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Long Report Air China Longhaul And SN Brussels  
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 4
Posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6514 times:

30 December: Canberra - Sydney
Qantaslink QF1408, Dash 8 Q300 VH-TQM, Seat 7A, 31pax 4 crew
Pushback: 0813
Takeoff: 0818 Runway 35
Landing: 0856 Runway 16R
On Blocks: 0858



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Photo © Gabriel Savit



I checked in about two hours early, with my bags checked through to Beijing (they wouldn’t check me through to Moscow), then met up with a colleague for some urgent work in the terminal (I work for the airport). Now that I’m silver status with Qantas, I don’t really need to check-in early and request my seat preferences – it’s all preallocated for me. Since I’ve been silver I’ve always received my window seat without even asking. The other major benefit is to get a human voice on the phone almost immediately when calling up rather than waiting the 30mins-1 hour I used to hang around on the phone for!!

The flight was a regular Sydney shuttle that I have taken many times before. But it was a pleasant surprise to find myself on VH-TQM, one of the newer Q300s and one of the few I have yet to fly on. I am a convert to the Dash 8s. I used to hate them, but the Q300s are not only quiet in the cabin but also offer substantially more legroom than the 737-400s that also ply the route (and every other Qantas flight out of Canberra) and which I have learned to dislike intensely…

Flight departed and arrived on time and a light refreshment was served.

30 December: Sydney - Shanghai Pudong - Beijing Capital, 133 pax 19 crew (sector 1)
Air China CA176, 777-200 B-2065, Seat 16A
Sector 1 SYD-PVG
Pushback: 1234
Takeoff: 1248 Runway 16R
Landing: 1945 Runway 35
On Blocks: 1952
Sector 2 PVG-PEK
Pushback: 2348
Takeoff: 0000 Runway 35
Landing: 0148 Runway 36R
On Blocks: 0152



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Photo © WEIMENG



After taking the Qantas domestic-international transfer bus, always a pleasure for spotters as it is effectively a quick back-stage tour of Sydney airport including the Qantas jet heavy maintenance facilities, I arrived at the international departure lounge. With heaps of time on my hands, I headed straight to the Air China counters, where check-in was only just commencing. I requested and was provided with a ‘window’ seat, though soon discovered on entering the aircraft that the seat was one of the ‘missing windows’, that seem to mysteriously exist on many planes (anyone know why?). I had plenty of time to check my emails on the free email booths provided in the terminal before going through immigration and customs. The queue for immigration was huge – luckily I had given myself plenty of time – it took a good 30mins to get through, plus more time for security checks afterwards.

Interestingly, I asked for my LH Miles and More details to be put into the system at check-in to be told that their booking system only accepted Air China FF and that I would have to send my boarding passes in retrospectively. Surely this is something they need to rectify – I can’t imagine LH would be too pleased with that system!

Air China operates from the Qantas end of the international terminal, and whilst the retail is as good as the other half of the international terminal, the gate areas need work. There is barely any seating at many of the gates that regularly host fully-laden 747-400s and the white-painted bricks looks really bad and old-fashioned, out of character for what is really a modern first-class terminal in many other ways.

We boarded a little late (15mins), due to the late arrival of the arriving aircraft, but we were able to catch that up enroute to Shanghai. The passenger load was very light with an empty seat next to me and had I wanted it, full empty blocks of 5 seats in the centre section of the economy cabin – a blessing for anyone wanting a good sleep.

The safety video was as per usual, but all in Chinese with rather dubious English subtitles. Also, there seemed to be no formal checking that passengers had actually done up their seatbelts or switched off their mobiles (many had not) before take-off. As for having the seat in the upright position, it was made rather difficult by my temperamental seat which decided to recline at the slightest bit of weight being placed on it – it became a major annoyance when I was trying to eat.

Air China reminds me of flying in the late 1980s and 1990s, in both the good and bad ways. On the good side, Y class legroom was far better than anything I have had recently and the seats were comfortable (none of these hard slim-line seats). However on the negative side, all entertainment was on the mainscreen (no such luxury as PTVs on Air China), much of it only in Chinese and the western movies they did show were old (eg: Sister Act 2) and repeated on each subsequent flight.

