ASP-SYD QF domestic business; SYD-DEN, UA international business/domestic first; DEN-ADL, United domestic first, international Business, and QF domestic Business; ADL-ASP QF domestic economy. Jan 9, 2009 - Jan 28 2009.
First off, I have to say sorry for the lack of pictures for this report. Camera was forgotten at home.
On Tuesday 6 Jan I was asked if I could make a work trip to Denver leaving on Friday the 9th of Jan. I had some vacation planned in Adelaide starting on the 14th, but I decided to start that a bit late and go to Denver for business.
Unfortunately, I could not get out of working a night shift on 7th and 8th of Jan, but at least that gave me a chance to fill out company paperwork for the trip and make sure last minute contacts were made before the trip.
I finished my nightshift at 7:30am Friday, 9 Jan and was home and in the shower by 8:15am. I finished up some last minute packing and hung out with the girl friend for an hour or so before heading to the airport. I was dropped at the Alice Springs terminal at about 10:30am for my 1225 flight to Sydney.
09 Jan 2009
Seat 1C, business
I checked in quickly at the QF business class check in. I was tired and just ready to get to Sydney for some dinner and sleep. I sped through security and found my way to the Qantas Lounge. Holders of domestic business class tickets can visit the Qantas lounge on the day of departure, which is a nice feature compared to US airlines that I have travelled that require an international premium class leg if no status is held to visit the lounge (from what I understand).
Anyway, the QF lounge in Alice Springs is small, but caters to the few people who might be using it. The sign on the door of the fridge which contained the alcohol said the bar didn't open until 1200. I thought that a bit odd, as I can go out to the airport bar and buy beers as early as 1000. Oh well, I needed the coffee.
Boarding commenced at about 1200. I boarded via the front stairs, stowed my carry on bags in the over head and quickly settled into my seat. I flipped though the Qantas way magazine before being offered water or juice pre departure. Whatever happened to Champagne?!?
We departed Alice Springs pretty much on time. I had some red wine once drinks were offered. Lunch was served and I had the chicken dish. It was some chicken in a tomato type sauce with olives. It wasn't flash, but would hold me over to dinner. A couple of red wines later, I fell asleep for the last hour of the flight.
I forgot to mention I had a travel partner to the states, that is why I mention "we" above. We landed in Sydney on time and quickly gathered our bags and caught a cab to the Holiday Inn which was located in the Rocks area of Sydney.
Won't go into details of dinner and my wondering around Circular Quay, but none the less I didn't get to sleep until about midnight. I woke early the next day and got ready for the flight to Denver.
10 Jan 2009
UA 870 SYD-SFO
SEAT 17J, business
We made our way to the airport about 1200 for our 1615 flight to SFO. We checked in at the united business area and made our way to the NZ lounge. We had a little bit to eat and a bit more to drink in the lounge. There was a pretty good selection of beers that went down very well.
Finally, about 1530, we made our way to our gate and boarded our aircraft. We were seated upstairs in row 17 facing backwards. I was looking forward to trying the United New busness seats. I haven't flown United to/from USA in a few years. I was quite excited to check the new product and compare it to the sky beds on QF's 747's.
Pre departure champagne was offered, and I checked out all aspects of the seat. I quite liked it. The PTV was quite large. I noticed the lack of storage for things like a small bag or water bottle in the seats, but I got by.
After take off I reclined a bit and had some red wine to drink before dinner. Warm nuts were served and the crew was fantastic. After about 20 minutes in the air, and the window shade lowered, I dind't even notice we were flying "back wards".
I ate some dinner, and for some of you trip report purists, please forgive me for not including the menu. I have since forgotten what I had on this leg of the flight for dinner, but it satisfied me.
I watched a bit of TV before reclining the seat into sleeping position to try and get a few hours sleep. I liked the seat. I liked the fully flat aspect compared to the angled bed on the QF 747's (note, the skybeds on the A380 are fully flat). One drawback for myself was the narrow area for ones feet. Being 6'2, I take up the full length of the seat when laying flat. The seat, at the bottom narrows quite a bit and does stop one from getting fully comfortable. I know why the seats are desined this way, but that doesn't mean I accept it. Everything else about the seat was fine.
I don't think I got much sleep. Breakfast was finally served after orders were taken. I do like the pre order aspect on QF for breakfasts. Order when you board before taking off. Then there is no delay or attendents taking any presious time away from pax to find out orders when they are waking up.
