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BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400  
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11373 times:

BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic run on Qantas' oldest B747-400

Four days after my SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE trip it was time for another domestic run. More about the first trip: Testing Qantas: SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE (B738, B763, A332) (by PlaneHunter Oct 4 2006 in Trip Reports)


Intro
Early in spring this year I had decided to choose another round trip to SYD because of reasonable fares and the scheduled equipment. Qantas uses B747s between SYD and BNE a few times per week, so I picked QF176 (which arrives from Los Angeles).
I booked QF546 for returning in the evening, with the B738 being the aircraft of choice. At this point of time in spring the equipment on my other QF flights hadn't been changed yet. Later, when it turned out I would get the B738 twice I checked for a B734 service, but such flights weren't available on that day.


Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Brisbane (BNE) - Sydney (SYD)
Qantas QF 176
07:45-09:15 (07:44-09:20)
Flying time: 01:07 (hrs)

Boeing 747-438
VH-OJA "City of Canberra" (s/n 731), delivered 08/1989
Economy, seat 66K



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Photo © Christoph Aschauer
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Photo © Chris Griffiths




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Photo © Brendan Vanderwerf
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Photo © Chris Sheldon




Check-in
Since QF176 always operates from the international terminal I couldn't use QF's check-in kiosks. So I had to go to a regular counter some 90 minutes prior to departure, but waiting time was minimal and the agent was very friendly and I got a window seat in the rear section without any problems.
After passing through security I noticed a QF had already arrived and it turned out to be VH-OJA, the very first B747-400 for Qantas, delivered in summer 1989.




Flight
Boarding was started on time and some friendly FAs welcomed me in the cabin which appeared to be in good shape. Picture from the database:


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Photo © Glenn Stewart



After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.



The IFE box is located under the middle seat, though it’s not as big as on Emirates' A332 and A345. The seats are not new, but still comfortable.



Load factor was probably around 50% and the middle seat remained empty. We were pushed back at 07:44, but the captain announced we would have to spend some time for taxiing to the runway.



Indeed, 22 minutes passed until the four RR engines powerfully accelerated the light B747, resulting in an early liftoff. Several Virgin Blue aircraft are parked at the domestic terminal, among those the sole "blue" model, B737-700 VH-VBY.



Rush hour at the international terminal: Freedom Air A320 (ZK-OJO), Qantas B734 & B763, Emirates and SIA B777s, a JAL B743 and one of the last JAL B742s (JA8141).



The light B747 climbed fast, leaving behind the thick clouds.




IFE
Though the flight only took barely over an hour, the IFE was fully available and I checked its basic features. It’s one of the earlier IFE systems without AVOD and only a limited number of channels. Here's a summary:


  • 11 movies (repeating every 2,5 hours)
  • 7 TV channels (repeating every 2,5 hours)
  • 16 radio channels
  • 10 games
  • airshow


The airshow channel features interesting background images:



Cruising altitude: 11582 meters.




Breakfast
A light breakfast was served, consisting of "Just Right" cereal, milk, fruit yogurt, a raisin bread roll, "Fruit Frusion" juice, tea and coffee. It was indeed "just right" and tasty.



The remaining flight was uneventful and I enjoyed looking at the scenery below.



After bad luck with all the flights to and from SYD before I was glad to be seated on the right side this time – so I could take pictures of Sydney's skyline…



…with the harbor and the famous opera house.



On approach to SYD we flew a long turn over the ocean…



…before reaching the coast again…



…and passing a large refinery.



It was a bit windy at SYD which resulted in a very rough touchdown at 09:13. Seven minutes later engines were shut down at the international terminal.


Spotting & a.net meeting
Arriving at the international terminal meant I had to pass the usual immigration and customs counters, but an orange sticker on my boarding pass identified myself as a domestic passenger and I could proceed without any further checks.