After take-off a full lunch was provided, with a choice of pork or beef. I had the beef, which was quite tasty. All food on Air China was Chinese style but very edible and despite warnings from some previous travellers, I was generally able to identify what food was actually being served. Along with dinner, there were several passes by the drinks trolley, which offered only the basics – apple, tomato and orange juice, water, coke, sprite and green tea/coffee. The trolley accompanying the meal had the additional option of (Chinese) red and white wine and beer.

Soon cabin crew came around asking everyone to close the window blinds and switched off the lights, despite being a daytime flight. I watched Sister Act 2 for a bit of nostalgia before getting a bit of rest. Crew came round regularly with water for passengers.

The flight was reasonably smooth but with a couple of turbulent periods. When this happened, an announcement was made on the PA system about returning to seats and fastening seatbelts. However absolutely no checking was done by F/As and the announcements were totally ignored by passengers. And what made it more complicated is that Air China have a policy of leaving the seatbelt sign on the entire flight (like is common these days with the no smoking sign), and with no announcement made on when the turbulence was supposed to be over, it was anyone’s guess, as the seatbelt sign was never switched off!!!

Two hours before touchdown, lights came on and the regular exercise session was shown on the main screen. On this flight (not on later flights) the commentary was played over the PA in Chinese and it surprised me the number of passengers who were quite obviously following the exercises dutifully from their seats. With DVT and all other health risks from flying, I suppose it’s good that Air China do this and that passengers take it seriously. The exercise program probably lasted a good 15-20mins and after it was completed dinner was served, with a choice of fish or duck. I chose the duck, which was really excellent. The same drink service applied as with lunch.

Soon after we touched down in Shanghai. Parking at a remote stand, we deplaned into busses – the one catch is it was about -10 and a freezing wind. I felt really sorry for the pretty Irish girl sitting near me who was wearing open sandals and had not warmer shoes to change into!!! More worrying (quite appalling actually) was that the open stairs were totally iced over at the bottom 3-4 steps resulting in 5-10 pax having rather nasty slip-and-falls off the bottom of the stairs. No-one injured thankfully but the staff really couldn't seem to care less!!!!!!

Usually I enjoy brief stopovers at airports but I was soon wishing we had simply stayed on board. Not only was it freezing cold with a howling wind, but once we were in the terminal there was no chance to look around or even sit down. We quite literally got a back-stage look at the airport as transit pax were herded down dark passageways, up and down stairs clearly not meant for passengers until we reached a border post, where we all had to clear Chinese customs and immigration (I had expected it in Beijing). After a few complications for transit pax (beyond Beijing) who never expected to have to clear immigration and had no visa – luckily I got a visa knowing I would overnight in Beijing – we were led through a further maze and finally into an overcrowded and crazy domestic departures gate area. It seems that delays across the system meant that Air China intended to merge our flight with another flight to Beijing, thus making the flight a domestic service rather than an international connection service (hence clearing immigration early). We waited in a huge queue with no idea as to what was going on, especially as all announcements were in Chinese and the gate showed two separate flights to Beijing with different status (one boarding, the other delayed). But eventually the line started moving and once at the gate they accepted our transit passes and we herded once again onto the bus and out to the plane. Very carefully climbing the icy stairs, we boarded, the plane fuller than the flight from Sydney (though as they declined to fill out my questionnaire I provide to the captain I don’t have the exact numbers). I was surprised to see the flight and cabin crew was the same – in Australia I’m sure crew would be off-duty after a 10 hour long-haul sector!

Once on board it soon became clear we were not about to take off immediately, despite already being about an hour late. We were told first that we were awaiting more passengers and later that the airport was closed due to ice being cleared from the runway. This was a little dubious as whilst it was bitterly cold, it wasn’t snowing and the airport didn’t look to iced up… that and the fact that muffled roars sounding very much like planes taking off could be heard at reasonably regular intervals.

However almost 2.5 hours late, we did eventually push back and soon took off for Beijing. A light snack of rather disgusting sandwiches was then served along with drinks. I pretty much fell asleep straight afterwards and woke up on approach into Beijing.

In Beijing, passengers from Sydney were separated from the domestic passengers and guided to a separate hall to collect luggage and clear customs. But with the airport effectively closed (our flight much later than scheduled) and about 1 customs officer on duty, everyone was pretty much waved through.

