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allrite
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The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:12 pm

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This report is also available at http://flying.allrite.at/2016/11/the-point-of-it-canberra-by-qantas.html.

It's November and that means it's time to ensure I have enough Qantas status points to retain Silver next year. Only I'm not doing a good job of it. It's not just that I get anxious about turbulence. I'm doing something about that. November is a really busy time of year for the whole family and I don't want to miss a thing. So the day after my son's birthday, a day of gale force winds, I postpone my big trip north that would have solved all my points problems.

Now I'm in trouble.

Instead of a three seater in the sky I'm squashed against the train window in a three seater by an obese lady and another who can't be bother to move from the aisle. I'm attending a boring meeting at work on my usual work from home day. And I have to help clean up after a kid vomits at karate.

But I get to snuggle my family at night and that's very nice indeed.

So what do I do about the points? Lots of options present themself. Can I go through with them? I'm really not sure. Plus after Monday's debacle I want to be in the dojo on Thursday and at Alex's presentation on Friday.

Tuesday night is gorgeous. Should have booked an overnight flight up to Tokyo. Too late.

Wednesday morning. Perfect weather. Now. Might get worse later. I check the Qantas app. Can't book anything until after 11am. I want to go now. This weather is too perfect.

Okay, forget the points. I'm going to challenge myself. You know what, I even feel like flying a turboprop today! I'll do a short trip to Canberra and see what eventuates from there. I get out at the Domestic Airport station and walk up to the Qantas sales desk. Yes there's availability on the 9.55 am to Canberra. I book it and go through security.

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A quick trip up to the Qantas Club lounge to use their bathroom and a snack. It's quite busy, but I only have a short stay.

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Downstairs to gate 16. I snap some photos facing the international terminal, see the massive bright blue Korean Air A380 taxiing to the terminal. Asiana is also flying their A380 to Sydney for the first time as of a couple of days ago.

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Boarding commences and we walk down the stairs and across the tarmac to our Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 "Tamworth". I'm feeling confident.

I've got a window seat, as requested, 10D in the narrow tube of the passenger cabin. It's right under the front of the wing, the view obscured by the engine. I don't care. I've done this trip so many times that I'm not here for the scenery.

The cabin fills up but I've got an empty seat next to me and across the aisle. Good.

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The two cabin crew do their safety demonstration, then as we taxi out to the nearby main runway First Officer Fogerty welcomes us aboard. It's all good news. On time and great weather!

I'm not challenging myself too much here.

We have to wait for another departure, then it's our turn on the piano keys, facing south.

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The engines spool up to the maximum and the acceleration forces me back. Then we are airborne! So quickly.

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A right hand turn takes us away from the runway and out across Botany Bay.

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The Georges River winds its way Westward, crossed by road and rail bridges. My house lies that way. We follow the Princes Highway and the train line for a while until we reach the dark green of the Royal National Park, from where we turn inland, over Cataract Dam. The land is so clear below, the sky pretty smooth and the seatbelt light is quickly extinguished.

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There is only a thin layer of very scattered cloud, which we easily avoid.

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The two flight attendants push their trolleys through the cabin handing out decently sized bags of ginger biscuits, bottles of water or juice and tea or coffee to those that want it. The reduced speed of the turboprop allows for a more relaxed serving speed than on the jets.

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As we pass over the rural Southern Highlands the sight I was really looking forward to. Lake George appears to my right and it still has water! The wind turbines around it stand almost completely idle and I am glad. Not at the lack of clean energy but at the implied lack of turbulence generating wind.

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However, the turbines appear to lie. Our approach into Canberra will be from the South so we begin a wide desceding turn around Googong Reservoir. As we do the aircraft begins to bounce around.

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I slow my breathing, as discussed in the anxiety course. The bumps are somewhat expected, familiar from many other flights but absent from the previous two on this route. An overheating phone camera distracts me for a moment as we fly over Canberra's southern suburbs.

