CBR to CBR
QF2294 – Dash 8 Q400
Hvr kindly reminded the forum that the Canberra airport open day was happening on Sunday, given I quite like planes and my daughter loves them (I’ve lost count on how many Lego planes she’s built), going to the open day seemed like a great daddy daughter activity.
We turned up at the airport at around 10:45 and joined the queue to get in. At around 11:10 we finally got a car park, 25 minutes to get in? It didn’t give me hope for having a nice quite leisurely stroll around some aircraft.
This photo courtesy of the RiotACT.com shows just how busy the day really was.
(the-riotact.com is where I got this picture from)
So anyway we went airside and started wandering around. Each plane had massive lines to get in and take a look at them, so we stuck to looking at ground vehicles, and walking around underneath the planes \ looking in cargo holds, the sort of thing that an AFF member may not see on a frequent basis. I then asked my daughter which plane she would like to look at, she chose the B737. We joined the queue to go inside it, after waiting 5 minutes and noticing the queue hadn’t moved I decided I’m not going to wait an hour and a half to two hours to walk up the aisle of a B737 . So I made a deal with my daughter, I would take her on a proper flight sometime soon. I was thinking of a CBR-MEL vv cheapy. So with that we started leaving.
We’d just gone through the gates when a voice came over the PA letting people know about the salvos scenic flight that afternoon. Well with that my daughter and I ran over to the sign up table, me calling SWMBO on the way checking that there were no grand plans for that afternoon, which luckily there wasn’t.
After making our $50 donations to the salvo’s, we scored the last two tickets for that afternoons flight. We quickly ran back to the car (sorry I was a little quick with you on the phone repete, you called as we were running, otherwise I’d have loved to have caught up) and drove home for lunch (condition imposed by SWMBO), and drove back to the airport arriving back there around 13:45. My daughter and I found out gate 14 was the magic number, but given we had a few minutes, we decided we’d walk up and down the length of the terminal.
On arriving at gate 14, we joined the line to get our boarding passes
(They got the name slightly wrong, but it was close enough, missing my FF numbers though)
We had another 5 minutes to kill until boarding, which we then did. A little annoyingly we just missed out on being in the promotional photo taken at the bottom of the stairs.
Once onboard you could tell this was no ordinary flight, for starters just about every pax had camera’s out, and I suspect the ratio of kids (and teenagers) to adults was probably hovering around 2 to 1. There was also an air of excitement which you do not get on an ordinary flight. The closest thing to it has been on a couple of the AFF F lounge run flights I’ve been on, except the air of excitement went across every pax on there.
After a little bit of a wait, they closed the door, did the safety briefing we pulled up to the runway and the pilot came onto the PA to let us know to look out the left hand side windows as the “connie” was about to take off. All I could think of whilst watching the super constellation taking off was that people used to fly from SYD-LHR (well London, I’m not sure when LHR was built) in these things which make B737’s look big.
A short while afterwards we were taking off. After we got in the air the CSM came onto the PA to let us know that they’d be serving a snack and drinks service, which pleasantly surprised me, I was not expecting such a thing on this flight.
The FO came over the PA and told us to look outside the right window as we were about to fly over the connie, it was a very cool sight to see the connie from above like that…
A short while afterwards we were given a snack bag which was filled with food, there was crisp breads and salsa, a “cake \ biscuit” bar (which was pretty good to be honest), a little nougat bar (also pretty good), and a few other things which I forget what they were. It was basically a collection of the Byron bay cookie co’s finest, as well as drinks, and most importantly for my daughter, “juice”. She was quite excited when she saw there was juice on the cart.
(The little frequent flyer, tucking into her meal)
The flight itself when from Canberra to Nowra, where we then made a right turn over Nowra, flew over Jarvis Bay, we then flew down to Ulladulla \ Mollymook where the pilots did a “holding pattern” so that both sides could see back to shore and thus see the town. We then continued down flew over Batemans Bay, and then took a right turn at Moruya, where my daughter waved to her grandparents who live in Moruya. I also spotted Tomakin where my family owns a holiday house. I have to admit I never imagined I would see Tomakin from that angle.
Just after we flew over Moruya the pilots asked the cabin crew to prepare the cabin for landing. We also started our decent into CBR. As we where descending a person from the salvo’s came onto the PA and thanked us for coming along, he also mentioned that the flight had raised the salvo’s $3,500. Not a bad effort for an hour of fun. Just as he sat down the fasten seatbelt sign came on, seconds later we hit some pretty good turbulence which shock us around very nicely. The CSM came onto the PA and advised us that electronic devices needed to be switched off, except for Camera’s feel free to photograph away, which 80% of the plane did. A couple of minutes later we where landing at CBR, where the pax started clapping. I thought it was kind of weird, but it was all in good fun. We then pulled up at the terminal, where everyone jumped up and there was no real order to the disembarkation, so I thought I’d better explain some etiquette, I jumped into the aisle and blocked it off and advised the people in front that they may go, they seemed a little puzzled about it (thinking it was every one for themselves) and I explained that it’s standard etiquette that you’d let off those in front of you.
A short time later we where back in the terminal, and on our way home.
Some interesting points
1. The Salvation Army is a charity which I would support anyway. I’m personally a big fan of them given they are one of the few charities which don’t pester people for donations. Most of the time I see them it’s some old bloke sitting quitely with a collection box, not asking, but thanking those who put a dollar or two in the box, so I had no qualms in giving them $50.
2. There was only one other person on that flight that I saw whom I suspected was a frequent flyer (and I got the feeling he might have been a WP taking his grandkid for a flight), that made it quite an interesting flight as quite a bit of the flying etiquette went out the window. There were also quite a few questions from pax asking how much drinks and food costs, they where pleasently surprised to be told it was free.
3. Given the salvos made $3,500 I suspect that the flight and catering was either free or given at an extremely good rate. So that’s a very big thumbs up for QF as far as I’m concerned.
4. I suspect CBR airport grossly underestimated how popular the open day would be. I did note however quite a lot of the people there did seem like they where not frequent flyers, or even people who flew. In either case when they hold this event next year here’s hoping they get more planes and cater for more people.