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VapourTrails
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Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:24 pm

QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

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Hotel accommodation at Canberra International Airport (CBR)

Background

I had the idea of staying at this hotel since before it was finished – Canberra’s first airport hotel – also inspired too by my positive stay in SYD the year before at the airport hotel there.

I booked the Vibe Hotel in May 2016, using trivago.com.au and booking.com, which was the first time I have used these apps, and it was very easy. I was able to select a deal, and it told me exactly what the inclusions were, and what to expect, including customer reviews.

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The post booking process was also very good, and I had confirmation straight away and more than one source of booking receipt, and sign in information to check details if I needed to. Sounds straightforward, but if you’ve never done it, it’s a great encouragement to actually handle the fully-automated booking process yourself, rather than call and write things down and perhaps turn into a longer more complicated process.

Back in April, the hotel had a promotional stall at the Canberra Airport Open Day at CBR. This gave me an opportunity to chat and find out more about the hotel.

Also, earlier, in May I went for a dinner at the restaurant at Vibe -Helix Bar and Dining. This was a pleasant experience, and it gave me a look around.

The hotel has a beautiful atrium and is very contemporary in design, and open plan. The bar, restaurant, check in, lobby or foyer, and even the kitchen are all located on the ground floor in or around the centre of the building.

Arrival and stay

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The day had arrived. Arrival and check in at the desk on the day was easy and very pleasant. It was relatively busy and I had to wait for check in a few minutes. It was the week of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Australia's Vietnam Veterans Day and the week commemorations of that event, so there were a few visitors about related to that, but transient Canberra is always busy, with something on, and people in town.

I went to my room, which was overlooking the airport on the fourth floor (located on upper deck I later found out which is better). I had pre-selected a quiet room, but I was pleased that I had got the airport view side, maybe that is quieter. The other side is alright too but not as good for this photography and plane-spotting of course, and would have given me a view of the sunset, more car park and main road, to open areas and some city view.

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The weather was perfect for a warm winter’s day and this added to the view and sightseeing I did. As the hotel was less than twelve months old, the carpet was so thick I could barely wheel my luggage through it and it all smelled new and fresh, everything is (extra) nice when it’s new.

Checked in for my flight using the online check in took all of 60 seconds and I added my boarding to my e-wallet on my iPhone.

I upgraded to J in July, using 10K frequent flyer points. This was easy to do online. I didn't wait for an email a few days before my flight like last time, asking me to apply - I sought it out.

The availability to seek and find and get an upgrade instantly may have to do with the time of year (off peak) and the time and day of the week perhaps. It was then confirmed, and all up it took just a few minutes.

I selected Seat 3F, a window seat, not realising at the time that I had the bulkhead, or closet behind me - bonus. I did select the seat at booking time, but when I went to check nearer the flight date it wasn't allocated or 'un-allocated' itself, so I did it again. That might have been user error, but it pays to check (again).

About half of the seats were available in J at the time. I could have had 1F but there was something about it I wasn't comfortable with; too close to the door, too visible, but I also can’t have my hand luggage with me during the flight, it has to go in the overhead locker, so I was happy with where I was at. I also, more recently, read on a review that using the IFE can be an issue in Row 1, unless you hold it or place it on the tray.

This is the third time I have upgraded to J, the last one being in 2015, on the same aircraft type, from CBR-MEL, Seat 2F that time. I also used frequent flyer points on that occasion, and as mentioned, applied for it, using an email or message request to take up the offer.

I plan to upgrade as often as I can, as once you have flown anything other than Y, it can be quite a drawcard to do so again at the right opportunity, to be up the front, and I never thought I would be one to say so quite that succinctly. The longer the flight the better though obviously, for better value.

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View to the southern taxiway and end of the runway. The main runway cannot be seen from the hotel, or at least from the fourth floor. I am not sure how much more view there is from the top floor.

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View to the north-west, and Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura.

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The north view, the car parks where I park when using the airport, and departures ramp. The hotel has its own parking, at cheaper rates but is limited in size.

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The proximity of the airport to the hotel.

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After taking some photos, video, and relaxing and reading, connecting to the free WiFi, and watching some of the Rio Olympics on TV, on sunset, I went out for dinner at the airport as planned.

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I hadn’t noticed the beautiful atrium view from the fourth floor of the centre of the hotel on my way up – the rooms are off circular landings surrounding the centre and high ceiling. From the fourth floor looking out reminded me of a grand theatre or ballroom.

