As luck would have it I was asked to go up to BNE to pack up the computers we set up last week, so here is the trip report.
I used the Ansett e-check in to check in and managed to secure a window seat on the right hand side. Turns out it was the second last row, what is it with me and the window seat on the right hand side in the second last row?
Boarding time was 11:45 and boarding started about 11:50. Due to my seat allocation I was invited to board first but I decided to board last and watch the coming and goings of a sunday afternoon. We pushed back smack on time and as it turns out we had a nice short taxi to 25. After takeoff we turned right and right again thus providing great views of the city, and then once over the coast we turned left and headed northbound.
Lunch service was a salad wrap, very well done actually... I was impressed! It came with the usual chocolate and water, and I got myself a lemonade.
Flight was uneventful until we hit some rather violent turbulance about over the Queensland boarder. But the fun was yet to come...
At about 10000 feet I thought I was going to die. Sure I'm used to my ears not popping when others do, but I experienced a severe pain on the top of my left eye socket - near where the nose ends and the eye socket begins. I have never been in so much pain in all my life. Ok I did have a bit of a head cold, and that might account for the increaing amount of ear pain at the time, but this is something that I have never personally had before or ever heard of. Strangely enough, it was only on the left side and that is the ear that gernally tends to pop first, and infact the ear pains were less on the left hand side. Any ideas on what caused this? - I'm keen to find a solution to stop the pain if it ever happens again.
Anyway the pains stopped when the gear came out and we were on the general right turn onto finals for Rwy 01 over the Gateway Bridge. Nice smooth touchdown, and we were shortly at the gate.
(forgot to mention) The seats were even better then RMO and the legroom was great - I'm strating to become an even bigger AN fan!
Overnighted in the Rydges on Southbank.
Woke up at thismorning 4am (after a good 2hrs worth of sleep) and was in a cab by twenty past. I arrived at the international terminal just before 5 and walked right up to the counter to check for AN882 to Sydney. I asked for a window seat and she fiddled about in the computer for a while and then said, sure I've got you a window seat on the upperdeck. Sweet.
I didn't bother waiting around upstairs, just headed down the stairs and went through customs. There wasn't a queue, and the lady was quite friendly, suprising for that time of the morning - I looked and felt like I'd been hit by a bus, (9 hrs of lugging computers about the exhibition centre, followed by 2 hrs of sleep is enough to justify that I think) I walked about the terminal gate areas, purely to keep me awake. I tried my hand at some night shots, one of EAB who was operating QF52 to CNS and one of OGS who was on a nightstop. V8-RBN was parked at remote bays, I framed up the shot but gave it a miss as I knew it would be a waste of time (and flim).
The morning AKL flights left, an Air NZ 744 and a QF 767 were queing up for 01 departures, but had to wait quite some time due to arrivals also taking place on 19.
I waited at the next gate lounge down the concorse from the one that my plane was due to depart from, quite simply because it was empty and the other one was packed.
I was delighted to see VH-ANA taxi in after a night flight from KIX, just as the sun was coming
Well it came time for boarding on my flight AN882, and I waited until everyone else in the gate area had boarded. Made my way up the stairs and found my seat 20K. I was delighted to see that it was an exit row seat, which meant a good 4 feet of legroom. At any rate the legroom on the rest of the seats upstairs was superb. It must be sheer pleasure flying on the upperdeck of the AN 744's, it's hardly worth going J class, as the seats are comfortable, the legroom is out of this world, and as I would find out the service the best I have ever experienced - we even got a pre takeoff drink, it has been many many years since I've ever had a pre takeoff drink in economy.
We took the long taxi to Rwy19, inspite of the fact that EAB left off Rwy01, and we pushed back (on time I might add) right behind him. Well I suppose he was headed North and we were Southbound.
After takeoff we had a great view of the city of BNE, with the very early morning morning light shimmering off the river ... magic!
Breakfast was served shortly after the seatbelt sign was switched off, and may I say that the breakfast was the best aircraft meal I have ever had. Sausages, bacon with fried sliced potatoes and tomatos all on a thick egg and Pesto (I think) omelette topped off with a hot roll and orage juice in a glass (rather than in a plastic container). I was deligted with the service(especially as it had only set the boss back 66 dollars). The meals were cleaned up individually as you finished.
I didn't bother asking for a cockpit visit, the captain introduced himself the first officer, and a second officer - so I did't want to put myself nor the crew in a difficult situation, so just enjoyed the PTV's.
Nice smooth landing on Rwy34L and this resulted in a short taxi to the gate, and then the delights of the customs lads who were as rude as they come (and who didn't like the photo on my licence, like it's my fault if the RTA people didn't zoom in enough on my face). Then I had to get across to the domestic carpark, where my car was, and then make my 10am lecture!
I'm now determined to fly Ansett as often as I can, and after thismorning their longhaul service seems to be one of the best in the world. Ansett are getting very close to earning a 10/10 rating - which is something that I don't dish out very often.
(A very happy Ansett customer)