat (or so I thought) at check-in so I asked if anything was available in the front section. The pleasant agent gave me 6F a few minutes later. It turned out that this flight was rather full but luckily I had again an empty middle seat next to me.
The MD90 was pretty comfortable with generous legroom and modern seats. Boarding was soon completed and we pushed back at 12:20 pm for our one-hour flight to Copenhagen. OY-KIN entered runway 24 via twy S7 at 12:27 and started its takeoff roll after Singapore Airlines’ 9V-SMU (100th 747) took off. The takeoff roll took 22 second and climb was very impressive – the usual MD90 standard. A left turn followed and the seatbelt sign was switched off after no time at all.
Service was the usual cold meal, beef, potatoes and some greens this time. Pretty edible actually. Feeling thirsty, I decided to go for coke, water, baileys and tea later. We soon started our descent and flew over Malmö, Sweden and landed on 22L at 1:32 pm. Of course after I managed to get a seat in the front, we taxied to concourse C (non-schengen), so everybody needed to deplane via the tailcone… I was one of the last ones off the flight.
19 August 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK712
Copenhagen Kastrup – Helsinki Vantaa
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 14:20/15:05
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 16:55/17:37
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
LN-RLR “Vegard Viking“
Economy Class, Seat 9D
One of the advantages of using the C-concourse is that the bus literally takes you to the doorstep of the SAS lounges. The Scandinavian lounge was again a pleasant experience as always. I have described it before here so I won’t bother doing it again now… I had a refreshing Coke, checked my mail and headed to gate A8 for my connection to Helsinki.
Luckily I managed to get seat 9D instead of 24F given at AMS again… Boarding was on time but once onboard, the captain informed that they had one of the circuit breakers broken for some reason, it had to be checked by mechanics. Also a few pax who didn’t show up at the gate whose bags had to be found, assured that we weoudn’d be departing on time.
We were pushed back at 3:05 pm and headed towards runway 22R. LN-RLR entered it via taxiway A1 and took off after a 33-second roll at 3:17 pm for the short hop up north. Chicken was served on this flight, one of the best SK cold meals in my opinion. Big slices of chicken breast and rice. I had to settle for a coke this time as I had to drive home later in the afternoon – no more Baileys for me!
Soon we were on descent into Helsinki Vantaa airport and the city of Helsinki was visible on the right. We landed on 22L at 5:33 pm, exited via taxiway ZJ and arrived at gate 21 a few minutes later. A company MD80 (SE-DIN) was at HEL too as well as Finnair’s MD11 OH-LGA again. I quickly made it to the parking lot and drove home.
20 August 2002
Helsinki Vantaa – Frankfurt Main
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 09:35/09:35
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 11:10/11:00
Economy Class, Seat 10F
After a few hours of sleep at home, it was time to head back to HEL. This time I managed to get someone to drop me off there, so I saved 2 weeks of parking fees. SAS Self Service refused my ticket for some reason, so I headed to the Business class counter and was promptly given 10F, exit row window on the flight to Frankfurt. Unfortunately all the exit rows were blocked or taken on my connection to YVR.
SAS Business Lounge, Helsinki FI
I was more or less the only person in the lounge this morning. I enjoyed a quick breakfast, fixed the look of my shoes again and browsed the net for a while. I went to the gate rather early as it was a bus transportation to our aircraft.
D-AIPE, one of the early A320s was waiting in the overnight parking area near the hangars. I was greeted by a rather friendly and attractive lady at the door and took my seat in the exit row with excellent legroom. We started our taxi (no pushback needed) at 9:35 am and made our way to 22L via taxiway ZA. Eleven minutes later we started our 30-second roll and the Airbus took off for the two-hour flight to Frankfurt Main.
Service this morning was a continental breakfast as usual, warm rolls, rye bread, ham, lettuce, salmon and some sort of salad. Pretty good actually, and there was a Fazer chocolate bar for dessert. I opted for some apple juice and tea this morning. While eating, the captain informed us of the routing, HEL-TKU-Visby-CPH-HAM-HAJ-FRA at FL360 mostly.
