Flight Time-9hrs 20min
Notes-Aircraft was delayed due to a birdstrike on her return from Jakarta.
this was to be the first flight of my 4 week long spotting trip from Perth that takes me as far as New York then see me return via Hong kong
Qantas 79 to Tokyo on a tuesday night is always a little more quiet, checkin was smooth and took less than 5 minutes, my seat assignment was as requested, an emergency exit row!
Upon boarding we were informed by the captain that the plane had arrived from Jakarta 2 hours earlier and had encountered a birdstrike, engineers had to remove a dent from the wing before we were given the ok to fly, this took about 50 minutes.
We were kept informed of the process every 10 minutes or so, the process didn't take to long to rectify, about 50 minutes behind schedule we pushed back off stand 51 and not to long after this we made our way out to runway 21. We were number 2 for takeoff behind a Virgin 737-700.
Our takeoff roll was quite long as expected, we were rather heavy with fuel but not so heavy on passenger load.
Meal Service started about 45 minutes into the flight, we had a supper which was rather nice, i chose to have the lamb which was cooked beautifully and tasted very nice for an economy class meal. Qantas needs to find some new beer's to add to it's menu, VB
and Fosters are terrible, and a flight to Japan with no japanese beer onboard is rather unfavourable. service was efficient and polite, tray was removed within 40 minutes of commencement of meal service, which i found to be pretty good.
I opted not to watch the movie, i decided to head for a middle row and spread out for 5 hours of sleep which was much needed. During this time we flew almost direct north, just to the west of Darwin, we were advised to keep seatbelts fastened due to some turbulence being whipped up from the cyclone off the West Australian coast, this lasted for about 45 minutes.
I can't fill you in on the rest of the journey as it was an overnight flight and i decided to sleep, looking out the window at pitch darkness seemed like a waste of time so the midddle row was the best option.
I awoke with about 3.5hrs of the flight remaining, we were near the Philippines at this stage and headed north for Narita. We encountered some turbulence not to long after, it was rather strong at times and had us seated for 1 hour or so, not to long after the seatbelt sign went off the morning meal was served, i opted for the fish and rice, probably not the best choice at 7am but it's better than starving, service was fast and clearing of the trays took only 30 minutes, On a few recent flights i have been asked to fill out customer surveys, this flight was no exception,flight was fine for me, you can't help nature when you have a birdstrike, that was really the only hickup of the whole flight.
Not to long after 9 hours flying we began our decent into Narita for landing on runway 34L, during this time we came across alot more turbulence, Tokyo was subject to some rather rough weather on this day, nevertheless we made contact with terra firma just on 930am, we taxied to the cargo area as we didn't have a airbridge gate for this flight, everywhere you turned there was a 747 of some description!
Deboarding took about 5 minutes as we had to wait for a transport bus, on arrival at the terminal it was good to see somethings don't change at Narita, the immigration line takes a good hour to pass through!
my suitcase was still going round on the conveyor belt by the time i got out, i rekon it might have been for a good 45 minutes!
in all a good flight, noneventful apart from the birdstrike mishap.
Seat Number-30K Emergency Exit
Flight Time-12hrs 20min
After spending 1 week in Tokyo it was time to move on to Zurich for the 2nd leg of my trip, this time using Swiss Airlines, I departed for Narita at 7am, if you know Narita then you know to be early where possible!
The checkin que had formed when i arrived though checkin was not due to open until 810am, when checkin opened all cargo luggage was screened by x-ray machine, after collecting my bags it was straight to checkin, from x-ray to boarding pass was no more than 5 minutes, handling was done by JAL.
Next nightmare was negotiation of the immigration que that is always apart of Narita and it's early morning throng of airlines.
I arrived at gate B-73 about 20 minutes prior to departure and noted that the plane had already boarded, i was to be the last passenger to file through the gates, i noted upon arrival in the cabin a very spacious feeling, i am not a fan of the A340 but this Swiss aircraft had a very nice comfortable feeling about it! Business Class was rather full, while Economy had only about 50% of capacity.
Doors closed dead on 1040am and we pushed back shortly after, taxi commenced soon after for the 12hr 20min flight which would take us over the Japan Sea, Russia, St Petersburg, Germany and finally down to Zurich.
Departure runway was 34L, the longest at Narita at nearly 4km's in length, we linedup and had immediate clearance. I watched the nose camera on the monitor mounted to the bulkhead, our takeoff roll was a good 3.5km's long, my hotel was clearly visible when we rotated.
Strong headwinds greeted us as we crossed Japan, those on the left had a great view of Mt Fuji, i on the right had a view of the Japanese countryside.
Initial climb was to 31000 feet, the Airbus 340 is certainly a very slow climber, it took a good 35 minutes to reach 31000 feet. upon reaching the flight level we were instructed to remain in our seats as strong turbulence would be encountered due to the strong head winds.
Drink service started rather soon after, i opted for the Sapporo beer, Japanese beer is good stuff! and food service began not to long after. i went for the Salad, Chicken and Vegies and rice, i found it very filling and tasty, was a nice way to start the flight, drink service came around a 2nd time after trays were cleared, i went for the Sapporo again.