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I did some sight-seeing at the departure gates, more WiFi, and browsing around at the airport (not that I haven’t seen it all before). Saw the 737 depart, that is both the flight number and aircraft type, and the 719 to board.

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The airport was quite busy in the evenings. I don't normally fly or visit at that time of day. Back to my hotel lobby for a sit in the lounge and read the print newspaper, before heading back to my room and settling down for the night.

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Next morning, I got up and ready at a leisurely pace, making the most of the time - but didn’t want to be too late as I had the Business Class Lounge visit, which I had allocated minimum 90 minutes for. I checked out and walked over to the airport. My stay at the hotel was excellent – 9.5/10. I’ve already plans to go back for my next stay.

Any negatives? The doors to the rooms are highly spring-loaded so you can hear people arriving and leaving. I had a head cold so the room seemed stuffy. I turned the heating / cooling off, and it improved it a little.

My room was a Superior King Room and it was more than adequate, but there are bigger rooms, I think this being the smallest, standard. There are also apartments on the top floor and a balcony from those rooms I believe.

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The flight – QF1546 | Seat 3F

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As I had already checked in, I proceeded to the Bag Drop to check in my luggage. No problems there. I went through security and went straight to the lounge. As this was not my first visit, I just sat and read the magazines on offer, until I was ready to eat.

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From the booking app.

The breakfast menu was still open so I had the most delicious croissant and scrambled egg and other delights and a reliable cup of tea. I didn’t take any photos. Not that I was enjoying it too much but I didn’t feel confident taking too many photos, and as this is my local and I was highly likely to return again, I wanted to keep a low profile and not stand out and look snap happy with the buffet.

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The QF Business Class Lounge at CBR. Not busy, but as said, I didn’t want to take too many photos or invade people’s privacy.

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So I had two servings of the breakfast choice, and I don’t eat breakfast, but it was after 10am now. I then also had some of the all-day buffet when it came out. I enjoyed the time, and waited till my flight was nearly ready for boarding time, before leaving.

I’ve only been in this Business Class Lounge once, and only this one, so I can’t compare it with others, but they’d all be quite similar. In the next trip report I use the Qantas Club Lounge (BNE) for the first time. I had the impression that they were on a par, but was told, and observed that the Business Class Lounge is a cut above the Qantas Club Lounge. I guess I will have to wait for more comparisons of that one, for example the one at CBR.

Would I purchase a Business Class ticket? Yes, if it was transcontinental or international I would give it a go for sure (now), but I would like to give a First Class experience preference over J, at least in the first instance.

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Deja vu the Devil again! J this time though.

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Boarded the flight and took my seat. There were a few spare seats left in J after boarding was completed, the one next to me was one of them so that gave me even more room, not that I needed it, but it’s still nice. We were given a glass of water this time, prior to departure. The last time we got a small bottle of water.

Flight time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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I did do a video of the taxi and take-off but regret to say, due to user error, it did not work out. There are videos of 717 take offs from J on YouTube I am sure. As this was not my first experience, I knew what to expect, and that it is super quiet from the front of the aircraft - the engines are hardly audible and it really does feel like you are being pushed along on a floating carpet, to borrow a phrase of description used elsewhere on this site.

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Climbout from CBR.


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Lake George.

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Federal Highway.

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View after take-off.

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Winter this year has been wet and has continued into spring, so the countryside is green rather than the usual brown.

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New South Wales.

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IFE time. I managed to connect to the IFE this time on my own device, the devices provided were not working on that flight.

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Q Streaming app screen.

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~~ The flight; it was routine, quiet and relaxing. The meal was really good and to my liking. I enjoyed the space I had. There is not much else I can comment on it! There were no negatives. ~~

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The Gold Coast, Queensland, a landmark from the sky.

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The Gold Coast and Tasman Sea.

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On approach into BNE, and Moreton Bay.

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Approach to BNE.

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Landing into BNE and a view of the new parallel runway under construction.

The landing was smooth. A cabin crew member stood between Business and Economy, allowing us to disembark first, as standard procedure.

Thanks for reading and/or browsing the photos. If I think of any other aspects or anecdotes about the flight I’ll post them in the comments.

The hotel and the flight were both private leisure travel (I don’t do trip reports for work travel), and the hotel and flight were not connected in any way. They were part of a larger planned holiday but not booked with it, and it just so happened that the hotel and the upgrade synced with each other, to make the start of the journey more memorable.

I have one more trip report to complete for A.net this year. I hope to have this report done as soon as I can (before the end of 2016).

