Finally got my ass into gear and took out an a.net First Class membership. Long – time reader first time poster YA DA YA DA. So here goes SYD – BNE – SYD!! I apologise if some of the photo’s are not the best I only just got a new phone/pda and decided to take that as my small camera for in cabin shots. It also went dead on Sunday evening so I couldn’t take many pics of the return cabin on DJ.
The background for this trip isn’t the best. My father had a very large tumour removed 3 months ago. He had to go back in for some (originally minor) follow up surgery last Wednesday. I had planned to go up the weekend before the operation but Dad said he would rather have me come up the weekend after. After deciding to go up the weekend covering the 16-17th Dec I had to decide on what type, time and costs of flights I would take.
The last time I flew to Brisbane I took QF175 on a Saturday so I could fly up via the International terminal and on a QF heavy. This idea appealed to me again and as I had discovered during the QF takeover bid the consortium was possibly planning on selling – off the Frequent Flier program so I decided I may as well use some of my points and pick up a business class fare heading up to Brisbane and get to experience, even though for a short time, the QF Sky Bed experience. After booking in the outbound flight I set about booking the return.
As I didn’t want to deplete my QF points completely I decided I would purchase the return fare. My choices were to either come back late Sunday night or stay and come back early Monday morning. I have taken this route probably about 5 times in the last year and have always come back on a Sunday night. This time I decided that I would come back Monday morning. After making the decision I was hoping I could actually afford it. I check-out both QF and Virgin Blue to see what they offered. I quickly found that Qantas was out of the question with prices starting from $350 for flights that wouldn’t get me back in on time. I had to be back in Sydney by 08:15 at the absolute latest. I checked DJ and found that they had a fair for BNE – SYD for $115. I thought I was dreaming but checked again and sure enough it was cheap enough and fitted in with my timings, back into SYD by 08:00. So I went ahead and booked it.
Saturday 16th December 2006
Sydney, NSW – Brisbane, QLD
QF 175 (Continuing on to LAX)
Aircraft: Boeing 747 – 438
Engines: Rolls Royce
Scheduled Boarding: 09:30
Actual Boarding: 09:28
Scheduled Departure: 10:00
Push back: 10:10
Wheels Up: 10:21
Take – off roll: 42 secs
Scheduled Arrival: 10:30
Wheels down: 10:30
At Gate: 10:34
Well the day had arrived and it was an early start as I wanted to get to the airport as early as possible. Which was made a touch harder as the day before I had not only failed an accreditation exam for work but I also had our work Christmas party and free alcohol which was hit pretty hard by yours truly!! My lovely girlfriend dropped me at the international terminal at about 07:35 and the Qantas Business & First check – in desks were completely empty. I was greeted politely and professionally by the agent and all the necessary documents processed and handed over. I was asked if I wanted the upper-deck or main cabin. I said I didn’t mind as long as the seat next to me was free. I was assigned seat 18K and headed off to grab some breakky.
|SYD International departures level|
|SYD International Departures Level|
|Inside SYD International Departures Check-in hall|
I then headed to Oporto and grabbed a bacon and egg roll which settled my somewhat hung-over body. I saw an assortment of international visitors from the food-court viewing area.
|Air Pacific B737 from Landside Food Court|
|LAN, Qantas, Cathay Air Pacific from Landside Food Court|
As I was downing my breakfast I noticed that the check – in agent had forgot to stamp my boarding pass without a Domestic stamp to signify that I was getting off in BNE. I headed over to QF customer service and I asked if I actually needed one. She said that I indeed do need one and promptly got a stick and put it on my boarding pass. After getting that rectified I headed up to the viewing deck above one of the bars. While I was up there I was greeted by an excited South African who asked me if I was here to see the QF 707 arrive. I said I didn’t even know it was due to land today and he said it was due in any minute. I then noticed a couple of spotters with scanners at the other end of the viewing deck. I headed over and waited to see the old girl land. I was up there for about 20 minutes hoping it would land but time got the better of me and as I wanted to see what other aircraft were airside I headed down and made my way for immigration. Through the Diplomatic, APEC and domestic side immigration was a breeze. Once through security I made my way around to some of the gate areas undergoing renovations for the arrival of the A380 I noticed what looked to be a different aircraft coming into land. I couldn’t get my camera out quick enough and I managed to get some pics of the 707 landing after all. I have got some pics and will load them once I get them off my main camera.
After having a walk around and snapping some other aircraft it was just about time to board the aircraft. Business class and passengers who required assistance as well as OneWorld Emerald & Gold and Platinum QF Frequent Flyers. After being welcomed onboard the aircraft by name, I was directed to proceed upstairs (nice surprise as I had completely forgot to look the day before to see what seat number were on the upper deck and didn’t confirm with the gate agent when she asked me @ check – in). After being welcomed upstairs again by the male FA I took my seat and stowed my stuff. I was offered a welcome drink (OJ, Champagne or Water) I took OJ. Newspapers were then offered around and I took the Financial Review. While getting comfortable in the Sky Bed I read an in-depth article on the Qantas takeover which was very good. The captain came over the PA to say we were waiting for a few late passengers and the last couple of cargo pallets to be loaded and once he had the final paperwork we would be off.
|QF 175 SYD - BNE VH-OJI parked @ Gate 37 SYD International|
Our load in business was only about 50%. Push back occurred a little behind schedule while we were taxiing we were shown the safety demo via our PTV’s. When we made our way down to runway 16R we paused momentarily and then the cockpit let the 4 Rolls Royce power us down the runway and up, up and away. We banked left after take-off and proceeded out over the Tasman sea before turning north for our heading to BNE.
