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Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:16 pm

Hello people,

Finally had the transcontinental experience with Qantas!!

The return ticket booked in March (about 3 months in advance) cost:

$366.00 ($US255.61, 209.90 Euro, £139.85)
$36.31 in taxes and fees
$40.23 in GST (10% Goods and Services tax)
Total - $442.54. ($US309.06, 253.82 Euro, £169.11)

Virgin Blue was $4.00 cheaper when I booked.

Anyway, to the flights!

24 June 2004
QF 565 / Seat 15A
Boeing 737-838
Dep: 0610 (on time)
Arr: 0910 (+5 mins)

I was told by Qantas telephone reservations that Sydney Airport opened at 5:30am. Believing this guy was a mistake, as the terminal was well open when I arrived at 5:10am. My own fault - he said I was travelling on a B737-400 on the way there, and an A320 on the way back - I should have been suspicious!!

Checked in and got my F side window changed to an A side window, as I like to sit on the left of the aircraft. As per the web site, there were complimentary newspapers waiting by the gates for people to take if they so desired.

Boarded on time, and the flight was ready to go fairly quickly as the plane was only 55-65% full. I had no-one beside me in the row of three, and the flight attendants also said that people are welcome to sit where they like once airborne as they were lightly loaded.

My first experience with flip down screens happened during the safety demonstration! They're very nifty, though I think the resolution could be better! We took off and climbed smartly out on our way.

Menus were given out in Economy class, and the Breakfast Menu was -

Continental Breakfast (Orange Juice, Bakery, Cereal, Fruit Salad) or Hot Breakfast (Orange Juice, Fruit Salad, Bakery, Mushroom Egg Cake and Bacon with Tomato Ragout).

Additionally, they had wine, beer, Johnny Walker Red Whisky, Gordon's Gin, Smirnoff Vodka, Bundaberg Rum, Jim Beam Bourbon, Orange Juice, Mineral Water, Soda Water, Tonic Water, Lemonade, Coke and Diet Coke.

The beautiful waft of the hot breakfast then permeated the aircraft and soon the trolleys were at my row. Alas, they had run out of hot breakfasts - and of the entire plane load of people, perhaps 4 of us missed out. I have never ever been so pissed off on a plane in my entire life!

So I had the cold breakfast. The fruit salad was yummy, the cereal was Sultana Bran, the bakery was a tiny croissant which tasted great with the strawberry jam, and of course I had the orange juice. Cutlery was metal for everything except the knife. Tea and Coffee was also served - I had some of both. I don't know what Qantas use for Tea, but the tea was delicious!!

Later on we were served water, and later again more water and a muffin and more tea, and we got mints at the top of the descent.

Inflight entertainment was a Welcome Aboard with John Travolta and Deborah Hutton (Australian TV host), an episode of Friends and the movie Dirty Dancing 2 - Havana Nights. I did pop the headphones on for a little bit, and I have to say the quality of the sound is pretty average. I also couldn't work out how to turn on the reading light and I wasn't going to bother waving my hand about up there like an idiot for too long!!

The toilets were very clean and I must compliment whoever designed the air cleaning system as I went in three times (too much tea and coffee and water!) immediately after people and there was no trace that anyone had been in before me. Also, I'd love to know what coats the toilet bowl - some kind of teflon stuff? Either way, it's clean and efficient and I thought it was great!

The real delight on the flight was the cabin crew! They were extremely good looking and well groomed, very chirpy and happy, and they looked fantastic in the new uniforms which I had only seen pictures of. The uniforms are a heaps nicer in the flesh than in any picture I've seen. Wonderful crew - and because of them I forgot my unhappiness about no hot breakfast and ended up having a great flight.

Arrived at Perth, deplaned, and my luggage was the third bag off the flight after a wait of about 20 seconds. Very pleased!!

27 June 2004
QF 566 / Seat 55A
Airbus A330-200
Dep: 1640 (+10 mins)
Arr: 2205 (-20 mins)

I checked in very early for this flight, and again had to have my seat allocation changed from the other side of the plane to an A seat. No problems there at all of course.

