Photo © Quinn Savit
Photo © Glenn White
Aircraft: Boeing 767-336 - VH-VXB
Flight time: 1 hour, 5 mins
Scheduled departure time: 13:15
Actual departure time: 13:27
Scheduled arrival time: 15:50
Actual arrival time: 15:53
After a relatively smooth experience with mobile check in on the SYD-BNE sector, the system took an unfortunate dislike to me and greeted me with an error message on my phone when I tried to check-in. So it was that I had to check in the old fashioned way (which isn't really very old fashioned at all, with the quick check kiosks and bag drop). After printing off my boarding pass I took my bag to the bag drop, where a woman with perhaps not the cheeriest disposition in the world tagged my bag. "How was your morning?", "Oh fine", I replied. "How has the day been for you?" I asked. "So incredibly boring, you have no idea. That's why I'm arranging all these bag tags one by one." And she certainly was. She had a pile of 'fragile' and 'priority' tags that she was organizing. She was managing to keep busy on what was a surprisingly quiet day at BNE. She wasn't surly at all, just a fellow human being talking to me like a human being. I appreciate that from employees of a major corporation. Tropical Cyclone Yasi had yet to make landfall in northern Queensland, but the news was full of stories of people getting out of Townsville and Mackay, not to mention Cairns. It was therefore surprising to see that my flight was almost empty.
I was flying today on VH-ZXB, a 21 year old 767-336 originally from British Airways. There were a few interesting quirks about this aircraft. There are no individual air conditioning nozzles above each seat. Departure was delayed by a few minutes due to a fault with the air-conditioning system. Taxiing to the runway, the cabin was indeed a little warm (although a little cooler than the 30 degrees C outside!
Photo © Brendan Vanderwerf
I had an empty seat next to me, which always makes these flights pleasant. It allowed me to stretch out a bit and actually get some work done.
Following takeoff, the cabin crew came through offering light refreshments. Today it was a quiche which tasted supremely better than it looked, and also a drink. Cup of tea, lovely:
Also included were these wonderful things. An Alan Joyce touch?:
The crew were chatty and sociable, most of the discussion centered on the tropical cyclone, and the recent floods.
In-flight entertainment was basic as with the outbound journey. The cabin crew seemed to lack a bit of the glamour of the outbound flight. Must just be a Sydney thing. Nonetheless they were very friendly and helpful. I was just happy to do some work for the duration.
Before long we were descending, tracking once again over the northern beaches, and down south past the airport for landing on RW 34R:
Before long, we were tracking north and landed just 3 minutes later than scheduled. We taxied to gate 3, past this QF763 undergoing heavy maintenance:
All in all, QF's domestic product is quick, easy, comfortable, and enjoyable. There seems to be a shift in company culture since Alan Joyce took over. Staff seem to feel that management have their back, and this flows through to the customer. Qantas feels revitalised.
A happy customer,