Across the Globe in 5 Continents

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Kiwi Flyer, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    IN THE BEGINNING

    Yes it's time again. Every Easter the last several years I have travelled, and going further back, I have travelled most Easters. Past trips include northern Europe, Scandanavia, and Iceland. Last year was a RTW including parts of eastern Europe.

    With the dates fitting well for work, Easter and public holidays, I decided on another RTW. This is the story of that trip, plus some travel in the days immediately beforehand.
     

  2. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    AN ISLAND IN THE SUN

    After a particularly busy period at work I finally had some free time, and so with a sale underway I decided to do a quick trip to one of the south pacific islands I had yet to visit - Tonga. Tonga is just a few hours flying from Auckland and with regular flights is easily reached. My original plan was to spend a couple of days there and get off the main island to one of the more beautiful islands. However, the airline schedule and my work conspired against me. I almost cancelled but decided to stick with a turnaround and save a proper visit for another time. At the very least I could collect some useful info for a later visit.

    I left early for the airport, mindful of the announced major delays due to the roadworks on Mangere Bridge between city and airport. However, despite reports on a previous weekend of multi-hour snarl ups, the traffic was reasonably light and so arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

    I headed straight to the separate premium check in area that Air New Zealand has for its premium and elite pax, where I had a 15 minute wait to be checked in. Only a couple of check in staff for a modest volume of pax at this hour, but the ones at the counters both seemed to have issues needing sorting out. Later some more check in staff arrived, but my luck there was no better than with supermarket roulette - the other lines moved faster. Never mind, while 15 minutes is the longest I have ever waited in the AKL premium check in area it still is nothing compared with other airport queues. The check in staff, as with all front line Air New Zealand staff, have the new Zambezi uniforms. There has been mixed reviews and comments in the media, and my first impressions were hardly overwhelming.

    After receiving the boarding pass I paid the departure tax (yes New Zealand really is in the stone age in requiring departure tax to be paid at the airport, but at least premium pax can pay at check-in - see AKL airport thread for more info).

    Then quickly through immigration and up the escalator bypassing the main immigration queues to security. It doesn't take long and I'm arriving at the very nice Air New Zealand lounge. Since the last time I was here the reception area has been changed with the big desk removed and replaced by a couple of maitre'd stations. While it may look snazzier, I dont think it is very practical as staff and pax alike have no space to put things down. I made a mental note for when I leave the lounge, that the peppermints have been moved from the front desk to the inside desk.

    I still was disappointed to reconfirm that the international lounge, with 8 different beers and 5 different wines, had much less beer varieties than the main domestic Koru Clubs (see mini tour of NZ or the summer series - AKL WLG CHC and DUD), and still no Macs Gold. Regulars of the NZ and QF forum (what is it with antipodeans and obsession with beer?) will know it's a bugbear of mine - despite the odd report from other FTers finding Macs Gold in the international lounges it has been a long time between (these) drinks for me.

    Enough of this wittering. For those interested in the lounge there is plenty of information on other threads in FT. It really is a nice lounge and today isnt too full.
     
  3. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    AN ISLAND IN THE SUN continued

    Today's flight is on an Air New Zealand 767. Unusually for me, I notice the aircraft registration as the last 2 letters remind me of someone's initials. We push back roughly on time despite a very late boarding - the flight is so lightly loaded that boarding takes very little time and there is almost no time between the announcements for pax with families or needing assistance to board, business class and *gold pax, and the general boarding call.

    The service onboard is excellant (as I've come to expect). It's a very relaxing flight of a few hours which I while away catching up on some papers and watching. I'll post a menu when I have a chance. The food is quite good and the wines are excellent. Sorry mad_atta but once I found the Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc there was no further sampling, other than to try out the desert wine which had changed to Canterbury House (I think???) - somewhat less overpowering and not quite as sweet as the De Bortoli that used to be stocked.

    The view on final approach to Nuku'Alofa (TBU) was stunning. Coming in initially over startling clear water, then right over the length of the main island with other smaller islands in the distance, past the plantations to land seemingly in the middle of one. As with other pacific island airports, and other quiet airports elsewhere, there is no taxiway with just a large turning circle at the end of the runway. There are no aircraft on the tarmac at either the international or domestic terminals. We deplane by steps of course and make our way through the warm embrace of the tropical sun.

    Despite a sign over the departure gate for transits, all pax must go to immigration. This caused some confusion with many questions on the forms not relevant for transits but soon enough I was through baggage claim and customs and made it landside where a large crowd was milling. In this short time a flight arrived from Nadi, Fiji, and so there were families meeting 2 flight arrivals and dropping off 2 flight departures.

    I had enough time to collect some info that will help for a later trip, and then proceeded to the door to immigration. Here I was told my boarding pass (issued in Auckland) was no good - it will need to be reissued :rolleyes: It was perhaps due to the different paper/cardboard being used? Anyway, reissue took no time at all with a small detour to get a departure tax exemption stamped on the boarding pass and quickly through immigration (strangely no forms for leaving the country).

    Airside the terminal is fairly basic with 1 duty free shop selling booze and cigarettes, one selling a very limited range of souvenirs, and a small cafe. There is no aircon, a full room of pax and a hot steamy day and so immediately I regretted not staying landside as long as possible.

    Boarding is quite orderly and takes somewhat longer as the flight is much fuller going back. The aircraft seems positively freezing compared with outside and in the terminal and I wonder if I should ask for a blanket!

    We take off a little late but make good time en route. Another nice meal and fantastic service and we arrive back at Auckland. I was stunned to find immigration and agriculture check totally empty other than the officers.

    The trip back from the airport to city required the detour through Manukau due to the roadworks. It took maybe 10 minutes longer than normal and I'd be interested to know how it compares in peak hour as a viable alternative route (though I suspect will be worse then judging by how clogged the Southern Motorway becomes after 3pm weekdays).

    So ends a nice day out - a refreshing break, some miles, and a chance to work through some papers in comfort.
     
  4. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Menu AKL-TBU

    LUNCH

    Starter

    Peppered tuna with pickled vegetable salad, king prawn on saffron aioli and salmon pate with wasabi caviar.

    Main course

    Spicy lamb wrap with capsicum, rocket, hummus and caponata in a soft flour tortilla.

    Crispy skinned snapper with soft herb couscous, cream tarragon sauce, orange and pink grapefruit citrus salsa.

    Basil and fate filled chicken thigh, kumara and thyme mash, broccolini and spiced black Doris plum sauce.

    Dessert

    Gourmet double chocolate and golden kiwifruit ice cream.

    Cheese

    A selection of fine New Zealand cheese.

    Beverages

    Freshly brewed or decaffeinated coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate.


    Menu TBU-AKL

    LUNCH

    Starter

    Pan seared miso prawns on frisee with ginger, daikon and sweet pepper salad and miso wasabi dressing.

    Main course

    Karengo crusted snapper with New Zealand olive oil potato mash, vine ripened tomato, wilted spinach, rocket, and verjuice and lime sauce.

    Beef fillet steak with speck and horseradish butter, mushrooms, roasted parsnips, courgette and potato.

    Smoked chicken and cranberry wrap with rocket and brie, served with potato, cranberry and horopito salad.

    Dessert

    Wild berry meringue tart.

    Cheese

    A selection of fine New Zealand cheese.

    Beverages

    Freshly brewed or decaffeinated coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate.


    BEVERAGES

    Spirits

    Glenfiddich Malt Whisky
    Chivas Regal Blended Whisky
    Jack Daniel's Black Label
    Gordons Gin
    42 Below Vodka
    Courvoisier VSOP
    Captain Morgan Rum
    Ron Bacardi Superior

    Port and Liqueurs

    Portuguese Port
    Grand Marnier
    Baileys Irish Cream

    Beer

    A selection of beer featuring Steinlager, Export Gold, Heineken and low alcohol lager.

    Soft Drinks

    Mineral water, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, cola, lemonade, tonic water, ginger ale and a choice of diabetic drinks are available.
     
  5. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Menu AKL-PER

    MAIN MEAL

    Starter

    Peppered tuna with pickled vegetable salad, king prawn on saffron aioli and salmon pate with wasabi caviar.