The airport at Perth is easy to get around, and it was my first encounter with the double door aerobridges to board Business Class separate from Economy Class.

Boarded first and immediately noticed just how small the aisle gets as the plane gets thinner down the back. Unfortunately this flight had to have a load factor of about 95% - it was packed! The A330 for Qantas has overhead bins in the centre and on both sides - good, as some people brought a lot of stuff with them!

The purser was of Asian descent and most of what she said required careful hearing. Her English definitely wasn't as understandable as it could have been, and she announced a lot of things throughout the flight in her heavy accent.

Meal service began fairly soon after take-off and the menu this time was -

Green Leaf Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette and a choice between Stir Fried Chicken with Steamed Rice or Three Cheese Ravioli with Beef, Tomato and Herb Sauce. In addition to that, Chocolate Biscuit, and Ice Cream.

I chose the Stir Fried Chicken and it came with the aforementioned Steamed Rice, with baby corn and beans. The chocolate biscuit was a Tim Tam (Australian icon in the biscuit world), and the roll was a normal roll.

The meal was delicious, but I would have to say that the tray was too cluttered. It had a wine glass, a tea cup, a container of water, the hot meal, roll, butter, the salad (which comes in a glass bowl with a plastic lid)... it was just too much to have to arrange around you while trying to eat. They could do without the wine glass for a start. Utensils were once again metal except for the knife. I had a coke to drink - they give you the whole can.

My companion next to me (who got a medium blue Qantas blanket and two little dark blue Qantas pillows as soon as he boarded and proceeded to attempt sleep for the entire journey) had the pasta meal and said it was very nice.

The A330 doesn't have flip down screens along the sides of the plane - only in the centre, which was very annoying as it's hard to see anything particularly clearly. There are also screens in the bulkhead (useless for those of us down the back really) - one for each block of seats. The movie for this sector was Strange Bedfellows, an Australian film starring Paul Hogan. We also got to see the route map, speed, altitude and so on at one point between programmes, which we didn't get on the outbound flight.

Happily we had a strong tailwind and we were assured that we would arrive early by the First Officer. Closer to arrival we were given "Trumpet" ice creams (made in New Zealand), which were boysenberry and quite nice. Once again we got mints at the top of the descent as well.

The cabin crew were a fatter bunch this time around, but really pretty and attractive larger ladies - the kind you'd expect to open the door in an apron at a farm! Whoever said that the new uniforms don't look as good on larger crew was mistaken - they looked just as attractive as they were on slimmer people. The uniform really is very very nice! Once again, totally cheerful and happy to help everyone around them. There were a lot of crew on this plane!!

We arrived at Sydney early, I had a 5 minute wait for my baggage, and thus ended my transcontinental experience.

I would have to say that I am still a lover of narrowbody aircraft over widebody aircraft. The 737 is much more intimate, even if the seat pitch seems to be a tad less than the A330. It just seemed to be a nicer flight all round, and while I can say it was partly due to less passengers, the aircraft just felt more comfortable (flip down screens were easier to see for example).

The Qantas service was absolutely outstanding - the cabin crew seemed to genuinely love what they were doing, and no request was too much for them. It wasn't fake cheer either - no subtle eye rolling or any of that, just there to do a good job and do it well.

Apart from the lack of a hot breakfast (which is a really major gaffe in my book), the service was second to none throughout - exactly what I'd expect from Qantas domestic.


I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:28 pm

i actually photographed QF 566 departure on sunday, pity the weather was not so favourable, got some shots if you want them.

nice report also.
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:27 pm

Classiclover ... what an excellent report. Thanks for including so much detail.

QF's domestic service really is second to none.

Who in there right mind would book on the Flying Cockraoach when they can fly the beatiful FlyingKangaroo  Smile/happy/getting dizzy and all this for only $4 more!!