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It is one of the rougher descents into Canberra that I have experienced, but the turbulence itself is probably only classified as light. I'm okay, relaxing myself does good.Still, I am glad when we touch down on the tarmac, a little hard for my liking. The nose rotating down makes me feel queasy.

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As we turn in towards the terminal I am thrilled to spot Canberra's sole international flight, the Singapore Airlines Capital Express Singapore - Canberra - Wellington. The 777-200 is parked at the international gate, boarding passengers visible through the glass jet bridges.We bypass Virgin Australia and Qantas Boeing 737-800's and come to a stop at the other end of the terminal, next to another Qantas Q400 with the indigenous reconciliation livery.No jet bridge for us: we walk down to the tarmac and up the stairs into the terminal building.

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Canberra Airport is possibly my favourite in Australia. Modern, very clean, airy and with interesting sculptures and displays throughout. There lots of seating, including some big cushions. There's a "business park" with electrical and USB sockets. Only a couple of eateries (reasonable at that) and an airport newsagent (ie they sell more than just books and magazines), but most are not hanging around long.

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I'd be comfortable hanging around here. I'm in no hurry, so I make my way down towards the far end of terminal to where the Singapore Airlines flight is boarding.I watch the big Boeing disconnect from the jet bridge before being pushed back. It's exciting to see Canberrans finally being able to go somewhere far without needing to pass through another airport.

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After waiting for another couple of flights the 777 roars northward and up into the sky.

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It's time I thought about my own journey. I want to take it easy and let's face it, another flight will be expensive and offer marginal points benefits.Plus the PA is announcing that the QantasLink flight to Melbourne was delayed indefinitely as the aircraft had made a hard landing and required an inspection. That might have been our aircraft! So maybe it really was turbulent on descent and not my overactive imagination. The passengers are accommodated on other flights, but it means that there will be limited availability should I wish to fly.

It's a choice between bus or train. Bus is an hour faster than the train, but I'm a train fan.

The taxi delivers me to Canberra's train station with ten minutes to spare before departure. I quickly book a ticket and board, to the annoyance of the young lady sitting in my seat in preference to the one she was assigned.

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Two minutes later and we are underway.I'm not sure that I've ever caught this train in the middle of the day instead of first thing in the morning or late in the evening. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to sit back and relax while the three car diesel electric Xplorer set winds its way towards Sydney.It's very different scenery outside to the Japanese train I might otherwise be on. The scenic Molonglo Gorge as we slowly creep up out of Queanbeyan, then rolling countryside with views towards a more distant horizon than can usually be seen in a more mountainous country.

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I am very hungry so I order a hot meal from the attendant. An hour later passengers holding meal tickets are called up to the buffet counter. The meal isn't good, not up to airline standard. Perhaps the predominantly elderly clientele of the carriage appreciate the overcooked vegetables. No doubt the younger, poorer passengers didn't order it.Funny how none of them order the curry.

The journey passes through a variety of rural landscapes and past some very pretty little towns. Also apparent are those new developments, leaving one to wonder where the jobs for them are.I spend time looking out, time working when I have mobile access and in writing this.

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The skies outside don't look particularly threatening, though broad low summer cloud is gradually building up, but I'm enjoying this time to myself.

The points? Well, that's a problem for another day.
I like artificial banana essence!
 
VapourTrails
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:36 am

allrite wrote:
Okay, forget the points. I'm going to challenge myself. You know what, I even feel like flying a turboprop today! I'll do a short trip to Canberra and see what eventuates from there.


I like that kind of spontaneity, not that I've ever done that myself as yet.

allrite wrote:
The two flight attendants push their trolleys through the cabin handing out decently sized bags of ginger biscuits, bottles of water or juice and tea or coffee to those that want it. The reduced speed of the turboprop allows for a more relaxed serving speed than on the jets.


Isn't ginger supposed to be good for motion sickness..

