What a great subject and very interesting reading...
I've always had a fasination for Australia ever since I was six years old and my school told us about here holiday out there, which in the late 1970s was quite something. I remember seeing a QF
742 at LHR
near the BA
maintenance area and where the taxiway used to disect the public road, when I must have been about 8. I distinctly remember the kangaroo with wings on it, I had (still have a rather crude matchbox model from the same time of one too). As time passed I still looked out for the Qantas 747s at LHR
, as they later became the 743s, VH
-EBT was often the one that seemed to be there when I was. When I left school I went for a job at QF
, obviously not good enough, but my interest in Qantas continued and working in the freight business I was regularly dealing with colleagues in Australia. When one of them (who had worked with us in LHR
for a year), said back in 2010 that they were getting married the following year, my immediate answer was right I had better buy a ticket then. There was only one way I was going to get there too. 2011, VH
-OJQ (now sadly in the desert) became first Qantas flight LHR
, I can still remember taking a picture of her at the gate and actually getting a bit choked about it. Silly really but after all these years I was finally getting to go to Australia and fly on Qantas. That was 2011....as I write, I have now been to Australia five times and flown with QF
(and Qantaslink) over 30 times. I was due to go to Japan later in the year however the day I was due to book my tickets, Japan had their dreadful earthquake and feeling it wasn't the best time to be a tourist in a country trying to deal with this, I when back to Australia again. This time making a pilgrimage to where else? But their museum in Longreach - I would highly recommend it. My friends in Australia often criticise QF
, but I say they should fly around Europe first and see what service some of those carriers give. But I've now been to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Blackall, Longreach, Uluru, Alice Springs, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Gove and Cairns with QF
, plus HKG
. I've always found their service to be of a high standard, I've had my luggage miss a flight but it was delivered to my hotel next morning as promised, I like the whole QF
experience .....am I biased? You bet I am but I recognise good honest service when I see and get it. They even kept me up to date with the score of the 1st test between Australia and the British & Irish Lions whilst I was flying down to SYD
in June whilst the match was being played. A quick word when I boarded the plane and I was getting regular updates through the flight. I was only an economy passenger after all but it was another example of that little bit of extra service you get.
My sixth trip for 2014 is already been planned with plenty of domestic legs involved! Why go A to B when you can go via C for a few quid more and clock another QF
flight. My aim is to save enough FFP to fly LHR
-Australia return first class....I'm over 50% there already.
....just remembered I also grew up with the infamous Koala Qantas ad's too, so that adds to my personal memory of them
2) Pan Am
I know a lot of people knock PA, and their ability to post the losses there were never ceased to amaze. But for me I liked flying PA, I've been to the US 3 times, the first time we went we flew PA and returned BA
....man we had a dreadful flight as someone once said about BOAC. Thereafter it was PA all the time, N729PA, N751PA, N730PA, N727PA and N748PA. Pan Am was my first international flight, LHR
. I like reading about the history of Pan Am and in particular about their flying boat operations. Pan Am were in their time very much a pioneering company, but it was a shame it didn't last. But I've still got a soft spot for them.
3) Iran Air
What I hear you say? Yes Iran Air, never flown them but my father worked for them from 1978-1992. In 1978 they were flying to JFK
and had plans that EK
would be proud of today. The revolution came and the LHR
staff levels went from 550+ to about 50 almost overnight. But despite all the challenges, wars, diplomatic incidents, Rushie affairs where he never knew if he had a job next week or not, they kept on going. Most of the staff were naturally Iranian, and there were very nice too. They would invite the Western staff to their festival or reglious events and also respected and held one for us too, and everyone was involved. At holiday times we would often get boxes of nuts or sweets, and they were good employers. When my father died suddenly in 1992, on the day of his funeral they closed the office in London and hired a coach and come down to it, which was a nice touch and one we appreciated. Don't judge a country or it's people by their leaders or what their leaders say is the moral.
4) Olympic Airways
Again dad worked for them in the late 60s early 70s, when Onassis was around and OA
were a good solid company. I've flew on them six times between LHR
and Athens years later and the service was pretty good. I remember seeing a line of old Olympic 707s/720s at the old Athens airport, off on one side slowly rotting away. It was quite sad in a way, but somehow in hindsight rather adapt as the slow decline of a once great national carrier continued. The old Olympic always seen to catch the Greek spirit for me, hard working and yet hospitable.
Probably the hardest one..I've always liked and admired Singapore Airlines. I've liked Japan Air Lines, Air New Zealand, KLM and Thai. Today I enjoy flying Lufthansa and Swiss. But I suppose it must go to British Midland. The first airline I flew on in 1984, on a DC9-15 G-BMAC from LHR
. Amazing service on their flights in those days, hot meals and bearly enough time to have them. On one flight I was allowed on the flight deck and was allowed to tiddle a knob that made the plane yaw. Six flights I've had with BMA
in total. I especially remember the BMA
Viscounts we used to see, BMA
had quite a range of planes in the mid-80s and I remember getting excited when they oldered the new B737s....the only time I've got excited over a 737 order!
[Edited 2013-10-02 05:40:44]