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Ryan h
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:43 pm

I have found the 737 is great for domestic flights, but I think it is a bit to squeezy for international flights.
In this day and age qantas are very competitive with their pricing. When I booked my flights to sydney they were only $40 more expensive than Virgin Blue.
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:33 am

I flew BNE-PER and PER-BNE in Feb, and like you said, QF were great!! In both directions we did the night/red-eye flight: 19.00ish from BNE getting to PER at 21.30ish, and the 23.30 flight from PER arriving in BNE at about 6am, and they did everything they could to make you comfortable. I love the way they have menus on the intercontinental flights, and they give out Magnums!

Great report!!!


QANTAS-- The Spirit of Australia
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:41 pm

Glad you've enjoyed the report!

I like reading reports with a lot of detail, so of course I try to write something that I'd like to read - I'm happy others like it too.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat to tell you the truth - only this time I'd make sure I got the red-eye out of Perth so I wouldn't have such a busy flight back!


I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:53 pm

Total - $442.54. ($US309.06, 253.82 Euro, £169.11)

Hmm... that's kinda cheaper than normal, isn't it?

The purser was of Asian descent and most of what she said required careful hearing.

I know that QF employs Asian FAs and they are used on international flights. Never knew that they were deployed on domestic runs. Perhaps this flight had an exceptionally large amount of Asians flying to Sydney? Probably that was why she was there. The fact that one of your choices for dinner was Stir Fried Chicken with Steamed Rice could be an indication of that.

Honestly, when I used to fly domestically in Australia, Ansett was my choice carrier. Looking at how the positive reviews for QF just keeps coming, I might just be tempted to fly them once again!

Great report.
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:07 pm

Yes, I booked in late March, so three months in advance. They have Red-E-Deals going all the time at various levels of cheap. My friend who booked the same flight back had to pay a higher fare as I got the last in my fare grade. It was only a $30 difference though for the next grade up.

I wasn't surprised at having an Asian F/A, as I work with a lot of Asian people and Sydney has a large Asian population. This lady was just a little difficult to understand, compounded by being up the back in steerage behind the engines.

Certainly give Qantas another try if you get the chance - I still have yet to have a bad experience with them domestically (not flown them internationally).

I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:48 pm

An excellent review Trent i am really glad that you enjoyed the Legendary Flying Kangaroo experience. I flew this same route with both QF and DJ last year and must say that this trip put me of DJ for life. Why would anyone fly with DJ when we have such an excellent carrier which offers a world class service and product and is very competitive in pricing. I too have yet to have a bad experience with QF, internationally or domestically. Service is top notch in both arenas as i believe that QF mixes its FA's between domestic and international sectors. Maybe someone can confirm this?
Qantasflyer That's the spirit. The Spirit of Australia!
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:43 am

nice report!

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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Thu Jul 01, 2004 3:15 pm

great report!!!

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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Fri Jul 02, 2004 12:40 pm

Aww shucks!!  Smile


I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Sun Jul 04, 2004 2:05 pm

QF's mainline cabin crew are diveded into two groups.

Short Haul
Long Haul

they dont mix and match. although under their agreement i think they are allowed to fly a certain percentage of each others flying. I dont think QF and the union have worked out who is crewing the 330 yet - at this stage i think its the short haul division.

As QF is an Equal Opportunity Employer people from any background are welcome to apply for any position as long as they have Australian Permenant Residency. What QF does is employ FAs with 'language skills'. But I think you may mean the BKK based crew. They are employed by a contract labour company and only fly international.
I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Sun Jul 04, 2004 7:14 pm


Great report! I too had a similar choice with QF or DJ being comparable price - wise. Chose QF and am so glad I did, as I did a short SYD-BNE hop with them and it was dire.

And TimTams! Oh my god! Missing them hard right now! Yum! Big grin

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RE: Qantas Transcontinental - SYD-PER-SYD

Mon Jul 05, 2004 11:17 am

Thanks for the info Marara!

... and Mark, I should be sending some Tim Tams over to you, shouldn't I? A friend is also over there (as I will be next year) and he misses them too. Apparently you can get them at the Australia shop, but they're expensive compared to here!  Smile

Anyway, was that off topic or was that off topic! lol...

I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!

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