Singapore Changi Terminal One- Perth International
072 / BA
7376 / AZ
Airbus A330-303 (VH-QPE, Port Lincoln)
0905 – 1350H
Duration: approx 4hr 45 min
9 June 2005
Voila! Another holiday beckons. The background to this trip? Well, the last time I did a trip report, some guys might have remembered that I entered the flying academy to be a Silk Air pilot trainee. Part of the training required me to be relocated to Perth for quite a substantial amount of time. So a group of my friends actually booked a trip to visit me down under. But lo and behold, I didn’t make it through the course and was subsequently given the boot. Rather than staying home and doing nothing, I decided to follow them as it was a lost cause for my friends to fly all the way to Perth to visit someone that wasn’t there.
Since I had all the time in the world, I planned the itinerary for this trip that included a long, long drive through the Aussie outback up north towards Nambung to the southern areas of Bunbury, Margaret River and Albany (we clocked more than 2000km by the time we returned the rental car).
: Check in was fuss free at Row 5 in Terminal One. I managed to get the seats pre-assigned the night before through some help of a friend that works with SATS. So it was window and aisle seats for all the five of us! This particular flight was code shared with British Airways, Alitalia and Air France (I failed to get the AF
The usual morning rush of flights was normal. QF
was also checking in the morning flights to Melbourne, Sydney and, I suppose, London at the same row.
You can see from the photo above that the hour between 0900-1000 is one of the busiest at the airport. My flight’s boarding at Gate C18, at the extended finger pier. Here is a comparison between the two piers. One that was built in 1980 and the latter that was completed in the late 90s.
Flight looked like it was filled to the brim. Here is the bird that would be flying us to PER
. I think she is one of the latest additions to QF
’s fleet of Airbuses.
: Boarding is done with different row numbers being called. Business Class passengers were asked to board at their own leisure as this aero-bridge was 2-tiered, allowing a faster and more efficient boarding process.
Aretha Franklin’s You Make Me Feel doubled as ambience music as we inched into the new and bright cabin of the A330. Smiles were generous as the relaxing Aussie spirit radiated from the cabin crew “Howdy”, "How are ya…”, “G’day” etc.
I could tell that this was going to be a good flight already!
: Doors close.
Captain comes on the air to welcome us all on board and assures us that pushback will be in a few minutes and then goes on to gives us details of the flight. The Cabin Service Officer (CSO
) also comes on with his welcome address shortly after.
0906H: Cabin crew arm all doors, please! Pushback commences as the crew take their position and begin the safety demo manually but the PTVs are not activated, but instead remain at the screen saver pictured above. The safety announcements, I observed, are pre-recorded. Hmm… what happen if you don’t understand English?
: Flaps deployed as we begin our taxi sequence for runway 20L. The route today would be roughly Singapore – Jakarta – Geraldton – Perth.
The 5-minute taxi comes to an end as we enter the runway and power up immediately as the traffic is light. Following the designated SID, out flight path takes us over the Indonesian island of Batam as the engine power settings are reduced after take off.
: Seatbelt sign pings off. Dora comes around and distributes headseats. The CSO
then comes on the air and briefs us all about the usage of the Q-Entertainment (which is a marvel to use, more about that later in the report).
: Since this is a day time flight, the lights are turned off for the rest of the flight leaving the cabin in a darkened state, leaving the illumination from the sky outside the window.
Ah… the wonders of AVOD. The ones found on QF
is an absolute piece of technological awe. I am not surprised why they got some award from AVION for the best in-flight entertainment. The selection was stunning! I didn’t even know where to start! I decided to be entertained by my favs Kath & Kim and French & Saunders. I literally laughed all the way to Perth…
The joker is meeeee…..
Dawn French and her hilarious impersonation of Katherine Zeta-Jones complete with an OTT Welsh accent.
Meanwhile, Kylie was my companion in between my laughs with the girlies.
: Chow time! The food carts make their appearance and being seated in the first few rows of YCL, we get a choice of “Fish with capers and a tomato based sauce” or “Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli”.
The steward serving us would repeat this description for every row and by the time he reached us in the 3rd, his mouth was dry.
“Morning guys, we have the fish with capers over a tomato based sauce, and the spinach and ricotta ravioli.”
“What a mouthful, you could have just said fish or pasta”
“Hahahaha…. Ah yeah, this is what happens when you don’t hand out menus!”
While we were having our meals, Jakarta hazily loomed outside my window (above). I was so looking forward to the volcanoes over the island of Java and I wasn’t disappointed. I wonder what is the name of this peak situated immediately behind Jakarta (pictured below)?
: Java is now astern as we cruise over the Indian Ocean towards Australia. The same steward comes around with tea.
“Would you like some tea? This is so much easier to describe!”
You have to give it to the Aussies for having a huge sense of humor!
: Trays are cleared and the crew proceeds to give us ice cream and bottled water. Kudos to them for keeping us well fed throughout the flight.
Ahh… the look of happy people on the way to a holiday. I am on the left - pardon the stubborn zit on my chin.
: I finally see some stunning desert view. We make landfall into the vast state of Western Australia via Shark Bay (picture) which is some 200km north of Geraldton..
: Overhead Geraldton. This is the point where all flights into Perth from the north begin their top-of-descend. The engines spool back and we begin to lose height. Spoilers are deployed to increase the rate of descend.
: Captain comes on with some technical arrival details and warns us the approach was going to be rough.
As enjoyable as the Q-Entertainment was, it had to be turned off and the headsets collected.
: Cabin crew, please be seated immediately! As soon as that announcement finished, we were thrown about the sky like a little rubber duckie floating in the middle of the Pacific. Our approach into PER
was destined to be anything but smooth. Just check out the frontal weather in the pics below!
Now this is the part where I am sure someone made a mistake. The captain announced that we were landing on runway 21, but when we touched down, the international terminal was to my right. So who is right then?
: After being buffeted about in the air, we sliced through the rain and crosswinds to finally touchdown with full reverse thrust. And very wet, Perth was! We taxied in a heavy downpour towards the terminal building that hosted a lone Garuda 737-400 which was being prepped for the return flight to Bali.
: We finally come to a stop at Gate 51. 51? Are there 51 gates? Actually there are only 5 gates at the airport but why do they number them in such a manner?
Perth International Airport
This is a very small international airport. There are only that many gates and even fewer baggage reclaim carousels! But it is a cosy little affair and it evokes a very calming and welcoming effect to first time visitors
… I can never complain about the efficiency of Changi. Even better when I didn’t have to fight for the window seats!
… Boarding process was completed in 7 minutes.
In-flight service: 10/10
has definitely impressed the pants off me with this trip down under! The have improved in leaps and bounds and have also seriously lifted their game with the introduction of Q-Entertainment and AVOD. Cabin crew was so friendly it was always a joy to have a chat with them. I remembered they were the pits way back when I flew the in Dec 2000. Well done Geoff Dixon!
… Simply delicious! Awesome stuff! But it would have made the steward’s life easier if menus were provided. But it looks like he took it with a pinch of salt.
… Perth Airport is small. Customs and immigration staff were very friendly and once again, showed that Aussies are one of the friendliest people in the world. We were out of the terminal and officially on Aussie soil within 20 mins.
... This trip was an absolute joy and QF
had a BIG part to play. I have to give it to the crew because they all loved their jobs and it showed. Laughter and smiles accompanied us the entire flight and it sure did wonders to enhance the holiday spirit. They rightfully deserve the number 2 rating they currently have on Skytrax.
W.A. SHIVERS IN
HEATER SALES GO UP
And the newspaper headlines screamed on and on. Western Australia was in the middle of a freakish winter and I was right in the middle of it. There were strong winds, hail, low temperatures never seen before since the 1930s. And rain, oh my god did it rain! It never stopped. Even the normally calm Swan River that flows through the city had waves lapping along the city shores. Weather was still shitty by the time I left, I sure hoped that things would have cleared up by now…