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Originally Posted by Qantas Changes to Qantas Lounge access From 1 February 2011, Platinum members must be travelling on a Qantas, Jetstar or oneworld® flight to access any Qantas Domestic ...
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  1. #1
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    "Any Time You Want Access, I'll Be There"



    Quote Originally Posted by Qantas
    Changes to Qantas Lounge access
    From 1 February 2011, Platinum members must be travelling on a Qantas, Jetstar or oneworld® flight to access any Qantas Domestic or International lounges

    Just over a year ago, Qantas changed the rules of access for Platinums from "any time access" to limited access (albeit with still more lenient conditions compared to Golds). With the excuse of a F Lounge run and in commiseration of the "loss" of flexibility, the ATA Wake was created.

    This trip report details the second of these wakes, and the first since the official removal of ATA (the previous Wake was just before its removal). Given I needed a break and a good excuse to meet friends, I joined in.

    This is a trip report and only a trip report. Please do not turn this into another debate about ATA, its removal or ATA and Virgin.

    As I was saying, it was a great excuse to get together with friends. These FL runs of late have been fairly large, and it's great to have more AFFers join in and have a good time with good company. The even more amazing thing was the Platinum numbers swelling the "ranks". As suggested by the trip report title, no longer do we have the problem of finding "enough Platinums" so those that want to attend can get into the F Lounge. Now, it's a case of, "if you want access, there'll be someone there".

    There will also be someone to help you get into the lounge quicker than the simple T-3 hours. Oh how we have become an increasingly savvy bunch........

    There was an additional incentive for me to fly this weekend. I booked a JASA this weekend which, combined with my 50% more status credits promo, allowed me to get enough to retain Platinum for another year.




    * Apologies to the Jackson 5 for the title
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  3. #2
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan

    Saturday, 28 January, 2012

    Up and out early in the morning, I had to get to the airport early. Sister offered me a lift so at least I didn't have to burn a hole in my pocket.

    Normally, getting to the airport wouldn't be a sweat since domestic operations don't have stringent cut-off times. Not this time - today I was flying QF8, which is the domestic tag leg of the DFW-BNE-SYD flight. Two faithful AFF accomplices, ozbeachbabe and Bundy Bear were following the same suit.

    Whilst this choice ultimately meant less F Lounge time in SYD (hey, everyone had learned how to get into the lounge early now!), it meant the experience of flying a 747-400 on a domestic sector. Something which I hadn't had the experience of since they stopped QF175 tags (yes, I know some QF trans-continentals now are on 747s, but I haven't flown them either). Besides, for those that wanted the most F Lounge time, the "penalty" of having to get to the airport to catch QF501 was probably a fair trade-off.

    Anyway, dropped off at the airport and strode in. QF have a solid home in Check-In Row 8, so went there and proceeded to start procedures whilst waiting for my other two fellow passengers. QF OLCI had fortunately let me check-in for both QF8 and JQ35, giving me OLCI printable boarding passes for both flights. All that was missing was a documentation check and D sticker. When I got to the J desk, this is where a lack of experience can really befuddle the CSAs.

    The CSA who served me was well aware of QF8 and affixed the D sticker accordingly. (Seems there are a lot of people this morning doing the same thing - search me why they would). I then asked her what about my onward flight, JQ35?

    "JQ35 is a domestic flight, isn't it?"
    "Mine is."
    "So it leaves from T2."
    "No, this leaves from T1."
    "Really?"
    "Yes. It's the domestic sector of an international flight, a bit like QF8."
    "Oh."
    "Yeah, it goes SYD-MEL-DPS."
    "Hmmm... let me get my supervisor."

    So she gets her supervisor (hard to do the whole jumping in and out of check-in counter thing) and her supervisor, although well aware of what to do, had also never seen something like this before. I get my second sticker and happily sent on my way. It was at this time that Bundy Bear and ozbeachbabe turned up. With BPs already printed, including mine. Well done, anat0l, that was a few minutes of your life you're not getting back. Oh well, at least I have a clean copy for a souvenir.