At the arrival hall I was awaited by a.net member PanAm_DC10 – we had arranged a meeting long before I departed for Australia. First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal and later drove to Terminal 3 where we spent most of the time at the excellent Qantas Heritage Exhibition lounge and discussed the latest developments in aviation as well as past experiences. Interestingly, one doesn’t need a boarding pass in order to go to the gate area.


Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Sydney (SYD) – Brisbane (BNE)
Qantas QF 546
18:35-20:05 (18:35-20:06)
Flying time: 01:05 (hrs)

Boeing 737-838
VH-VXT "Townsville" (s/n 1412), delivered 11/2003
Economy, seat 23A



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Photo © Michael Dawson
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Photo © Norbert Genci




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Photo © Jeff Gilbert - JGPhotographics
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Photo © Micheil Keegan



After VH-VXL last time it turned out that VH-VXT would operate the service to Brisbane (please see further information on QF's B738 in the other report).



I had already checked in and received my boarding pass in the morning so it wasn't necessary to leave the gate area again after our meeting. Boarding was started on time and I took my seat in row 23.



We were pushed back exactly on time at 18:35 but it took 21 minutes until we turned in for departure. Takeoff was quite powerful and shortly after liftoff I was glad about choosing the left side: excellent view of Sydney's nightly skyline.



Onboard service was started soon and included a hot dinner. The meal consisted of beef goulash, mashed potatoes, peas, a bread roll and a "Boost" chocolate bar – it was really tasty and filling.



Additionally, FAs were also quite generous with white and red wine – free of charge of course. I can only applaud Qantas for such a good service on a one hour-flight.

The remaining flight was uneventful and we touched down at 20:01, followed by an on-time arrival at 20:06.


Conclusion
The two further flights on Qantas confirmed my earlier impression: clean, efficient airport facilities, quick and easy check-in, friendly FAs and ground staff. Drinks (even wine) and food (even hot meals) on board are free of charge, seats are comfortable, pitch is not as humble as on most LCCs.
Virgin Blue may offer slightly cheaper fares sometimes (not necessarily, as I have experienced), but apart from the service difference Qantas operates many domestic flights with widebodies – and it's definitely more enjoyable to get a B763 or even a B744 rather than a B737NG. I can only recommend domestic flying on Qantas.


As usual, comments, questions and criticism welcome!


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineVHVXB From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 5520 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 11333 times:

Great Trip report Hunter

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
and passing a large refinery.

they are the Kurnell Refineries to be exact

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal

not much traffic goes through here with all the work that is going
Once again great trip report  thumbsup 


User currently offlineJetMech From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 2636 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11209 times:

More please PlaneHunter. Keep up the excellent work bigthumbsup 


JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair.
User currently offlinePanAm_DC10 From Australia, joined Aug 2000, 4096 posts, RR: 90
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11176 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
COMMUNITY MANAGER

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
At the arrival hall I was awaited by a.net member PanAm_DC10 – we had arranged a meeting long before I departed for Australia. First of all we went up to the terrace at the international terminal and later drove to Terminal 3 where we spent most of the time at the excellent Qantas Heritage Exhibition lounge and discussed the latest developments in aviation as well as past experiences. Interestingly, one doesn’t need a boarding pass in order to go to the gate area.

After all the years of exchanging views via A.net let me say that it was a pleasure to finally meet you and spend a day just watching the movements at SYD whilst discussing aviation. As I mentioned that day, you know more about the rego's here than I do  Embarrassment

Yet again another excellent trip report PH and I'm pleased you got VH-OJA and some splendid shots of your approach to SYD. Isn't it great that a boarding pass isn't needed for the gate area either?

Quoting JetMech (Reply 2):
More please PlaneHunter. Keep up the excellent work

Fear not! There will be more, keep posting them thanks PH and see you at an airport sometime soon and you're more than welcome in SYD the next time.

