Flight QF62,November 11th 2001.
Photo © Craig Murray
We arrived in Changi after the 13 hour flight from London and headed straight to the SATS desk to change our seats on QF62.The agents in Heathrow had allocated us seats at the last minute,but they were somewhere around row 40 (no problem) and seats C+D(this was the problem-we had requested window seats).Initially the agent in Singapore was not helpful and said there no window seats left,after a bit of 'discussion' two window seats became available.
Me and my partner then headed for the washrooms so we could freshen up a bit.After that we slowly made our way past all the shops in the terminal,followed by a visit to the bar by the cactus garden,whilst there we saw our plane arrive at it's stand,so we went back inside and gotsomething to eat.We boarded at around 2200 and took our seats-25A+B,this was followed by an
on time departure from the gate and a hasty departure to the west.
Dinner was served fairly promptly after departure which meant that we were both able to catch on some sleep before our arrival in Darwin,and it was sleep that preoccupied us for most of the flight there is not much to report on that sector.We touched down at around 4:20am in Darwin and were in the terminal by 4:30.I browsed the two duty free shops and spent a few minutes on the internet checking to see if my mum and dad had got my email to tell them when to pick us up at Cairns.By 5:20 we were back on board and took off about 10 minutes later-as we did I noticed the first
few rays of light in the night sky as November 12th dawned.The second sector was only about two hours long so there was no food or anything,there was some in flight entertainment but I can't remember what it was,although the Qantas 'Osaka' presentaion was now beginning to get repetetive,this being the third time I had seen it.
As the light grew strong enough to see the earth's surface again I noticed we were over water but within ten minutes or so we were over land again.After crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria our route took us acroos the Cape of York peninsula area of Queensland.We commenced our descent at about 0750 and flew over the tropical rainforest that takes up alot of land in Northern Queensland and then we crossed the Pacific coastline a few miles to the south of Port Douglas.This was followed by a sharp bank to the right to take us directly into Cairns where we landed at
about 0816.We disembarked at 0825 and then had to queue for about 20 minutes to get through immigration,which was followed by a customs check which involved all passengers having all their luggage searched-although for some reason we were the only people that i noticed who got through without having any bags searched at all.All in all it took over an hour from landing to clearing customs,about twice as long as last time.
Overall a very pleasant flight,good service,good food,average IFE,a punctual arrival and a pleasant complement of F/A's.
Flight QF569,November 18th 2001.
Photo © Neville Murphy
After a great week of relaxing in Cairns the time had come for us to move on to the next stage of the holiday with this flight to Sydney.With a scheduled departure time of 1355 we got to the airport at 1200 and got ready to check in,it was at this point that my partner couldn't find her passport.Although a passport is not imperative for a domestic flight it is a useful form of identification,and after 10 minutes going through her luggage she found it-it was in her coat pocket the whole time! So we checked in and got seats 51E+F-again we had a pre booked request for window seats but didn't worry too much about the seats,I was expecting a 767 so having an aisle seat is what I
thought I had got,and although it was not what we requested I wasn't going to argue about it because it was only a two hour flight.
We got some food from the cafe in the departure lounge and then had a half hour or so on the internet while we waited for our flight to be called.The boarding call came at around 1315 and we made our way towards the air bridge,and it was at this point that I noticed that we were actually going to be flying on a 744,and it was the BA/QF hybrid livery 744.Alot has been said about that but I can confirm that internally it has the same interior as a Qantas 743 including the 743 type seats.It seems to be in a good state of repair and not as bad as some comments on A.net might suggest.We took our seats only to find they were the worst seats on the plane.....we had the two middle seats in a row of four and we were parallel with the wings which meant that not only did we have people on both sides of us,but we couldn't see anything from the few windows we were able to view.What followed can loosely be described as my worst ever flight.I remember very little of it since I spent most of the flight trying not to think of where I was,I suffer from mild form of
claustrophobia and I was very tense throughout the whole experience-of course this is not really
fault of Qantas,but this is why we requested window seats and once we got our seating allocation I thought we would have aisle seats which is not a problem-but having neither a window to look out of or an aisle so I could easily get out of my seat made the whole flight a very stressful experience.However,Qantas in flight service was pretty much non-existant and the in flight meal consisted of breadsticks and a carton of fruit juice.I flew the same flight a few months back on
a 767 with Qantas and everything was fine,it was a good flight-there has been such a deterioration in standards since then.
Our route was south out of Cairns,past Brisbane and then directly into Sydney,our descent into Sydney took 35 minutes,this was a result of some extremely strong winds whichhad caused a lot of disruption to airport operations through the afternoon.I would love to see a map of where we on our approach because we seemed to be zig zagging all over the place.Two minutes before
touchdown the gear came out and as it did the whole aircraft took a sudden dive accompanied by a sound that I've never heard before,it was as if something had been sheared off the aircraft like the gear doors or something.I presume it was just because we were sitting right over one of the sets of landing gear.It was only about 90 seconds before landing that we came through the cloud cover followed by more buffeting by the wind and finally followed by a firm landing,but at
least we were safely back on the ground,although arrival at the terminal was a few minutes late.This was one of the only flights I've been on where I was glad to get off,and although I'm sure I'll be flying this route again sometime in the next year or two I hope that we can have more luck with the seating arrangements,better catering and better weather.
There are some pictures I took during these flights which can be found at the following URL:
One more thing,I'm doing LHR/ORD/LAS/LAX/LHR next week on AA,let me know what you want me to put in that trip report.......thanks.