My Air China hotel voucher in hand, myself and another Irish guy off my flight who also had a voucher went off in search of the counter where we were supposed to get transport to the hotel. Not finding it, we headed back into the customs area where an Air China rep went off to find us someone. The sandal-clad Irish girl who I mentioned earlier was also on overnight transit but had not been given a voucher and had no place to stay. So the two of us suggested she just come with us and try and talk her way into a room at the hotel at Air China’s expense (after all the hotel is owned by the airline). We finally got a van that took us the 10min trip the dark hotel where we spent the next half hour trying to work out what was happening re accommodation. Lisa, the Irish girl wasn’t having any luck so I offered that she could sleep in my room. The reception desk people didn’t look too pleased but had nothing to say. But once in the room it was more complex. It truly was a single room. One very small single bed and even less floorspace around it. Poor Lisa who refused to let me give her the bed slept on what little floorspace there was with a blanket we found stuffed on top of the cupboard. I suppose it beat sleeping in the airport and there was a good hot shower in the room the next morning.

The next day us three transit pax met at breakfast, which mainly proved inedible then headed to the airport again. Lisa and the other Irish guy were booked on the 1230 flight to London Heathrow and soon had to check-in and leave, leaving me with a few hours to spare before I could check-in for my next sector to Moscow Sheremetyevo. There is a long enclosed walkway between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 in Beijing which offers good views of the tarmac, hosting all manner of Chinese airlines – a pleasant change to the spotting available in Australia.

31 December: Beijing Capital - Moscow Sheremetyevo, 48 pax 17 crew
Air China CA909, 777-200 B-2060, Seat 35A
Pushback: 1454
Takeoff: 1508 Runway 36R
Landing: 1759 Runway 25R
On Blocks: 1806



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Photo © Red-Phoenix AirPics



I soon checked in for the Moscow flight and headed through security and immigration, which took a very long time. Once in, I was impressed by the large number of shops and facilities available in the international concourse, plus once again some good views over the tarmac. The day was cold and clear so the views were good.

We boarded on time and it soon was clear that the flight was VERY empty. But even I was surprised to find out we had a total of 48 passengers on a 300-odd seat aircraft… Everyone had an entire row to themselves, which proved great to lie down and sleep on a block of five seats then migrate to a window for take-off and landing. Service was not surprisingly quick with the usual routine for lunch and then a snack on landing in Moscow. I slept for much of the flight as the video entertainment seemed to be much the same as the previous flights and I was quite tired after a short night’s sleep the night before.

Landing was smooth in a snowy Moscow, but taxiing was very slow and delicate, especially as the final taxi to the gate was over snow, not a cleaned tarmac. But there were no issues and we were soon deplaning onto the airbridge. Being New Year’s eve, the arrivals area was deserted, but that didn’t stop the Russian border officials taking a very long time to process us few passengers. But much better than the hours my brother and I spent a year earlier in the same (then crowded) arrivals hall!!!

7 January: Moscow Domodedovo - Brussels, 77 pax 5 crew
SN Brussels Airlines SN2836, A319-100 OO-SSM, Seat 9E
Pushback: 1454
Takeoff: 1508 Runway 36R
Landing: 1759 Runway 25R
On Blocks: 1806



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Photo © Wim Callaert - Brussels Aviation Photography



After a nice week in Moscow and St Petersburg, it was time for the trip to continue. After arriving at the modern and very un-Russian Domodedovo airport (unless you look at the lines of Tupolevs and Illuyshins outside!), we soon checked in and were allocated our seats. The check-in agent changed our boarding passes to reflect earlier boarding; as it turned out headwinds meant the flight was longer than usual and as the plane arrived early, they departed early to compensate – good thinking!

SN Brussels Airlines are really the best European airline I have flown in a long time. Free newspapers were available on boarding, and soon after takeoff there was a very tasty full hot meal service (really tender chicken breast, rice and vegetables). They provided a full drinks trolley beforehand (unlike Air China this included well-known brands of cognac, champagne etc), a separate hot bread service and then tea and coffee. The A319 was spotless and very comfy, and the crew really friendly and helpful. I loved the lovely drop-down LCD screens, similar to what Qantas have in their 737-800s. However without audio entertainment units installed, only visual images were shown (cartoon show).

