Time for Paris Boat Show again, so as I had been requested to use some of my accumulated annual leave, I thought I would look for a ticket [or 3] that was good value for money and re-qualify me Platinum. Looking at AKL originating tickets, I saw one that would get me to JFK in Y+ and J, for $3000 AUD, so along with this and a well-priced Y+ ticket LHR-CDG, and cheap economy ticket to AKL, I was ready to go.
The plan was SYD-AKL, 2 days with family, then AKL-MEL-LAX-JFK-LHR-CDG, 3 ½ day break at Paris Boat Show, then ORY-LHR-JFK-DFW-BNE-AKL-SYD.
First Class Lounge
My ride for the trip across the Tasman and VH-OEF
Flight: QF 141
Plane: B 737-838
An early flight to Auckland, to allow as much time with family as possible. Started off a nice day in Sydney, empty seat next to me, and on time departure, a good start to a big trip.
Virgin following us
Views of the city
and the most famous Sydney beach
Once airborne, breakfast was served, and the flight map showed we had a good tailwind. Haven’t seen a 737 doing over 1020 km/h ground speed before!
Didn’t quite get the 1020 km/h
At this rate we were due to arrive over 30 minutes early. Unfortunately cloud cover became denser on the way to Auckland, so I didn’t see anything until just before landing in a very dreary Auckland, still over 30 minutes early.
Bad weather for arrival into AKL
batch on NZ 77s
Thai 772 arriving after us
My first glimpse of Big Black!
…and a little black
Our route across the Tasman
Fortunately my “driver” noticed and arrived early to the airport, and I managed to exit before it was even noted as “processing” on the arrivals board.
Flight: QF 132
Plane: B 737-838
Another early flight, and for some reason not much sleep the night before made getting up at 04:15 even harder. Check in at that was time quite quick and easy, even though the airport was fairly busy, a lot of flights leaving in the early hours of the morning. Weather was still very bad, so no expectations of any good photos, but this meant I would be able to sleep as much as possible.
On the way to the lounge I thought I would check out rego of the flight to MEL, ZQA again…..I was only on it 36 hours ago…disappointing…
2 small NZ A320 in black livery
Line up at international
Looking back at Auckland City
Manukau Harbour & Daniel Bay
As there is no Y+ across the Tasman, if you book carefully, that leg can be in J, which in this case it was.
Breakfast was served 1 ½ hours into the flight, a bit late, but still finished and cleared within 20 minutes, so I could get some sleep.
Cloud cover started about half way across the Tasman, and looked very thick, but cleared under FL220, so there were some good views coming into MEL.
Just before final
Our route across the Tasman
Flight: QF 93
Plane: A 380-842
The 2 1/2 hour break in Melbourne was good allowing me to do some shopping and answer some emails . Boarding started pretty much on time, and looked pretty full in most classes and in Y+ it was completely full.
I had booked the same seat I had booked a few years ago on the inaugural A380 which seemed to be a good seat.
VH-OQC arrived as QF 94 from LAX
Last view of land before USA
The same cloud cover that was seen across the Tasman hindered any view from about FL100, so no views of Sydney which we passed overhead, nor Fiji, disappointing but I had plenty of books to read.
First meal of the flight
I tried to watch a movie, but didn't really feel like it, got halfway through Ted, but lost interest and continued reading.
Again for some reason I wasn't able to sleep well, although I got a few hours, but meant I was pretty tired when we arrived to LAX.
The cloud/fog followed us to LAX, so heavy there were no views until we landed.
Fog in the LA basin
First sight of land was as we touched down
QF15 had just landed before us, so I expected queue through customs, but managed to get through in good time, helped by the short connection tags given to QF107 passengers.
Trans pac route
Flight: QF 107
Plane: B 747-438
After a quick shower, it was back to the computer to check emails etc. I hadn't planned on showering at LAX, was thinking JFK would the better place time wise, but turned out that it was a good move....
At 8am we were advised of a 30 minute delay, not really a problem as I had 4 hour layover at JFK. We eventually left a foggy LAX about an hour late.
LAN next door
UA 757 lined up and ready to go
AA 763 next to go
OQJ waiting for the next journey home
Turning and heading for JFK
Once we passed the fogged in LA basin good views abounded.
Perris Reservoir and March Air Reserve Base
Palm Springs Airport
Not far from Clarkedale AZ
Breakfast was served about an hour into the flight and once cleared away it was time for some sleep.
I managed to get about hours sleep by which time we weren't far from New York.
View towards Hicksville
As soon as we deplaned I went to the BA customer service counter to get my onward boarding passes. Just after I was handed both passes, I was informed of a 2 hour delay on the LHR flight. As I had planned to have breakfast with my partners sister, this wasn't too good, so I asked if I could get on an earlier flight. After 20 minutes and multiple phone calls, the agent said they found a flight for me and it leaves in 20 minutes!
That was all good but I had to let people know I was going to be 2 hours early, which sounded easier than it was. Not only was my partners sister not answering her phone, neither was my partner, so I had to ring their parents who were relaxing on a QLD beach. It was about now that I was very glad I showered in LA!
Plane: B 777-336ER
My original seat on the delayed flight was 29A, so thought something was a little strange when I saw 23A, but figured it was a 744 with low-J config. Even when I sat down in the new Y+ seat, it still didn't occur to me that this was new 77W, I was that tired. It was only when I saw the raked wingtip that the penny dropped. I need more sleep!
New flight map
After dinner had been cleared away, I managed to sleep for about 4 hours, waking up an hour before landing as "breakfast" was being handed out.
Dinner, served an hour into the flight
“Breakfast”, which was served an hour before landing, so the meal can be excused
On short final
We landed on 27R and a quick taxi to C gate, but then a long slow journey to and through customs & immigration.
Flight: BA 114
Plane: A 319-131
It appeared as I made my way through immigration the message hadn’t been received by my partners sister, but after I got through, seemed she woke up and started to make her way to T5 to meet me. This gave me time to try my luck at the arrivals lounge. I wasn’t sure whether I had access, but it was worth a try. It turned out a good move as I gained entry, and went straight to have a nice shower and a bite to eat.
An hour later, I met up with my partners sister for a few hours, which was nice, then it back through security to see what gate I was heading for, for the CDG flight….great a 20 minute delay, not what I was wanting as I had meetings at Paris Boat Show, that I was time limited for.
Eventually we boarded 20 minutes late, and then waited another 20 minutes before leaving the gate.
just waiting here at the gate
finally we are moving past T5B
VH-OQC and VH-OQG waiting for their return trips
Village of Longpierre, on descent into CDG
EC Air 757
Rather unusual LHR-CDG route
Unfortunately this routing and delays meant we landed almost an hour late, making me very late for my meetings, so it was straight on to the RER to Porte de Versailles, check in at the hotel and straight to the show – a marathon trip!
3 and half days stay in Paris and its time to do [almost] the same in reverse!….part 2 to follow and an extra 2 unplanned flights