I agree, and the flights are at lower altitude, at least it seems, which I find better for viewing.

allrite wrote:
As we turn in towards the terminal I am thrilled to spot Canberra's sole international flight, the Singapore Airlines Capital Express Singapore - Canberra - Wellington. The 777-200 is parked at the international gate, boarding passengers visible through the glass jet bridges.


That is good you got to see the SQ on your short visit. It arrives later now because of daylight saving. I went to see it at the airport fence car park at Majura Park a few weeks ago when it departed. All these spotter cars piled in, there must have been nearly twenty of us, then even before the wheels were up, there was a mass exodus! It was quite funny to watch. I stayed around a bit longer of course.

allrite wrote:
Canberra Airport is possibly my favourite in Australia. Modern, very clean, airy and with interesting sculptures and displays throughout. There lots of seating, including some big cushions. There's a "business park" with electrical and USB sockets. I'd be comfortable hanging around here. I'm in no hurry, so I make my way down towards the far end of terminal to where the Singapore Airlines flight is boarding.I watch the big Boeing disconnect from the jet bridge before being pushed back.


Aw shucks. I agree. :biggrin:

Incidentally, there was a article on CBR in the Australian Aviation issue, to coincide with the SQ flights starting.

Nice trip report once again. Cheers. =
 
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allrite
Topic Author
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Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:02 am

VapourTrails wrote:
I like that kind of spontaneity, not that I've ever done that myself as yet.


I've got this fantasy of booking an overseas flight then that afternoon heading down tot he airport to catch it with nothing but my wallet, phone and passport. For someone who likes to plan, spontaneity is curiously attractive.

VapourTrails wrote:
Isn't ginger supposed to be good for motion sickness..


I wasn't motion sick so can't answer, but I love ginger. :)


VapourTrails wrote:
That is good you got to see the SQ on your short visit. It arrives later now because of daylight saving. I went to see it at the airport fence car park at Majura Park a few weeks ago when it departed. All these spotter cars piled in, there must have been nearly twenty of us, then even before the wheels were up, there was a mass exodus! It was quite funny to watch. I stayed around a bit longer of course.


:) I found the departure strangely anti-climactic. In the end, being so close to Sydney, the aircraft is just flying over the same territory that I've done so many times before, including up from Melbourne and Hobart. It's not like in Sydney where you have the site of the aircraft arcing over the bay or across the CBD. To me it's the airport that would be the exciting bit. Sure it's no megahub like Changi but Canberra feels like the kind of airport you could really relax in before your flight.

VapourTrails wrote:
Nice trip report once again. Cheers. =


Thanks! It's only because of a few users like you that I keep posting here and not only on my personal blogs. :)
I like artificial banana essence!
 
VapourTrails
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:18 am

allrite wrote:
VapourTrails wrote:
I like that kind of spontaneity, not that I've ever done that myself as yet.

I've got this fantasy of booking an overseas flight then that afternoon heading down tot he airport to catch it with nothing but my wallet, phone and passport. For someone who likes to plan, spontaneity is curiously attractive.


It is one of my retirement plans! Add to that a real aviation photography camera with a telephoto lens. I want to do all the state capitals in two weeks around Australia thing.

allrite wrote:
I found the departure strangely anti-climactic. In the end, being so close to Sydney, the aircraft is just flying over the same territory that I've done so many times before, including up from Melbourne and Hobart. It's not like in Sydney where you have the site of the aircraft arcing over the bay or across the CBD. To me it's the airport that would be the exciting bit. Sure it's no megahub like Changi but Canberra feels like the kind of airport you could really relax in before your flight.


It is a novelty in Canberra, it'll probably just start to wear off, and then another international service will start. :knockout:

allrite wrote:
Thanks! It's only because of a few users like you that I keep posting here and not only on my personal blogs.


