Across Australia for work: BNE/ADL/PER/MEL/BNE on QF

Discussion in 'Travel Insider Tips' started by QF WP, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. QF WP

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    Jun 20, 2002
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    Well, I have shamed myself into finally pulling my finger out and getting to my TR's that are in a pile by my computer, just waiting for me to find the time to type them. This TR is a business trip I did in October/November 2004 over 4 days.

    Day 1 - Sunday, October 31 BNE/ADL/PER

    I always fly to my work destination the night before, being a Virgo I like being organised and at the right place at the right time (only when it comes to work or flying). PER is no exception. To get to PER at a decent hour, it meant me leaving Mrs LW mid-Sunday. She and our dog, Bella (a female staffy/labrador cross) drove me to the airport...we're only 8.5kms (about 6 miles) from the airport so it only takes 10 to 15 mins. Kissed them both and tried to keep Bella from jumping out of the car - I think she wanted to go with me ...

    BNE Check-in:
    Checked in at the BNE J queue at 12.15pm - what queue?? Straight through to the CSA who tossed my FF card and Drivers Licence on the counter whilst she retrieved my booking; whilst I lifted my luggage onto the belt. In doing so (a little heavy handed in my lifting :shock: ), I almost sent the flower display toppling off the counter onto the floor...lucky I had quick relexes and caught it. Embarrassed :oops: , I apologised and remained quiet whilst she printed out the BP's. I didn't turn around to see if anybody had witnessed it, I was sure the whole Y queue had and were laughing in their heads at the tosser over at the Business Class counter.

    Sped through Security ("no laptops" is my standard phrase to the x-ray people) and up the escalators to my third home, BNE Qantas Club (or Qantas Pub, as it is so commonly referred to over at the QF Forum). Entering and flashing my QF Platinum (OW Emerald) card, I spotted a QF friend on duty at the Customer Service Desk. Went over to say g'day and ask whether there were any On Departure Upgrades (ODU's)...alas, not this flight he said, J was full and all had checked in. Enough time to have a quick chat in between passengers being served, before the flight was called. I had to walk to Gate 21 (it's to the left after exiting the QP, up the "arm" where Gates 19 to 21 are located).

    Airline & Flight Number: QF663 BNE/ADL
    Rego: VH-VXP (B737-800) named "City of Logan"
    Seat: 6C (Y cabin) Sequence: 95
    SDT: 1.05pm Pushback: on time, ADT: 1.12pm
    Distance travelled: 1,008 miles


    Boarded and was met by CSS Kate Fisher and FA Rebecca at the door. Found my seat without any problem, and stowed my two FF bags in the overhead locker. Promptly started to read my material for the next 3 days work and barely noted who my seatmates were n this flight. I stopped to take down the time for take-off and the Captain advising it was a 2hr 9min flight today...next I knew Lunch was being served.

    Today's special meal (I have a Low Fat meal request in my QFF profile) was a (processed) chicken and semi sun-dried vegetable sandwich. Others not so lucky to have this meal option, were served a beef & salad roll (which, according to my seat mate in 6B was gristly and unappetising, as he left 3/4'ers of it unfinished). I washed mine down with a Berri V8 (Vegetable) Juice. The new menu was in force, with the new orange tray mat-cum-garbage bag (I find them much useful as a shoe bag).

    The flight was unremarkable (as I was head down). Arrival at ADL was on time at 4.14pm, where we taxied to Gate 9 for disembarking on-time at 4.20pm.

    I wandered to the ADL QP where I asked whether there were any ODU's available or this flight. Considering it was only 20 mins prior to departure, I didn't hold much hope for an answer in the affirmative. Then I noticed the CSA behind the CS desk, Livia :eek: :twisted: :wink: (she was drop dead georgeous, absolutely stunning babe-alicious). For some reason, I listened very intently to every honey-dripped word she spoke to me as I tried to push my jaw closed and re-insert my tongue that I was sure was hanging out. Livia advised me that the lady standing beside me was considering whether to take the last J seat, so if she didn't it was mine, could she hold my BP while the other pax made her decision... believe me, I didn't want to move and she could hold my BP for almost as long as she liked, so long as I could get onboard my connecting flight..

