With so many flights in the US, I decided to separate this trip report, and follow up with the 6 segments in the next.
6th October 2006
B 747 438 Reg: VH
Depart time, scheduled 10:50 Actual 11:02
Arrival time, scheduled 07:10 Actual 07:30
Check in was painless as usual, the only difference being given the huge form to fill in for US immigration.
The early morning arrivals
After changing some money for US, UK and France, I headed off to the customs hall.
WOW – I had never seen it so busy, the line was almost out of the hall and into the main area of the airport. There were a number of flights leaving this morning, mine to the US, one to JNB
, one to India via DRW
, and China, and judging by the numbers most of them were close to full.
As I was passing through the security line I was asked by a young lady if one of them was for domestic. It turns out that she was on her way to Darwin on the flight that was going on to Mumbai, but didn’t realise that it left from the international airport. Apparently a quick realisation and an even quicker taxi ride from domestic to international got her to the right place in the nick of time. Poor thing was very nervous and panicked, so I let her in front so she could get through the line as quickly as possible. A handshake later, she disappeared quicker than a free beer in a pub – hope she made it!
After this, an as per usual, I headed up to the Qantas lounge to check work e-mails, have a coffee and make a few calls. As already knew what the rego of todays plane was so there was no need to go to the gate to check. Photos would be difficult due to the secondary security screening for the US headed flights, so I didn’t bother.
Half an hour before scheduled departure, I headed to the gate for secondary screening. They opened each and every bag, fortunately I did have the shampoo etc in a clear plastic bag as per the TSA
requirements, but it seemed some of the screeners had to check that this was now allowed!
Boarding needless to say was the usual, and knowing I had the seat next to me blocked made it easy to spread out and start the journey relaxed. Pushback was about 15 minutes late, and takeoff was to the south. In all quite disappointing – I had been hoping for a 744ER, and a take off to the north as all US bound flights end up flying over my home if using 34L. In the end neither and a very overcast day to boot. Ten minutes later we were above the cloud.
Overcast day in Sydney
Above the said clouds
My first meal of this trip was a salad, followed by pork and rice, with an icecream for desert. Being an AVOD equipped plane, I was able to choose the movie when I wanted, the first one being the Da Vinci Code.
About 3 ½ hours after departure we flew directly over Nadi, but again bad luck, the islands were completely covered by cloud – very disappointing as I was looking forward to passing over Fiji.
The only glimpse of Fiji
Afterwards it started getting dark, but as it was a full moon, there was still a bit of light. I ended up resting and watching 4 episodes of CSI and Mythbusters, and reading a book. After having a good sleep the night before I thought I would try not sleeping on this leg, and resting on the LAX
leg thus arriving in JKF very tired, and in theory sleeping well for a night.
With about 1 1/2 hours to go breakfast was served, and I chose scrambled eggs and of course a coffee.
The approach to LAX
took us over the Catalina Islands, and across Los Angeles, then back to the airport, landing on 25R. We arrived at the gate about 20 minutes late, as we had to wait for the earlier QF LAX
flight having to leave the gate we were heading for.
One of the Catalina Islands
On finals for LAX
Terminal 4, and beaten in by one QF flight
US immigration was a breeze, made easier by getting off quickly and before the crowd. I can imagine it would be very annoying for those continuing on to New York having to collect all the luggage and going upstairs to check in again. As I had only cabin bags, all I had to do was to go upstairs and go through security. The line was huge, taking me about 30 minutes to get through, and very concerned that I would not be able to get a shower before boarding again. Turns out I needn’t have worried.
Seems morning is busy at LAX
as well, as I had to wait in line for a shower, but in the AA
/QF lounge this isn’t a problem as they give you a buzzer similar to those found in restaurants, and when a shower is free they let you know via this buzzer.
OED from the lounge
6th October 2006
B 747 438 Reg: VH
Depart time, scheduled 09:05 Actual 09:55
Arrival time, scheduled 17:20 Actual 18:20
Shame the departure board in the lounge isn’t as efficient. It kept saying QF
107 departure was on time, so 20 minutes before scheduled departure I went to the gate, only to hear that boarding was going to be delayed 10-15 minutes. No problem I thought I would walk around the terminal and stretch my legs.
15 minutes later I went to the gate to hear of another 15 delay, so I thought bugger that, and I went back into the lounge. After another 15 minutes I went to the gate and waited for about 10 minutes for boarding to start. In all we left LAX
almost an hour late.
After a tour of LAX
we departed on 24L towards the ocean and looped back to the north and headed for New York. A meal was served, but not even the cabin crew knew how to describe it as it wasn’t really breakfast nor lunch. I chose a chicken pie.
Seconds after take off
By now I was getting very tired and totally regretting my decision to have minimal sleep between SYD
After we passed of Las Vegas, and seeing a large cloud bank approaching which was going to hinder any viewing, I thought I would get some sleep. I woke up about 1 ½ hours later as we were passing over Wisconsin and heading towards the great lakes.
Finally I had a good view of the lakes, and even better view of Detroit and DTW
airport. Pretty soon after though the clouds appeared and stayed until landing in New York, so I had no views of the city at all.
Finals into JFK
We got to the blocks at 18:20, and deplaned pretty quickly afterwardsWith only cabin bags, I was out of the airport within 5 minutes and on the airtrain for station C where the hotel shuttles pickup from.
The hotel had free wireless which allowed me to check and write some e-mails, before I decided sleep was more important than food and Law and Order which was on TV
. Sleep came very quick, and apart from a brief wake up at 2am, I had a good 8 hours sleep, waking at 6am.
Thanks for reading...Next installment due soon.