Well, not that many users do trip reports for CBR so I contribute to them, you also get us, and I like your writing style! :cheerful:
Last edited by VapourTrails on Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Ryanair!!!
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm

Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:22 am

Morning mate!

Great to see that you are still writing. There was a momentary surge of attention for CBR with SQ's arrival so it was nice to see that airport get some form of recognition. I agree, now dwellers around CBR and WLG can finally have another option to get out and SQ provides that.

Miss Australia as I am halfway through gallivanting around Asia for 6 months. Cannot wait to get back to my laid back life in Adelaide and watch ads on TV for Bunnings and Chemist Warehouse. Hahahaha...

This forum has taken a different turn and it somehow feels "different". I don't know if it is the arrival of new members or the old guard has gone off (maybe a combination of both), I am not sure. Think now that I don't fly as often as I used to, I post an average of 0.5 TRs annually. LOL... I just posted a trip report on my flight to LHR 2 weeks ago, I miss the old guards - that's for sure!

Keep on flying!

Cheers
R
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
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KruegerFlaps
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Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:06 am

allrite wrote:
You know what, I even feel like flying a turboprop today!


As much as I really like turboprops I usually leave myself a bit more time to plan things, even if my time is my own. But a great start! Just up and go.

Some great photos - including the one of the six-bladed shadow - along the way, despite your seat position.

allrite wrote:
Canberra Airport is possibly my favourite in Australia. Modern, very clean, airy and with interesting sculptures and displays throughout.


And, importantly, nice big clear windows from which to observe arrivals and departures.

allrite wrote:
The skies outside don't look particularly threatening, though broad low summer cloud is gradually building up, but I'm enjoying this time to myself.


Which makes it all worth while. Thanks for sharing.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt Speech, 1783
 
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allrite
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:36 am

Ryanair!!! wrote:
Morning mate!


He lives! LTNT :D

Ryanair!!! wrote:
Cannot wait to get back to my laid back life in Adelaide and watch ads on TV for Bunnings and Chemist Warehouse. Hahahaha...


You should try real rural Australian ads. Go stay in a motel somewhere and enjoy. Oh wait, you've stayed in Rockhampton...

Ryanair!!! wrote:
This forum has taken a different turn and it somehow feels "different". I don't know if it is the arrival of new members or the old guard has gone off (maybe a combination of both), I am not sure. Think now that I don't fly as often as I used to, I post an average of 0.5 TRs annually. LOL... I just posted a trip report on my flight to LHR 2 weeks ago, I miss the old guards - that's for sure!


I think some of the initial changes to the site drove people off... Having to log in each visit meant it was hard to check for updates. Seems better now but perhaps it is too late for many. A number of people have moved to Facebook groups or posting elsewhere. :( Many (myself included) have our own sites, though they naturally lack visibility.

Will take a read of your latest report!


KruegerFlaps wrote:
As much as I really like turboprops I usually leave myself a bit more time to plan things, even if my time is my own. But a great start! Just up and go.


Heh, I already have three trips planned for next year. Which is why I need to overcome my turbulence anxiety! I'd rather just travel when the mood takes me. Bit hard with a family.

KruegerFlaps wrote:
Some great photos - including the one of the six-bladed shadow - along the way, despite your seat position.


Thanks! I was just using my Xperia Z5 mobile. Definitely better at taking propeller shots than the Z2 it replaced.

VapourTrails wrote:
It is a novelty in Canberra, it'll probably just start to wear off, and then another international service will start.


Hehe, hope that they come and it's to somewhere interesting and not yet-another-mainland-China-services (likely).
I like artificial banana essence!
 
TN486
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:08 am

Re: The point of it: Canberra by Qantas, train back and an SQ surprise

Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:51 am

Great to hear from you again mate. Took me a long time to gain confidence with the new site layout however I am getting there. I love your photos and writing style, and agree with Vapor Trails comments. Looking forward to the next Japanese report that includes all those trains, take care, cheers.
remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back

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