Regards, PanAm_DC10



Ask the impossible to achieve the best possible
User currently offlinePilotdude09 From Australia, joined May 2005, 1777 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11142 times:

WOW!
Thanks for an interesting trip report, its good to see some pics of the pitch and so forth in the 744. Glad to see you enjoyed your time here in Australia  Smile



Qantas, Still calling Australia Home.........
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2898 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 11141 times:

Hi PlaneHunter,
an interesting report with some excellent pics, thanks for sharing. A hot meal?! Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world. One gets the impression that Qantas offers an overall pleasent service.
Regards, Alex.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10761 times:

Thanks for all your nice comments!

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
After all the years of exchanging views via A.net let me say that it was a pleasure to finally meet you and spend a day just watching the movements at SYD whilst discussing aviation.

It was a real pleasure for me as well!

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
Isn't it great that a boarding pass isn't needed for the gate area either?

Yes - and flying isn't less secure because of that.

Quoting PanAm_DC10 (Reply 3):
keep posting them thanks PH and see you at an airport sometime soon and you're more than welcome in SYD the next time.

Thanks, I'm sure I'll be down in SYD again in the not very distant future.

Quoting Pilotdude09 (Reply 4):
Glad to see you enjoyed your time here in Australia

Traveling around Australia was definitely enjoyable - one reason is that nobody asks strange questions about spotting.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 5):
Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world.

I was positively surprised by that after getting used to today's European and U.S. standards.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1882 posts, RR: 25
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10546 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report! Qantus sounds great! That's great you got to fly on a B-744 on such a short flight. The last time I was at LAX, I saw the Qantus "Longreach" pulling back from the gate for SYD.

Looking forward to more reports!

767747

[Edited 2006-10-06 17:11:58]

User currently offlinePilotdude09 From Australia, joined May 2005, 1777 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10506 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Qantus

Lol, you yanks are always a laugh comming up with new ways to spell QANTAS  Smile



Qantas, Still calling Australia Home.........
User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2086 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 10411 times:

Great report PlaneHunter. The last time I flew Qantas, I booked myself onto a 747SP between MEL and SYD (which was continuing to Honolulu). I missed it! The agent put me on the next available flight.

User currently offlineSafs From Australia, joined Dec 2005, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 10231 times:

Great trip report, Plane Hunter! I am glad you enjoyed your time in Australia. It's always a pleasure to hear great comments about your national airline. Your photos added great insight into your experiences. Keep up the great work and I look forward to more trip reports from you in the future.

User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10083 times:

So... would you say QF would be a good choice for the long ride from Germany to Australia? Or, given the choice, would you prefer EK again?

And, once again, thanks for a great report!  bigthumbsup 

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3169 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9996 times:

Read this report and the other SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE which were both interesting to read.

Jetstar is very cheap and Qantas can be expensive but you get good service. Virgin Blue tends to be in the middle service wise.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9899 times:

And again thanks for all new comments!

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 9):
I booked myself onto a 747SP between MEL and SYD (which was continuing to Honolulu). I missed it! The agent put me on the next available flight.

That's a loss - did you get it on another flight?

Quoting Leskova (Reply 11):
would you say QF would be a good choice for the long ride from Germany to Australia? Or, given the choice, would you prefer EK again?

Well, QF would certainly be a good choice for the long haul ride - though EK offers a more advanced IFE and apparently larger meals.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9887 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Another great report, many thanks.

I must say I really look forward to a trip to SYD in the near future, the spotting opps are superb & by the look of it, the locals are superb  Smile

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9823 times:

Great report and pics. Seems like I was just there a few weeks ago. Oh wait, I was. Never mind  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.

You're either kidding or you're a midget.  Wink 31" is not what anybody would consider "generous." While I'm sure it was liveable for the quick flight to Sydney I suggest you try that on a almost fully loaded Melbourne to LAX flight. Not fun in the least.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 934 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9821 times:

Very nice report.

I'm always interested to see how various country's domestic service compares. Nice to see you can actually get a meal in economy in Oz!



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineFlynlr From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 223 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 9756 times:

wow! hot food on an hour flight ? how dare they :}
nice report and as another yank may I offer you
Kwantus?



The Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2086 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9730 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
That's a loss - did you get it on another flight?

