13 June 05
Last night I had stayed with my aunt, where my father was also staying. He had arranged for a cab to take us to the airport. Unfortunately he had arranged to be picked up at 6am for a 08:55 flight. Previous experience had told me that this was more than enough, but it was too late to rearrange by the time I had arrived.
The early arrival at LHR had allowed us to get reasonable seats, even though all the window seats had been taken. To kill the time we had some food at the BA lounge, and I took a few photos of the incoming flights, but the light was wrong for any good shots.
Boarding started about 08:30, a free for all, quite different from the AA system, but in any case we got on early and watched everyone else pile on afterwards.
Due to the full flight we left the block 20 minutes late, and headed for 27L for take off 10 minutes later.
A quick snack service, and we were almost ready to land. Unfortunately not having the window seat I was not able to see what runway we landed on, but it was the far one as we had a good 15 minute taxi to a remote gate.
As part of my trip was business, I had planned to spend the days before the airshow, working in St Gilles. I usually get there by TGV and local train, and this was no different. The late arrival of the plane was ok, as we had a 2 hour wait for the TGV to Nantes.
17 June 05
Paris [LBG] Airshow
Air Tahiti Nui 343
19 June 05
Last day in Europe, and time to get ready for the long trip back to Sydney. Will also be saying goodbye to my father once we get back to LHR. Yet another early start, seems like at no stage during my trip did I get to sleep in, no surprise I am so tired. There wasn’t much else to do once we woke up, so we checked out of the hotel, and headed for the airport. Being early to check in meant we got very good seats, window seat this time.
Our ride to LHR arrives
Spotting the spotters
We left the block a few minutes early and made the long taxi to 9R, where we took off about 09:50. After a very quick snack service we were ready to land after only 40 minutes of flying. Landing on 9L was 30 minutes early, but due to traffic it was another 25 minutes before we got to the gate. Because the LHR – CDG – LHR was on a different PNR, I had to clear customs, say goodbye to my father, and walk upstairs to check in for my flight to SYD.
19 June 05
Check in was very busy at the business and first class counters, it took at least 15 minutes to get to the end, but I had enough time not to worry. I thought it was my lucky day when I got to security. After waiting in the [huge] line for a few minutes, I was asked if I wanted to agree to the new body X-ray they are trialling at LHR. By agreeing to this I go through in 2 minutes, the normal line must have been at least 10 minutes.
Boarding for my flight to SYD via HKG started about 11:40, so I joined the line and got on early. With my earlier good luck I had hoped for a free seat, but that soon disappeared when an elderly couple sat next to me. At about what should have been the scheduled push back time, the CSM announced that there would be a long delay due to busy air traffic. We ended up pushing back over an hour later and taking off on 9R two hours later.
Due to the delay, lunch was served pretty much as soon as we levelled off, which suited me just fine. As I normally do the long flights back to Sydney I took my sleeping tablet and tried to sleep as much as I could on this sector, so I could stay awake on the sector into Sydney. As with my flight to LAX, I have no memory of the night-time. I awoke 3 hours before landing, in time for breakfast, had a hot breakfast, and promptly went back to sleep for another hour.
Landing into HKG was just over an hour late on 25L with a 10 minute taxi to the gate. Because of the lateness, the turnaround was very short, basically enough time to have a shower in the lounge, and get back to the gate.
I knew that the couple next to me were getting off in HKG, but I was not hopeful that someone else was not going to replace them. Pretty soon though it because evident that it was going to be a light flight, and fingers were crossed – myself and the person who had the whole centre row to herself. We were lucky, no one sitting anywhere near us. Made for a very enjoyable trip, had my legs up all the way to Sydney, where we arrived 50 minutes late.
Thanks for reading. Any comments welcome