Very delayed - I'd forgotten I'd written it. Hope you enjoy. Nice selection of airlines and sectors
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Adelaide-Melbourne, Qantas QF 718, January 10 2001, Boeing 737-400 VH-TJG, Gate 3 ADL, Gate 10 MEL, pushback 1757, Takeoff 1803, Landing 1937, all local time.
Was allocated seat 19A – if I get a window I am happy, so there was no problem there. Great view of the plane as we boarded as Adelaide Airport has yet to get direct elevated passenger walkways to the aircraft. Due to the hot weather, we had a fair bit of inflight turbulence but not enough to make the flight unpleasant. Unfortunately the service was poor with one particular F/A managing little more than a scowl throughout the entire trip. I find this a little too often on Qantas for my liking. Dinner was average: curry and rice.
Melbourne-Auckland, Qantas QF 33, January 19 2001, Boeing 767-300 VH-OGB, Gate 9 MEL, Gate 4 AKL, Pushback 0905, Takeoff 0919, Landing 1436, all local time.
Another window: 52A which was great, though close to the back of the aircraft. Flight was comfortable, and the service though not brilliant was most adequate. I love the wings on the economy seats that Qantas now has as standard across their international economy class. Film “Bedazzled” was shown. Great, because it hadn’t yet been released in Australia. Smooth flying and a fantastic view of Auckland before landing. A pity we only had a short layover here – it looks like a great place. Our late arrival meant I was worried about making the short connection. As it happened, I had nothing to worry about…
Auckland-Papeete, Air Tahiti Nui TN 11, January 20 2001 (instead of scheduled 19 January)
The reason I left the rest blank above is that it’s about all the flight had in common with its original schedule. Air Tahiti Nui has only one aircraft, an A340-200. It was to be the highlight of my trip to be on it. BUT, it just happened that all A340-200s were grounded (or so we were told) due to a problem on a similar model belonging to Turkish Airlines. Thus our airline had no plane…
Anyway, TN had arranged a charter with Air New Zealand to get us to Papeete, but the first aircraft available would only get into AKL around midnight (rather than the early afternoon scheduled departure). So on arrival at Auckland we were reissued with boarding passes (window again, yay!) and sent to a nearby hotel (Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport). We were due back at the airport at 11pm for our flight on a chartered Air New Zealand 767-300ER operating as NZ 1768 (for TN11). However, I must say here that though there were problems, I can only praise Air Tahiti Nui for their handling of this. As no full night was involved, they did not have to give us all top class hotel rooms. Nor did they have to provide such a lavish dinner as they did. For such a small carrier the effort and expense of such an exercise would have been significant. Later, I discovered that they actually had to charter a Corsair 747-300 for over a week while their A340 went to the US for modifications. I wonder if it was Airbus who paid!
Pushback was at 0049 with takeoff at 0059. We landed at Tahiti at 0636. It was actually quite an ideal schedule; it certainly avoided an expensive night in Tahiti that we would otherwise have had to pay. Flight time was 4h37 and the plane was Air New Zealand 767-300 ZK-*CN (*didn’t get the first letter – will look it up). Service was excellent (all Air NZ crew and service) and legroom was ample. This was first experience on Air New Zealand and it was certainly as good as I had been told.
Papeete-Easter Island Lan Chile LA 834, January 22 2001, Boeing 767-300 CC-CDM, Gate 50 PPT, Gate 1 IPC. Pushback 0102, Takeoff 0122, Landing 1127.
Seat 21L meant my run of windows is unbroken. It had better stay this way… I had heard Lan Chile was the best of the South American carriers so I wanted to see for myself. The seats were comfortable, legroom adequate though not exceptional. However the service was a little abrupt and the food AWFUL. It would be like that on all our Lan Chile flights. Also, our landing on Easter Island was the hardest I have had in a long time, due to strong winds. In general OK but certainly not exceptional. I like the cool music they play when you board. Very South American and very catchy, though I know it annoyed the hell out of my brother!!!!
Easter Island-Santiago, Lan Chile LA 842, January 23 2001, Boeing 767-300 CC-CEL, Gate 1 IPC, Pushback 1420, Takeoff 1424, Landing 2037.
A different 767 (I had thought it may be the same plane) for our flight. I was interested to note that while the 767-300 a day earlier had 2 main doors and two small emergency exits on each side, this plane had 4 main doors. I know the two options exist (why?) but why would one airline have both??? I know Qantas has both but it’s because one lot is leased from BA. Is it the same with Lan Chile???