    I felt the pax would be not as pressured if I moved away, so I motioned to Livia with my head towards the Bar and went off searching for our favourite beverage in a QP, a Hahn Premium. As soon as I had taken the first sip, I heard the announcement "would Mr LW please return to the CS Desk please"...(um, sorry, I'm torn between two desires here....the cool ale wetting my parched throat and... oh stuff it, down the hatch and get back to Livia you fool!!)

    Back to the CS Desk I walked, trying to fight off the effects of the cold beer I had just skulled....(nuuggh, that ice numbing feeling in the back of your throat and the inability to inflate my lungs as the ice barbs attacked my eye and brain)....wow, what a rush
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    Well, Livia had performed magic and my original Y seat (5C) was transformed into the last remaining J seat (3F) and my FF account had diminished by 8,000 points...worth it for a 3hr+ flight. Now that's what I have status and FF points for.... 8)

    I thanked Livia profusely (without trying to overdo it) and mentally laser-etched her face into my retina...then, it was onto PER. Next time, If I have any spare time in ADL QP, I'll have a chat to her...one can never have enough friendly faces at the QP's.

    As I walked to the Gate, I noticed VH-VXS at the next Gate and VH-VYB (both 737-800's) pulling up as we boarded.

    Airline & Flight Number: QF595 ADL/PER
    Rego: VH-VXI (B737-800) named "City of Oodnadatta"
    Seat: 3F (J cabin) Sequence: 30
    SDT: 4.45pm Pushback: 4.42pm, ADT: 4.47pm
    Distance travelled: 1,317 miles


    Didn't write down which Gate we left from, but it was one of the far ones, presumably 11 or 12. This meant a walk out through the covered walkway to the tarmac, then along the marked area to the plane and up the front steps that had been pushed up beside the plane (yes, ADL is still back in the 70's, only CBR rates the same walk...)

    CSS Peter Miaras greeted me at the doorway, with FA's Ben and Robbie handling the J cabin. Captain Huggett advised that it was a 3hr 5min sector, cruising across the Nullabor at FL 35K with an expected arrival time of 5.20pm (10 mins early).

    Again, I buried my head into my resources until the carts came around (I had 5 seminars to present and around 30 1-on-1 30 min presentations to do over the 3 day period), so I needed to be well prepared and ready for all manner of questions from my clients.

    From the drinks cart:
    Red Wine - Brown Brothers Classic Shiraz 2001
    White Wine - Tempus Two Chardonnay (didn't note the year)
    (Didn't notice the Sparkling White option...)

    Dinner service:
    Poached Salmon with tarragon sauce, asparagus spears and potato mash with herbs, semi-dried vegetables and rocket lettuce with Birch & Waite Vinaigrette, a bread roll and Paton Macadamia Royale (chocolate coated macadamia nut ).

    The meal was fantastic, the salmon cooked to (my) perfection (medium rare) and the mash with herbs a tasty option.

    (my special meal was floating somewhere back in Y, I hope somebody enjoyed it!!)

    Dessert:
    Vanilla Bean & Elderberry 120ml ice-cream tub
    (I scored a second when the girl in 2F didn't want hers and I asked Ben the FA whether I could have it).

    The gentleman beside me in 3H was Japanese, on his way over to work in PER, I think he was genuinely surprised when I answered him in his own language when he asked me in halting English was the red wine was any good(I had picked up some Japanese from my first wife, who was a former QF CSA who spoke fluent Japanese). It also surprised Ben who was serving him at the time, he was leaning across me listening to the question and twisted his head sharply around to stare at me with a quizzical/surprised look on his face. I then gave them both the run-down on how I had acquired a smattering of Japanese. Ended up chatting to Ben about the QF staff travel benefits. Just prior to descending, the Captain announced that ATC asked him to perform a number of turns to slow us down, so when it happened he didn't want us to be alarmed. However, even with the manoevers, we still arrived 5 mins ahead of schedule at 5.15pm local time.