I at some pached eggs with a bit of fruit and a sausage. It was, well, airline breakfast. We landed a few min early and taxied to the gate.
One great aspect of arriving in SFO vice LAX was the United Arrivals lounge. I had a nice shower and hung out for an hour and a bit. The lounge was very quiet compared to the terminal and I assume the red carpet lounge in the main terminal. There were only two other people in he arrivals lounge other then us.
UA 720 SFO-DEN
seat 4B, First
We made our way to the gate to hang out the last 30 minutes before departure. Boarding commenced.
this flight was very uneventfull, and we landed on time.
seat 1H, First.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:21 pm. I arrived at the airport about 3pm after dropping the rental car off. The check in procedure at the international first counters was quick. Then, I turned the corner and went to security. It was a mad house. I don't think I ever got through security quickly at Denver, even using the premium lanes. Standing around with my shoes off and my belt around my neck was a pain. Finally made it though and caugt the train to the united concourse.
I went to the lounge and had a couple of drinks using the drink chits I was given upon entering. I wated until about 5:45 before I went to the gate to bard.
Boarding was orderly and I found my seat and tried hard to stay awake. I think I was still Jet lagged, and had some long working days during the week. I know we pushed back, but then the next thing I remember was the first drink service. I woke up, noticed the cart in the aisle and thought, "crap, we're delayed and haven't even taken off yet" It took a few min looking around and noticing lights of some town below us to figure out we did take off and I missed it!
I at dinner and had a few cab sav's to wash every thing down. The seat belt sign was on for a lot of the flight to due "continuous light chop" - thanks CHAN 9!! The crew on this flight was fantastic, and a complete 180 from the last few times I flew United. Something must be going right, or I just got lucky.
We landed in LA on time and I hung out in the lounge trying to stay awake before the next flight.
Boarding was started about 9:30pm. I was on board straight away and had some water to drink before departure.
Once again, I missed take off promptly falling asleep during the taxi. I woke up just in time to get the first drinks service. Dinner was served and I had a chicken pasta. It was ok, but some of the pasta was hard.
I watched some TV before racking out for a couple of hours sleep. The rest of the flight was fine, the crew great and I didn't have any complaints. I ate a cheese omlette for breakfast.
After we landed, I was quickly through customs and in the baggage area. There I waited and waited and waited. Finally after the belt stopped I figured one of my bags didn't make it. I put in a report with the contracted baggage service. Luckily, the bag with my summer clothes made it, my winter clothes were in IAD I was told.
I breezed through customs with nothing to delcare. I rechecked my bags at the QF domestic transfer lounge. I boarded the bus to the domestic terminal. I love taking the bus and getting a grounds eye view of the airport and all the aircraft parked in various hangers. I had the Australian MP Peter Costello on the bus standing next to me as well.
I wondered around the QF domestic terminal for a bit before hitting the QF business lounge. I threw back a few coffees and watched some news before heading to the gate for my flight to Adelaide.
The flight to Adelaide went well. Lots of us Yanks on there, and from what I could tell , they were some sort of contractors headed to Adelaide for something
Landing on time, I got my bags, er, one bag and picked up my rental car and made my way to the hotel for some sleep.
28 Jan 2009,
Seat 4D, economy
After a week in the sun and laying on the beach it was time to head back home to Alice Springs. We checked in using the QF business class line due to Platinum AA status.
My girlfriend had met me in Adelaide for the week and that is why I was flying economy vice business. However, we were seated in what I now think is the best row on a QF 737-800 row 4. seat Pitch was about 40 inches and I even though we were bulk head, I could stow a bag under the last row of the business cabin.
We had some coffe, but passed on the morning snack, a fruit cake. We lande back in Alice springs about 20 minutes early and made our way home after collecting our bags. I don't think the priority tags on the bags work that well on domestic flights, as our bags were near last off.
All in all, I was quite pleased with the UA service except for the baggage service. More specifically, the UA contracted baggage service in Sydney. They never (and I made about 20 calls to them over 3 days) answered a phone. They called me once, the second day my bag was lost saying it would be here later in the day...two days later, I got a call saying they finally found the bag. I have about 3-4 trips to make this year for business from OZ to USA and it will be a toss up as to flying QF or UA.
sorry for the lack of pictures, and please give me any feedback on my report. I am still a trip report virgin in my mind.