This leg is the first of a RTW trip I'm taking this June/July. Some sectors are paid for, some are awards. The trip breakdown..
SYD-HKG QF Economy (Award)
HKG-LAX CX Business (Award)
LAX-AUS AA Economy (Paid)
AUS-IAD-LHR UA Business (Upgrade)
LGW-GCI-LGW GR Economy (Paid)
LHR-HKG-SYD CX Business (Paid)
The SYD/HKG sector was booked around two months prior to departure through Qantas' online award bookings.
Route - SYD-HKG
Flight - QF 127
Date - 26/06/06
Departure at 10.45
Arrival at 17.45
Aircraft - Boeing 747-4H6
Registration - VH-OEC
Class - Economy
Seat - 58K
Flight time - 9h
Arrived at SYD on the Airport train around two hours prior to departure.The station is generally very spacious and efficient. Proceeded to the QF Check-in zone. Counters are grouped by class, not flight, apart from flights to the USA, which demand a seperate zone because of heightened security measures. The area was busy, but not crowded, at this time with QF flights departing to PEK, JNB, LAX-JFK, AKL and HKG. Check-in at the Qantas Club area was rather slow; more people appeared to be here than in the Economy line. However, the agent was super-efficient and must have processed us in less than a minute. Made our way through security to the airside Qantas club.
Maybe I'm spoiled, but I found it less than impressive. The chairs were stained and losing fabric and the food, although fine, was not replenished in the entire time I was in the lounge (over an hour). Bathrooms, though, were very good. QF need to figure out what they're doing with announcements because they're really quite intrusive. The volume is way too high and a lot of the time, the agents haven't yet decided what to say when they come on the PA. A better system, I think, would be to have more screens to show boarding information and the PA reserved for paging passengers. Another small point: the music - I found it rather unsettling. QF should follow CX at the Wing and Pier in HKG and have no general music, but instead provide noise-cancelling headphones with audio-on-demand, as they have in Business and First Class.
In summary, QF have a decent lounge product that is losing its shine. They need to modify little details, improve the service and refurbish the seating.
Anyway, it was on to Gate 37 for boarding where Echo Charlie was ready and waiting, with most pax boarded. The gate agent informed us we were to move seats (10 rows back) but as it was an exit row, this wasn't a problem. It took a long time to board last remaining pax, most of whom were connecting.
Crew were fairly friendly, though seemed to be more focused on carrying out tasks in the galley than welcoming passengers. They were a mix of Cantonese/Mandarin speakers, 1 Japanese, and a few Australians - most of whom were older. Our exit row seats provided plenty of space and as an economy class, there wasn't really much wrong with it. I found it difficult to watch the movie selection without noise-cancelling headsets, but you're never going to get them in Econ. so there's no point complaining.
Lunch was served fairly soon after departing SYD. It consisted of:
Green Leaf Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Mediterranean Style Chicken with Sliced Potatoes and Steamed Vegetables
Chinese Barbecue Pork with Hoisin Sauce and Fried Rice
Cheese and Crackers
Coffee, Tea, Jasmine tea
Ice cream (fruit ice made in Italy!!)
I chose the pork which was fine, though I couldn't have told you it was either barbecue, hoisin, or fried rice! It would be nice if QF could provide magnums like SQ. Salad was fresh enough.
Small bottles of QF brand water were handed out which was welcome. FA's maintained a presence in the cabin as I watched Match Point (Scarlett Johannsen, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) on Q entertainment. I then flicked through the radio channels as I read. There was some turbulence and the FA's were forced to sit down a couple of times. Soon, a refreshment was served:
Stir Fried Hokkien Noodles and Asian Greens
Pineapple and Rockmelon with Mango Juice
Coffee, Tea, Jasmine tea
The fruit was nice and and the noodles hot, but very glutinous.
Approach into Chek Lap Kok followed shortly after. Two of the crew were sitting facing us. They were SYD based and would be spending 1 night and day in HKG before returning the next day. He was a fan of Miles Davis!
Landing was smooth and QF crew said goodbye. Immigration and baggage reclaim was quick, even though the flight was full. It was then onto the very comfortable Airport Limousine coach for the transfer to HK island for three days.
QF have a solid economy class product. With improved food and entertainment (the latter of which will be true soon) there is no reason why people should choose carriers such as SQ and CX ahead of Qantas. I think that there is basically not a great difference between them. Personally, I would choose an Asian airline before QF because their service (particularly telephone) is more consistent.
All feedback is appreciated; my apologies for the lack of pictures. Happy flying