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I stayed in Sydney for 7 nights and 8 days, and over the days, we went to the following:
Aquarium, Powerhouse Museum, Wonderland, Harbor side shopping complex, Taronga Zoo, The Rocks, Centrepoint Tower/Westfield Shopping Centre at Centrepoint.
We stayed at the Savoy Apartments on King and Kent Street, and I must say that I really recommend them! They come at a cheap price for what they give you.
On the final day, I woke up immediately, had a shower and immediately checked-out with my cousins. We said goodbye to the apartment staff, and we walked to Town Hall station. There, we checked the (very easy to use) timetables and bought our tickets to the Domestic Airport on rail. We went directly down to the platform, and without waiting long we were on a train.
Everyone seemed to give us stares as if we were Japanese tourists or something, and in the panic of thinking we were on the wrong train, we hadn’t noticed that a few stations before the Domestic terminal, the entire train seemed VERY empty. I thought that Sydney’s rail link must have had the same effect the Brisbane AirTrain was getting.
Towards the terminal, we stood up with our luggage and got out. Without any confusion, we headed to the Qantas terminal (Wasn’t hard to find).
As soon as we arrived in the main hall, I had a look at the surroundings.
I feel that the Qantas terminal looks very empty (even with all the queues), very similar to EVA Air’s Terminal Two in Taipei.
We stood in the line, and after listening to the passenger argue with the QF check-in person, I reached my conclusion: Sydney people are either very irritable, or Customer service in Sydney is terrible (Prove me wrong if you can, these are from my experiences in Sydney)
Anyway, as soon as the lady who was complaining left, the QF guy looked really hurt as if someone had just told him he was fired. He didn’t seem to be concentrating when he was checking us in, and as I told him the travel agent had changed our flight – he looked up immediately, startled. Check-in was very fast, and our baggage was soon away. He informed us that we had not got a gate for a flight yet.
We passed security and walked painfully around the shops that were very spread out. I gave up in the end and decided to sit down. We sat on a little corner with a window, looking out to the QF 747 that was bound for Perth. I looked around and could see to the International tarmac – with a Singapore Airlines 747-400 and a few Qantas planes. I watched as the Perth-bound 744 was pushed back – and it soon disappeared from view. I walked over to the Australia Post shop and bought myself a ceiling plane, while buying last-minute presents for my brothers. I sat down some more, and some more – taking turns to check if we had a gate, adopting the term “gateless” for ourselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone just came and dropped a coin at our feet!
Anyway, enough of the crap, this’ll be longer than my last one in a minute. We were soon gated and we walked over to Gate 5 that had a Boeing 767-300ER parked at it. Excitedly, I took down the registration and blah blah blah, but it soon left, leaving me in frustration. I waited some more, and the mobile rang. It was my dad: he was coming to Sydney on business matters on Virgin Blue and apparently his virgin plane was experiencing technical difficulties. Needless to say they were with Qantas now. A few minutes earlier, I had seen a Boeing 767-338 pull into the gate next to us (Gate 6) and my dad told me he had arrived at Gate Six on his flight. I was amazed at the coincidence, and met my dad. He soon left with his business friends, and I was left waiting some more. I was ONLY informed of a gate change when a flock of Flight attendants walked to our gate, a few bending down to look at the aircraft shook their heads and walked to Gate Six. I was confused, and checked the board to find it was now gate six, and the flight attendants were right. Oh well… now to the flight:
Qantas Airways Flight QF524
Overall rating of flight (total 5)
Sydney Qantas Domestic Terminal – 1205
Brisbane Domestic Airport (Qantas) – 1230
Boeing 767-338, VH-OGA (Qantas Aircraft) “City of Whyalla”
We sat at the gate for some time until Boarding was announced in a very friendly tone. While sitting, I noticed a group of Chinese men from Beijing who had recently connected from the international terminal. They chatted away excitedly about their last aircraft, the Boeing 777, and I smiled while thinking “pity on the person sitting next to them”.
I grabbed a set of earphones and was ushered into the gate quickly, but nicely by the attendant, who wished us a pleasant flight. We walked down the narrow gate and were lining up again with a forced “Welcome Aboard” by the flight attendants, who smiled so hard that their eyes were extremely wrinkled. We made our way down the flight, and sure enough, there was my seat 42D crowded with the Beijing businessmen blocking the aisle to admire the cabin and put their things overhead very slowly. Please don’t take me wrong here, I do not dislike them, but I felt that they were extremely inconsiderate to other people (You will see more)
After I was finally able to sit, I started listening to music – looking around the cabin to find there were no overhead screens. “Screw inflight entertainment this flight” I thought. I was beginning to miss the British Airways leased aircraft.