Cheers. =


Further readings:

The Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport, Weekend Notes, August 28, 2016, http://www.weekendnotes.com/vibe-hotel/
Qantas Seat Maps, Boeing 717-200, Two Class, SeatGuru, 2016, https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qanta ... 200_V3.php
Canberra Airport, Wikipedia, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra_Airport
Brisbane Airport's New Parallel Runway, Brisbane Airport Australia, 2016, http://www.bne.com.au/corporate/bne-maj ... lel-runway


Previous trip reports:

QantasLink 717 Trip Report | CBR-MEL: viewtopic.php?t=979257
Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International & ATR72-600 VA Domestic Flight | Part 1 | CBR-SYD-NLK: viewtopic.php?t=979527
Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International & ATR72-600 VA Domestic Flight | Part 2 | NLK-SYD-CBR: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979615
Back On The Devil: QantasLink 717 and Q400 | CBR-MEL | MEL-DPO | DPO-MEL | MEL-CBR: viewtopic.php?t=979899
Baby Boeings QF | QantasLink 717 CBR-BNE | Qantas 738 BNE-CBR: viewtopic.php?t=980379
Last edited by VapourTrails on Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
User avatar
HGL
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat May 28, 2016 3:25 am

Re: QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:41 am

Hi VapourTrails.

It's good to see your promised report of the J experience on the 717. The cabin looks comfortable enough and the meal fresh and appetising. Were there options for meals other than what you had?

VapourTrails wrote:
and as this is my local and I was highly likely to return again, I wanted to keep a low profile and not stand out and look snap happy with the buffet.

I am sure that the lounge staff wouldn't have minded. Who knows, they might even have offered to take your photo, as has happened to me in the lounge in Perth. :)

That hotel looks good and is conveniently placed if you have an early morning departure or late evening arrival.
Qui omnes despicit, omnibus displicit.
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

Re: QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:03 am

HGL wrote:
Hi VapourTrails.

It's good to see your promised report of the J experience on the 717. The cabin looks comfortable enough and the meal fresh and appetising. Were there options for meals other than what you had?

I am sure that the lounge staff wouldn't have minded. Who knows, they might even have offered to take your photo, as has happened to me in the lounge in Perth.

That hotel looks good and is conveniently placed if you have an early morning departure or late evening arrival.


Hi HGL, thanks for leaving a comment.

Thanks, yes, I am a bit slow with my trip reports, but I get there in the end. I really like the cabin in J on the Devil and other -YQ# or Two-Class 712; the comfort, appearance and design.

The food, there was another option of chicken IIRC, but by the time they got to me, they'd run out. I would have chosen it but the one I had was fine, as said. I was a little disappointed they ran out as J wasn't full, and I was second last to get served IIRC, as 3F. There was a non-rev, or dead head in front of me that requested to be served after the pax were, so I wasn't the last to be served.

Re the lounge, yes, perhaps you are right. It just seemed also that it is a 'bit cool on atmosphere' in there. Also, I took a call in there and on my not so smartphone I can't always hear the caller unless I put them on speaker, and someone glared in my direction then I realised it may have been a bit loud. Those things aside, I just didn't really want to take too many photos. I haven't tried the Qantas Club at CBR yet, I am sure it would be different, I know the view out the window is better re facing the runway!

Re the hotel, yes, I think that is where its ultimate value lies.

Cheers =
Last edited by VapourTrails on Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
777Jet
Posts: 6987
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:29 am

Re: QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:35 am

VapourTrails wrote:
[b]IFE time. I managed to connect to the IFE this time on my own device, the devices provided were not working on that flight.[/i]


The flight; it was routine, quiet and relaxing. The meal was really good and to my liking. I enjoyed the space I had. There is not much else I can comment on it! There were no negatives. ~~


Nice TR.

I should still try to log a QF 717 one day - but I have no faith in QF using the equipment type advertised during booking or even check-in!

No negatives you say? I'd consider the airline provided devices that were not working to be a big failure.

777Jet
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90, 717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9, 306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

Re: QF QantasLink Boeing 712 CBR-BNE | Business Class

Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:42 am

777Jet wrote:
Nice TR.


Thanks.

777Jet wrote:
No negatives you say? I'd consider the airline provided devices that were not working to be a big failure.

777Jet


But I had my own device so it wasn't a negative for me.

However, saying that, the devices haven't been working on some of those 717 flights before, so that wasn't a one off, and IIRC the IFE wasn't available at all on one of those flights, so that is a negative I agree in that regard. I don't know what causes it (that level of unreliability).

=

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