SYDNEY TO HONG KONG
QANTAS A380-342, Friday 09 March 2012.
Registration: VH-OQH "Sir Reginald Ansett"
Delivered to Qantas: 01 February 2011.
Flight: QF127, SYD-HKG
ETD: 1145 ATD: 1144
ETA: 1750 ATA: 1756
Seat: 50 A
(Apologies in advance for the pic quality. As I have been to HKG
many times I didn't take my camera on this trip and just used my iPhone).
I was heading up to Hong Kong for a work conference, and had been booked on QF
Having flown previously on the EK
A380's I was interested to see how the QF
With the day before my departure having had some of the wildest, most revolting weather in Sydney's recent history, I was pleased to see that the day of my departure was relatively bright and sunny.
I had pre-booked my parking online at the Sydney Airport website ($142 for 5 days - what a rort!) and drove out to the airport arriving at 8.30am
Upon entering the terminal and heading to the "D" check-in area, it was rather packed. There were 5 desks opened for economy. As well as the HKG
flight, there was the PVG
flight heading out and no doubt a LAX
and some NZ
flights as well. Consequently, the check-in area was extremely busy. Do to the way my flight was booked, I wasn't allowed to check in online, so I had to wait.
To their credit, QF
had a "floor walker" monitoing the queue, and she kept things moving. After waiting 30 minutes, she motioned for me and 4 other people near her to head over to the "Standby Desk" where the man working there had no customers, and she said we could check-in there.
The gentleman working at this desk was friendly and efficient. I was originally allocated 66G for me, which was a bulkhead seat in the centre. I was aware that the flight had about 60-70 spare seats in Y class today. The man at the desk asked me if I would mind moving so that a family who was currently separated could sit together and I said that was fine. I politely asked the man at the check-in desk if by any chance 50A or the "legendary" 80A or K (have a look at a QF
seat map for the A380 and you'll know what I mean about row 80!) were free. I wasn't expecting them to be, and was happy with 66G, despite it being in the centre section.
To my surprise, he confirmed 50A was available and there was no one in 50B and asked if I would be happier there.
(80A and K were already gone - I think they give these to Gold and Platinum's, which is fair enough).
I replied that 50A would be wonderful and thanked him as he handed my new boarding pass over.
It always pays to be really nice and respectful to people working in service jobs - "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar", as they say! He said it was only fair that if he was going to take a bulkhead seat off me then I should be moved to another bulkhead or exit row. What lovely service. Kudos to him.
With some time to kill, I wandered over to the food court area for a coffee, and watched through the big glass windows as aircraft came and went. Views not great at all for photography, but wonderful to watch the aircraft movements as you kill a few minutes before a flight.
The coffee was actually really good for an airport coffee, and I killed some more time by using my iPad and hooking into the free wifi provided by Expedia at SYD
and killing off a few work emails.
I know some may say it's "boring", but I actually like the colours on a GA
A330 - they seem calming somehow. It looks good IMO!
Sydney Airport has duty free shops both land-side and air-side. I read last week that the government here in Australia is stopping duty free sales of cigarettes in the near future - not good news for smokers.
The immigration lines were quite busy, but with my APEC card I could go through the crew lane as usual, and there was no one there, and I was through immigration and security in a couple of minutes.
After leaving the duty free area, I went to gate 24, and found my A380 waiting for me.
I love the irony of how this aircraft is named "Sir Reginald Ansett", but a worthy tribute to a pioneer of the Australian aviation industry. I honest didn't think 10 years ago that I would fly on another Ansett! Little did I know...
There was a definite Asian flavour near our gate... and that MU
A330 was really dirty and grotty too. Sad to see.
Whilst looking out the window, a SQ
A380 arrived right on time from SIN
Boarding was already under way and seemed to be a very efficient process with aero-bridges to both decks being used, and two to the bottom deck. I was onboard in no time at all, and greeted by a friendly crew. From what I could see, all the crew on the bottom deck where I was located, except for two of them, where Chinese.
As 50A is a bulkhead, I put my luggage in the overhead locked. There was a man in 50 C and we exchanged pleasantries as I settled into my seat.
I forgot to take a picture of the seat, but you can see one on the QF
website or another trip report on the same aircraft.
50 is a bassinet row, but no kids on this flight to use them. Bonus!
You can see the size of the massive RR
engines in this pic, as well as the aero-bridge to the top level right above my window.
We pushed back a minute early, and after a welcome from the FO on the PA, as well as the safety demonstration, taxied down to the south end of the airport and took off on RW
Those on the right would have had a great view of Sydney's CBD, but not on my side. Such is life!
We tracked out over Sydney's north-western suburbs and the over the Blue Mountains. To my mind we took a little bit of a strange track: rather than heading N-NW
, we headed almost westerly for 45 minutes and then turned right heading over Central Australia, slightly to the east of Darwin, then west of the Philippine Islands before heading into HKG
The FO came on the PA again to give more details of our flight. Then he said: "I will be doing a walk-around through the cabin later in the flight. If anyone had any questions about the aircraft, the flight or aviation in general, I would love to answer them for you". Wow! Talk about a "touch of retro!" I remember when I was a kid that a member of the cabin crew would do a walk-around in the 70's and maybe early 80's, but I haven't heard that being done for quite a while. True to his word, he did this and I managed to collar him for a good five minutes asking questions about the Flight Management System, navigation and thrust settings etc. I'm sure he was rolling his eyes, but he said "I love talking about this stuff", and patiently explained everything I wanted to know. What a nice guy, and a really pleasant surprise that this occurred.
