I have to confess I haven’t written a trip report in a long while, while enjoying reading lots of your trip reports. I thought id make a contribution on a slightly less reported airline and route. I also have the pictures from a number of domestic flights if anyone wants them written up.
This trip involves a return trip from Perth to Geraldton on the Fokker 100. This trip was a quick two days in Geraldton for work. I was given the choice of flying on VA or QF
, while the option of VA F50 was quite appealing (never flown type), I stuck with QF
as I have platinum status which would allow me to try the new business lounge in Perth and gives me greater baggage allowance.
The trip started fairly early with a 4:30am start, after the short 20 minute drive to perth airport I parked up at the short term parking and scouted out a luggage trolley. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time at 5:30am as I had quite a bit of excess luggage and I was keen to try the new lounge. The 5-8am period is the busiest time of the day and while not quite heathrow, the take off queue can be quite surprising.
QF1618 operated by network aviation.
8th October 2015
After loading my bags onto the trolley I lugged my way over to terminal 4 and proceeded to the manual check in desks as I had quite a bit of luggage. There was no queue, with most people using the self serve desks. There was no wait at the desk and was processed straight away, as expected I was told to pay $100 for two extra pieces of luggage. I fully expected this but still slightly annoying as think by weight is much fairer than by piece. Anyhow I had to proceed to the ticket desk to pay the $100, there was a couple of people in front of me, and was glad by this point I had left plenty of time.
Sunrise over the domestic terminal.
After paying my dues, security was surprisingly quick for this time of the morning (lots of frequent fliers at this time helps the processing times. I eagerly made my way to new Qantas business lounge and after being scanned it, look a look around. The lounge is a definite improvement over the regular Qantas club lounge, in a sort of horse shoe shape. The food offerings are a definite improvement with hot offerings for breakfast. After settling down, I queued up for a desperately needed coffee from the barista service. The coffee is served in a proper cup as opposed to the take away cups. One of the best things about Qantas lounges is the barista service (aussies are coffee snobs and wont drink machine coffee).
The seating was centered around tables and was clean and practical for the business traveler, but not so comfortable for lounging around. I got a helping of the hot breakfast offering and some juice. The clientele was fairly typical for Perth with multiple flights bound for the Pilbara, with plenty of FIFO guys (and girls). I have no issue with high-vis in the lounges, and find the FIFO guys generally much better behaved than some of the suit types on the east coast.
737 with the control tower in the background
A330 while waiting on the bus
The time passed quickly and the first and final boarding call was made. I knew it would be a bus gate so made my way quickly to the gate, and was scanned through to make my way down the stairs to the waiting bus. The majority of Qantas link services are services by bus gates, which hopefully will decrease when Qantas gains access to terminal 3.
After waiting a good 10 minutes, with everyone huffing and puffing at standing in the crammed bus the final passengers turned up and we headed off in search of our Fokker 100. After a short ride we pulled up outside a network aviation Fokker 100. The pain of the bus ride is worth climbing the stairs on the tarmac and especially the gracious lines of the T tailed jet.
There was a very brief greeting at the top of the stairs and I made my way the short distance of seat 4F. One thing I have noticed is network aviation crew are nowhere near as good as welcoming frequent fliers compared to mainline or qantaslink (who in my opinion are the best at it), as no special greeting was given at any point. Also I noticed the new crew uniforms have become very similar to that of Qantas (almost the same to the untrained eye, but I guess that’s the idea).
F100 in network colours
Doors were closed and a manual safety briefing was given, load seemed about 40% which isn’t great, and I think this route must be better performer for VA with 3 – 4 flights a day as opposed to QFs now 10 weekly, the Q400 was better sized for this flight before they were moved east. We were quickly pushed back and made a short taxi to the active. There was a short wait and unfortunately (and for the return), I didn’t get the 0 flaps take off I was hoping for. A short roll and we were airborne taking off towards the east, before turning south west towards Melville water and over Fremantle. Finally turning north and heading up the coast.
At this point I have to have my grumble about the seats on the Network F100s, While it’s a great aircraft to fly on, the seats are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat in, just so hard with nil cushioning, I really hope they are replaced with the same slim line seats as in the 717s which are way more comfortable, and that’s saying something!
Busy ramp of QF
717s, 737s and A330s
The Qantas fleet (the F100 is at the bottom)
Hazing breaking through the cloud
The crew quickly came through with a breakfast offering of a hot quiche and drinks run, which was perfectly acceptable for the short flight time (although interestingly the same service is offered on the Pilbara flights which is unacceptable as I cant see the same breakfast offering on MEL
run, let alone considering the price of flights to the Pilbara). The crew were pleasant enough but lacking the warmth of the QF
and QFlink service.
The flight followed the coastline north, and before long descent was announced with a pleasant 23 degrees and light breeze (somewhat unusual for Gero).
We landed softly on time, and made a 90 degree turn on the runway to backtrack towards the terminal. A Virgin (skywest colours) F100 had also landed slightly before us and was already parked on the apron. We pulled up on stand and were free to disembark, I love smaller airports for being able to walk across the tarmac and smell the kerosene and listen to the whine of the APUs.
Geraldton has a small but modern terminal with a single baggage belt, where my luggage arrived in no time at all. Some interesting models were on display models including various aircraft and HMAS Sydney which was sunk off the coast of Geraldton.
QF1620 operated by Network Aviation
9th October 2015
18:00 - 19:15
After a busy two days I headed back to the airport for my flight back to Perth, I dropped the rental car keys off and made my way to check in. There was a short ten minute wait with no premium line (not that I expect one at regional airports like this), until it was my turn. After a stressful check in (I wont go into details but essentially I didn’t know that ice was not allowed in check in items, even though it was a chest esky weighing 26kg and unlikely to tip over, while the lid was sealed shut with lots of tape. Anyway there was no point in arguing in this case as she was not budging, and I had to go and tip it out outside). After that I was checked in and made my way to the one café to get a badly needed beer.
Boarding was shortly called and I made my way through the small security area and into the departure seating area where boarding had begun.
I enjoyed the stroll across the tarmac and climbed the stairs to the waiting F100, I settled back into the same seat 4F. This airframe seemed newer than the flight up, or at least in better condition. The doors were closed with load again around 40% for the Friday night flight back to Perth, quite a few passengers seemed to be connecting onto further destinations in Perth.
Maybe I should I rode one of these, knowing they are about to be retired.
All the stands in Geraldton are self maneuvering, so once the engines were started we made the short way out to the active, once again backtracking along the runway. A short 40 minute flight time was announced with a cruising altitude of 26,000 ft. After a short take off role, the crew donned their aprons to commence the meal service, which was surprisingly similar to the outbound flight.
The sun was setting over the Indian Ocean which made for some nice light across the leading edge.
Climbing the stairs
Old fashioned PSU
Last of the luggage loaded
RFDS taxing out
Sun is setting on the F50
About to take off on runway 21
Town of Geraldton
Quiche and cake
Soon enough, once the cabin was cleared, we had started our decent into Perth, and soon made a rather soft landing on the westerly runway. We taxied to the Fokker farm (maybe the new schiphol), and deplaned onto another crammed bus. The domestic arrivals process is very easy and consists of walking down some stairs to the baggage reclaim.
146s and props for FIFO flights
Turning off the active
A blurry EK
SAA A346 and Scoot 789
737s awaiting the morning rush
F100s on Network and Qantas colours
I love the T tail
Overall I was fairly happy with flights, and hopefully the major bugbear of the bussing will be alleviated once virgin moves across to terminal 1. As I mentioned I do have a couple of other trip reports (738 and 717) if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading!