Takeoff: 09:38 34R
Touchdown 10:42 Rwy 34
Dep Gate 3
Arr Gate 24
Well got to the airport at 7am a good two hours early for a domestic flight. Went through the security and proceded to the cityflyer desk to check in. I requested a window seat and was told by the agent that I owed them another $6.60 and she asked for my credit card so as that she could have the amount debited. I asked what for and she said I have failed to pay the 10% levy for my infant and I couldn't take my infant unless I paid the extra. Being in a particularly jolly mood the (especially for that hour) I said "hey I'm not that fat". Obviously not getting the joke she restated that I needed to pay the extra or else she couldn't issue the boarding card. I told her thatthere must be some mistake, as I certainly don't have an infant and wouldnt be taking one even if I had one for a 3 hr trip to MEL to get on a few 762's. She then asked me if I was actually intending to take an infant. By this stage I was wondering if she had a brain cell in her head and said (politely) "No I wont be taking an infant with me". Finally she gets the point and says ok here is your boarding card ... a window seat. 26A.
I spent the next 2 hrs or so sitting reading the paper and was delighted when EAM pulled into the gate as it was a new one for me.
Boarding was late and it took a while for us to be underway. Anyway once airborne the snack boxes were dished out. A blueberry muffin and an orange juice. The blueberry muffin had a very generous 2.5 blueberries in it - how kind! Coffee was offered and was rather hot but drinkable.
We were soon on decent and made a nice approach in strong headwinds to Rwy 34. After a short taxi we were at the gate and it wasnt before long I was in the terminal. I made my way to the cityflyer counter where there wasn't a queue to check in for my return service at 14:30 QF440. The lady there was very friendly and asked me why I was so early and giggled when I told her I had just got off the 419 from SYD and gave me a boarding card in less than a min. Seq number 1 and seat 39A.
After some spotting on the international spotting deck which was a bit of a struggle as it was blowing an absolute gale I sat myself back down at gate 24 to wait for my return service.
Takeoff 17:25 Rwy 16
Touchdown 18:25 34L
Dep Gate 23
Arr Gate 13
At about 14:10 VH-EAN pulled into bay 24 to operate Qf440 the 14:30 service back to Sydney. I was glad it wasn't EAJ but as I have only been on EAN once I wasn't overly annoyed. After the crew arrived and sat round for a while we were advised that due to operational requirements we would now be leaving from gate 1 where EAL was sitting ... bingo - I haven't been on EAL. So we all marched over to gate 1 and sat and sat and sat. Eventually the crew went onboard ... cameoff... went back and came off and left. Then after another 15 mins an announcement was made "Would passengers holding boarding card for Qf440 please come to the cityflyer counter. The operating aircraft has a hydrolic leak and will be a couple of hours. You are welcome to wait for it to be fixed but if you come to the counter we can accomodate you on other flights." I sat and pondered what I should do ... then decided to go get a coffee and sit and watch the monitors as the prospect of being the only person on the Qf440 on EAL was quite good. After about 40 mins just as I had finished my coffee "would Mr Mortimer please come to the CityFlyer counter". So off I went. The guy behind the counter asked me why I hadn't come before ... and I told him that I wanted to take him up on his offer to wait for the aircraft to be fixed. He then replied "Sir, we were only joking about waiting - here is your boarding card for an earlier flight" to which being a tad annoyed replied (keeping my cool I might add) "Its ok thanks I havent been on this one before and I have all day - I don't mind waiting" to which he told me in no uncertain terms that I had no choice and that I was now delaying my new flight - and that here was my boarding card 56K.
Deciding that it was not worth the trouble but I would be writing a nice letter about my last 6 months on QF I took the card and went over to gate 23 - where people were still deplaning from the last flight. Hmmm .... so I sat and waited. I noted EAQ had pulled into bay 24 after EAN had left for BNE and then checked and noted it was going to SYD. By this time boarding was called for my new flight. I decided that it was worth a try and went up to the counter and asked to be put on the 17:30 service which EAQ was operating. The lady snapped back "whats your problem you are on an earlier flight what more do you want - its full anyway". A polite agent would be nice - but I decided not to sink to her level and say that to her.
Anyway so I boarded ZXA (the only RR one I had prevously been on btw) and made my way to 56F which has a good view of absolutely nothing. There we sat and waited. The captain came on and said that the tower had advised us that there was lightning in the area and that the ground staff were required to leave the ramp. Fair enough - dont want Jason getting fried sitting next to lots of metal condutors on his pushback tug. So we sat and waited ... the captain kept us up to date every 10 or so mins and every man and his dog was on their phone talking to someone. Then the captain said that the storm had finally cleared but we would have to wait 20 mins for a tug as the ramp staff were run off their feet - OK. Then after 20 mins I felt the cargo doors opening ... yes thats right ... the one seat empty seat (which was infront of me) belonged to a missing passenger who had checked luggage. Now what I want to know is why hadn't he been found in the hour that we had been sitting on the plane at the gate ... and had there been a bomb in the bag we had been sitting on the plane long enough now that it could quite have been timed to go off. Anyway at least they were taking it off. Ok so after they found the bag we now had a minor problem which would now take 5 mins or so to fix. So we sat there some more.
Finally we were underway - not that I could see a hell of a lot - in fact I had a great view of the cabin but row 56 and 57 consisted of just the 3 seats in the middle and lockers or similar on the edges it was hard to see anything ... so much for checking in early to improve your chances of a window seat - in fact all it does is improve your chances of them loosing your luggage and blaming you for it ... but that is another story.
So we took off and I must say the back of the ex BA machines is much better than 3A as far as takeoff noise goes ... We climed like the spaceshuttle and went right through some dark clouds so we got some nice turbulance - im sick ... yes you dont have to remind me. Then the crew came around with the snack ... an orange muffin with 7 bits of orange in it, an apple juice and some breadsticks. I would have got a coffee had there been any milk in my little box - but as there wasn't I asked for a diet coke.
Anyway after a very short cruise (the captain had promised a fast sector to try and make up some time) and sure enough he kept to his promise. We were shortly on final approach for 34L not that I knew that until we left the runway right at the very end because I couldn't see anything. Anyway, it was a matter of seconds before we pulled up at bay 13 (the plane continued to OOL) and I had to sit and wait for the cattle infront of me to deplane before I could get off...
ps. that was the last straw as far as QF agents go ... I can handle delays due to WX or u/s aircraft - but I am sick to death of the rude rude rude people that QF seem to employ the world over - especially when I keep my cool every time as I dont want to sink to their level. Anyway at least I made it to MEL this time...
airliners.net's passenger - simultaneously connecting and flying direct.