Have been waiting for this trip for such a long time and it was finally here!!, So here is Part 1 of a several part series of reports. And then later on you will get to hear of my “Smashing” literally time on AA
. On with the trip…….
Wed 08 Nov 2006
As per usual this flight was 100% full, ever since Sky West dropped KTA
because they felt they didn’t get any support from the mining companies almost all of QF
flights are full, and only the J class seats left a couple of days out. Karratha has a small terminal but it does the job, and the airport has the strictest security in the state. Went to go into the Qantas lounge, but was also full the lounge can only hold about 40 people and it isn’t really that flash but it also does the job it needs to. Boarding time approached and they called this will be the first and final boarding call for Qantas 1087 service though to Perth, the words I had been waiting to hear for 11 months, everyone clambered onto the aircraft with a few people in the wrong seat and one guy arguing that the sign on the overhead was wrong.
We powered up and turned around for the runway and taxied along the runway to the end and then we were off, no mucking around
Took off to the west and headed over the salt ponds and the railway yards and then headed into the remote Pilbara. Its not till your up in the air till you understand how remote you really are.
Railway Work Shops and Rail Yard
Karratha the Whole town, small aint it!
They served Spaghetti and Meatballs, I never thought I would eat that on an a/c but I did and yes it was extremely difficult and being stuck in the middle seat was even worst!, there isn’t much room in the 738 and I shudder to think how it would be for 3 big guys. The meal was good, and the sun started to set so watched that and there were some comedy shows on the IFE but it didn’t interest me so didn’t watch it.
Pics of the remote Pilbara and the sun setting on the wing
Just before the sky went completely black
The service was pretty good for a 2 hour flight and the f/a’s were efficient and friendly, just normal QF
service, Also just to mention as there are a lot of fly in fly out (FIFO) on this route many fliers are Plats or Gold’s at least 50% would be elite status holders. So the service is always good because there are so many plats on the flight. I really like this flight because the 2 hours usually ends up being 1.30hrs and it absolutely fly’s by (time wise), we cruised at 39,000feet and Descended in to and arrived at Perth domestic about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. We sat and waited till everybody else was off then we headed downstairs to check in for the PER
legs, the reason for this is because the KTA
check in said it would be better as they could only check us through to SYD
can check us through to the states. We got down there and no one was there till 1930 and then there was an agent yelling if you are flying domestically you MUST use the quick check machines and the podiums are for J and F passengers only. So we just joined the J and F line as we needed to be checked through to LAX
and we ended up getting a really friendly supervisor who couldn’t have done anymore for us. She even blocked some middle seats for us on the SYD
flight which wasn’t full but was much appreciated. We then headed up to the Perth Qantas Club, which is a really nice area; I think it was only remodeled recently.
View of the tarmac from the QF
club (sorry about the quality)
Wed 08 November
As this was my first ever 747 flight I was extremely excited and it didn’t disappoint.
We came downstairs from the lounge a little early and it was really chaotic downstairs and the supervisor had said earlier that the flight was 100% full. They boarded the flight by rows but as usual EVERYBODY gets up and try’s to board, do these people seriously think they a/c is going to leave with out them??. We boarded and were greeted by a friendly crew and found our seats which were behind crew rest seats with the covers over them, seat number has escaped my mind. Anyway the whole a/c was boarded and then came the dreaded announcement “This is your captain, we are waiting on a few passengers to board, if they don’t turn up we will have to search for their bags” the Captain sounded extremely pissed off about it too and then they had to unload almost all the containers that they have the luggage in and he even said that if we looked out the windows we would get a nice view of ground staff searching luggage.
Waiting to depart for Sydney
So they eventually found it and we departed almost an hour late, which wasn’t any big drama. We taxied out to the runway and we were off again. The flight crew explained about the IFE and not to rush it and gave some tips then told us that there would be a “snack” served, which was a choice between Meatballs (again) and Chicken, I opted for the chicken which was really good. I actually love airline food, I have no idea why but I just love it, anyway on with it. Watched the movie World Trade Centre, which was an excellent movie and I’m glad I saw it. I watched mythbusters on one of the channels and played a few games. By then the sun was coming up and I wanted to get some sleep but
Sun starting to rise
I’m paranoid I will miss something interesting lol, So I have to stay awake which I did.
