I have limited photos that I will share when I find someway to upload them!
Around the world in 30 days (38 sectors)
Trip report summary:
QF, LA, MX, QA, AA, B6, EI, U2, BA, W5, IRZ, EP, B9, IR, G9, CX, FD, FT
22 Aircraft types:
Boeing 707, 733 (x2), 734 (x2), 73H, 743, 744, 752, 763, 772 (x2), 773
Airbus A319 (x3), 320 (x5), 332, 333 (x2), 343
Embraer E140, 190
Tupolev 154M, 204 (x2)
ATR 72-500 (x2)
Fokker F100 (x4)
Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, USA, Ireland, UK, UAE, Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore.
18 FEB 06 QF 560 CBR-SYD 0650 0740 737-476 seat 9A VH-TJI
Photo © Jeff Gilbert - JGPhotographics
Flight on time and reasonably full for an early Saturday morning flight. Basic snack of muffin and juice served for breakfast.
18 FEB 06 QF 119 SYD-AKL 0920 1420 747-338 seat 55A VH-EBW
Photo © Gabriel Savit
Flight was scheduled to be a B767-338ER, and it wasn’t without disappointment that I found a B747-300 at the gate as a replacement, even if EBW is one of the two Qantas 743s I had already been on in the past. The flight was delayed for 2 hours as appropriate crew were resourced for the flight, but I still made my next flight, which was the important aspect! The interior of the 747-300s with the new IFE is very nice, and with the aircraft upgrade, the flight seemed very empty with only 205 passengers on board.
18 FEB 06 LA 600 AKL-SCL 1720 1240 A340-313X seat 18A CC-CQA
Photo © Colin Hunter
I had originally been allocated a bulkhead, which with the restricted legroom I was trying to avoid on such a long flight. At check-in they offered me an exit row aisle and they were amazed when I turned it down for a ‘normal’ window. The reason is I can only sleep when I can lean against the side of the cabin, plus there is nothing like staring out the window watching the world go by.
Lan Chile (I had flown them before) are OK, but nothing fantastic. Their IFE is quite limited but at least it is On Demand (AVOD), which is a big plus. Food is nothing fantastic and the crew not that friendly.
18 FEB 06 LA 622 SCL-MEX 1405 1940 767-316ER seat 20L CC-CZW
Photo © Alejandro Ruiz Yañez
I was impressed to find the 767-300 with PTVs installed, again AVOD but with limited choice. Once again a reasonably full flight with 183 passengers on board. Flight was on time and even arrived early into Mexico. It’s a deceptively long sector, and you feel it especially after coming all the way from Australia with only the shortest of layovers in Santiago Airport, which is quite a modern and nice facility.
19 FEB 06 MX 223 MEX-OAX 1530-1625 A320-231 seat 2A (J) N405MX
Photo © Ricardo Morales Aviation Photography of Mexico
My and my friend Eddie (also an airliners.net regular) flew to Oaxaca on Mexicana. Originally it was supposed to be an A318, so it was a little disappointing to find ourselves on a ‘boring’ A320. However this was made up for by a surprise at-the-gate upgrade to Business Class, even though on such a short sector the only real advantage was the bigger seat (and associated bigger feeling of self importance!!). Service was very attentive and I am keen to try MX on one of their longer flights, as they come highly recommended.
20 FEB 06 QA 204 OAX- MEX 2125 2230 F100 seat 14A XA-JXW
QA = Click Mexicana
Photo © Jorge Meneses
The return flight from OAX was on Click, Mexicana’s low-cost arm, flying a fleet of F100s. The flight was almost empty with only 32 passengers on board. Click has quite a good sense of humour with little notes on everything from the airsickness bag to napkin to little bag of nuts they serve. The view flying over and into Mexico City at night is simply stunning.
22 FEB 06 AA 1596 MEX-ORD 1010 1407 757-223 seat 31F N177AN
Photo © Gary Chambers
This was to be my first ever sector on AA. I had been warned, so I wasn’t expecting too much, though I still think that a sector of this length should have a complimentary meal! You also need to pay for headsets to watch the movie (I had brought my own!). And even if you did want to pay, the “snack boxes” available were full of unhealthy junk food. Not impressed. However, the crew were friendly and tried to make up for the poor offering. The flight arrived quite early into Chicago, but this didn’t help the horrendous queues for passport control/immigration, which lasted well over an hour. Lucky I had built in some time for my connection!
22 FEB 06 AA 358 ORD-LGA 1600 1916 MD-82 seat 12A N298AA
Photo © Jason Whitebird
This flight left quite late due to general delays across the fleet due to air traffic congestion. Given the peak time of day, it was not surprisingly very full and full of ‘suits’. Though they’re getting older, I’m a big fan of the MD-80, especially when one is seated further towards the front. And as an Australian, there aren’t too many opportunities to fly them these days. Arrived into La Guardia, which though conveniently located, lacks decent public transport (ie: subway) into the city, and isn’t the nicest welcome to NYC!
