With the Arrival to Australian Skies of Impulse and Virgin Blue, there has been a great deal of discounting to attract customers. With a fare of just AUD$33.00 one way I just had to give Impulse a go. For those not familiar with Australia, Brisbane is a one hour flight north of Sydney and in US dollars it was costing me just a $20!
Check in was a breeze at the new Domestic Express terminal in Sydney although it is a bit out of the way and in real terms is just a large tin shed.
I requested an 'A' seat near the front of the new Boeing 717-200 but was told these seats were reserved for families! I found this curious as there are only two seats on this side of the aircraft, so I assumed there were a lot of two person families on this flight. They gave me 3F on the other side instead and that was fine too. Boarding commenced exactly as stated on the reciept (No boarding pass). Today we had 717-200 reg VH-AFR, The aircraft was beautiful and still new smelling, mostly in blue grey shades and quite tastefull as well, I think it looked rather good. Flight number VQ7273, on Friday Morning and I had the three seats to myself.
Push back was a few minutes late but as the flight was listed at 1.5 hours and actually 1.0 hours they had some time up their sleeves. We taxied out to the newest runway, often called the third runway.
The 717 is a powerfull aircraft and there was an awsome surge of power as we hurtled down the runway. A short take off roll and a very steep climb due to a light load, incidently the two person families did not show and there were plenty of 'A' seats available!
The flight itself was as smooth as silk with only the occaisional shudder of turbulence, a very pleasent ride.
Impulse is a no frills airline so there is nothing much in the way of anything at all, but the FA's still served coffee and tea albeit with out a biscuit. There is no Audio program and no TV screens either only an inflight magazine, but in a one hour flight there was plenty of entertainment outside. One comment I must make though is about the Uniforms of the FA's. The mostly white with blue and yellow trim makes the FA's look like they work for a chemist shop.
We arrived on time and landed beautifully with a good serve of reverse thrust.
Overall I was very impressed with Impulse and would have no hesitation in flying them again.
My return trip was with Qantas on their newest aircraft lucky me. I had chosen the flight because of the 767-300, but to get VH-OGV which at the time was just five weeks old was just great.
My flight was a lunch time departure on the Monday and the service was QF 533. Again I asked for an 'A' seat this time because we would be flying over my home and I hoped to get a picture. Again I was told the seats were reserved for families! However after explaining what I wanted the window for He gave me 34A. Little did I know that i was given an overwing exit row so any chance I had of seeing home was dashed. I was not very impressed at all and I'll think twice about flying Qantas next time.
The bloke sitting next to me was a pig! He spread himself out and used more space than he was entitled to, he put his feet up against the bulkhead and he threw all his junk on the floor.
Any way this is a brand new plane and was fitted with the new (to Qantas) winged head rest seats in the same style that is fitted to their 744's. Unusually Qantas has opted for an overall blue finish inside their aircraft. Most airlines have that neutral shade on the walls and bulkhead pannels so I found the blue a bit odd. I guess with blue seats, blue carpet and even blue uniforms for the crew, blue walls makes sence.
Departure was 25 minutes late but the flight was very good, there was audio and there was also a program showing on the monitors but I chose to look outside instead. Lunch was served and consisted of a turkey bread roll and a fruit salad with a fruit juice and a small chocolate bar as well and a choice of tea or coffee.
As it was overcast in Sydney and cloud on three seperate levels, we had a few bumps on the way down. There must have been a bit of a cross wind as we landed on a noticeable angle and bounced once. The taxy back to the terminal took about ten minutes but we still arrived at the gate on time!
Considering the difference between the two flights was the lunch and entertainment (Audio and single chanel video), I find it dificult to justify spending tripple the amount to Fly Qantas. Still, impulse would not give me a ride in a 763 either!