Before landing the crew came round with Belgian chocolates for all passengers. I also love their inflight "magazine". It is printed as a newspaper and published weekly. And rather than being mostly ads, it’s full of interesting info and articles plus all the usual airline related stuff.

It made be proud to be a Belgian citizen (well half, anyway!), even if I don’t live there!

It’s also worth noting that SNBA are often the cheapest option around Europe (by far the cheapest ex Moscow), and they have useful one-way pricing.

We landed on schedule and deplaned on Pier A right at the end, meaning the dreaded long, long walk to the baggage collection areas. Whilst there are moving walkways, it is still a long way to go.

* * *

I’ve run out of puff for the minute, so I’ll write the return Paris-Shanghai-Sydney-Canberra on Air China A340-300 and 777-200 and Qantaslink Dash 8-100 at a later stage and post as a reply. Thanks for reading so far and don’t hesitate to ask any questions!



9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineXJRamper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2461 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6395 times:

Good report. Just need to warn ya...you might have people that may not like the fact your report is lacking your own pics.(Not me).

Very good report.

XJR



Look ma' no hands!
User currently offlineFlying Belgian From Belgium, joined Jun 2001, 2392 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6364 times:
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Great report to read Aussie !!

Nice to have a mix of Air China and... SNBA !

I also like the SNBA 319 !! It's such a beautiful plane really.


FB.



Life is great at 41.000 feet...
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 6084 times:
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Nice report,many thanks.

I've flown Air China myself from PEK>PVG and back. Nice trips,food was good on the outbound flight,but lacking on the return to PEK,this was in Business Class.

I would use them again.though they have a way to go before you can board knowing what to expect.

I look forward to your return report.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 5998 times:

BA319: In terms of knowing what to expect, I would disagree. The service was pretty consistent in Y on all flights, though a bit below standards on most first-rate international carriers. But perhaps

Flying Belgian: Yes I love the A319 too - my only other A319 flight was on Air France some years ago, but being a bit of an Airbus fan, it was well and truly up to standard!


User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 5984 times:
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Hi Aussie,

Sorry mate,but I have to disagree.On my first flight the crew were superb as was the meal service,everything was just great. The return trip was far from being on par with the first flight.

Still,i'd fly them again.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5831 times:

aircraft that the seat was one of the ‘missing windows’, that seem to mysteriously exist on many planes (anyone know why?).

This to allow the wiring and ducts to connect from the uppper part of the fuselage to the lower sections.

The safety video was as per usual, but all in Chinese with rather dubious English subtitles.

This seems to be a trend when it comes to English in China. Frequently it is a direct and literal translation from the Chinese language itself and it doesn't really come out right.

Overall, it is an interesting insight into a seldom mentioned airline (CA). They seem like an airline with no-frills. However, they seem to be rather disorganised with regards to handling pax with overnight transfers.

Ryan



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineB-HXB From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 745 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5571 times:

Hey Aussie

Great report  Smile Don't see many CA ones

Flew CA 777 between PVG and PEK recently... agree with the safety video (although the music is quite nice) and all the relevant aspects are mentioned... what really cracked me up though was when the flight hostess was fitting the kid with the life jacket. Poor kid didn't know what was going on and the flight hostess kept gripping him by the shoulders and turning him 90 degrees like he was being naughty!


User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5539 times:

Well, it's probably time to post on the return sector.

Lucky, transport to CDG airport in Paris is very easy, connected with a TGV as well as a local 'RER' railway station into the city. As I was in a hotel near the Gare du North (North railway station), it was particularly easy with a direct RER connection to the airport.

Once at the T1/T3 station at the airport, we had to wait about 10mins for a bus to take us the remainder of the way to the terminal. I arrived with over two hours to spare - no problems at all.

I have been through T1 several times. It's an architectural masterpiece, but is seriously aging now. Give it a $20-30m makeover and it could be amazing again... The one major flaw in my view is the limited space for check-in, but I suppose when it was built, it was not designed for the passenger numbers seen through the terminal today. However, by the looks of the downstairs foodhall, there are attempts at renovation and the work completed downstairs so far was quite effective.

