CXoneWorld From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 311 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
It's finally time to reveal the latest Qantas' A330-300 international fleet, the best metals between Australia and Hong Kong's skies!! Personally I am much anxious to share the experience as it was by far one of my best flights in 2004!!
Date: 17 September 2004
Flight number: QF 67
Itinerary: Perth-Hong Kong
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration number: VH-QPF
Est. Departure time (local): 9.30am
Est. Arrival time (local): 5.15pm
Duration: 7hrs 45mins
Qantas operates 3x weekly direct between the 2 cities
The journey started with checking in at the airport in person, as much as I wanted Qantas to introduce an online service ... Right at the terminal, I noticed only one counter open for QF67, which wasn't surprising as I'd long expected loadings to be extremely lite. Earlier on, I'd read numerous reports of SYD/MEL-HKG flights with only 50-60 passengers onboard, so I was well prepared to see even fewer this time (remark: actual number of passengers were 70-80 in economy class) !! Anyway, a big plus of flying in low reason was the superior personal service passengers to receive. I was greeted by two gorgeous blondies at the counter . Warm and friendly services were then to follow. Overweight luggages were tagged with no question asked. There I asked for a window seat at the rear section of the aircraft, which was well accommodated with a smile .
A friendly reminder from the gorgeous ladies: "Sir, you are always welcomed to switch seat after take off, it's more or less an empty flight today"... Sweet, just as what I'd expected!!
Having cleared immigration and security procedures, I proceeded straight to the departure gate. The brand new A330-300, VH-QPF, was already there awaiting for passengers. For quite a moment I simply couldn't get my eyes off the bright and shiny bird!! Of course, afterwards I also went off and did some airside spotting, having come across some interesting ones including (Bali-based) Air Paradise's A310-300 (PK-KDW) and a South African's A340-200 (ZS-SLE) amongst the usual QF 763s and MH 772, etc.
At 9am, boarding commenced. It was smooth and swift and I enjoyed being greeted all the way from the depature gate to my seat by by the friendly and smiling crews . I went over to the galley and inquired about the A330-300 which according to the cabin crew on duty as her own personal favourite to work on. I couldn't agree more even from a passenger's point of view. The new A330-300 cabin interior was much more spacious and quieter than ever, and a big delight to fly on too (comparison with the 767ER :!: ). Apparently it helped when everything onboard was so fresh and new...
The aircraft was pushed back at 9.30am and prior to take off, there was the standard safety demonstration, featured in dual languages in English and Cantonese. However, at other times all Chinese PA were made in Mandarin. Out of the six crew in the EY cabin, one was Chinese speaking... which was interesting enough to note.
There were quite a few reasons I personally felt that the new Qantas service was the best link between Hong Kong and Australia. I used to fly with Cathay Pacific and only with them, during even the airline's most difficult times like the massive flight disruption in 2001 summer (the fact that PER was the first destination CX axed which caused me much frustration), 9/11 and SARS etc. However, I was increasingly alarmed at the airline's deteriorating service standard in economy class. My last experience onboard CX170/1 earlier had exposed me to the harsh reality of massive service cut, worn-out aircrafts, cocky personnel, and their hostile attitudes to selective passengers, particularly mainland Chineses and other non-English speaking Hong Kongers. Food were barely edible and the portion was ever diminishing. Bear in mind that it was I have no interest to bash Cathay, which is still in my far opinion, much better than many other airlines ; but for the love of my home town carrier (as I was born and grew up in HKG), I seriously hope CX could focus more resources on revamping the EY service, not just single mindedly on the front end, as it seems to be the company's strategy at the moment..
Hardwise, Qantas does offer a much better product than many of its competitors. The "slimline" economy class seats were further enhanced to provide extra cushioning and back support (as I noticed, they were different from the rest in QF fleet). They were now more comfortable than ever, and my top pick so far. Legroom was enlarged to a generous 34 inch, much nicer and realistic for long haul travel . In the premium cabin, all A330-300s were fitted with lie-flat business class seats, also known as the Skybed http://www.qantas.com.au/agents/dyn/qf/info/pdf/InternationalBusiness.pdf, which I'd love to try out in the future too!!