    The only disadvantage of leaving from the international terminals are the more stringent security procedures. Oddly enough, BNE I decided not to be so stringent this morning. We managed to slip by the man weighing cabin baggage, but didn't manage to slip by the logjam at security screening. It didn't take long to clear, but a few clueless travellers probably needed a firm thrashing on the head, a strong coffee or both. Security cleared, we proceeded up to the Qantas Lounges and into the F area. I like to call it the F area rather than F Lounge, because it really is just that - a separate section of the same style of lounge dedicated for F passengers, Qantas Platinums and oneworld Emeralds.

    And... it was crowded? What the hell? What's with all the people in this part of the lounge? There was barely seats available; we managed to find 2 for ozbeachbabe and Bundy Bear, but for me I was alone on the other end of a long couch.






    An array of the treats available this morning in the F area of the Qantas International Lounge; the final picture features coffee made by the robot barista (a.k.a. a fancy coffee machine).

    We didn't have to wait too long before our flight was due to board. Our flight was fortunately parked at gate 79, a mere one gate down from the central concourse. Priority boarding was in force and being enforced, but the line of non-elites made it difficult to cut through the plebian verbiage to utilise the premium lane.


    Our Qantas 747-400ER parked at the gate
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  4. #3
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan

    Flight: Qantas Airways QF8 Brisbane (BNE I) - Sydney (SYD T1)
    Depart: 0745h Sched; 0748h Actual
    Aircraft: VH-OEE "Nullarbor" Boeing 747-400
    Class: Business
    Seat: 1A



    One of the main reasons for booking QF8 down was to try and espy the transit / transfer process and keep it all at the international terminal. With QF's ability to give two boarding passes at OLCI, it seemed I would be all set. The other reason was that I would get to fly in a long haul seat, and in the case of Business that's a big difference! Sure, it's only about 60 minutes in the air (wheels up to touch down), but it's a cool experience. ozbeachbabe then reminded me further that the aircraft we were flying was a 4-class aircraft, which meant it was using the F section for J passengers. Originally I was going to sit in the upper deck in one of the emergency exit J rows, but instead I switched it for the first seat in the house, 1A.

    Once through the aerobridge, we were greeted by the crew and directed to the left. The QF old F featured on the 747 is a dated product, but nevertheless still a comfortable way to fly long haul, and much more than anyone could ask for for a short hop.




    QF Boeing 747 old First Class.


    My seat, 1A.


    Obligatory leg room shot.

    Although the F cabin was filled with J pax, the activity within was all the same. Coats were offered to be hung in the cupboard. Greetings were made. Newspapers were offered. Pre-flight drinks were offered - oh yes, Champagne please.

    Breakfast orders were also being taken. An odd consequence of the F cabin is that no J carts can fit in the aisles, so all service in the F section is full tray service with no carts. For the short flight to SYD, a small snack-breakfast of banana bread was on offer. The full breakfast spread was obviously on offer to the pax on the previous leg from DFW, so no need to have two breakfasts - completely understandable. I asked for the breakfast and then after having to awkwardly stow my luggage above the closest overhead compartment - above the passenger seated in 2D - I took my seat and relaxed.


    Pre-flight Champagne - Charles Heidsieck

    Our push back was slightly delayed by the usual straggling pax and a couple who were almost offloaded. Why do people keep pressing their luck. Anyway, it was a wet and dull morning but we eventually pushed back and were on our way.
    Last edited by anat0l; 8th February 2012 at 10:38 PM.
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  6. #4
    Senior Member amaroo's Avatar
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    Re: "Any Time You Want Access, I'll Be There"

    Great TR.

    You're getting the juices flowing - in a couple of weeks we're doing a JASA QF8 followed by a JASA QF113....yes, that's right around 5+ hours Flounging

    Big buffer just incase QF8 has to take a pit stop somewhere in the Pacific
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  7. #5
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan


    This aircraft looks like it came from Turkey. ozbeachbabe commented on this aircraft being here.


    The green boomerang livery denoting an aircraft belonging to Air Australia, nee Strategic Airlines.