Meal service was fast and very efficient, food was simple yet tasty and filling, and the beer flowed freely! i decided to watch the movie Lost in Translation, a film about 2 people in Tokyo, and i can vouch for that lost feeling, Tokyo is the most daunting city in the world, if you get lost downtown then you really are lost! i played a few games and shortly after 5 hours of flying a snackw was delivered, followed by more drinks, the service was very efficient and there was plenty of it, legroom was excellent though i did have a emergency row seat.
Just before landing another round of drinks and food came, i nibbled at it but found i could eat no more, for the better part of 4 hours i managed to sleep on this flight.
Our approach to Zurich began at about 1540 local time for a landing on runway 14, upon arrival we made our way to gate A83, deboarding was fast as was immigration and baggage collection, i was out of the terminal and at my hotel within 30 minutes of arrival.
I would recommend Swiss to anyone who wants a good value longhaul flight, longhaul is a painful experience, Swiss make it a little more enjoyable!
This was one of the shorter flights on my journey, found the cabin to be quite nice and spacious though cramped for legroom, I don't know where airlines getoff trying to charge for meals on short flights, i paid well over $2300AUD for these flights and expect a meal, none of this pay for it rubbish.
We were a little late due to connecting passengers, we departed from gate E34 of the new midfield terminal, takeoff was from runway 28, a nice view of the alps was a pleasant way to start the flight, i just sat and looked out the window of this flight and admired the view, we landed just after 9am in Frankfurt on runway 25R, and boy was it great to see the Frankfurt skyline again. We were on a remote gate so bus was the way back to the terminal, baggage had arrived as i got to the belt.
not bad for an early morning flight, though some free food or atleast a glass of water could have been offered.
Flight Time-40 minutes
Pretty much the same as the previous flight with not much to right home about, you cant reall assess much on a 40 min flight so i won't really bother to do so.
Flight Time-9 hours
checked in for this flight in Frankfurt, got my assigned seat and had to take my Swiss flight to connect with the CO
flight. Was good to see that i could fly to EWR
and not have to re-checkin. We pushed back late due to slot times, then made our way to runway 16 for departure to Newark.
was pretty unsure about this flight due to visa status but in the end it all worked out well. legroom was not very sufficient and i cant believe they charge you $5.00 for alcoholic drinks.the flight was crewed by a pretty boring bunch, not alot of interaction with the passengers but the IFE was good to watch. 2 meals were served and the service was good and fast, trays were cleared promptly and a constant drink service was passed through the cabin during the flight, We approached newark and on my left side was an amazing view of Manhattan, what better way to arrive than with the view of Manhattan! all in all a good flight.
Flight Time-7 hours
Made an early checkin for this flight to Zurich, in the end i could checkin 5 hours before departure which was good for me, i was assigned a seat and the one next to me was blocked so i could move freely about the cabin, best reason for this right side is the view of Manhattan!
security at EWR
is very tight as you can imagine, i was searched and had my shoes run through the metal machine, i was suprised that they asked me to leave my checked luggage unlocked, thank god they locked it after screening. checkin was smooth and took only a few minutes.
boarding commenced rather early, the gate official noticed i was from Australia and commented on my accent which drew some laughter, things were looking good for this flight! we pushed back ontime but the Que of departures was a good 40 minutes long, our flight was alot lighter than the flight to EWR
. the view of Manhattan was not to good as it was covered in smog and grey skies.
shortly after takeoff we were treated to a drink service followed by dinner of chicken and salad, this is when the service to me especially became very special, the stewardess a born and bred Brooklyn girl asked me where i was from, i replied Australia and from that moment i was given free red wine, and excepttional service from her especially, she came around and spoke to me for about 45 minutes and also stopped during the service periods to talk to me! i was also given a business class ammenity kit and shaver and cream for my personal use! cans of drink and great conversation with a great girl.
I slept most of the flight after meal service as it was a night flight, so i dont know what else to add, breakfast was served just before arrival into Zurich, our flight arrived ontime via runway 34.
this would be the best flight i have had in a long while!
Flight Time-12hrs 00min
Gate A67 is to be our gate tonight for my return to HK
, boarding began a few minutes late and was rather unorganised, plane is very full and the service a little more relaxed than the tokyo-zurich flight, flying time will be 12 hours. this crew was one of the worst i have come across in a longtime.
Took 7 hours for a stewardess to come reset my PTV and bring me a drink, they constantly walked passed me when i had the light on and made no effort to fix my problems. i had the asian beef which was small and left me wanting more!
most of the time i slept seeing as though the crew felt they didn't have to come fix my request.
Flight Time-7hrs 30min
I took advantage of the intown checkin service at Kowloon station so i didnt have to worry about lugging my case about when i went spotting later in the day. really good idea and very efficient.
i got my requested exit row seat, boarding began 30 minutes prior to departure and we pushed back ontime. i was feeling pretty ill by the time i boarded due to exhaustion.
dinner was asian beef and noodles, i had 2 serves as i was starving! i missed breakfast as i was sound asleep and feeling not so well, we approached perth on runway 03 with a great view of the city.
all in all a wonderful journey and the chance to meet some really fantastic people along the way.
a big thanks to the spotters and especially Louis Jacobs for helping me out.
photos to come soon!