Now personal entertainment had finally come as a standard feature onboard Qantas, and they are soon to be upgraded to AVOD in January 2005. Right now passengers are already pampered with a well-balanced selection of 18 video and 16 radio channels, including the latest blockbuster, comedies, news, sports and documentaries, etc. Not bad already, i reckon!!!
Back to the flight, soon after the aircraft was air borne. The inflight manager welcomed passengers onboard again over the PA system. She was proudly introducing the new A330-300 international fleet and going over some of its inflight features. Entertainment units were then switched on and the crews were out there to distribute headphones and menus cards. Meals included a lunch and a hot refreshment, snacks in-between, plus cup noodles on request. Clearly more than adequate for an 8hour flight.
(photo credit: nice pic by Thomas Chan, a mate of mine!! )
(photo credit: another nice one by Thomas Chan, thank you very much!!)
The inflight magazine was a special edition to commemorate the QF's new multi-million "I still call Australia home" marketing campaign (also the most expensive ad in Australian history). I'd watched the commercial on tele but frankly that was just a remake of the original concept. Whether the $$ was well spent was clearly debatable, at least to me...
The flight was cruising at an altitude of roughly 10900-11000km. And the contrasting Aussie landscapes were on display out of the window --> very impressive sights !!
Lunch soon followed. And my choice was the beef rice dish, which tasted okay. However, highlight of the meal was the heavenly desert . After the meal each passenger was given an individual bottle of water. And every hour the crew did a water run with soft drinks, boozes, juices and packaged snacks on offer...
Over the flight, some minor turbulence was come across over the Java sea, which was otherwise a very stable and smooth journey (out of the norms for PER-HKG-PER). Apparently I was more than hydrated for the remainder of the flight, having had a coke + apple juices + bottle of water + a beer + a tea + another glass of water... which all together made me a frequent visitor to the washrooms owing to biological urges :D. At other times, I was enjoying the movies. I actually watched "Shrek 2" twice and it was still as hilarious as the first time, a highly recommended comedy!! Also, the crew were out there to entertain and chat with every passenger onboard. I got a whole lot of souvenirs to bring home from them...Thanks a million!!
Then came the 2nd meal of the flight at 4pm, which was some stir fried vegetarian noodles, tasted absolutely awful, however !! The flight was rather uneventful afterwards, as we prepared to descend into HKG. Flying over the HKG seas, it was the comforting thoughts of being at home... Nice!!
Gardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1518 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Nice report and pics.
I have flown PER-HKG return twice, once on CX and once on QF.
The QF loads were low(back in the 763 days) and CX (330) were always high.
I also wonder how QF can keep this service in operation, unless there is a lot of cargo to keep it going. CX is lucky because it gets all the transit pax through HKG (Europe, North Asia, USA), but with QF it is primarily O&D.
I wonder if it would make sense if CX added a 4th service, and then both CX and QF codeshared on the route to offer a daily service, that way offering a daily Europe connection via HKG, and importanly, connecting with the new QF HKG-LHR service.
I know at one point CX were looking at a fourth frequency but it never did eventuate.
QFKangaroo747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 116 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
This is a great report and it's always nice to see Qantas doing a good job. It's a shame that their load factor is not up on PER-HKG, especially since it seems they are offering such a decent product. Great pics, they brought back memories of my SYD-LAX trip on QF last year - I may be wrong but the Y cabin on the 330 looked remarkably similar to that on the 744, in terms of seat pitch and IFE. I'm yet to fly on a QF 330, but I've been wanting to for so long, and you've pretty much convinced me that it's worthwhile. Is there a huge difference between domestic and international QF330's? I agree with your comments about the latest QF marketing scheme, the 'I still call Australia Home' commercial is still largely based on the original concept, but it's always inspirational and I admit I never get sick of seeing it!
Qantasflyer From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 396 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I may be wrong but the Y cabin on the 330 looked remarkably similar to that on the 744, in terms of seat pitch and IFE
QFkangaroo747 the A333 IFE screens seem to be shaped slightly differently and i may be wrong, but to the eye it seems that the size of the screens is smaller than on the 744. CXoneWorld maybe you could clear this up?
Qanats077 look forward to reading your trip report!