23 FEB 06 B6 1006 JFK-BOS 1130 1240 ERJ-190 seat 2A N193JB
B6 = Jet Blue
Photo © Phil Derner Jr. - NYCAviation
I had made a special point of booking a JetBlue E190 sector both to try out this revolutionary airline and the new aircraft. So I was quite disappointed to arrive at the airport to find my scheduled flight (B6 1004) had been changed to an A320. But the ground staff were fantastic, changing me free of charge and with a smile to the next flight, operated by the E190. On board they were also great. The captain took photos from the flight deck for me, and the flight attendant even offered me the safety briefing card to take home with me if I wanted it. The DirecTV system works well, the plane is quiet and spotless and overall I was very, very impressed. Well done JetBlue! And that is saying a lot in the country with probably the worst domestic air service in the world!
23 FEB 06 AA 4617 BOS-JFK 2054-2205 EMB 135KL(140LR) seat2A N819AE
Photo © Ben Wang
I booked the return on American Eagle, not because I wanted to torture myself on American Airlines again, but because it was a rare opportunity to try out one of the baby junglejets. When I had booked, I expected an EMB135. When the plane finally arrived at the gate (very late), it turned out to be an EMB140. But this didn’t bother me too much – I hadn’t been on any of those either! Flight was nothing to write home about, except it was very late!!
Sectors 11 and 12:
25 FEB 06 EI 110 JFK- SNN 1850 0610 A330-202 seat 33K EI-LAX
26 FEB 06 EI 132 SNN-DUB 0700 0745 A330-301 seat 20K EI-DUB
Photo © Carlos Aleman - SJU Aviation Photography
Photo © Wingnut
As I was on a oneworld alliance RTW ticket, this was the perfect opportunity to try out Aer Lingus, even though I may have gotten better service across the pond had I chosen BA. The schedules worked out nicely: A330-200 to Shannon, connecting to a A330-300 to Dublin. Perfect! As I expected, the PTV-fitted A332 was on the LAX sector, leaving only mainscreen entertainment for us. But it was not a long flight and I wanted to try and sleep, so it did not bother me. Dinner was ravioli, which was actually delicious, so I have no complaints at all about the slimmed-down Aer Lingus. Pushback was on schedule, but the long, long queue of airliners all off to Europe meant a late takeoff and subsequent landing in Shannon. But the flight in from Boston was similarly late, so I had plenty of time to make the connection to Dublin, a mere 20-25min flight at low altitude.
Shannon Airport provided an interesting mix of aircraft – ATA 757-300, two World Airways MD-11s and an unmarked Tristar. I am guessing this had a lot to do with troop transport to/from the USA. Also a swish US military G-V was in town.
26 FEB 06 EI 254 DUB-EDI 1310 1410 A320-214 seat 5A EI-CVD
Photo © Mats Sålder
Dublin airport is badly in need of expansion and refurbishment – probably a victim of its own success with two low cost carriers dominating. Out of a crowded corner we boarded the flight to Edinburgh, plane reasonably empty for the short hop to Edinburgh. Seats were comfortable, but nil service offered. However seeing the prices offered for the flight and the fact that the only competition is Ryanair, I was not so surprised! Who needs something to eat on a 30-min flight anyway?
Sectors 13 and 14:
28 FEB 06 U2 702 EDI-LGW 0820 0955 A319-111 seat 11F G-EZDC
28 FEB 06 U2 713 LGW-EDI 1915 2045 A319-111 seat 11F G-EZEG
U2 = Easyjet
Photo © Martin Stephen
Photo © Van Geerdeghom Barry
Easyjet impressed me again with my 2nd and 3rd flights with the airline. Friendly, efficient, clean, on time etc. Gatwick Airport is also very convenient, with an efficient and reasonably cheap rail connection into central London. Very impressed with their A319 – was interested to see they are fitted with the 2 emergency exits, rather than the standard one – no doubt to fit more seats in!
01 MAR 06 BA 1455 EDI-LHR 1700 1820 A319-131 seat 4F G-EUPT
Photo © Simon Curtis
BA frankly blew me away. I had no expectations of this domestic flight and got one of the most delicious plane meals I had – a cold salad with antipasto and a cake. Crew were professional and friendly, even to the most snotty-nosed and arrogant businessmen full of their own self-importance (there seemed to be quite a few on board).
01 MAR 06 BA 109 LHR-DXB 2140 0825 777-236 seat 21J G-VIIS
Photo © SweContrails
This flight started in what seemed to be a negative fashion. The flight was packed and my armrest was broken (and with it the inflight entertainment unit). I pointed this out to the crew and 10mins later I was told to “follow me, sir”. Past the curtain into World Traveller Plus, front row, emergency exit no less. And whilst I usually insist on window seats in order to sleep, I was not complaining. I didn’t sleep but had a lovely flight and left the flight in Dubai very happy with BA.
22 sectors still to come... Next: Flying Iran!!!!