    Taxi and take off were fairly standard affairs, with a gentle angle of attack into the air. Once at cruise and the seat belt signs turned off, breakfast was served to those who asked for it. ozbeachbabe had also moved herself from the upper deck into the F nose, but she was quite tired and asked for a more subdued selection for breakfast, with more time for sleeping. Having not been in a F cabin before, this was an experience for her, albeit perhaps a more limited and contrived one.


    Light breakfast of banana bread served with poached fruit.

    Not much else to say for the flight. It was a bit too short to enjoy the bed mode of the seat, although I could've done it if I really wanted to. I managed to get a J amenity kit from the crew who had some leftover from the previous sector. The bathrooms featured the J product from Malin+Goetz. I took a walk down to the W section to find Bundy Bear. They'd been offered a standard continental breakfast. The W section is actually quite compact and makes for a pleasant alternative to Y.

    The flight of luxury was soon coming to an end so we retook our seats for landing. I managed to steal a few winks before we touched down in SYD.


    Welcome to Sydney.


    Whatcha doin' parked here, old timer?

    We rolled up to T1 and managed to park at a gate which is usually reserved for Star Alliance airlines (or basically any airline that isn't fortunate enough to get a spot nearest to immigration). ozbeachbabe indulged in her planespotting, snapping more photos here and there, whilst Bundy Bear tried to hurry us along, reminding us that "valuable lounge time is being wasted".
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  8. #6
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan

    International transit security was easily cleared, with no one so much as flickering to ask us for onward boarding passes. Irrespective, once we were through we beelined (well, mostly; the experienced traveller at this point shows their strength by accurately lining through the jungle of overpriced alcohol, sample shots, perfumery and so forth) through the terminal back to the main part where the Qantas lounges were, then up the escalators to the F Lounge, which was curiously missing the bouncer in front.


    More activity at SYD at the non-Qantas / non-oneworld side of the terminal.

    We managed to rendezvous with our AFF colleagues who had taken earlier flights to SYD. They had conveniently set up camp at the farthest side of the lounge going towards the Spa.


    Light bites at the buffet for breakfast.


    Tea by T2 range.

    The various members were already well into the festivities. Normally a wake is a sombre time for remembrance, but in this case no one had any hesitation in kicking it up a notch. Taittinger was free-flowing, as was the French martinis and red wine.

    Some of the present company had enjoyed an F Lounge breakfast. Mal and I got talking about the F Lounge breakfast where he commented that he could never enjoy the sausages served in the lounge. Seeing as I don't mind a taste test challenge, I summoned the breakfast menu to select something to try the sausages. I eventually selected the sweet corn fritters, to be sided with sausages instead of bacon.


    Sweet corn fritters sided with the lounge sausages.

    Mal, I think the jury is still hung on the sausage taste, but I find them quite satisfactory and they don't seem to taste as "processed" as some other kinds of sausages. The texture does seem like a bit fatty, but that is all.

    Apart from that, the sweet corn fritters were quite nice and the accompaniments were well suited for the dish.

    Breakfast finished (the 2.5th one this morning), it was time for a refreshing shower. The F Lounge had changed their Kevin Murphy range since last time to a slightly different blend which was stored in lilac coloured bottles rather than grey ones. Still no sign of Payot creme; I probably could've got one from the Spa but I couldn't be buggered.

    Aaaah... the lounge shower. One of the few easiest ways that the weary traveller can feel much more human again.

    Once I had finished a long shower, it was time for lunch. 'Tis a hard life, isn't it?


    F Lounge buffet now set with the all-day selection.
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  9. #7
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Most of the AFFers had vacated the lounge corner to stage an occupy of the restaurant. (OK, that's a bit extreme but you get the idea). Some others were happy with more drink and lounging around (then again, perhaps bossreggie just creates a halo around him that attracts people to stay ).

    Once at the restaurant, I found a spare seat at a round table and introduced myself to some new AFF faces I hadn't met. Taittingers, Bollingers and other aperitifs of the alcoholic kind were ordered, and soon after to follow were our meal orders.

    There was no doubt there was one premier choice of entree amongst the AFF contingent:


    Salt and pepper squid served with nuoc cham and aioli.