We then started our decent into Sydney flying over the city and the weather was crap.
Approaching the bad weather!
We landed in Sydney a little bit late but that was fine, deplaned and then headed for the Qantas transfer bus which takes you on an almost tour of the airport to the International terminal. We got there and straight onto a bus. The day in Sydney was rather crap it was absolutely freezing cold, we had come from 38degrees c the day before to a chilly 10 degrees c, we then got on the bus. When you get on the bus, you head out and drive around behind the QF
maintenance hangers and most of them had a/c in them today, it always fun looking at them. You then drive on a road which goes right under the short short final area and we had a 747 fly right over us, the driver actually slowed down so it went directly over us, an incredible sight for any aviation buff!, you then continue around to the QF
freight are and around a few more a/c and then finally into the international terminal, and when you go up the escalators you end up right in the immigration hall, so we joined the queue which only took about 10 minutes, if only people read on the screens what they had to get out and read signs where to stand, but it’s obvious certain people cant do that. After immigration you go through a security screening and then into the duty free area, we headed straight through it and went up to the QF
Club, went in and found the showers, had a refreshing hot shower and then went out and had some breakfast. They had a toaster with a range of breads, cereals, yoghurt and fresh fruits, juices and a fully stocked bar. They also had heaps of magazines and newspapers but no computers at all, you had to pay for the service unlike Perth where they had about 6 computers for free use (even if they were e x t r e m e l e y slow, better than nothing). We sat down and I had a few bits of toast etc, then I was anxious to get to the gate as you are.
Thurs 09 November
Sydney-Los Angeles (SYD-LAX)
VH-OED (AVOD equipped)
We headed to the gate and came to a very strict security area, you entered this are where they had 20 odd security guards waiting for you, they checked your bags, opened them rummaged though and then went through the pockets, while you get patted down, would have preferred it by one of the good looking female security guards, but no such luck. We then went and sat down and played spot the American, no offence but your sense of fashion isn’t exactly “great”, easily spotted and couldn’t have been more right with some picks. They then announced boarding for plats, ruby, sapphire, F and J, then the cattle where herded into our pen. As usual everyone got up and people were told to sit down because it want their row, when will people learn?. We got on and headed to our seats which ended up being really good, it was a row of three near the back with the galley in the middle, so allowed me to take pictures without people glaring at me, instead I got the F/a’s wondering what I was taking photos of.
The captain came on and told us that we would take off to the East and it would be all ocean below us for the next 13 hours. We headed out to the runway and had an onetime departure and proceeded to climb after a long powerful takeoff roll.
Hitting turbulence out of Sydney made me move my camera lol
We climbed slowly but surely, the IFE was switched on and it was AVOD equipped, I have heard so much negative feedback about AVOD but thankfully the whole flight went without any problems at all, which was bloody great and the system is flawless, I can see why it was voted one of the worlds best, which they highly advertise “We will be switching on our award winning IFE in one moment” but not complaints at all, I loved being able to pause it when you needed to get up and go to the lavatory or asking for something, and fast forwarding the boring bits, the only bad thing was the news took up until almost the end of the flight to come on. And had really bad subtitles on it.
On the flight I watched Kenny, which is about a guy who has a really “shitty” job literally he is a portable toilet hirer and rents toilets out and we see his life. Its absolutely hilarious. I watched a couple of other movies on the flight, Superman, Poseidon, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and a couple classics, there was a huge choice but I watched the ones I hadn’t seen. Also which were quite good, played around with the music jukebox.
