Osaka Kansai - Brisbane - Sydney
Del Aug 1999
First flew 1989 for SQ as 9V-SMBAnsett 747-400 VH-ANA at Osaka
As a Star Alliance partner, ANA issued my Ansett boarding pass in London. That saved a job upon arrival in Kansai.Boarding Pass
They allocated me 33H, an aisle seat three rows into economy. I appreciated that because it would ensure an easy transit in Brisbane ahead of the main cabin queue. Seat map and location
I recall my flight connection was six hours. In those days, Kansai airside had very few facilities. So it was a long and boring wait. Eventually I watched my flight land, it was a strangely nice feeling of home to see an Ansett tail. Flight landing
I decided to walk rather than take the transit. As I headed off the Ansett cabin crew barged their way through the middle of several tourist groups, sending people flying. I thought this created a terrible impression. Once onboard their manners seemed to have returned.
The cabin was nicely appointed, using an updated version of Singapore Airlines interior. Ansett 747-400 economy view
Ansett 747-400 main deck
Ansett 747-400 leg room
Interior decor was designed to reflect Australia’s natural landscape, using earthy tones. Bulkheads took inspiration from Aboriginal Art. I think the result was uniquely Australian, without being cringeworthy (I’m looking at you Qantas). It was certainly a nice change from the blue and white used by almost every other airline.
Seat pockets were stuffed with two magazines, a detailed entertainment guide and duty free catalogue. Ansett Panorama
Unlike today’s video on demand, in 2000 PTVs showed looped tapes. Ansett offered 10 movie choices (7 new release), plus another 7 sports, entertainment and news channels. From what I recall that was competitive for the era.
There was a selection of Nintendo Games too, plus every seat had a satellite phone.Entertainment Guide
Phone and Video Guide
Entertainment and Nintendo Games selection
The Japanese were very keen to pick up duty-free bargains. There was a comprehensive onboard shop.Duty Free Magazine
I wasn’t exactly sure why Ansett had two inflight magazines. Vive seemed to be trying very hard.Vive Magazine
The blurb below tried to explain, but it made no sense to me. Vive blurb
I don’t recall any amenity kits or menus. However, I think three main meal options were offered. My notes fail to mention catering, except I remember thinking the portions were smaller than ANA who I’d just stepped off.
Service was efficient but slightly aloof. Generally, our crew stayed inside the galley and were nowhere to be seen. I noticed they were quick responding to call buttons though. I mostly played Nintendo but also caught some CNN, Friends and Oprah to pass time until landing.
In what seemed very little time we were preparing to land in Brisbane. We took an unusual approach, flying quite low over Redcliffe Jetty where I’ve got many nice childhood memories.
As I’d been allocated a forward seat, passing through transit security was straight forward. I stopped for a coffee before re-boarding. The same crew operated this sector to Sydney and carried out a quick tea and coffee service.
Landing in Sydney was straight forward and we docked at Gate 51. Sydney - Brisbane
Del Apr 1996
Not taken up by Continental Airlines.Ansett 767-300 Torch Relay
This ended up becoming a surprisingly eventful flight. Whilst in Sydney I felt guilty for not visiting friends and relatives in Brisbane. So I ended up deciding to visit. Not having reliable internet access I visited Ansett’s Martin Place office to buy a ticket. E-ticket - checkin closes 15 minutes before departure
Ansett was pioneering a strange fangled new concept, the E-ticket. Along with automated check-in machines, Ansett was ahead of the times.
My fare cost $481 return, which is just under $800 in today’s money. In hindsight at those fares, it’s no wonder the Impulse and Virgin Blue price war would soon strike.
The staff signed me up to Ansett's Frequent Flier Scheme. Unfortunately, they never gave me any points for my Osaka flights.Global Rewards Card
Global Rewards Statement
Ansett’s & Qantas’ Sydney terminals had only just been rebuilt. It was my first visit since, so I went exploring. Unfortunately, that nearly caused me to miss my flight! Thankfully I was able to check in at the gate at the very last moment. Check-in closed 15 minutes
before doors close, can you believe it!
I was allocated Seat 22C, about halfway through economy.Seat map 22C
VH-BZF was acquired for international routes, so it was completely non-standard when on domestic operations. For example, I picked up headsets at the gate to find they had different sockets. VH-BZF uniquely sported a Continental Airlines interior, as it was not taken up by them. A titbit of trivia for you, this aircraft delivered the Olympic flame from Athens to Australia for the 2000 Games.
We pushed back on time before stopping. The American Captain came on with a somewhat southern drawl to say, “Evening folks, builders have drilled through air traffic control’s radio wires and back up radio wires. We still have our company frequency but will be here for quite a while until air traffic control is restored”. We sat for probably an hour until landings commenced. Once a few landings cleared we took off. Take off was quite exciting for a 767 with the brakes on, power was set, engines fully
spooled and then brakes released. It was impressive to see a big plane like this shoot off.
Some type of hot chicken dinner was hastily served. Don’t forget this sector is only an hour in the air. I recall wine and beer was available but had to be paid for. I opted for a diet coke instead. After the meal tea and coffee was served. I still have the coffee cup!Coffee cup
It’s not a good sign when road warriors start to scream on landing. Overhead bins flying open with their contents dropping out isn’t great either. Both happened on landing in Brisbane.
We came in fast
before bouncing back into the air. A second firmer touch down occurred immediately with reverse thrust activated. All the passengers got violently thrown around, which is when people started to look nervous. Around the same time, everything began to shake and shudder in a way I’ve not experienced before or since. Indeed the brakes groaned.
