, Circle Pacific 1st Class QF
-AA-CX-QF 5th – 22nd May 2006. This was the 2nd tier Circle Pacific 1st class fare available on OneWorld carriers. It represents great value as compared with normal return airfares (e.g. approximately a third less), the only stipulation being you have to go via Asia in one direction and via the South Pacific in the other. However, this is no great sacrifice given that all the flights I used connected, e.g. outbound: QF93/QF107/AA4609; AA183 for BOS
; then inbound: CX873/QF30. Overall, it adds about 7 hours flying because quickest inbound would be SFO
at about 15 hours compared with 22 hours via HKG
, although elapsed time difference would be not as great due to connection hassles in LAX
. I prefer to avoid either airport if I can, especially LAX
which is abominable with all its security chaos and people with attitude.
I travelled on an international e-ticket for the 1st time and this was to prove a bit tricky with carriers other than QF
. Check-in with QF
was smooth enough with baggage checked through to BOS
and boarding passes for MEL
. However, on checking in at JFK
for the JFK
boarding pass, the AA
people were perplexed and fiddled around for ages. I had to go to AA
ticketing to resolve it. Thankfully, the terminal was not crowded. You will notice that I did not go LAX
direct. This is because it would have been on AA
, where the service is terrible. This decision was vindicated on the BOS
sector where the service on AA
was indeed terrible. Check-in at SFO
also took a lot longer than normal because of problems with them reconciling the e-ticket number with the CX
computer records. OneWorld needs to get its act together.
Anyway, back to MEL
for the first leg of the journey.
Duty Free shop before going airside at MEL
After check-in I proceeded to the QF
1st class lounge where I had bircher muesli and cappuccino while waiting the boarding announcement. The lounge is fairly basic and doesn’t offer much, but then it was mid morning so you don’t really want much.
Qantas 1st class lounge at MEL
As I was boarding, I noticed that the 747-400 ER
was “Wunala Dreaming”, an aircraft QF
have decorated in Aboriginal motifs.
“Wunala Dreaming” waiting at gate
View of tarmac at gate from seat 2K
QF93 was excellent. I must say that QF
have lifted their game considerably. This was to be confirmed also with the other QF
flights QF107 and QF30. The F/As were exceptional, taking a very attentive and friendly approach. One of the F/As on QF93 remembered me from a previous flight and so this also helped make the flight very enjoyable.
F/A settles 1st class passengers into their seats
The food was very good. I noted that QF
had upgraded the champagne offered to vintage Dom Perignon!
Glass of Dom Perignon and nibbles before departure
Various other aircraft on the MEL
Taxi to runway for takeoff
Shortly after takeoff at MEL
Continuing to climb over Tullamarine
Champagne and canapés before lunch
Flying over Australia’s Capital, Canberra
Leaving Australian coastline at Wollongong
Menu for the flight
Lemongrass and Coconut soup with seafood dumplings
Salad of baby cos, radicchio and frisee with balsamic vinaigrette
Confit of duck with roast parsnip, wilted spinach, warm pear and endive
Blue, soft and hard cheese hand selected by Will Studd
Dark chocolate and almond cake with double cream
A selection of Kennedy & Wilson chocolates
After a very elaborate lunch, I settled down to a movie and then drifted off to sleep listening to my iPod through the Bose headphones, a combination no one should be without, especially when flying long haul. QF93 is about 13 hours, but I slept for about 7 of those thanks to calm flying conditions, a couple of Temazapan pills and of course lots of Dom Perignon.
Never fly long haul without this duo
The spacious 1st class bathrooms
A few hours before landing at LAX
, breakfast is served.
Bircher muesli, juice, fresh fruit, and croissants
Scrambled egg with smoked salmon and crème fraiche
Probably the last decent cappuccino I’ll see for a couple of weeks
Descending over the Los Angeles sprawl
The relentlessly flat Los Angeles landscape
On final approach to LAX
Landing at LAX
taxi to gate at LAX
A familiar neighbour at the next gate
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Looks like we beat UA840!
Arrival at LAX
was fussy as usual where transit passengers (i.e. me) have to go out of the arrival terminal and back through security again. Why is this necessary when we have all been screened prior to boarding in MEL
? And the LAX
security is ridiculous. Pompous and intellectually challenged security guards do their best to treat you with contempt. I am sure a determined terrorist could outwit them, yet the rest of us have to put up with all this crap. Also, why is it necessary for US Immigration to finger print and photograph passengers who have already been processed in this way on a prior trip. Surely they should be matching passengers re-entering against previously recorded information. At least the whole process of the transfer took only about 45 minutes, although it seemed like an eternity at the time.
Anyway, once through all this I was in the AA
1st class lounge in Terminal 4 at LAX
. As previously reported, this is quite a nice lounge. I was able to have a refreshing shower before boarding QF107 to JFK
Seated in 1A with champagne and canapés before departure
Topping up with Dom Perignon
Menu and winelist for the flight
Salad of hot salmon and roast capsicum salsa
Salad Nicoise with seared tuna
Dessert and cappuccino
Baked pear and ginger custard with vanilla ice cream
Somewhere transcontinental USA
This flight was excellent as well. I noted the IFE was completely VOD, unlike the flight from MEL
. It provided me with the opportunity to watch a movie when I wanted rather than to a pre-determined schedule. A pleasant enough way to wile away the time during the 5 hour flight.
Qantas IFE on this flight was VOD
Arrival in JFK
was spectacular with good views of the Manhattan skyline in the late afternoon and an interesting approach which involved some sharp banking prior to landing.
Manhattan skyline in the distance
Final approach to JFK
Notice the shadow cast by QF
jumbo just before landing
aircraft with new livery at JFK
aircraft at terminal 7
Nearest neighbour at gate
My trip report for the further journey will feature in a separate report to be posted soon.