    Not the most sophisticated dish, but for many, it was a reliable mainstay and didn't fail to deliver this time either.

    Our mains were varied. Many went for the steak - a long time and persistent item on the menu - but I decided for something a bit light and interesting, and opted for the plate of tapas.


    My main: tapas plate.


    The long-time menu selection of 300 day grain-fed beef steak with chips.
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  11. #8
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    Re: "Any Time You Want Access, I'll Be There"

    Great read so far anat0l, it's been a while since I had the time to read a TR. Reminds me that I need to finish mine...
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  12. #9
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan


    The gathering of AFFers around a F Lounge table

    Like clockwork routine, the next conquest after the mains was dessert. The pavlova glasses continues to be a recent AFF member favourite, though I selected one of the other long time favourites of sticky toffee pudding, except with the substitution of pistachio ice cream rather than double cream.


    The obligatory taunting shot dedicated to thewinchester: "Wish you were here".


    Sticky toffee pudding with pistachio ice cream, and another obligatory taunting shot, this one dedicated to LiamR and chrisjrn, the #timtamtrackers

    According to the FID in the lounge, just as desserts were being served it seems we were already pushing our luck on boarding our aircraft, with boarding due to commence just as the first spoonful of dessert was cut in. I wolfed down mine and grabbed a couple of bottles of drink for the flight, before heading to the F desk only to be told that boarding hadn't quite started yet, and the FID board was of course simply following the schedule and not the reality.

    Nevertheless, like sheep most of us instinctively started towards the gate. After all, better to get there early rather than the direct opposite (especially when you can't quite disregard your instincts with respect to JQ flights). We started the leisurely walk to the end of the pier for JQ35, and by the time we arrived there, boarding certainly had not started. Some of us that had paper BPs from OLCI had to get them superseded with cardboard BPs bearing the correct JQ barcode for boarding purposes.




    AFFers waiting at the gate for the anti-climatic JQ35 utility flight.
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  13. #10
    Senior Member anat0l's Avatar
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    Sat 28 Jan

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    Our JQ35 aircraft at the gate.


    Flight: Jetstar Airways JQ35 Sydney (SYD T1) - Melbourne-Tullamarine (MEL T2)
    Depart: 1400h Sched; 1418h Actual
    Aircraft: VH-EBA Airbus A330-200
    Class: Economy
    Seat: 45E



    Normally I'd be caught dead in most middle seats, but at least I had the benefit of familiar company around me. Even better, when Bundy Bear seated in 45F found out that there was no one in 45G, he moved over and we had a spare seat in the middle of us. Yay!

    As usual with JQ35, the boarding process is always late and we all collectively lamented the extra F Lounge time we could've had. Nevertheless, we finally pushed back and the middle section of seats in rows 44 and 45 effectively became a small party zone.


    Another obligatory leg room shot.

    Once we were up in the air, the AFF contingent about the Economy cabin mobilised. We avoided the central toilet area this time in order not to confuse those that needed to relieve themselves. I had it easy in that I was already in the zone and hence stayed in my seat. Lawlass tried her self-upgrade technique, but unfortunately it was not to be this time. Hey, good looks increase chances but it's never guaranteed .

    maggies1, in the lounge, had discreetly passed a card around the group to sign for trippin_the_rift's 30th birthday. We wanted to make a PA announcement about it, but the FAs wouldn't play ball and instead just presented the card to him. Oh well, it was worth a try.

    The flight went on without much of a hitch except good banter, until we all converged in a semicircle around trippin_the_rift and wished him a Happy Birthday in the more traditional, jovial fashion.


    The AFF Happy Birthday chorus brigade and soft shoe society.

    Soon after our little chorus line finished singing, we had to prepare the cabin for landing. Normally, that's the end of the antics, but little did we know one mischievous AFFer had other plans......

    Touchdown in MEL and we taxied to the gate. Just before the "cabin crew, disarm doors" directive, this came over the PA: "We would like to congratulate E* and N* on their recent engagement."

    Cue much clapping of hands.... and raucous laughter



    * Names withheld to protect the "innocent"
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