After a smooth ride, we started our descent and landed on Frankfurt’s 07L at 10:55 am. A quick taxi to one of the remote stands near T2 followed, where a bus was waiting to take us back to T1. A few ATA L1011s were parked at the USAF base and the usual variety at FRA terminals.
20 August 2002
Frankfurt Main – Vancouver Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual):13:20/13:36
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 14:10/14:11
Boeing 747-230B M
Economy Class, Seat 25A
I went directly to this lounge and asked for a bulkhead or exit row – nothing available, what a surprise. Lufthansa needs to create some sort of premium zone for SENs and Star Golds I think. I thought of upgrading this segment but all I-seats were gone too when I came up with this brilliant idea.
The lounge was of course packed, I was lucky to find a seat in the TV section actually. I do find this B-pier Senator/First lounge ridiculously small. Both the internet terminals were occupied, all the comfy chairs near the windows taken and all the tables full. I had some small sandwiches and ice cream before it was time to head to gate B44 for boarding.
Lufthansa Business Lounge B, Frankfurt DE
Well, B44 was an absolute zoo at the indicated boarding time of 12:30 pm, so I made my way to this Business lounge, located right next to B44. Managed to get one of the two internet terminals there and checked my mail while enjoying some Coke. This lounge was actually pretty empty but of course the offerings of the C-class lounges are a light year behind the SEN lounges. I went to check the situation downstairs a few times and finally at 1:10 pm went through the passport check there.
At some point someone just opened the door, no announcement about boarding was ever made. It was a total madhouse with 374 pax trying to make their way onboard. No priority boarding whatsoever even for F class pax. I took my seat 25A, stowed my carry-on and discovered the non-existent legroom. The doors were closed at 1:30 pm and we were pushed back a few minutes later. On our way to 25R, we passed a bunch of interesting aircraft, including Thai’s HS-TGZ, SQ’s 9V-SMN, Air Europe B777, Royal Brunei 763, Cathay 744 and a Royal Air Maroc B737.
At 1:55 pm those four CF6s spooled up and the classic started its 52-second takeoff roll. Climb was of course rather lousy, considering the B747-200 was fully loaded for its 10-hour flight. Headsets were distributed after the seatbelt sign went off, the first one was totally dead, second one half-dead and third one worked after some good kicking. Drinks and peanuts followed, I had the usual coke and Baileys with ice.
The lunch service was a choice of chicken or beef, I took the former. It came with spaghetti and tomato sauce, some sort of salmon salad, rhubarb cake and a roll directly out of the freezer. I opted for white wine and some water with my meal. Refills were offered twice. Coffee/tea and Baileys/cognac were offered afterwards.
After the meal service, I managed to get quite a bit of sleep even though the seat felt awfully cramped. Only woke up as we were approaching the Rockies and hot towels were distributed before the second meal service. No choice this time, vegetarian pasta and cherry mousse for dessert for everybody. I wouldn’t have given that pasta to my dog, it was awful. My choice of drink was good old Coca-Cola this time.
The 747 started its descent from FL360 at 1:42 pm and I had some great views of the mountains before we reached the greater Vancouver area. Landed on 26R at 2:05 pm and arrived at gate 55 a few minutes later. Some of the interesting aircraft included a Philippine Airlines A340 (F-OHPK), AC Star Alliance A340, JAL 747-300 (JA8163) and a Korean 747-400.
After a few minutes of grilling at immigration (she was going through every single stamp in my passport and asked where Helsinki is… , my bag appeared amongst the first ones thanks to the priority tag.
Hertz Car Rental, Vancouver International Airport, BC
The car rental area was a zoo with customers complaining as many companies had no cars available… Hertz had exactly one, my red Ford Focus. The girl was pleasant and helpful, explained how to get to my hotel etc. No complaints from me. I was sort of expecting to have Neverlost but oh well – I survived without it!