Anyway, check-in was open for Air China and I soon had my boarding pass and seat allocation. The agent informed me that (as per all previous CA flights) there were plenty of empty seats. Great!!! My bags were checked though to Sydney, and I confirmed that on the baggage label attached to my suitcase.

12 January: Paris CDG - Shanghai Pudong, 127 pax 18 crew
Air China CA950, A340-300 B-2387, Seat 32A
Pushback: 1916
Takeoff: 1943 Runway 27L
Landing: 1308 Runway 35
On Blocks: 1312



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Photo © Allen Yao



Once again we boarded a few minutes late due to a slightly late arrival of the aircraft, but nothing to cause any major concern. It occured to me that as it seems the aircraft (at least the CA ones I flew) sit on the ground in China for a considerable time, it might be worth increasing turnaround times at foreign airports to give a little more 'fat' in terms of slightly late arrivals. I also noted that scheduled flight times were often very close to actual takeoff-landing flying times, without any additional time built in as is common with many other airlines.

I was pleased to be onboard my favourite plane - the A340, this one a A340-300 series, providing a little variance from the Air China 777 experience I otherwise had. Though in terms of passenger comfort I have to say the Air China A340 didn't quite match up to the 777. Seat pitch, whilst still very generous by airline standards was tighter than the 777 and the seats were harder. Luckily the light passenger load compensated (though I narrowly missed out in the rush to secure the 4-seat blocks between the aisles) and i was able to rest well.

A very long taxi out and wait for takeoff ensued, being 4th or 5th aircraft in a row for takeoff. I know it happens a lot, but it's the first time in a long time I remember such a queue - last time was my last vtrip through Heathrow, which today I avoid wherever possible (so far successfully).

We took off and soon the standard dinner service was rolled out - this time choice was beef or chicken and I took the beef. It wasn't all that great, but edible. Soon after I fell asleep, as Spiderman 2 came up on the screen (wow! a reasonably recent western movie!). However I'd seen it enough times not to be interested. In fact I didn't watch the video screen at all for the entire trip back to Sydney.

I awoke from my slumber as the lights came on for breakfast, about two hours before landing. A 'western' breakfast option was offered for the first time, and indeed it was quite edible (as much as hot airline breakfasts can be!) with mushroom omelete, bacon and a sausage. Then there came the mandatory in flight exercises before things started winding down for landing.

We landed smoothly and this time pulled up to one of the airbridges (no sliding down icy stairs today!!!). We were soon disembarked.

Though I was in transit, I intended to quickly head into the city to get a ride on the new Maglev airport train. So I followed the arriving passengers. Experience on the way over and suspicion led me to the baggage belt, just in case someone stuffed up and decided to release my bag in Shanghai rather than keeping it for the Sydney flight. My suspicion was well founded and indeed second bag onto the belt was mine... If only it was so quick when I actually WANTED my bag!!!! (I always seem to be among the last off). Seeing little option, I took my bag, proceded without problem through the customs x-ray point and into the arrivals hall.

The first thing I did was to go to departures to put my bag back into the system, trying to explain to several staff with very little English that my bag was actually checked through to Sydney and that's what the receipt on my ticket also said and could they please take it back. But it soon became clear that they weren't going to accept it back, nor were they going to check it in again. "Check-in start two half hour for flight". They then motioned to the nearby left luggage counter which no doubt made a roaring trade out of transit pax like me. But I cannot help to wonder what would have happened if I had decided to spend the 8 hours in transit and not made my way to the baggage belt at all. No doubt a long wait to get my bags courriered from China???

My pocket slightly lighter (thankfully prices aren't too high in China) and my bag stored away in the left luggage, I proceded to the Maglev station. I wont write it as a trip report, but given the train travels at 430kmh cruise and strictly flies (well, at least it doesn't physically touch the ground), I was tempted in a cheeky way to include it in my flight log!!! It's an incredible experience. The track's only 30km, but the train completes it in 7minutes (from start to stop). You work out the average speed!!!!! There's a counter in the train showing speed and it stayed for about 3mins at 430km/h. Things sure passed pretty quickly out the window!!! Return ticket at about USD10 made it a very worthwhile experience.

After a short metro ride into town, I wandered around for about half an hour, but didn't venture very far from the metro, not having a map, and then returned to the airport via metro and maglev.