Qantasflyer That's the spirit. The Spirit of Australia!
Docpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1938 posts, RR: 3 Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Very good report. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
I flew Qantas SIN-CDG in April and CDG-SIN in May on a special deal of 781 Singapore dollars with taxes included for the return trip!
I had OJA on the way out and OJB on the way back. OJA was tired, OJB seemed newish.
I'm surprised they offered you snacks like cup noodles in between meals, for during my 13 hour flights to and from Paris, no snacks were available besides that "Snack on Q" bag which consisted of a couple of biscuits and chocolates which could be finished in 3 minutes.
When I went to the galley to ask for snacks like sandwiches or cup noodles, the crew told me that they only had little packets of peanuts! (Perhaps they knew they were axing the CDG route in a few months so they just didn't bother spending on it?)
If your PER-HKG trip is anything to go by, it looks like QF have improved their food service vastly since May. I look forward to your return leg of the report.
QFKangaroo747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 116 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Qantasflyer - now that you mention it, the IFE screens do look a bit smaller than those on the 744, but then they seem to have a larger 'frame' of plastic bordering them on the A330, so maybe it's just an illusion.
Hope someone can clear this up for us.
Qantasflyer From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 396 posts, RR: 2 Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
QFKangaroo747 you are right, the frame of plastic is larger, and this may be an illusion i am having about the screen size however it still seems smaller, maybe they will be replacing it in JAN when they begin installing AVOD. I too hope someone can clear this up.
AirNewZealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2538 posts, RR: 6 Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Just did a FRA-SIN-SYD-BNE-AKL.
Ill try my best to clear some things up for you.
In regards to snacks onbaord, they are only on the SYDHKG and v.v route as CX has them onboard so they must compete. (I know this seems weird as they are in the same alliance- but was told this in training).
The A330 were deployed on the HKG route because CX is using this aircraft to Auz.
Now on the SINFRA route which is over 12hours we donot serve a snack at all. The only snacks we have onboard is TimTams, Peanuts and Jellibeans. I know that is nothing, but unfortunately that is it.
Alot of crews report this on their ICAN's to SYD, but they still ahve not done anything about it.
This is how different the services is between Auz and Asia and Asia and Europe....
SYD to Asia
Bar service (depends on time of day)
Dessert (Depends on Time of Day)
Water bottles distributed
Snacks available (HKG only)
Flight time (6.30-7.50)
SIN to Europe
Snack On Q
Flight time: 11.30 and higher
Now we do water services during the flight aswell, and you can ask us for anything, remember that.
First of heard of AVOD tho, I was told that we wernt getting AVOD, just more movies. But things do change fast around here. You guys are most probably more informed than we are.
AJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2376 posts, RR: 27 Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Good to see a complimentry trip report, well done!
To clear a few things up: "The A330 were deployed on the HKG route because CX is using this aircraft to Auz."
The A330 has been deployed as the container space is much greater that the trusty 767, plus the fact that LD3 containers can be transhipped with greater ease. Hong Kong is a big freight market for Qantas.
MEL-NRT will return to a 767 next year for ten months.
Qantasflyer From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 396 posts, RR: 2 Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
SIN to Europe
Snack On Q
Flight time: 11.30 and higher
AirNewZeland im pretty sure QF also offer water bottles on flights to Europe, with bar service and dessert very similar to the Asian bound flights Although i may be wrong. Am not aware of snacks other than the snack on Q bag being offered, which is pretty descent i might add.
And yes QF will be installing AVOD from JAN 2005, says so on their website.
Audio and video on demand (AVOD)
With audio and video on demand (AVOD)* you can select up to 70 movies and TV selections and 300 audio albums. Plus you have total control - start, stop, pause, fast forward and rewind programs at your leisure.
*AVOD will be progressively introduced across the A330-300 International fleet from January 2005.
They will be installed on the A333s firs and then onto the B747s
Qantasflyer That's the spirit. The Spirit of Australia!
BAe146TOM From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 228 posts, RR: 5 Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Absolutely wicked! Amazing report with hard to beat pictures!I would love to fly an A330 had great reports about it! So how long exactly is the flight from Perth-Hong Kong?
Thanks again for the great report!