British Columbia, August 20-22
Sheraton Guildford Hotel, Surrey BC
It took me about 40 minutes to get to my hotel but it turned out to be well worth it. I was upgraded to a club level room, which was very nice. It had a huge bed (definitely bigger than a king), a big sofa with a table in front of it as well as a working desk. There were also two bottles of water waiting and parking was complimentary for club level guests. Not to mention that the 17th floor offered rather nice views. A very nice Priceline stay I must say.
Having been to Vancouver twice before, I decided to see the surrounding areas too this time. Since I managed to get some sleep on the plane, after some Asian food at a nearby mall, I decided to drive up to Whistler for the night. I’m glad I did it, the drive up there was great and Whistler itself looked like a nice place. I must go there one day for a week or so.
On Wednesday I decided to drive to Chilliwack, as I know some people originally from there (now in Kingston, ON) and to see some of the valley. Nice little town – I had some lunch at Pizza Hut and filled up the car – gas was much cheaper than in Vancouver I thought.
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, Vancouver BC
Before dropping off the car, I decided to check-in to this Sheraton so I wouldn’t have to carry my luggage on the YVR Airporter. Check-in was efficient, no upgrade this time but I was given a nice king room anyway. This hotel was more modern than the one in Surrey, lighter colours were used in the rooms etc. Room had a great view towards Stanley Park.
I felt like checking my mails, so I decided to use the business centre. They charge $14.99 for the day there and you get a key card. Anyway it was more convenient than trying to find an internet café somewhere.
I dropped off the car at YVR – I was a bit worried of getting there on time but then realized it’s just all the way down Granville street. I then tried to change my seat assignment for AC33 to no avail. “Somehow I just can’t change it”, the guy said. Took the bus back to the hotel – at this point I regretted not renting the car for two days… I didn’t do much for the rest of my stay in YVR – some shopping at Metrotown and sightseeing in Gastown.
22 August 2002
Air Canada AC033
Vancouver Intl – Honolulu Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 19:00/19:09
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 21:55/21:40
Boeing 767-38E ER
C-GBZR “Free Spirit”
Economy Class, Seat 12F
I arrived at the Executive class check-in at around 4 pm and the same guy was greeting me there as the day before. He managed to get me a bulkhead aisle in the second cabin (I later got first fow of Y class at gate). He then checked that I have a visa for Australia and gave me a Fast track stamp so there would be no long wait at security. I then used one of the machines to pay the AIF and went through security to the MLL.
Maple Leaf Lounge International, Vancouver BC
I believe this used to be the Canadian Airlines lounge before the merger. It had three separate areas, two with large chairs and one smaller one for eating I think. Food selection was pretty decent, instant noodles, cheese, crackers, fruit, cookies etc. Drink selection was good too.
There were also two computers with internet connections, unfortunately a very slow dial-up connection though. Not up to the MLL Xerox Business Centre standards.
The aircraft for AC33 got in late from Heathrow and boarding started at around 6.50 pm at gate D53. The 767 looked a bit worn inside but my seat 12F had pretty decent legroom. The seats were the old Canadian ones. At this point I also noticed that all crew members had ID cards saying “Air Crew – Canadian Airlines International”. I thought that would have been switched to AC already. Soon the purser announced that no videos would be shown on the flight due to the system being out of order. Most people were pissed off and some just started laughing.
Pushback occurred at 7:09 pm, not that much delayed even though boarding started really late. Estimated flight time to the Hawaiian Islands was 5h20min at FL360. We taxied to 26L and took off after a 35-second roll at 7.24 pm. Soon after the seatbelt sign went off, the usual drinks and pretzels were served, followed by hot towels and eventually dinner. It was a choice of chicken or lasagne, I took the latter and it was pretty edible.
I passed out right after dinner only to wake up as we were on descent into Honolulu International. C-GBZR landed at 9.32 pm on 08L and taxied past a few United heavies and an ATA L1011 to an international gate. At this point the crew informed that there would be a change of aircraft at HNL due to the inop video system.
Immigration was quick, the guy was swearing at his computer not working properly and after a couple of questions I was through. I then picked up my bag and took it through customs to the Air Canada counter. I really don’t see the point of this – why can’t they just keep the bags on the plane or put them on the SYD bound one in case there is an aircraft change…
23 August 2002
Air Canada AC033
Honolulu Intl – Sydney Kingsford Smith
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 00:30/00:21
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 07:10/06:55
Boeing 767-38E ER
Economy Class, Seat 12F
I wish I could have stayed at HNL but unfortunately I just had to clear security again and wait for the connection to Sydney. The HNL MLL was a small room next to gate 26 with a selection of magazines and a full service bar. Drinks were readily available but snacks were lacking – only potato chips and biscuits. The room itself looked pretty worn – but of course this lounge beats sitting at the gate.
Boarding started at midnight – aicraft was again an ex-Asiana one, namely C-GDUZ. Seating was exactly the same as on GBZR and I was looking forward to getting some more sleep on this flight. We were pushed back at 12.21 am, taxied to 08R and took off after a 40-second roll at 12.36 am. I was pretty hungry at this point as it had been like 7 hours since the last meal. To my surprise, only a tiny portion of cold macaroni salad was served.
After the service was completed, I asked for an eyeshade since the big screen was right in front of me. The guy got me one from business class in less than two minutes – pretty nice. For those interested, the estimated flying time was 10h21min and the routing would take us directly to NAN first and then on to Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport.
Luckily I fell asleep rather quickly and managed to get some sort of bad sleep until the breakfast service started. Why they had to start it 2.5 hours before arrival, I have no clue. The choices were pancakes or eggs, I chose the eggs. Again pretty edible but the portion was ridiculously small. I was not impressed by AC’s meal service on these flights.
We left our cruising altitude at 6.31 am and landed on 34L nineteen minutes later. While descending, the crew told us to stay seated until they had completed spraying the stuff requited by the Australian authorities at the gate. I don’t know why this was done at the arrival gate; Lauda for example did it while on descent.
I was off the aircraft around 7.05 am, cleared quickly immigration and went to the baggage claim area. They changed the belt three times for AC33, and the area was a zoo anyway with the arrival of TG991 from Bangkok and MH from Kuala Lumpur. Fellow A.netter luftaom was greeting me in the arrivals hall and I had to face the freezing cold Sydney morning weather…
25 August 2002
Virgin Blue DJ203
Sydney Kingsford Smith – Brisbane Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 06:45/06:45
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 08:20/08:15
VH-VOA “Blue Belle“
Economy Class, Seat 22A
Since Virgin Blue had dirt cheap fares to BNE at some point, this was a good chance to sample their service. The itinerary of course makes no sense, let’s just call this trip “Breakfast in Brisbane”. Check-in at the so-called express terminal at Sydney was quick at this time in the morning, but I can see it getting rather miserable later in the day.
A Boeing 737-800 was waiting at gate 2, and boarding started at 6.25 am. The flight attendants were great looking and legroom was pretty decent. Not bad I thought. The flight was surprisingly full considering the departure time. We were pushed back at 6.45 am and took off from runway 25 ten minutes later.
I chose a Coke and Pringles from “a la cart”, 5 AUD was pretty reasonable. Flying up the coast towards Brisbane afforded some nice views as usual. Soon we were on descent into BNE and “Blue Belle” landed on runway 19 at 8.12 am and arrived at gate 38 a few minutes later.
25 August 2002
Virgin Blue DJ224
Brisbane Intl – Sydney Kingsford Smith
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 11:15/11:13
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 12:50/12:40
Economy Class, Seat 9F
Check-in lines were pretty bad but luckily the hand luggage only line was empty. Quickly checked in for the short hop back to Sydney and went to have some breakfast upstairs.
DJ224 started boarding at 10.55 am at gate 29 – the Virgin Blue gates looked busy at this point. A short walk through a funny little garden followed and VH-VGE was waiting on the tarmac. Was greeted by cute ladies onboard again and took my seat 9F. Legroom seemed pretty decent again.
We were pushed back at 11.13 am and the estimated flying time was one hour. Takeoff was from runway 19 at 11.20 am after a 27-second roll. Bought Pringles and Coke again and the flight down to Sydney passed pretty quickly. Descent started from FL340 at 15:05 pm and we landed on 16L at 12:30.
I was pretty happy with Virgin Blue overall, though I would pay the AUD10 extra to fly QF just to get my AA miles, priority check-in etc.
26 August 2002
Qantaslink QF2055 operated by Eastern Australia
Sydney Kingsford Smith – Canberra
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 06:25/06:33
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 07:15/07:12
Economy Class, Seat 11A
Since I had never been to Melbourne before, I decided that a day there would be well worth it. Routing via Canberra allowed to get extra miles of course! It was another early morning though, arrived at the QF check-in at around 5 am…ugh. The lady was pleasant enough, showed that my AA number appeared on her screen but somehow didn’t get printed on the boarding passes. I should have insisted on getting it on the passes as it turned out the flights never posted without sending in the stuff.
Next stop was a quick breakfast at one of the cafes. Bacon & egg toast was pretty good. We boarded a bus at gate 15 at around 6.20 am and were taken to our Dash-8, parked in some remote area. A friendly F/A greeted us at the door and I rook my seat in the back. We were pushed back at 6.33 am for the short hop to the capital of Australia. Took off two minutes later from 16R.
Service this morning was a breakfast box, namely a croissant, müsli bar, orange juice and coffee/tea later. The crew later served more coffee or tea and cookies. It was a sooth ride this morning and soon we were on descent into Canberra. I noticed the scenary to be very different from that of Sydney for example. This was my first time in the CBR area. We landed on runway 30 at 7.10 am and quickly taxied to the terminal and it was rather small.
Soon a 737 came in from Melbourne, it would be the plane for QF477 about half an hour later. Boarding started only at 7.50 am for the 8 o’clock departure. I grabbed a headset from the bin next to the door and was greeted by surly prison matrons at the door. Legroom was shocking in row 17, it felt considerably tighter than on Virgin Blue 737s.
We were pushed back at 7.58 am for the 50-minute hop down to Melbourne Tullamarine. Took off from rwy 30 after a 22-second roll at 8.05 am and another breakfast box was served. I can’t remember what was in there but somehow I think that the box must have been more expensive to produce than the contents.
Crew was very senior and constantly unfriendly – not a single smile on this flight. The views outside were rather nice though for someone who had never been south of Sydney in Australia. After an uneventful flight, we landed on MEL’s runway 27 at 8.53 am and arrived at gate 12 exactly an hour after leaving the gate at Canberra airport.
Melbourne, VIC, 26 August 2002
I checked in for my return flight at the CityFlyer desks and then headed to the city. The Sky Bus was very convenient and cost me 22 AUD return. As it was my first time in Melbourne, I walked a bit around the city snapping pictures here and there – generally I found it really nice. A bit European style I thought. Had lunch at a Thai fast food reataurant, cheap and tasty, and took the bus back to the airport at around 5 pm.
This was part 1… Hope it wasn’t too boring. Part 2 will be available in a few days.
Cmk10 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 513 posts, RR: 4 Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 months 20 hours ago) and read 7112 times:
Boring, hell. Your trip reports are some of the best on this website. You always cover everything so i have few questions. The only one I have was, was the AC lounge in HNL below ground in the same line with the Admirals club?
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
Aussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5 Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 7049 times:
Your trip reports are the best...
I was hoping to meet you but upon discussion with Brad our times didn't quite match, though I did watch your TG 744 depart Sydney a few weeks ago.
It's a pity Brad didn't tell me about your trip through CBR - I work at the airport there and I would have made the effort to come down early and show you around a bit... Yes it is small, but it's well looked after (at least the bit we are responsible for).
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 7054 times:
No, the MLL is not below ground. It is simply a room between gates 26 and 27. It has no Air Canada signs whatsoever, just a movable sign was brought outside for the AC flights in the evening. So I'm not sure if other airlines use this room as their lounge during the day?
Yeah the spraying ritual at gate was very strange but they difinitely did not forget it in the air. It was announced right after breakfast with about an hour of the flight left at least...
At first I had a LH ticket HEL-FRA-YVR-SYD and a Lauda ticket SYD-KUL-VIE-HEL but I had to get a day earlier to HEL so I had to cancel Lauda and bought TG/LH instead. Then somehow I booked the euro flights (super cheap SK fare to AMS and KL award to CDG) and the flights in Australia and NZ (SYD-AKL was FIinair award). I believe the total came to about €1600 inc. taxes. Might have gone for a Star Lite RTW as well if I didn't have all these one-way bookings in advance. That would have allowed me to stop at HNL and BKK... Oh well.
Ryan, off topic but since you're from SIN, do you happen to have any preference between the Pan Pacific/Oriental/Conrad in Singapore? I will be there 30-31 December and want to have a nice hotel for the short stay. Sort of leaning towards the Conrad at the moment as I am a HHonors Gold VIP.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 7024 times:
Aussie, glad you liked the report. It would sure have been fun to meet but oh well... Next time! The problem with my trips is that they're always too short! We don't have the holidays like Aussie universities!!!
I agree - CBR was a very nice airport and very convenient for connecting.
9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3 Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 months 12 hours ago) and read 7029 times:
Indeed an absolutely superior report, congratulations.
I´ve also spent a few nights at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver a couple of years ago. It is really a wonderful hotel, especially when you are given a room high up in the building.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 6957 times:
LPL: It was more or less all right... Of course I was tired for a week or so but I have much much worse jetlag when flying the other way around, i.e. west to east. It also helped that I managed to sleep some 7 hours in LH Business BKK-FRA.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6782 times:
I needed to fly out on a Saturday when NG flies from Melbourne only. I could have rebooked onto that one but since my NG ticket was refundable, I just opted to fly Thai and LH since it wasn't that much more expensive. And it turned out great - TG eco was superb again and LH gave me an upgrade.
Part 2 will probably follow this weekend, I have had too much uni work this week and will still have an exam on Friday...
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4706 posts, RR: 26 Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6736 times:
my recommendation would be the Conrad. Quiet and exclusive, small in size when compared to the surrounding hotels, but still right smack in the middle of town. It is rather arty farty too with sculptures and drawings all over the place. An excellent restaurant called "Oscar's" sits by the edge of the hotel. The serene surroundings within are a very strong point of this establishment. Dark marble fittings with gold trimmings litter the compound of the lobby giving it a rather subtle luxurious facade.
You are also a stone's throw from the Esplanade - the spanking new "spiky" performing arts arena.
Pan Pacific and Oriental are your normal run-on-the-mill 5 star hotel. Nothing special... You would be able to walk to those 2 hotels from the Conrad because they are all within the same compound in this area called Marina Square. So you can see why I strongly recommend the Conrad.
Wait a minute, before I blabber on.... have you been to Singapore before?
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6734 times:
Thanks for the info, I'll stick with the Conrad. I have been to Singapore once before, stayed at the Hilton back then but the Conrad seems to be cheaper for my dates and a nicer hotel as well I guess.
This time it will be just one night, I booked a DPS-BKK award ticket in business and since the ticket allows four sectors, I couldn't justify not continuing on to SIN as well as I'll get to sample SQ Raffles in addition to TG Royal Executive...
The777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6315 posts, RR: 56 Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6630 times:
Just a sentimental note; I flew on PH-BDR in Sep 1989 and it was one of the first flights where I took down the registration of the plane that flew on. I flew ARN-AMS or the other way when I lived in Stockholm. I connected to a very new plane at the time: a 747-400 (PH-BDR). Time flies.....The777Man
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, LX and LH 777s