Took off on same runway as we had landed on (Rwy 10). Pilot did a low-level circumnavigation of the island before heading off to Santiago which afforded some incredible views from my side. I was really kicking myself for having left my camera in the overhead compartment. Flight was smooth, service quite nice but again very poor food. Flight time was 4h13. Most of these flights so far have been about this length. We pulled into International Terminal but as it was a domestic flight we were bussed round to the domestic terminal for our baggage etc.
Santiago-Lima, Lan Chile LA 600, January 31 2001, Boeing 767-300, CC-CDM (again), Pushback 2312, Takeoff 2329, Landing 0040*. Gate 11 SCL.
We were supposed to take this flight on the 30th but as the flight Lima-Cuzco on the 31st was cancelled, we had to go the next day. Thus our SCL-LIM flight was also pushed back a day. We were quite displeased at Lan Chile for this, because Lan Peru, operating LIM-CUZ was only restarting Feb 1 and we had been told in Australia that if they couldn’t fly us Jan 31 they would put us on another carrier, probably TACA. However after 3 hours over two days in Lan Chile offices, we could do nothing. Their excuse was that there were no seats left on TACA. We told them there was (we had checked). To no avail. In the end we resigned ourselves to a day less in Peru. However, I will not look favourably towards Lan Chile in the future, even though they fly my two favourite aircraft: the A340 and the 767-300..
A seat in the last row was the only way to get a window: the flight to Lima continuing to LAX was packed. However, the service on this flight was probably the best we had on Lan Chile despite the fact that the food and beverage service and quality was still very average. Flight time was only about 3h10 so by the time we had had dinner and they had turned off the lights it was almost time to start our descent. Thus there was only about half an hour where we were given the chance to sleep. Landing at Lima was smooth and arrival facilities much better and more efficient than expected.
Lima-Cuzco, Lan Peru LP 025, February 1 2001, Boeing 737-200 VP-BBO, Gate 11 LIM. Pushback 1045, Takeoff 1056, Landing 1151.
The flight was scheduled to leave at 0600. The staff were lovely, all incredibly cheerful. The reason: after 3 months or so being unemployed, they had their jobs back. We happened to be booked on one of the first 2 Lan Peru flights. They had balloons and flowers and sweets, and it really felt we were part of something. Unfortunately the weather in Cuzco meant the joy for both Lan Peru and the passengers of LP 025 was short lived! It was 5 hours later when we could finally take off. However the customer service was excellent. We were regularly updated and provided with drinks and sandwiches. In addition we got a LAN T-Shirt and pen as a memory of that first flight. Yay! I’ll wear it proudly!
Cuzco-Lima, Lan Peru LP 024, Febuary 7 2001, Boeing 737-200 VP-BBP, Gate 4 CUZ. Pushback 0728, Takeoff 0736, Landing 0832.
This flight was also nice and contained a few firsts. Firstly it took off and landed early, which sort of made up for our other Lan Peru experience. Secondly it was my first experience in row 1 (1L, window), though unfortunately Lan Peru is configured for all-economy!!!! Thirdly, we have now flown the entire Lan Peru fleet (of 2 aircraft, mind you). This a first for me, though it should have been a second had there not been the earlier problems with Air Tahiti Nui. Breakfast was good and service excellent. Outstanding for Peru, from what I’ve heard of the other airlines there.
Lima-Madrid, Iberia IB 6650, February 7 2001, Airbus A340-300 EC-HGX, Gate 6 LIM, Pushback 2113, Takeoff 2122, Landing 1428*.
The aircraft looked brand new and I have always loved the A340 for comfort and configuration. Therefore this flight was going to be a good one, and it was. 11 hours though (highly unusually for me) I slept through the majority of it. No PTVs, otherwise I would have stayed awake. I was surprised that dinner turned out to be vegetarian (ie: one of the main choices was vegetarian) but it was nice (though not exceptional). The service was friendly and attentive. Quite a uneventful but very pleasant flight.
Madrid-Brussels, Iberia IB 3214, February 8 2001, Boeing 757-200 EC-FTR, Gate D58 MAD, Pushback 1658, Takeoff 1735, Landing 1926.
We were only delayed a little more than an hour before pushback but after such a long flight from Lima the delay felt like 5 hours. Basically, the reason was bad weather in Brussels (or so we were told - it was fine when we arrived). We took off after waiting in a queue of 17 planes, mainly Iberia domestic and European flights, (quite an experience for someone used to the ‘friendly’ Australian skies) and had a pretty uneventful two hour flight to Brussels. A snack was served which was average at best – you get used to it on such European services I find, and the onboard service was also adequate.
757s are nice short-haul planes, though getting off when you are stuck down the back in a window seat can be a little time consuming. However, the thought of a single-aisle aircraft for long-haul does not inspire me! No transatlantic 757s for me if I can help it…