A combination of this saw the overheads flung open and items fall out on top passengers. Several seconds after touch down our plane veered left, which is when people started to scream. It seems the pilot had taken the first speed exit, despite a late and fast touch down. I appreciate it might not be believable but reverse thrust was going whilst we were on a taxiway. Absolutely.
Noticeably the crew made no announcements and passengers gladly shuffled off. I noticed a long line of aircraft landing, so I guess our pilots were asked to vacate quickly.Brisbane - Sydney
It was early Saturday morning and the terminal was busy with people heading to Sydney’s Mardi Gras. The flight was 100% full. I had been allocated seat 19C down the very back.Seat map 19C
Across the field, three red 737s could be seen. They belonged to a strange new airline about to start up called Virgin Blue, roughly based on Belgium’s Virgin Express. I made a mental note that if they charged less than $481, the next time I’d be flying them. How right I was…..
Ansett’s 737s had been nicely refurbished with long haul seats, which included adjustable headrests. Ansett 737-300 economy view roughly from my row
Ansett 737-300 economy with wings
Unfortunately, mine didn’t want to adjust and dug uncomfortably into my neck. So although a nice specification, for me it was uncomfortable.
After takeoff breakfast was served. Ansett made a big deal out of having hot breakfasts. It seems that was weekdays only as my flight didn’t even have coffee or tea. I had an orange juice and a Lady Finger Banana, which was green. It was so green I took a bite and gave up. For the money, I thought it was lousy.
The 737 had drop-down TV monitors in the aisle. I seem to recall watching a news programme, which on such a short flight was adequate. During boarding Enya had been dismissed by this stage, replaced by music videos. It had a kind of VH1 feel, from when VH1 played music.
In theory nice contemporary music, a refurbished cabin with long haul seats, a healthy breakfast and up to date TV news should have been quite nice. Somehow it just didn’t come together. For a 20-year-old student, the fare cost so much that it just upset me.
Upon landing in Sydney we taxied to one of the gates today used by Jetstar. From there it got worse. Whilst heading to the baggage claim some guys from my flight started shouting homophobic abuse at a gay couple for the entire walk. Having been flying Ansett my whole life, that was the sad end to my last domestic flight with them.Sydney - Osaka Kansai
Del Aug 1999
First flew 1989 for SQ as 9V-SMBVH-ANA taking off from Sydney
My uncle took me on the back of his Harley Davidson to Sydney Airport. As I had a rollercase that must have looked hilarious. I wish I had pictures!
It was deja vu as I was allocated the same seat on the same aircraft.Boarding Pass
Most passengers were returning Japanese tourists, who snoozed the whole way. I remember we flew over the Barrier Reef and near Guam. Views would have been nice, but alas it wasn't to be.
This crew were friendly. Again though, apart from meals they were nowhere to be seen. This was quite a contrast to Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore who I'd recently flown. Those crews were much more present in the cabin, checking on passengers and keeping people hydrated. Ansett did not do this. However once again, when called they were perky and happy to help.
Again, I spent much of the flight playing Nintendo games and the time flew past.Cabin in-flight
We landed at Kansai Airport and docked at the pier's far end. Kansai's pier is the world's longest at 1.7km (just over 1 mile) long and at one end you can't see the other. That's because of an optical illusion.Arrival at Kansai
My ticket included a free overnight hotel room and meals. ANA had detailed information instructing passengers what to do.
My room was on the 33rd floor and I could see across Osaka Bay. Stopover Guide
The next morning I figured out there was time for a ride on the Bullet Train. So I caught the airport shuttle into Osaka and then changed to a bullet train. Because I had very little time I only rode it to Kobe, around 15 minutes away. Bullet Train at Kobe
Heading straight back to Kansai Airport, I was excited to be flying a 747-200 for my flight to London.
747 Classics had nearly vanished on Europe to Far East Asia flights by 2000. ANA’s 747-200s were late build, delivered in 1986 for transpacific service to Washington DC. So by 2000 they were not too old, although the cabins hadn’t been fitted with PTV screens. ANA 747-200 In flight
I mostly slept, but remember the crew had camping stalls they sat on facing their cabin zone. ANA 747-200 London Heathrow
Ansett in 2000: Two Great Airlines, One Great Team
By 2000 Ansett had been fully acquired by Air New Zealand and around my trip CEO Rod Eddington quit to run BA. He later said had NZ not bought Ansett they would have survived. Other executives were leaving too, including some chap called Alan Joyce. Whatever happened to him?
Under Eddington Ansett had invested in refurbished cabins, terminals, new technology and marketing.
Go Your Own Way Advertisinghttps://youtu.be/3gCjYs89mM8https://youtu.be/NAoFm1tV2x0
Whilst it was clear Ansett was having a tough time, no one expected them to be out of business one year later.
As a footnote.... Who remembers the TV series Airline, which followed Luton Airport based easyjet staff? In August 2001 I was walking across London Luton's tarmac with Jane, the easyjet supervisor featured in Airline. You can imagine my surprise when I saw this at the Britannia hangar
Talk about an aircraft being out of place! VH-BZI would end up being the last aircraft delivered to Ansett. It had been flown by a Dutch airline called Cityjet and was on a delivery flight to Ansett. It would never enter service with Ansett despite making it to Melbourne. This photo was taken on September 12, the day Ansett shut down.
Have you got any Ansett memories to share?