Picking up pretty swiftly from the previous installment then:
My journey down to Sydney would be taken on one of Qantas’ many flights between the two cities. Most were operated by the 737-800, however one was operated by the 747-400 and another operated by the 767-300. As much as I would have liked to add a 747 into this trip after missing out on my journey back to Asia (details to follow in part 6), the fact it departed at around 7am meant it would have been a slightly wasted trip to Brisbane. Luckily the 767 flight was at 7pm – perfect for a day in Brisbane before heading back down south.
Unusually, there was an option to pay in either GBP or AUD. As the rate offered wasn’t particularly great, I paid in AUD anyway…
Next up was selecting a seat.
Before being sent an E-Ticket.
And 24 hours before departure, an E-Boarding pass.
After flying in from Melbourne the previous evening, my time in Brisbane was limited. Just the one day in fact. As luck would have it, PalmJet was on an extended stay in his homeland from London, so he was able to show me around the main sights in Brisbane. We met in the downstairs lobby of my hotel before venturing out into the rain.
First stop was lunch.
Followed by a guided tour of the city.
Brisbane skyline. It would have looked much better against a blue backdrop…
Taking a walk along the South Bank.
Nepalese gift to Brisbane for the 1988 Expo
Interesting beach in the city.
At around 13:30 we both headed for the airport via the train, as the constant rain was getting a bit much.
Around twenty minutes later we arrived, and I headed over to the QF premium line, although due to an issue with a passenger in front, it took a while to be seen. As I was so early, I was offered a seat on an earlier flight, however as they were all due to be operated by 737's I declined the offer.
We then both headed through security. Due to the rules being pretty relaxed in Oz, PalmJet was also able to join me.
We wandered the terminal watching the movements for a good couple of hours.
A trio of wide body in the QF section of the terminal
Wish I could have worked one of these into the schedule.
It was then over to see what was happening in the Virgin part of the terminal.
We then sat and looked out over the tarmac for a while watching the movements
After this, we headed for the lounge.
I'd suggested to PalmJet earlier in the day that he brought his BA card along and attempt to gain entry too - as I figured the worst that could happen was that they say no. Amazingly though, he was granted entry too - despite not even flying anywhere. Try doing that in a BA lounge…
We took a seat, grabbed a drink and a few sweets.
There was a decent selection of food in here. In fact, I’ve found every QF lounge I’ve been in to be pretty good.
After a good few hours chatting about everything aviation related, and a few things that weren't, PalmJet went on his way. Thanks for showing me around, and no doubt we will meet up again in London at some point!
I wandered the lounge, made a sandwich, had another of the very tasty white chocolate brownies and grabbed a drink.
I made my way down to gate 22, where VH-OGR was waiting patiently.
Boarding began pretty much on schedule at 18:35, passing a big container of headsets on the entrance to the jet bridge. I didn’t bother to pick any up though.
Boeing 767-338 / VH-OGR
Seat: 43K / Economy
Off Stand: 18:55
On Stand: 20:26
I made my way on board and I figured it would be a pretty quiet flight. I was right - pretty much every solo traveller had a spare seat next to them. In the rear section at least, I'd say there were only around 20 pax, making for a very comfortable flight.
There was a surprising IFE choice in the seat pocket.
The captain welcomed everybody, but didn't give a flying time - he only said we would arrive in SYD on schedule.
We pushed back almost bang on schedule, and made our way over to the active.
We took off into the rain at around 19:10. There was a brief view below before we were into some cloud.
Shortly after departure, the crew announced that dinner would be served shortly. Dinner?! On an hours domestic flight?? That's almost unheard of in this day in age! It was a pretty tasty chicken and ham mix with a pastry top, joined by rice and green beans. Eaten with metal cutlery too.
Once I'd finished eating, I took advantage of not having anybody behind me, and reclined fully. The recline was pretty generous. I also had a brief look at how the on board iPads worked.
Just a few moments later, descent started. After a few turns, we were on to finals. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side for city views today. And I didn't think to move until the last minute.
We made pretty solid contact with the ground and rolled out into the wilderness. We turned around and headed back to the main terminal area, arriving in to stand around fifteen minutes later.
It was then a case of following the signs to the exit/baggage claim.
I didn't have to wait too long for my bag, despite it not having a priority tag. Or my lock having its cover.
I went over to baggage services to mention it but the guy didn't seem all that bothered and just told me to 'buy another'. Never mind then... I made my way down to the train station to head into the city.
Within around twenty minutes, I was at a rather familiar looking Museum station.
It was then a short walk to my hotel, the Radisson Suites.
The rest of the evening was spent at the local supermarket stocking up on supplies for my time in Sydney.
And that’s where this pretty brief report will end.
I must admit I was very impressed with Qantas. Mainly because it was like how flying was 15 years ago! Right from the check in agent offering me an earlier flight, despite being on a cheap fare, to allowing PalmJet entry to the lounge despite not being a customer of theirs on the day, to getting a full hot meal on such a short domestic route. Sure they had a little wobble with the lack of interest in my lock being broken on my bag but other than that, they were miles ahead of Virgin Australia I thought. And the ticket prices between the two on the sectors I took weren’t too much different either – I know which one I’ll be choosing next time!
Look out for part 6 in the series in the next week or two, following my journey back to Asia on board one of Virgin Atlantic’s A340-600’s.