    Hotel: Parmeila Perth Hilton

    I always choose this hotel now (having migrated from the Sheraton Perth 2 years ago), as the Hilton is diagonally across the road from where I would spend the majority of my time consulting for the next 3 days (216 St Georges Terrace mainly, but also other buildings along the street where my client has offices/staff). As a Gold HHonors member, I never expect much, so I'm never disappointed. As this Hilton doesn't have an Executive Floor, it pales beside the better appointed Adelaide Hilton. I had arranged the booking through Hilton Diamond Club reservations, scoring a standard Guest Room for AUD$189 per night, less 20% DC discount (net $151.20). Thus, when I was given Room 529, I was happy - this room was a huge Deluxe Room with a King Sized Bed and near the lifts (but without being on top of them). I'm never sure what the other rooms are like, as this was the third time I had scored this room in the last 4 visits, having only been upgraded once to a corner Suite.

    So, with a heavy head, I unpacked my luggage and ironed my business shirts as I watched Foxtel (cable TV). Soon, sleep beckoned (as it was 2 hours later in BNE) and I crashed....
     
  2. QF WP

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    The next 2.5 days passed by quickly (from a work perspective) and ended up being a very worthwhile trip. Nothing much of note, other than getting together with some FT'ers (stevePERand perthite) for a drink on the Tuesday night. The Globe Restaurant (in the Hilton) had my patronage on Monday night - it was interesting to see another 6 single guests dining in the restaurant that night (5 men, 1 women), with everybody reading various papers or books while we ate.

    Wednesday, November 3 QF 776 PER/MEL

    My flight was scheduled to leave at 5.20pm as I was overnighting in MEL (Airport Hilton), so I could make an early flight back to BNE and attend our company board meeting at 9am on Thursday. I hate catching the red-eye flight, as catching a decent sleep is impossible and I was ready to leave PER - I didn't want to wait around until 11pm.

    My last appointment started at 3.30pm. I advised him that I had a flight to catch (he had no troubles with that), so I tried to plow through it. At 4.20pm, I was looking at my watch hoping it would finish soon. Wrapped it up by 4.30pm and I knew then it was going to be a close thing to get to the airport in time.

    I threw everything into my FF bags and rushed downstairs for a cab. Luckily there was a taxi rank on the corner and I hopped in the only one there. Started to leave the City, then hit the traffic. Well, I started to wonder....will I make it before check-in closes.

    Erring on the side of caution, I immediately hopped on my mobile and rang QF Premium Desk in Melbourne, wanting to know what my options were (at this stage, it was 4.45pm). I always buy a K class fare for my return legs (a flexible fare, but for a no-show the fare is forfeited), as they invariably are apt to change. Well, I got a wonderful CSA on the phone (I only wish I had written down her name), as the conversation went like this:

    Me: I'm not sure I'm going to make the flight to MEL before check-in closes, what other options do I have out of PER tonight to BNE, SYD or MEL?

    QF: Well, Mr QF WP, there are no further flights out this afternoon, only the red-eye flights tonight to BNE, MEL or SYD. Which would you like to be booked on?

    Me: Well, my only option is really the BNE flight as I need to be back in BNE by 9am and this will cut out a transfer in either SYD or MEL.

    QF: Well, that flight will get you into BNE at 5.20am and there are seats available only in H class.

    Me: (Groan) :(

    QF: Would you like me to hold a seat for you and re-calculate the fare ??

    Me: (Begrudgingly) Yes....(as I was using these flights as a MR and this would reduce my earning)

    Then, the traffic started to thin as we got closer to the airport, and I wondered exactly what time they would close boarding. Hmmm...