No, unfortunately not. Now the only possibility is Syrian Air.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 9607 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 15):
You're either kidding or you're a midget. Wink 31" is not what anybody would consider "generous." While I'm sure it was liveable for the quick flight to Sydney I suggest you try that on a almost fully loaded Melbourne to LAX flight. Not fun in the least.

It definitely felt roomier than on EK.

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 18):
Now the only possibility is Syrian Air.

And Iran Air with one active aircraft left.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4773 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 9596 times:

Firstly Great TR.. keep them coming!  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After sitting down I immediately realized that QF's seat pitch on the B744 is quite generous.

Hmmm... thats very generous of you to say so... 31" of seat pitch is pretty average for a longhaul aircraft... that is one of the very few negatives about QF... everything else is pretty damn good! 32-34" is generous for a seat pitch.
Having said that, it is a lot more comfy than flying in a little 737 or similar  Wink



54 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 9587 times:

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 20):
Hmmm... thats very generous of you to say so... 31" of seat pitch is pretty average for a longhaul aircraft... that is one of the very few negatives about QF... everything else is pretty damn good! 32-34" is generous for a seat pitch.

It's strange, but QF's pitch seemed to be better than EK's (A345).


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 9584 times:

Thanks for another nice and interesting report about flying in Australia, the text and the pictures were entertaining as always!

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 5):
A hot meal?! Wow, it really looks as if on-board service on shorthaul is still like in the good old days there at the other end of the world.

I thought exactly the same, service seems to be very good on domestic flights in Australia, really nice to see!

Patrick


User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9541 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19):
It definitely felt roomier than on EK.

EK's A345 - 33" pitch, 17.5" width
QF's 747 - 31" pitch, 17.2" width

Sounds like you were in Seinfeld's Bizarro World.  Wink

I know what you mean though. I've been on planes where the numbers back up them having more room but for whatever reason it doesn't feel that way at all. The CRJs are a good example. IIRC they are supposed to have a little bit more wider seat than some mainline planes but the low ceiling makes you feel overly cramped. Part of the deal with that 747 is that the ceiling is so damn high in it compared to an A345. I just flew SQ on both plane types and the A345 seems like a puddle jumper compared to the 747 IMO.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineCX777Fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 291 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 9484 times:

I've just finished reading all three of your trip reports to Australia and enjoyed all of them. Agree that QF's domestic product is of a high standard. Recently DJ have been as expensive, if not more on some flights yet thay still charge for junk food inflight and have all the LCC faff to deal with.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After passing through security I noticed a QF had already arrived and it turned out to be VH-OJA, the very first B747-400 for Qantas, delivered in summer 1989.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
VH-OJA "City of Canberra" (s/n 731), delivered 08/1989

I notice for all your A/C you have this info about delivery dates etc. I'm sure there must be websites where one can look up rego numbers and find delivery dates etc. Are you able to point me in the right direction?


25 Post contains links DeltaGator : Here's one I've used in the past. I'm sure there are others. http://www.plane-spotters.net/Airline/index.html
26 Post contains links PlaneHunter : Thanks for all new comments! True, I found DJ quite expensive compared to QF - though DJ's sandwiches were really tasty. I'll write more about that in
27 LY777 : just wow!!!Qantas looks so great!!I wish I could fly them!!!
28 ZKSUJ : Great report there. Thanks for sharing
29 Post contains images CX777Fan : Thanks Deltagator and PlaneHunter for the links. I've now got many hours of happy plane geek net reading ahead of me
30 Thadocta : The thing with Qantas though is that they use "Slimline" seats - the seat backs themselves are a LOT thinner, and they have thinner padding on them (
31 Vhqpa : Nice report, I did the BNE-SYD 744 run 2 years ago was expecting a relatively light load until a JL 743 broke down while it was doing a KIX-BNE-SYD fl
32 DeltaGator : I believe that is impossible based on the definition of seat pitch. If the pitch is 31" that means you have that much space from any one point on you
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