At the beginning of 2018 fresh from a trip to New Zealand with my mother I decided my next trip should be a big one. At this point I had extensively travelled around Australia and New Zealand but apart from a trip to Singapore and Thailand when I was five years old, and single cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia a few years ago I hadn't travelled further afield. I have an interest in Norse mythology and as an extension been studying the Norwegian language for about three years at this point, so it natual I decided primarily on Norway with short visits to other places in Europe. The initial plan was an open jaw flight on Finnair to OSL/LHR. But as I wanted to pay my flight off through a travel agent this wasn't an option so I settled on QF to LHR including the return flight on the as then yet to begin PER nonstop 787 flight. In the following weeks I booked the internal European flights focusing on the somewhat rarer types. My final itinerary included London, Amsterdam, Paris, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, and Alta. Due to the length of the trip it will be broken into six parts.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper
- copyright © Karl L. Swartz
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper
- copyright © Karl L. Swartz
Shorthaul flights BRISBANE – LONDON
Upon arriving at Brisbane International Airport and saying my goodbyes to my mother I proceeded to the check in kiosk. There was a short delay of about fifteen minutes dropping off my bag despite there being only about five passengers in front of me. After a quick breakfast at Red Rooster I proceeded downstairs through security and emigration where there was a large queue which was to be expected at the time of day. There was an amusing security guard shouting out the LAGS restrictions but added on things like "If you have chocolate bring it to me and we can share". After clearing the emigration checks I spend the rest of time wondering about the departures hall checking out which aircraft were in. The highlights being Air Niugini's 767-300ER which is the last pax 767 to serve BNE, and PAL's A321 neo which at the time was the longest A321 neo route nonstop from/to Manila. Unfortunately I missed KAL which sent a 777-300ER that morning in place of the usual A330-300.
All set to go!
Pixie 767 off to Port Moresby
Virgin Australia 777-300ER to Los Angeles
Air Canada 787-8 to Vancouver
PAL A321 neo to Manila
China Airlines A350-900 preparing for a fifth freedom leg to Auckland
Qantas 787-9 to Los Angeles
My ride today: Qantas A330-200 to Singapore
Aircraft: Airbus A330-202 VH-EBP "Ningaloo Reef"
Origin: Brisbane, AU (BNE/YBBN)
Destination: Singapore, SG (SIN/WSSS)
Flight Time: 8:08
Class/Seat: Economy 49A
This flight was initially scheduled as an A330-300, but was downgauged to an A330-200 roughly a week before departure, which was a slight downgrade in product. The aircraft today just happened to come out of maintenance after being reconfigured in the new long haul layout. The load was 100% in Economy mostly made up of young Singaporean men in their early 20s traveling together as part of a large group. We ended up pushing back close to hour behind schedule the reason given by the captain was their was a lot of extra paperwork to do related to the aircraft operating it's first flight after maintenance and restrictions ment that the initial flightplan was no good so they had to re do the flight plan.
Adagold A340-300 most likely a charter for the ADF
Palmer's pair of maddogs' which have been sitting on a taxiway near the GA apron for several years now. Youtube link to take off
Toowong and the western suburbs.
The departure was to the south from Runway 19L followed by a right turn towards the northwest. I was invited by email a few days earlier to preorder my choice of meal. As a result I received my beef steak and mashed potatoes well before anyone else even the passengers with special dietary requirements. Then there was quite some time before the general meal service began. I'm by no means a fast eater but I had finished before the general meal service. The meal wasn't too bad for an economy meal. The downside of preordering my meal was the wait to collect my tray after I had finished. I probably wouldn't preorder my meal again.
After my meal I looked out the window of the outback Queensland landscape until I was told to lower my window blind. I then turned my intention to the IFE. I watched Airplane! (or as I know it Flying High!) Followed by Twister. Although not that old I found the IFE system hadn't aged well. It seemed quite laggy, non responsive to touch commands and was quite difficult to scrub backwards and forth in movies as in if you wanted to go back 30 seconds it was all too easy to find yourself going back 10 minutes.
Can't say I wasn't warned...
During the flight an apple was served followed by a mango Weis bar which was delicious. After the second movie I had a look at the music selection Even though I consider myself to have a broad taste in music I wasn't impressed. I was going through a Pink Floyd, Beatles, Led Zeppelin phase none of which could be found. I ended up settling on Dire Straits followed by Evanescence. As we got closer to Singapore the cabin lights came back on and a final snack was served by the time the crew got to me they had ran out of mushroom pizza so I had the steamed pork buns which were quite tasty. Then there was another announcement from the cockpit that due to traffic we were asked to hold for three circuits adding on the half hour we made up along the way which meant we would be an hour late. A bit closer to Singapore both mine and the passenger in front of me lost their IFE screens I was able to reboot mine. We did our three circuit's over the Indonesian island of Bintan. It was quite interesting one side of the island appeared to have mangroves and mudflats but the other had clear beaches. I also spotted at least five other aircraft in the holding circuit. Landing was on Runway 20R. It was quite an interesting taxi as there was a government summit in town. I noticed both an RCAF A310 and a RNZAF 757. We arrived at D49.