    She went away to calculate the change in cost, while I willed the taxi driver to drive faster or fly...then I saw the turn-off and Airport Drive stretched out waaaaay too long ahead of me...but at least now there were no traffic lights.

    As we pulled up and I readied my Cabcharge card, the QF CSA came back to me wondering whether I had made it to the airport.

    Me: Yes, I have, is it possible that I keep you on the phone until I get inside to confirm whether check-in is still open...just in case I can get on the MEL flight"

    QF: Sure, Mrs QF WP, I have both screen open and we can do whatever needs to be done...

    So I pushed my phone into my pocket (it had keypad lock already on), gave the taxi driver a tip, signed the chit and got my receipt. With the taxi drivers help (he got my suitcase out of the boot), I sprinted across the entrance-way and into the check-in area. There was not a pax to be seen in either the Y or J queues.....Nooooooooo :cry:

    Still not wanting to believe that I had missed the flight (having checked the monitor it still showed the flight open), I sprinted up to the J check-in area where the sole remaining (female) CSA was sitting chatting to her (male) Supervisor...

    Me: Is the MEL flight still open??

    Before she had time to reply, the two-way on her desk crackled into life with the fateful words "closing QF776 to MEL" echoing from somewhere.....

    The Supervisor (bless his socks, I owe him a HP six-pack if I see him again) grabbed the walkie-talkie and advsed "No, we are checking in the last pax, can you wait for his bag please..."

    The CSA saw my Plat card and DL and immediately started tapping away to check me in..."You must be Mr QF WP". Well, I saw the funny side but that was blindingly obvious...as the BP printed out sequence 111. I cried when I saw that I had lost my cherished forward aisle preferred seating and was in 16E (a middle seat, no less!!). But more importantly, I was on the flight.

    As boarding had already commenced, I wasted no time to scramble across to Security and took out my keys, phone (oh hell, the QF Platinum Desk is still on the phone waiting for me!!)....well, I must have looked a sight calling out to my disappearing tray of goodies as it passed through the x-ray machine "I got on!! I'll talk to you in a second..."

    I hurried around to pick up my scanned valuables, lugged my bags over my shoulder and re-commenced taking to her as if nothing had happened. She was wonderful about it...and was genuinely happy that I had made the flight. With that, it was almost hard to say goodbye to somebody who had been with me all the way, but was unable to really help my plight. How does "thanks" justify what she did so selflessly...??

    Airline & Flight Number: QF776 PER/MEL
    Rego: didn't get it
    Seat: 16E (Y cabin) Sequence: 111
    SDT: 5.20pm Pushback: 5.24pm, ADT: 5.32pm
    Distance travelled: 1,685 miles


    The flight was a blur, as I walked straight on and down the aisle to my seat, stowed one of my bags in the overhead bin and immediately put the other under my feet. As a left-hander, I knew that it would be my luck that the guy in 16D would be a right-hander..and he was!! Clash of the elbows at thirty five thousand feet for the next 3hrs 35mins.

    I remember pushing my work under the tray when the meal came around...I gulped down the Dinner as quickly as I could and was lucky that one of the FA's took pity on me and cleared my tray when they came past on their tea/coffee run. I was working right up to final approach when the wheels clunked into place...and we landed on time at 11.55pm (local time).

    I trundled down to pick up my bag and then up the escalators to the departures level. From there, I had to find the correct walkway to the lifts that serviced the Hilton.

    The time was 12.15am by the time I made it to the Front Desk. Needless to say, the check-in was swift and I was given Room 654 (the end room on the floor with not much of a view). I had organised again through Hilton Diamond Club an exclusive "voucher" rate of AUD$170 for the night...given I had a 7.05am flight out the next morning, it was an still an expensive sleep per hour!! I caught the lift, along the long corridor and fell into my room. Sleep beckoned, but not before I set my alarm...
     
