Flight # UA583
Arrived at the airport nice and early for the long trip ahead. Check-in was quick and simple. The check-in agent was very friendly. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get us economy plus for the LAX-SYD flight but we did manage to get it to LAX.
After grabbing a quick snack in the main terminal it was off to the trains. Quick hop to concourse B and we still had nearly 2 hours to wait. So off I went for a walk to check out all the action at the terminal. Saw the Lufthansa 747 taking off on its way back to Europe. After completely exploring the B concourse I decided to go back down to the trains and have a look at all of the Frontier and Ted planes at A. What should have been a short trip across turned out to be nearly 10 minutes as the train I was on malfunctioned. Went passed the doors at A. Soon after the train was fixed I was off to check out the planes. Saw a few Teds and some Frontier.
Boarding for LAX commenced at 7:35PM. I decided to stay in the terminal as long as possible. Was one of the last to board the flight. Took my seat in the Economy Plus section of the 737-500. Push back was right on time. After a quick taxi to the runway and a nice takeoff we were airborne. Soon after takeoff climbing over the mountains we were treated to a fantastic sunset over the mountains. Shortly after takeoff the F/As came around with a bag of mini pretzels and a Mt. Dew. I listened to music most of the way trying to stay awake so I could sleep as much as possible on the next flight to SYD. Landing was uneventful. After a short taxi to terminal 8 the flight was over.
Flight # UA839
After a fairly short time on the ground in Los Angeles it was time to head off to gate 77 in terminal 7 for the long flight to Sydney. Upon arrival at the gate we were instructed to go to a nearby gate for a document check before we were allowed to board the aircraft. As the boarding began I sat and watched everybody run to the gate. If you ask me this is a mistake as you are just increasing the time you will be on the aircraft. On a flight that is already 14 hours I see no rush to get on.
Upon boarding I went all the way to the back to my seat. Once at my seat I noticed that the 4 middle seats in the last row were empty. I quickly snagged them to try and make the flight a little more comfortable. The plan didn't work and a another guy came and grabbed one of the seats. Oh well, still more room than I originally had.
Take off was long and uneventful. Climbout was a little bumpy but nothing out of the ordinary. I was dead tired and shortly after the F/A's started the long speech they do about the flight I passed out. I'd love to tell you what was for dinner but I slept through it. I slept most of the flight but was awake for the beginning of the first movie. This flight was unusual.
The F/A's decided to play as many movies as possible and skip the short TV shows and sitcoms. In the end 6 or 7 movies were shown. Snack was served just over half way through the flight. It consisted of a lemon cracker, Dove Candy bar, an apple, and a small ham sandwich. Shortly after I fell asleep again. When I awoke again we were only an hour and a half out from Sydney.
Breakfast was on its way down the aisle. The choice was an omelet or apple pancakes. I went for the apple pancakes. They weren't great but they weren't terrible. Shortly after I found my immigration card on the floor. The F/A's must have put it somewhere around me while I was sleeping.
Landing was uneventful. The weather in Sydney was drizzly and not all that great. Taxi to the terminal was short. After disembarking the plane, those passengers that were heading on to Melbourne aboard the same aircraft had to go thru security.
The line was long as there was only one metal detector and one X-Ray machine. Never the less the line moved fairly quickly. As I was waiting for my traveling companion to gather his belongings I was pulled aside for a random explosive detection.
The security agent had me read a paragraph explaining what was about to take place. After I read it he wanded a little vacuum over me and my bag then put it in the reader. Not more than 2 minutes later I was on my way again. A quick walk around the international departures terminal and it was time once again to get back to the boarding area for the quick hop to Melbourne.
Flight # UA839 Continued
Boarding was quick and painless. There was a spare seat between me and my companion so we were able to stretch out. The load was light and in no time we were taxing out for take-off. Once airborne I quickly fell asleep as I had been traveling for well over 24 hours straight. This short hop to Melbourne was very uneventful. It took us just under an hour. The captain had Channel 9 on the entire flight and I noticed that a QF flight was following us from Sydney. Landing was smooth and before I knew it we were in line for customs. With a quick glance at my passport and a short wait for my bag I was through customs. Finally after 3 flights it was time to go check in for the last one of the day.
Flight # DJ543
When I went to check-in for the Virgin Blue flight I was greeted with a huge maze and different numbers on the taped on the floor. A member of the Virgin staff quickly came and asked us where we were heading. We told her that we were off to Adelaide and she promptly pointed us in the line taped number 2. In no time flat we were at the counter. The staff at Virgin Blue were very attentive. Our bags were taken and our receipt style boarding passes were handed to us and off we went. With just over 3 hours in Melbourne we had plenty of time to wonder around the terminal before heading through security. Lots of t-shirt shops to look around. Didn't buy anything though. After going through security and heading to the gate we found out that our plane was going to be about 10 minutes late as there was bad weather in Launcheston where our plane was coming from. I took the opportunity to walk up and down the terminal hoping for a good chance to take some pictures. But the terminal has way too many windows and the reflection was in the way. So no photos this time.
Boarding commenced and seemed to be finished in under 10 minutes. A sign to the right of the boarding door on the aircraft welcomed all the passengers aboard the youngest fleet in Australia. Very interesting little touch. The aircraft was a 737-800 with winglets. First time for me flying with Virgin Blue and the first time I had flown on a plane with winglets.
The young F/As were a refreshing relief after having had the very senior F/As on United. They were very friendly and always had the biggest smiles on their faces. Takeoff was smooth and before I knew it we were off in the air yet again! Shortly after takeoff the pilot came on the intercom announcing that today's flight was going to take approximately 40 minutes and that today cruising altitude would be 40,000 feet. As we got higher ice crystals began forming on the windows. I took a few photos but none came out very good as the crystals blurred the shot. Ala Carte items were sold on the flight but I was too tired to even look at the menu.
Descending was a little bumpy but nothing to write home about. We descended through the Adelaide hills and had some great scenery to look at before the clouds came in over the city and the views were blocked. Just as we passed the city we broke through the clouds and got a great view of downtown Adelaide. During the taxi the F/A's came on the intercom to welcome us all to Adelaide and warn us of the strict rules of South Australia requiring all fruit products be put in the quarantine bins. "If you have any questions about what can and can't be brought into South Australia, ask the quarantine inspector standing next to the bins eating a banana!" Was the F/A's announcement. It took a few seconds but the passengers finally got the joke and we were all laughing. It was nice to disembark the aircraft via airstairs instead of the jetway. Get some good fresh air after traveling for so long and to get the blood circulating again.
I hope you all enjoyed this report. The return will be written up after I return from my next trip. Any comments are greatly appreciated.