I played around with the new QF
AVOD system featured on the A380's and was very impressed. Touch screen (or use the remote controller if you want), and super simple to navigate and many options of films, TV
's, duty free shopping, destination guides, games etc. The Flight Path option featured an "interactive map" (not sure why you'd use this) and also a "Follow The Plane" option, which I did. The quality of picture from the tail-cam is simply gorgeous, especially on a clear day as it was on this occasion.
The crew then handed out bottles of mineral water to everyone. The female attendant working in our section, a Chinese girl, was engaging, polite and smiling all the time. 50A is right next to the galley. I saw her take off her "airport heels" and put on her "work flats", then she put her airport heels in a shoe bag and put them in the overhead locker above us. "Don't worry", she said grinning, "they don't smell... very fresh!" which brought a smile to my face. I like engaging behaviour like this that shows us the "human" side of a flight attendant. Very refreshing to see!
The landscape went from mountains, to green planes to a more dry, arid landscape.
About an hour after take-off the lunch service started. They served drinks at the same time which I think is great. I don't know why some airlines seem to think they need to do a pre-lunch / pre-dinner drinks service. Far better to just offer a drink with the meal and it means your tray table is down for a shorter amount of time.
I asked for a Coke, and my lovely flight attendant offered my two, which was nice, so I took them as I was quite thirsty. There was an Asian beef option and a western fish option, so to get me in the mood for HKG
I took the Asian option.
The salad was basic - lettuce, a cherry tomato and some carrot. Totally fine, however the optional dressing is a nice touch, and it really gave this salad a pick-up in a big way after adding it.
The beef main meal was nice and I liked the fact that QF
offered chopsticks on every tray too - a nice touch.
The bread roll was nicely warmed (much better when it's warmed!) and cheese and crackers finished off the meal nicely. For a Y class meal, I enjoyed it.
Then it was time for a trip to the bathroom (stock standard!) as we cruised over Central Queensland.
Legroom in the bulkhead seat of 50A was excellent and the new-style seat was very comfortable.
After watching "Iron Lady" I went to the galley to get a can of Appletiser (good that QF
stocks this - it's quite nice!) and was offered a pack of savoury snacks with it.
The crew then came around with ice creams. As usual when they'd been stored in dry ice, they were hard as rock and I had to let mine sit for about 10 minutes before I could take a bite of it.
After another movie I did a walk around the cabin and checked out the snack bar at the rear of the Y class sections. There were various soft drink cans, biscottis and Byron Bay chocolate chip cookies and a bowl of apples.
Cups were available as was a drawer with ice. Quite a good set-up for people who get thirsty or peckish during the flight.
One of the toilets had gone "unservicable", however, and a ticket was attached to the door explaining as such.
Shot of the rear-most cabin from the back of the aircraft
And staircase leading up to J and Y Plus
About 2 hours out of Hong Kong, it was time for the second meal service - a refreshment.
It was ok, but the pizza was a little bit soggy. The fruit salad was very fresh, and chocolate is always good!
Surprisingly, despite being only a year old, the A380 was already showing signs of wear. Not surprising I guess when you consider the amount of people that they ferry around every day of their working life.
Upon flicking through the Qantas in-flight magazine, "The Australian Way", I was surprised to see the following quote in one of the Qantas ads. Not a bad idea really - I've done it myself, and it's a great service if people do make an error when booking online.
By now it was time to descend into a very cloudy and foggy Hong Kong. We didn't emerge from the clouds until about 2,000 feet from the runway, and landed very softly towards the east.
Interestingly, (for me, anyway), the thrust reversers only deployed on the inboard engines - 2 and 3.
It wasn't a long taxi - about 5 minutes - to the terminal where we pulled up next to a Philippine Airlines 747-400.
I said farewell to our friendly crew at the door and made my way to immigration where it was very busy. Luckily, once again I could use my APEC card and I got through in no time at all. A short wait later my bag emerged on the carousel.
I found Qantas' Y class on the A380 to be very pleasant. Yes, having a bulkhead seat certainly helped with space, of course, but the crew were wonderfully friendly, and efficient. Nothing was a problem, they did regular water runs during the flight, and were constantly smiling and appeared like they were enjoying what they were doing - which I'm sure they were. My only small observation (and it is a small one) was that I thought it was strange when they were working in the cabin and carrying on a conversation in Cantonese with each other. I just think that on Australia's national carrier they should be conversing in English whilst working in the cabin in front of the passengers - at times I felt like I was on CA
! In the galley, fine, but in the cabin I think English should be the language used - even if the conversation is only between the Chinese crew. A really small point, but I just thought I'd mention it.
The other thing I didn't like was the mandatory lowering of all the shades after the lunch service. I really *really* dislike this - the best "IFE" is out the window, and for people who can't sleep on night flights, we choose flights specifically in the daytime so that we can adjust our body-clocks better upon arrival. If you want to sleep on a day flight, wear an eye mask!
I would be happy travelling long-haul on the A380 with QF
. The seat was a lot more comfortable than the Y seats on EK
's 777-300ER or Cathay's shell seats on their A330's. The in-flight entertainment system was excellent with a huge range of options. Food and drinks were plentiful and more than enough to keep everyone happy.
It was, all-in-all, a great flight.
Thanks for taking the time to read my report.
Thai744.[Edited 2012-03-13 05:04:11][Edited 2012-03-13 05:05:23][Edited 2012-03-13 05:06:38]
[Edited 2012-03-13 05:29:10]