  3. QF WP

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    Thursday, November 4 - MEL/BNE

    "What's that annoying buzzing sound", I wondered as I came into semi-consciousness and turned over to find the item of my displeasure....thankfully before I tossed it against the opposite wall, I realised it was my mobile telling me it was 6am. Time to get up and catch my flight home an to an important meeting..one I so look forward to every quarter :roll: [I am part of a family business, so soon I would be sitting around a table for hours with my father, mother, brother and my wife (as minutes secretary) discussing our Q3 results, Q4 plans and forward planning for 2005].

    I jumped out of bed and straight into the shower...if I didn't do that, I'd have never left the bed. I was still tired from last night's efforts and all I wanted was to sit down with a cuppa and watch the flights coming in and out of Tullamarine....but not today.

    Getting ready quickly, I re-packed my bag and hauled it into the corridor. PIcking up the complimentary paper and Express Check-Out envelope, I stashed the paper into my FF bag and continued down the hall. Plenty of time this morning...a far cry from yesterday afternoon.

    By 6.30am, I was over in the departures level and checking in at the Business Class line. 5 people in front of me, all looking just like me (tired, yawning, unable to function this early). Thinking that it might be easier, I left the safety and security of the J line to try out the self check-in console next to us, as there was nobody checking in and a CSA sitting behind the desk waiting to help.

    Within minutes, I was checked-in and my bags had disappeared down the chute, hopefully to re-appear at the other end. I moved through Security and turned right towards the MEL QP and up the escalator.

    At that time of morning, I was surprised how busy the lounge was - it was 2/3rds full. I had barely enough time to put together a bowl of fruit and a yogurt before our flight was called. I grabbed my bags and started to the gate.

    Airline & Flight Number: QF604 MEL/BNE
    Rego: unknown (737-400)
    Seat: 5C (Y cabin) Sequence: 94
    SDT: 7.05am Pushback: 7.09am, ADT: 7.16am
    Distance travelled: 851 miles


    As could be expected, I spent much of this flight in silent contemplation of what lay ahead today and recalling what had happened over the past 3 days (okay, to be truthful, I slept most of the way!! :p ). My only waking moments were the 20 mins when breakfast was served and descent into BNE. I can't function on small hours of sleep...particularly not with the normal grilling that comes in our Board meeting about my financial planning divisions figures.

    I'm sure the flight time wasn't 2hrs 5 mins, but that's what my watch said when I adjusted the time for daylight saving as we approached BNE. Arriving on time at 8.10am, I was thankful that my wife was waiting for me (I had sent her a text message as I walked up the gangway from the plane), rather than having to join the snaking line of people waiting for a taxi.

    I hope you have enjoyed reading my TR. Now it's off to put together my next one....skiing in Queenstown (NZ).
     
  4. shillard

    shillard Guest

    Just curious old son.....particularly in light of your near "Jim & Nadia" moment in the ADL QP - does your wife read these trip reports?
     
  5. QF WP

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    shillard, what the **** is a "jim and nadia" moment?? Explain over a HP someday, will you...

    No, she doesn't...but I'm allowed to look (as she does as well) but not touch. Always shop at home...buying is much cheaper (and I want to keep my (our??) assets intact)...
     
  6. NM

    NM
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    As I keep reminding Mrs NM, when I stop looking, she should start worrying :lol: .
     
  7. serfty

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    Nov 16, 2004
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    Have you seen the "American Pie" movies?
     
  8. QF WP

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    obviously not :shock: serfty, otherwise I'd have got the message from shillard...apparently :wink:
     
  9. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    I stayed there last year in a standard room. It was OK, neat and clean, but clearly quite old and needing a refurb, and no broadband facility.

    On the next visit to PER my business colleague insisted I stay at the Esplanade in Fremantle. It's a nice building and in a great location, but like the Parmelia it's past time for the rooms to be refurbished.

    Wondering where to stay on the next visit.

    BTW, I stayed in the MEL Airport Hilton for the first time last year and it was great. The rooms are great and the restaurant was very good.
     
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