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21500miles To USA With Qantas & 3 Lowfare Airlines

Fri Dec 13, 2002 10:34 pm

Qantas 767-300 VH-OGU, 1F, QF086 Sept 26. Scheduled 8;00am, Didn't depart until 9;00am,
Leave home at 6;00am and get to the airport around 7;00am, check in quickly due to my Qantas Club Membership, advised of delayed departure to 8;30am Went through security and passport check about 8;20am, no hassle with security, put the bags on the belt walk through and collect them at the other end. Very few people seemed to be checked. I spent some points and upgraded to business class for this flight. We had good leg room and a half decent breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. There was juice, water and tea/coffee was offered. The flight time was just over an hour, it was smooth until we came into Sydney where it was hazy and a little bumpy.
We had about 20 minutes to spare to our connecting flight.

Qantas 747-400 VH-OGP, 49E, QF107 Sept 26 Scheduled 10;45am
We lined up for boarding for the flight which seemed to take for ages. Some passengers were being singled out for extra security before they boarded the plane. Found our seat damn no PTVs. The Flight Attendants handed out head phones & amenity kits which included eye shades, toothbrush/paste, and a pair of blue socks. You know the type, child size and without any shape.I don't know why they bother. Flight time was just under 13hours, we were shown 4 movies. About a Boy, with Hugh Grant, it was good comedy something nice to watch, Importance of Being Ernest, boring, Spiderman, good had planned to see this on video, glad I didn't, and Orange County, tried to watch it but never really understood what was going on, Each movie intermission we were shown moving map display so at least we knew where we were. There were 3 full meal services. There was a mid flight drink & ice cream service which was nice. The meals included something hot with a choice of 2 of the following(chicken, beef, veal, fish), served with potatoes, pasta or rice), a bread roll, salad, a drink and a desert. Except for the start where we had to go through those bumps around Sydney on the way up, The flight was relatively smooth and only once was there a call for everyone to sit down, this was just south of Hawaii, so if your going past this part of the world watch out for the bumps.

We arrived at 7;00am ready for the tug driver to tow us into the gate, we breezed through immigration & customs inspection and were outside the terminal in 22 minutes. I think we were the first flight to arrive just beating QF93 from Melbourne by about 5 minutes. After dumping our bags on the terminal transfer belt in the International terminal we headed over to Terminal 3. Had a drink from Starbucks and then went and waited at the Terminal 3 Admirals Club, which had a perfect view of the landing and taking off aircraft. The AC also has a internet connection, 12minutes for $3.00. Free drinks and newspapers were on offer. Read through the Alaska Airlines Magazine, which I should have taken to add to my collection.

American 737-800 N977AN, 12B, AA1206 Sept 26 QF3151, Schedule 11;15am,
Walked downstairs at 10;45pm for our departure. There was to have been a fifteen minute delay but that turned into 1 hour and 41 minutes delay due to the lack of available take off slot, this we didn't find out about until we were on the aircraft. No problem leg room was plenty, way too much if you ask me, why didn't Qantas introduce the MRTC for all of there 747s. I had a set of ear phones with me to listen to the audio channels. The captain came out into the cabin and told us about the delay and had a talk a few of the passengers for a couple of minutes. Somehow we managed to secure an earlier take off position and left the gate just before 12;00pm and lined up for take off at 12;06pm for the 51 minute flight to San Francisco. On board service was a drink and a package of pretzels. Landed in San Francisco collected our bags and went and outside to look for the SamTrans bus that would take us to BART. Went back inside and ask someone for directions and then eventually found the bus stop. It will make life much easier when the new SFO Bart extension is operational.

JetBlue B6 118 OAK-IAD, 11;50PM, Saturday 28 Sept 18F A320 N535JB
After spending 2 nights in San Francisco went and saw Alcatraz & Angel Island, rode on the cable cars and walked through China Town. Arrived at Oakland Airport at 9;30pm for our late night departure to Washington Dulles. Checked in with the cheery JetBlue staff, found out the plane was only half full. We had been singled out for a bag check, our checked bags were scanned before they were handed back to the Jetblue staff. Before boarding we were subjected to a full pat down and shoe wand and carry on bag search. Booking a cheap one way to Dulles 2 weeks before the flight was going to guarantee us a search. Seat pitch was the same as Qantas but with leather seats and a 24 channel TV to keep me occupied. The channels included the weather channel, 3 sport shows, one golf channel, animal planet and others including flight tracker which was interrupted with Jetblue ads. A drink service was offered just after take off which included a muffin or chips. The chips that I chose were a dark shade of blue which doesn't effect the taste. Got about 2 hours sleep and before I knew it we were heading into Dulles. Arrived into Dulles and headed to the terminal building where you walk through to the sign that say TO TERMINAL, and straight onto the mobile lounge, I had read about these things and now I was on one. They are great way to give you a good view of the airport.and it is weird that they are lowered to move about on the tarmac. Collected the bags and went to look for the 5A Metro bus. $2.00 to the city centre. It is not well signed posted and can be found out near the shuttle buses for the hire cars out past all the construction work.

Spent 2 nights seeing the sights of Washington DC collected a hire car from National Airport and drove out of town. Traveled 830 miles saw a heap of touristy stuff, historic homes and enough monuments to poke a stick at. Visited Virginia & Pennsylvania and dropped the car back at Baltimore. There is no one way drop charge when returning the car to any of the Washington Airports.

