Welcome to my fourth TR
this time archived from when I travelled to Hong Kong back in October 2009 for 24 hours flying with Qantas for the first time. All comments and suggestions are welcome.
B A C K G R O U N D
My friend Ignacio and I had never been to Hong Kong together and since we had gone to Singapore in May, our eyes were peeled on a sale fare somewhere! Low and behold Qantas pulled through as we both managed to purchase tickets for around £370 which I thought was fairly cheap considering our destination.
We booked the tickets just after my birthday and planned the 24 hour extravaganza for October mainly as that would be the only time when we would be free. Our seats were next to each other and as Ignacio is a Platinum card holder with QF
, they allocated our seats at the front which we didn’t take any notice of.
However closer to the day of departure, we realised that our seats were actually in Premium Economy so we thought maybe there was some sort of mistake, but as luck would have it, QF
had phased out their First Class on the LHR
route so lots of people were getting upgraded. We had our fingers crossed until the day we were flying to see if this would still be the case.
D A Y O F D E P A R T U R E
Though our flight wasn’t until 12:20, I still woke up at 04:30 mainly to get my body adjusted to the time difference when out there. All my packing was already complete as I left my house just after 06:00 and headed to Chelsea to pick Ignacio up.
From there we got to Heathrow Airport’s Long Stay Car Park by 08:00, got on the bus to Terminal 4, then on the Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express to Terminal 5 as I had still never been inside. First impressions were very good indeed as it was open planned and completely different to the other terminals.
C H E C K - I N
We then went back to Terminal 4 where check-in had finally started by 09:30. There were two QF
flights leaving within an hour of each other so the queues were slightly long and staff were handing our leaflets mainly for the passengers travelling on QF
032 to SYD
as apparently the flight yesterday had been cancelled so they were looking for people willing to not travel and take some sort of compensation instead.
We kept our fingers crossed and checked-in, getting our luggage tagged with First Class labels as the agent then said “Mr Das and Mr Foley, I am glad to tell you that you have both been upgraded to Premium Economy”. We both acted shocked as if we never knew even though we did from quite sometime back! So by 09:45 we had our boarding cards in hand.
P R E - B O A R D I N G
We were through security by 10:00 as there wasn’t that much of a queue as we headed straight to the BA
Terraces Lounge by Gate 1 which of course now is non-existent. Although fairly busy, it still felt good to unwind by having a relaxing shower followed by a nice breakfast along with a glass of cranberry juice.
As there wasn’t much else to do in the lounge we went out for a walk around the terminal having a look at what was on stand. There wasn’t anything that interesting so we just saw down and discussed what we would do in Hong Kong as we would be there for literally 24 hours!
By 11:30 a boarding announcement was made for our flight and as luck would have it, the QF
032 was right next to us giving me the opportunity to take a picture of the beast itself. The sun was out which made for some good pictures (well I thought so anyway).
We arrived at Gate 5 shortly after as the flight was closing and were both given a warm welcome and priority boarding to avoid the queues. My first impressions of Qantas were good but as I would find out, things would only get……..? I shall let you all ponder on that one and judge for yourselves.
F L I G H T D E T A I L S
Date:- Saturday 10th October 2009
Route:- London Heathrow (LHR
) - Hong Kong (HKG
Airline / Flight Number:- Qantas / QF
Departure (Actual) / Arrival (Actual):- 12:20 (12:45) / 07:10 (07:20)
Aircraft / Reg:- B747-438 / VH
Class / Seat No.:- Premium Economy / 35A
By 11:50 we were onboard and I took a few more pictures of the A380 next to us. Ignacio and I put a bet on as to whether our flight would leave first or the other one. Luckily I won as we pushed back at 12:30 before the A380 so dinner in Kowloon would be his treat!
First impressions however were very good. The cabin, seats and legroom were amazing plus with Ignacio being a Platinum card holder meant that we both got well looked after from the second we sat down till we left the aircraft in HKG
. As we settled in to our seats, we taxied to Runway 27R and I knew that this would be an enjoyable one.
We took-off and headed over Eastern Europe as we were served lunch which was Economy Class food but still tasty though. Apologies for not getting a picture as I was rather hungry so totally forgot. Another thing we got was the Q-pack which is something I have been given on another airline. Lovely snacks to keep me going through the night if need be. Also a lovely hot chocolate with marsh mellows is another thing I hadn’t got anywhere else.
The IFE was very good with all the English classics such as Mr. Bean, Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses. I also watched The Simpsons as can be seen below.
Without knowing I must have gone to sleep as tiredness had set in. I slept for near enough an hour at a time and every time I opened the window blind it was still dark, until finally I saw some light and a nice sunrise. The seat was so comfortable and much better than BA
’s Premium Economy product as the seat was wider and the leg space was fantastic. The recline was just right for a ten hour flight which by the way went very quickly.
Below are some pictures of my brief stop in HKG
We were served breakfast with two hours to spare before landing which was a tasty ham omelette and some cereal. I had to ask kindly for another one as I wouldn’t be eating until late lunch after visiting Hong Kong Peak.
Slowly but surely we descended through the clouds and onto the tarmac at Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok at 07:20; only ten minutes behind schedule which was good timing as every minute would count for us. Taxiing onto stand took another ten minutes as we said farewell to the crew and walked rather fast to immigration and baggage reclaim.
And here are some of the flight home when i slept for eight hours straight as tiredness had got the better of me.
V E R D I C T
A great first flight with QF
from the check-in to on board and the whole flight itself was very good. The cabin crew were fantastic although I can say that this would be more because Ignacio had Platinum status. The seat and comfort was adequate for a short flight like this. Getting an upgrade the first time as well also helped, but I think I could get used to travelling with QF
in the future. My rating would be 8/10
Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...