Bintan Beach Youtube link to landing
Justin's A310 SINGAPORE TRANSIT
Arriving an hour late I felt five hours was a bit too risky to go into Singapore as I had originally planned. Instead I stayed airside looking through the three connected terminals. As I had spent time in the outdoor cactus garden I had a quick shower before our gate opened for my next flight
Waterfall in Butterfly Garden T3
Pond in Terminal 2
I didn't realise there were still Air France aircraft in the previous livery
Fresh after a shower before my next flight
My Qantas A380 arriving from Sydney
BA16 pushing back. We'll be following her all the way to London
My home for the next 14 hours.
SINGAPORE – LONDON
Aircraft: Airbus A380-842 VH-OQH "Reginald Ansett"
Origin: Singapore, SG (SIN/WSSS)
Destination: London/Heathrow, GB (LHR/EGLL)
Flight Time: 13:57
Class/Seat: Economy 33K
After a short wait in the departure area it was time to board. I was fortunate enough to get 33K which is normally reserved for Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers. However at 80 hours prior to departure Qantas releases the remaining unallocated seats to everyone. Luckily 33J/33K were unallocated. The advantage of these particular seats are it's in a small mini cabin at the rear of the upper deck. It is also just in front of the emergency exit with a half wall behind the seat. Despite what seatguru says these seats do have full recline and even better there aren't any passengers behind you to annoy by reclining. There is also a decent sized side luggage compartment.
After boarding had finished it was apparent there was a light load on tonight's flight with a spare seat next to me and one passenger in the adjacent block of four seats. After a legnthy taxi to Runway 02C we took off to the north to start our 14 hour journey to London. Not long after takeoff Country Road branded amenity were distributed and there was a meal service. I opted for the beef bourguignon which was quite nice. Again I was told to lower my window blind which I didn't get the point as the flight was in total darkness, but I complied anyway. I watched Pleasentville. I found the IFE was equally as cumbersome as my previous flight. After the movie I tried to get some sleep which unfortunately didn't happen. My pharmacist did give me some doxylamine to help sleep but I decided against taking it on the flight as I didn't want to risk being drowsy when I arrived in the morning. After a while I gave up and ended up watching a fish called Wanda. I noticed we had quite a northerly routing today taking us over northern India then through Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Russia. Usually I observe this flight taking a more southern route over Iran, Turkey and Romania.
Full seat recline for this row
The cabin lights came back on as we were overflying Poland breakfast was served while it didn't look appetising at all it was actually quite tasty. After a few circuits in the Lambourne stack we arrived on Runway 27R. The arrival was quite interesting we arrived at a remote stand in between T3 and T5. It took quite some time to disembark as we had to wait for the bus to return after dropping the first half of the passengers off. As there was only a single door (L2) being used we had to go forward through the premium economy and business cabins, before going down the forward stairs and back though the first class cabin, giving us a nice tour. I overheard a flight attendant say that it extremely rare for this particular flight to not get an aerobridge gate. After going down the stairs I was not the only passenger to appreciate the A380 up close on the ground.
Looking a bit rough after travelling for about 26 hours by this point.
Not far now
After a bus ride to T3 arrivals it was quite busy with many transatlantic flights arriving. But even then I was though immigration and had my bag though customs in about 30-40 minutes that was without a EU passport too. Initially I planned to take the tfl train as I had accommodation in Paddington but as I had several hours to kill before I could check in I ended stalling in the arrivals hall chatting to family and friends back in Australia until it was offpeak to go into London on the tube.
Tube into Central London.
Overall I had a pleasent trip with Qantas. I wasn't overly fussed with the IFE the movie selection wasn't bad but I found the system very cumbersome to use. The food was great and I couldn't fault any off the crew. LONDON
Westminster Bridge and Big Ben unfortunatly covered in scaffolding during my stay
Tower of London
Inside the Tube
Christmas Lights BROOKLANDS MUSEUM
I've always had a soft spot for the classic British airliners so no trip to the UK would be complete without visiting them. I was tossing whether to go to Brooklands or Duxford, but settled on Brooklands as it was much easier to get to without a car.
Train to Weybridge. Ironically the operator was Southwest Railways. I wonder where they got the inspiration for the colour scheme!
Concorde looks photogenic from every angle.
Unfortunatly the only Concorde boarding pass I'll ever hold
Nothing more classic than boarding via the vental airstairs
Part Two will cover my travels to Amsterdam and Paris.