Southwest WN 1000, BWI-SDF, Scheduled 12;25PM, 4A N612SW B737-3H4

After spending 2 hours in the terminal, stupid terminal layout, once you go through security on B concourse you can't get to any of the other concourses without going through security again. There are only so many brown 737s you can look at. Our brown plane turned up from Albany at 11;50am, We lined up ready to board but then advised that the plane would be delayed due to a problem with the forward wheel strut which would need to be fixed. Well they got it fixed pretty fast and we were off the airbridge at about 12;39 so the flight wouldn't be officially late.
Was in the first boarding group no security check, must have brought the ticket early enough and was able to get seat 4A. The seat pitch was good at about 34inch, better than most airlines and enough to stretch out without feeling cramped, even this seat pitch would have been good on Qantas.
Had a clear take off and nice views until we flew through a bunch of cloud, which lasted about 40 minutes giving us a bumpy ride. A drink with either nuts or cheese nips or both. You only got a cup of coke which didn't include the can. Well the clouds cleared and the bumps stopped so had a nice view of Ohio and what I think was Cincinnati airport and Northern Kentucky as we came into land at Louisville. Flight was ok, nothing special from the Southwest Flight Attendants.

After spending a few days in Indiana drove 1100miles to Denver. The drive across Kansas & Eastern Colorado is rather boring, Flat & dry. If you plan to do this drive do it at night as you won't miss anything

Frontier, F9 417, DEN-LAX Scheduled 12;05pm Seat 5F N902FR A319
Our friends gave us a lift to the airport and were 1.5hour early for our flight. Denver Airport is about 20 miles North East of Denver and in the middle of nowhere. Got moved into seat 5F. Wore a large jacket through security and get caught for special security attention, Shoes off, jacket off, get the wand with arms spread out like an idiot. Bag searched. Got to the gate at 11;30am only to find that the plane had a flap problem it wasn't talking to the computer so that meant departure was put back to 1:30pm. Took off on one of the eastern runways and turned right towards LA. Had some nice views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. I was surprised of how dry it was in comparison to flying over Ohio. Service included a full can of Pepsi with a cup of ice and a packet of chips(chips awful). Landed in LA at Terminal 3 only about an hour late, scheduled must be well padded, flight only about 1hr 47min, and also waited for a tug to tow us in. Obviously international airlines aren't singled out for this treatment either.

Qantas 747-400 VH-OED, QF26, LAX-AKL. 48F, 9;30pm,

Spent a night in LA, went and saw the Getty Museum, you need to prebook for the car park. Checked in with Qantas, No upgrade, this flight was going to be long Ask the usual questions, did you pack your bag yourself, has it always been with you as anyone given you anything recently to take onboard the plane. After going through security get singled out for extra security they tell me totally random and search through my carry on bag, out comes the books, the camera and the amenities bag that I was given to by a friend in LA, Umm maybe I was given something, The security guard was surprised I had one, He said something like "Passengers must collect these". After getting to the gate at 8;00pm had a look through the amenities bag, had to check what was in it. Then waited around for an hour an half, I had heard the Qantas Club at LAX was pretty bad and gave it the miss. Out of all the airports I went to there is nothing much to buy and the fact it was dark meant plane spotting was pointless.

Our 12 hour flight to Auckland left a few minutes late. We were served a hot meal, similar to the outbound. Only had three movies this time, Men In Black 2, which was ok, the 2nd of skipped and the third was Bend it Like Beckham. Unlike the way over they showed sky show less and there was a 4 hour break where everyone was meant to be sleeping. Got about 6 hours sleep because the amenity kit I received included ear plugs. Qantas were a little slack with the food, only 2 meal services and they didn't come through as often with water. What made this flight worse was no PTVs.

Qantas 747 VH-OED QF26, AKL-BNE 48F. 7;45AM.
Had a 1.5hour stop in Auckland, went to the Qantas Club, brought a paper, a magazine & some chocolate bars boarded the same plane and sat in the same seat, A hot breakfast was served and one movie was shown Mr Deeds with Adam Sandler. Arrived into Brisbane at 8;20am, It felt more like Midday. Breezed through customs and immigrant in 25 minutes after buying duty free and went home.

After reading so many trip reports over the last few months I sort of knew what to expect and some things came as a surprise. Security tight as I expected. The sheer size of Denver has to be seen to be believed.

Jetblue has the best inflight entertainment. Southwest has the best leg room. It seems odd that Southwest has the best leg room of most carriers but generally only flys short routes, maybe it makes boarding easier. Jetblue & Southwest have an easy web booking system with JetBlue offering a seat selection. Frontier Airlines you cannot book on the web site without a US credit card, you have to call them. Southwest & Frontier use standard boarding cards while Jetblue use the shopping docket boarding ticket similar to Australia's Virgin Blue.

I got what I expected from the low fare carriers, and they offered non stop service from the places I wanted to go.

Thanks for reading.

Why fly non stop when you can connect
Posts: 2561
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 9:09 pm

RE: 21500miles To USA With Qantas & 3 Lowfare Airlines

Sat Dec 14, 2002 7:07 pm

Great job on your report.

Seems a bit strange (to me) for someone to fly from Australia, only to make a stop at my hometown, (gulp!) Louisville. Can I be nosy and ask you why?

I live in the Bay Area now, and I'm anxious to try out JetBlue from OAK. Just don't want to visit my aunt in DC for the experience.  Big grin
Posts: 2295
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:54 pm

RE: 21500miles To USA With Qantas & 3 Lowfare Airlines

Sun Dec 15, 2002 3:34 pm

Were the first two sectors BNE-SYD and SYD-LAX?

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