There were no comforting images of Australian scenes due to this. The very menacing flight attendants walked around swiftly while smiling briefly. There was once again no flight attendants walking around to help people with their luggage – they all seemed to run away. Okay, once again on personal appearances: The QF flight attendants have done it again! While there were no male flight attendants on this flight (That I know of), the flight attendants seemed to have a Chemical overload with their make-up. Mikey’s right – I really did need sunglasses. VERY light red lipstick, black mascara, and dark uniform. They didn’t pride themselves on appearance either – their uniforms were scruffily tucked in.
The pre-flight announcements were done in a great way, and the FA’s started slamming the overhead lockers closed. The aircraft was pushed back, and the very annoying safety video, which I could not see anymore due to lack of overhead screens, was put on. The flight attendants ran to their positions, and the quite senior flight attendant standing next to me amazed the Beijing businessmen – who stared at her like she was some kind of hideous monster. After they had seen enough, they began chattering away loudly, and flight attendant glared down at them without saying anything. The flight attendants began asking each other whether they should move down more. At the end, we were already taxiing and taking a very long time too. I listened to music for another few minutes as we stood on the runway. I quickly took off the earphones as soon as I thought we were to take off. The engines roared, and we kind of err slowly made our way down the runway (This is in comparison to my first flight). The lift was sudden, and with around the same number of passengers on this flight, I really did like the British Airways leased aircraft more. Oh, by the way, my winged headrests didn’t squeak this time, they simply fell out of place when you attempted to move them.
On take-off, an overhead bin was thrown open, and a passenger could only stand up and pick them all up as they were rolling around. I don’t think the FA’s noticed. By the way – to the readers that are wondering, YES, QF flight attendants have the choice of wearing black striped trousers that match their blazer. I think this is good for comfort, though I tend to disagree with the trousers.
The flight attendants walked around some more, and contrary to beliefs that flight attendants can’t wear glasses, I saw a stick-figure anorexic lady with glasses on, patrolling the aisle with a toothy smile. Hmm… Now I had seen two extremes.
Up till now, I was beginning to wonder about Qantas’ standards again, but soon afterwards, the flight attendants began serving the cardboard box meals.
When mine arrived, I asked the flight attendant before I got the meal whether I could have a can of Coke. She kept smiling, but began looking confused – she asked me whether I still wanted the meal. I laughed and said yes. The flight attendants seemed confident with what they were doing, and I thought that their standards of service were extremely casual, yet effective – meeting descriptions of Australian people. Soon afterwards, I think an FA stepped back on a lady and dropped some food from the cardboard box onto the lady. The FA apologised so much, but smiled back at the now-smiling lady. The FA said “Soda Water will get that right out, Ma’am. I will fetch you a glass of soda water and tissues for that.” She smiled eagerly and left what she was doing. Eventually another flight attendant came to give the lady behind me the soda water. I ate my meal – bread rolls which tasted great – but weren’t as good as the first ones. I drank the mineral water, and coke, and ate the chocolate.
I hopped out of my seat and left for the lavatory – confused by the position. On my previous trip, there was a lavatory pointing to the rear of the plane. This plane didn’t and the Flight attendant read my mind and instantly pointed behind me.
Inside the aircraft, I’m pretty sure some sick bastard had urinated in the sink. Totally disgusted, I left the bathroom. Could someone please tell me whether QF flight attendants have to clean the toilets?
In the end, I sat around a while listening to music, before our descent was announced. There was a thunderstorm and it was extremely hot, added the captain. The announcements that followed were brief, and the staff didn’t seem to know what they were saying. E.g. “Ladies and Gentlemen. The weather in err Brisbane is currentlyyyyyyyyyyyyy around 30 degrees centigrade. Err… We will be arriving shortly and… Thank you”
We bounced around in the air for some time before we slammed onto the runway… And I mean SLAMMED. I was peacefully looking out at Brisbane, before Brisbane got larger and larger, and suddenly we were tossed onto the runway. The plane gradually slowed down, and we were taxiing to the Brisbane terminal. I irritably noticed now that the Beijing businessmen had chatted right through the flight and even through the inflight announcements. The people next to me refused to do up the seatbelt, though they had it on when the flight attendants came around. He simply tossed it around and never used it. On arriving at the gate, I lined up in the aisle and was soon leaving the plane – and leaving the smiling flight attendants.
Finally, I was back in Brisbane.
This trip was the best, and has increased my favor of Qantas. As again, they didn’t make me feel like I was an Emperor, nor did they give me great inflight entertainment, food and beautiful scantily clad stewardesses: They made me feel like a human being.
I must say that’s the bottom line. When flying, I don’t require everything, but what I like best about Qantas is that they serve you casually – but the service they provide is warm, and caring. Qantas is now, my favorite airline again.
The spirit of Australia