I booked myself on AN135 from Brisbane to Sydney on the 14th of April. For AUD135 return (approx USD65). On a Boeing 767-200.
I was really worried on the day that my flight would be cancelled and I'd become one of the "thousands of angry stranded passengers" as described by the media, so I went to the airport two hours before the flight.
I arrived at Brisbane domestic airport at around 12 midday and rushed myself to the customer service desk just beside the check in counters. Strangely, everything seemed to be normal in the terminal. No angry passengers argueing (sp??) with customer reps over their delays, no channel 9 news interviewing people. I thought "did Ansett endorsed all its customers to QANTAS??"
I asked the lady at the service desk whether my flight was cancelled and she said "there hasn't been any cancellations today" but was happy to check for me after I told her that my flight was operated by a 767. While I was eating the tiny Easter eggs they had on the bench, she told me that my flight will now be operated by a 737, and there would be no delays, and if I want, since I'm using E-ticket and had no luggage to checkin, I could go straight to the departing lounge (aka the boarding gate) and I'd get a boarding pass there. Impressive, I thought.
So I went upstairs to the departure level. Except a few people reading the newspaper headlined "Ansett grounds all 767s, passenger furious"; "Ansett pleads rival for help", many people just sat there and watched the planes taking off and landing.
Finally after about 1.5 hour we got to board our plane. It was a 737-300 VH-CZN. The CSR (customer service representative) thanked me for flying with them by addressing my surname when I swiped the boarding pass through the machine. "Since when did they start to do that?! " I thought.
The surprice came when I entered the cabin. The Y Class seats were as big as the ones Singapore Airlines use on their 777-200s, if not bigger. The seats had headrests with wings on them and you can actually move them up and down! Not bad for a 1.5 hour domestic flight!
We took off 3 minutes ahead of schedule and soon after take-off the captain greeted us happy Easter and apologised for any inconvenience caused by the grounding of their 767s (Inconvenience??). And afterwards snack was served.
I had a generous serve of fresh fruits (I ordered special meal) while others had a huge, and I mean HUGE, turkey sandwich/ burger. Along with the routine coffee and tea, juices and all. Just before landing, the F/As gave out lollies and asked if anyone wanted anymore drinks.
When we landed in the new Ansett domestic airport, I was expecting to see huge crowds caused by the delays. It was their main domestic hub! But again, I was wrong-- everything was normal. Then I started to wonder whether it was the media who's doing all the damage to Ansett's images...
Then I suddenly remembered something. I left my boarding pass on the plane!! I always keep all my boarding passes and tickets on record! So I rushed back to the gate (thank god the aircraft's still there) and whet up to the CSR and told him that I needed to get my boarding pass on the plane cuz I always keep them...(and at the same time thinking how dumb it sounded...) The guy then asked for my photo ID and without another word he reprinted my boarding pass and handed it to me. I was amazed (should I be?? I mean, I never knew that you can reprint a boarding pass just like that!!)......
The trip back today (16APR, Monday)was like the one on Saturday, quick and easy (although I wanted to try the E-checkin but it wasn't working so I just went up the gate and got my boarding pass). Service was great, as usual. I again had the fruit platter and others had two pieces of chock-chip bikkies. I got some off my brother and it was really tasty!
So that's my experience with Ansett during the "chaotic" Easter weekend. Or was it not so chaotic...