2 meals are served on this flight as well as a snack box (Snack on Q) the following options were available to the cattle:
Greenleaf salad with lemon dressing
Chicken with Pesto and Tomato, Roast Potatoes and Steamed Vegetables (this meal had the heart foundation tick)
Braised Beef with Fennel and Sage, Pumpkin Mash and Broccoli
Cheese and Crackers
Choice of continental breakfast
Seasonal Fruit Salad
Or hot breakfast
Seasonal Fruit Salad
Mushroom and spinach Omelette with Sausage, Bacon and Hash Brown
By the time lunch had being served it was getting dark outside and I decided to try and get some shuteye but as usual I couldn’t only about 20 minutes so stayed awake and watched the flight map, went for a walk and watched the IFE. I had to laugh when I asked for a drink I only asked for a coke and the F/a bought out a small bottle of whiskey, incase I wanted to add a bit of spice to my night. Which I didn’t mind one little bit. She came back through and made sure that I had drunk it all, and offered another one which I didn’t need. The crew on this flight were excellent always coming through with water and juice and it was good to see the CSM come up and ask us how everything was and let us know if there was anything they could do, to just ask. Makes you feel a bit special……even when you are traveling in Y class. When I first read that the pitch on QF
wasn’t the best I was worried, however there was plenty of legroom and couldn’t complain comfort wise. This flight was not full by any means and there were heaps of rows free which many people took advantage of too get some sleep, the flight went relatively fast until I kept watching the map
From then on it took forever, but soon enough it was time for breakfast and they had turned the lights on and stated serving and told us our options, we at this stage were only 45 mins out of LAX
and the service was rushed a bit but it wasn’t a here not there to me. As we approached L.A the captain told us what we would see even if it was in the dark, it was still pitch black when we were coming into LAX
, we were flying in over the city and I couldn’t believe the traffic, absolutely horrendous!! At 5.30 in the morning. We landed and then taxied to the TBIT and shutoff the engines and then the captain came on again to explain to us what was happening and what to do when we get off the a/c, also while I think about it before we left Sydney he read the notice about not congregating near toilets and not to line up etc. Any way we got towed into the gate and the doors opened and of course the rush to get out had started. Finally on US soil, was glad to be here.
The first thing I notice when getting off the plane was the stench of cleaning chemical, it smelt like a hospital and the airport is really sterile and old, which I had expected anyway, but definitely not as inviting as other airports. We headed to the Immigration which seemed to take forever to walk to, lined up and this is where we met the “Lovely” TSA
, yelling at us to come forward etc, finally got through after waiting about 30 mins, no great deal. I was expecting our entry to the USA to be much worst than what it was. As our luggage had priority tags it was waiting for us near the carousel and our names were being paged, for it but we couldn’t get to it. We then went over to the next TSA
agent who said hello took one of the forms we had filled out and said have fun seeing Mickey and to spend as much as we could, which was surprising a TSA
agent being nice, never heard of that.
We headed out to the arrivals area to be met by people who show you where to go etc and the nice lady took us to the Super shuttle pickup area, I would like to know if anyone else here has been on a super shuttle before? Holy Crap is all I can say, on the front it had Disneyland Express and by god was it an express service, we were going 80+ miles an hour the driver was using his computer thing and talking on 2 cell phones at the same time, while everyone in the back is holding on for dear life, but we got there.
Here are some pictures from the holiday at Disneyland, which was an absolutely incredible place, other places we visited were Knott’s berry farm, Universal studios, we also done an L.A tour. This was really good, and saw the good and bad side of LA
and had the best bus driver you could ask for. We also hired a car in LA
which was a great experience, we hired a Cadillac which is simply an awesome car, and we got it a lot cheaper than the car we hired in Sydney which wasn’t anywhere near as luxurious. A little bit nerve wrecking the first time on the freeway but it is really well signposted so that helped, and managed to get to San Diego and a few shopping centers. The one thing about the USA is the service is exceptional, and it was worth tipping the people really deserved it especially when they are getting crap wages. And my god the food, I have never ever seen portions the size they were, for instance the Denny’s breakfasts 6.00 gets you this massive plate plus you get a plate of pancakes. So far it was an excellent impression of the USA and the Americans, they don’t seem to wine as much at home :P We saw some interesting sights and had a great time in LA
but it was time to leave after 2 weeks in the Disneyland resort town of Anaheim it was time to head to Vegas, this will be the next ‘edition’ as this has taken me a few days to type out in sections.
Santamonica Beach (Baywatch)
Apologies for the lack of pics on the SYD
segment but all the pictures have a black dot in the centre which is really weird.
Feedback, comments, suggestions for the next reports and questions highly welcomed and appreciated. Hope you have enjoyed this first part.
Also a thanks must go out to Mohavewolfpup for his hosting of my photos, Thanks!
Qantas, Still calling Australia Home.........