I read my book for a while until it was 2.5 hours before. Lines of people were already congregating around the counters identifying the Sydney flight, but it was only 1hr45 before the flight was scheduled to depart that staff decided to come and check-in. By then the lines were enormous - it looked like the Sydney flight wasn't going to be as empty as the others I had taken. I checked in and got seat 13K - great, a window near the front!

13 January: Shanghai Pudong - Sydney, 229 pax 19 crew
Air China CA175, 777-200 B-2066, Seat 13K
Pushback: 2141
Takeoff: 2148 Runway 35
Landing: 1116 Runway 34L
On Blocks: 1119



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Photo © Sam Chui



Though there were a few flights departing, the departure concourse looked and felt deserted. Sometimes that's the impact of these massive new airports that exist today. Most shops were also closed which didn't help. It was certainly the opposite to the mayhem in the domestic departures area at the same airport on the way over. Even just before boarding, it didn't look like there were many passengers for my flight. But once on board (there were also transit passengers from Beijing it seems), it soon became clear that whilst not totally full, the flight was quite well patronised.

There seems little point running through the service on board again. Again there was dinner after takeoff and breakfast before landing. I noted that Spiderman 2 was playing again. I had a passenger next to me for the first time, which made sleeping harder (and I obviously didn't pick the best posture as my back hurt for days afterwards), particularly as i once again was landed with a seat that decided it wanted to recline all the time.

On landing, as with all other flights, the crew welcomed us to Sydney and announced (after the Chinese verion) "Welcome to take Air China. We hope to fly with you soon again".

I picked up my two bottles of duty-free grog then proceeded through immigration. As per usual when I WANT my bag, it was almost the last off the plane, and so had to join the huge customs queue behind most other passengers from my flight and several others that had landed around that time. Australian customs are very rigorous compared to all other places I've been to, and it's a long process. But I had no problems, as I wasn't carrying anything naughty, nor any mysterious Chinese food (but it seemed most other passengers were, hence the long wait) and was out into the arrivals area heading to the Qantas domestic transfer check-in.

14 January: Sydney - Canberra, 34 pax 3 crew
Qantaslink QF1451, Dash 8-100 VH-TQF, Seat 6A
Pushback: 1426
Takeoff: 1431 Runway 34L
Landing: 1511 Runway 30
On Blocks: 1513



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Photo © Frank Schaefer



The Qantas check-in at the international terminal is a great little system that certainly encourages me to fly Qantas as a connecting service - you check-in your bag again, get your boarding pass and get a direct bus service to the Qantas domestic terminal. It sure beats finding your way to the station coughing up a ridiculous amount for on stop on the train and having to make your way into the Qantas terminal the long way. The bus (as mentioned before) is also a great little spotting trip around Sydney Airport.

My flight was on one of the older Dash 8-100 series, soon to be retired. So it was great to once again have a flight on one of these workhorses of the Qantaslink fleet, but it was a pity to be travelling on VH-TQF, a repeat registration when there are still quite a number of the fleet I have yet to fly on.

The flight to Canberra was delayed by 15mins due to refuelling issues, but we soon boarded. Once on board, the pilot explained that due to our full load of passengers and baggage, some fuel needed to be offloaded due to weight restrictions, especially given the heat. The pilot also announced that Canberra was sitting at a blistering 38 degrees C with strong winds. Just great... NOT

We did a quick intersection takeoff on the main Runway 34L and from then on until landing in Canberra we were bounced around like nothing I have ever experienced before. The captain was apologetic - changing flight level would only make it worse, and he wouldn't let the cabin attendant out of her seat to give us our snack (not that many stomachs in the plane would have handled any food!!). Landing in Canberra was rough, and the weather hit us as soon as we stepped out the doorway of the Dash 8. Welcome back to the Australian summer. It didn't help I was dressed for the European/Chinese winter!

I hope you enjoyed the report!


User currently offlineAirWales From UK - Wales, joined Oct 2004, 453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5358 times:

Great report. Going to Beijing soon myself so the info was great.

Thanks.


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BRU-HEL And Back With AY And SN posted Wed Aug 16 2006 11:17:48 by BrightCedars
July Trip Report: CX, EK, NW, And SQ posted Wed Jul 19 2006 16:22:54 by Carfield

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