|Leg room on QF B747 Skybed|
Our aircraft was equipped with AVOD so after it was started, about 10 mins after TO, I listened to a couple of tunes before deciding to watch 2 ½ Men. Just after watching I was asked if I would like the hot or cold breakfast. I decided to line my stomach with a hot breakfast and was offered tea or coffee, I requested tea. My breakfast was bought back very promptly however I noticed that I was given coffee instead of tea however I thought it might have been a sign that I needed the caffeine so drank it nonetheless. Breakfast consisted of sausages, mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes, with a blueberry pastry, orange and Strawberry fruit dish, with coffee and a orange and mango juice. It was very tasty and perfectly heated and I even ate the asparagus my Mum will be happy.
|In-flight view over northern New South Wales|
|Breakfast on QF 175|
For the rest of the flight I watched the rest of the episode of 2 ½ Men. Touchdown was smooth and we effortlessly taxied to our gate. Once there we were wished a merry Christmas from out FA’s on the upper deck and made our way down to Immigration. Being domestic made this nice and easy but it seemed to pretty dead at immigration when we went through anyway. Our bags came out relatively quickly and I then made my way to Customs. One of the things I was trying to avoid was Customs taking my boarding pass they said I could keep the stub, which was annoying. After clearing customs I Made my way out into the terminal and grabbed a cab to my Dad’s place where I picked up his car and went to the Hospital.
|QF International Skybed|
|QF International Business Upper deck cabin|
|QF International upper deck cabin|
|PTV in Skybed|
|Landing in BNE|
|International Apron in BNE|
Overall I was thoroughly impressed with the QF International Business product. One thing I was surprised about though was the amount of noise the skybed’s made when they were adjusted to the different positions. The noise reducing headsets were amazing and will be investing in a pair before my next long-haul flight. Another feature I wasn’t aware of before was the amount of storage space on the side of the Skybed Pods on the upper deck, almost like lockers which is great.
Monday 18th December 2006
Brisbane, QLD - Sydney, NSW
Aircraft: Boeing 737 – 800 (no winglets)
Scheduled Boarding: 05:00
Actual Boarding: 05:05
Scheduled Departure: 05:30
Push back: 05:30
Wheels Up: 05:41
Scheduled Arrival: 08:00
Wheels down: 08:01
At Gate: 08:05
Had a good weekend catching up with my Dad, who is progressing as Dr’s had expected. Also watched a lot of the Ashes test. I made sure I was ready to go before I went to bed on Sun night because I knew I wasn’t going to be in any sort of state to pack @ 03:45 in the morning. I pre – booked a cab to be at my Dad’s place for 04:15. I had one of those night sleeps where I woke up ever 30mins to make sure I didn’t sleep – in. When the alarm went off I swore I hadn’t slept at all. I had a shower and got ready for work. I was out of the door just as the cab pulled up. After a short ride to the airport I was greeted with a bit of mess as far as check – in goes. The first line I saw (which was alarmingly long for 4:30am) I thought was for attendant check – in so I went to one of the self – service kiosks. After trying to use my velocity rewards card without finding me a reservation (starting to get worried) I put in my reference number and my reservation came up. After getting my boarding pass I was instructed to drop off my bag, this is when I realised the line I tried to avoid earlier was actually the bag drop line. The line had about 55 pax in it and only 4 agents serving. After about a 15 minute wait I was called to see and agent and in under 40 seconds I was on my way!!!
|DJ Boarding Pass|
As I wasn’t very hungry I made my way around the terminal as I had about 15 mins until boarding started I wanted to see as many overnighters as I could. I managed to pick out 2 former JetStar B717’s at the QF maintenance hanger’s. Boarding was called and I presented my boarding pass and was told to use the rear stairs. It was at this point I tried to get the last bit of juice out of my phone, it took the entire time to get from the stairs off the aerobridge to get into my seat for it to start – up so I tried to get an idea of the pitch and then it died.
The attendants came through and did the safety demo and asked for all those in the Exit aisles to have everything removed from their seat pockets. When I flew JetStar a couple of Months ago back from Hamilton Island the attendants told me I couldn’t have anything in the seat pockets as well. Is this something new or have I just had really relaxed FA’s previous times I have flown in the Exit Aisle’s.
After push back we taxied down to Runway 19 where we waited for a DJ 737 to land and then we made our way out and straight into our takeoff roll. We headed out to the south of the city and continued south inland for the entire flight. I had the window seat for the flight but decided on closing the shade as the sun was beaming in and I attempted to try and get some sleep (to no avail). I decided against buying any of the products on board as I wasn’t hungry and didn’t really feel like paying through the nose. I listened to my iPod after I had given up trying to sleep.
We started out decent into SYD about 07:40 and as we came over Manly we headed out to see which meant even if we were going to be coming down the dreaded 3 Runway at least the taxi back wouldn’t be as bad. We did indeed land on the 3rd runway and make our way back to Sydney’s T2. After disembarking once again through the rear stairs I made my way down to the baggage claim. My bag came out very quickly and in once piece, I was slightly concerned seeing as my bag had QF luggage tags on it. After that it was out onto the train and into the CBD only 35 minutes after getting off the plane.
I hadn’t flown DJ in about 4 years and their service seemed to be much the same, obviously I can’t compare to QF product on the outbound but did fly JQ back in August and I must say that there isn’t much of a difference. I would have liked to have more time to try out The Lounge but maybe next time.
Any questions, comments please feel free to ask. My next big trip takes place at the end of March and will be heading to LA, Whistler, Hawaii & hopefully Seattle.
I am sorry for the complete lack of pics for the return flight, will definately remember next time to take charger and spare batteries.