    Main course

    Lemon and oregano rubbed loin of lamb on kawakawa gratin potatoes, leek and spinach with honey, oregano olive oil dressing and macadamia nuts.

    Crispy skinned snapper with soft herb couscous, cream tarragon sauce, orange and pink grapefruit citrus salsa.

    Basil and fate filled chicken thigh, kumara and thyme mash, broccolini and spiced black Doris plum sauce.

    Dessert

    Wild berry meringue tart.

    Gourmet ice cream dessert of double chocolate and golden kiwifruit ice cream.

    Cheese

    A selection of fine New Zealand cheese.

    Beverages

    Freshly brewed or decaffeinated Gravity coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate.


    LIGHT MEAL

    Starter

    Fresh fruit salad of melon, kiwifruit and tropical papaya.

    Main course

    Smoked chicken and cranberry wrap with rocket and brie, served with potato, cranberry and horopito salad.

    Toasted salmon, basil pesto and tomato baguette with fennel, salted capers, capsicum and piri piri sauce.

    Dessert

    Freshly baked blueberry friand and orange syrup tea cakes.

    Beverages

    Freshly brewed or decaffeinated Gravity coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate.


    BEVERAGES

    Spirits

    Glenfiddich Malt Whisky
    Chivas Regal Blended Whisky
    Jack Daniel's Black Label
    Gordons Gin
    42 Below Vodka
    Courvoisier VSOP
    Captain Morgan Rum
    Ron Bacardi Superior

    Port and Liqueurs

    Portuguese Port
    Grand Marnier
    Baileys Irish Cream

    Beer

    A selection of beer featuring Steinlager, Export Gold, Heineken and low alcohol lager.

    Soft Drinks

    Mineral water, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, cola, lemonade, tonic water, ginger ale and a choice of diabetic drinks are available.[/QUOTE]

    42 Below Cocktails

    Falling Water
    A cool delicious re-hydrating combination of lemonade, sliced cucumber and 42 Below Feijoa Vodka served over ice.

    Backyard Bellini
    A crisp refreshing aperitif of apple juice and 42 Below Feijoa Vodka topped with Champagne and a dash of elderflower cordial.
     
  6. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    THE HEAT IS ON

    A few days later and it was time to head back to the airport for the flight to Perth, Western Australia. Ironically there are no places in WA mentioned in the song I've Been Everywhere. While I have seen quite a bit of Australia over the years, I have only visited Western Australia a few times so a great chance to see "the Real Australia" as the tourism board promotes the state.

    On the way to the check in area at AKL airport I noticed that there is a new way to pay the annoying NZ departure tax - namely machines outside the downstairs BNZ branches accepting mastercard, visa and NZ issued ATM cards. However I dont bother since I can pay at premium check in which is just as convenient for me.

    For the second time in succession there is a queue with pax at check in having some issues being sorted out. The one in front of me has transferred from another flight but for some reason wasn't checked through and now isnt allowed to check in since the US flights check in only opens 3 hours prior to departure (as written on a sign by the premium check in entrance). Its currently a few hours more than that before their flight. I think they wanted to check in and then do some sightseeing.

    This takes a few minutes to sort out and then I am quickly checked in and through to the lounge again.
     
  7. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    THE HEAT IS ON continued

    Boarding is called and I head out to the gate. I notice we have the same aircraft from the other day. The flight is quite full but we leave on time. The taxi is slow due to the maintenance on the main runway - the secondary runway (which normally serves as taxiway) is being used instead. Flying time is longer than usual owing to very strong headwinds (ground speed not much over 700 km/h much of the way), and we have enough time for both movie cycles and a complete repeat of the first cycle also. The flight path took us south of Hobart and then northwest across the Great Australian Bight.

    As posted above, there is a strong similarity in the menu from the previous two flights. We arrive late, but as Perth doesnt see too many international flights immigration, customs and agriculture screening don't take long.

    Parmelia Hilton had a great special rate which I couldn't pass up - and this will help my requalification effort too. For the first time I can recall there is no complimentary wine, however there is a nice room upgrade to a suite.

    The next day I take the train to the port of Freemantle, like Auckland a former home to the America's Cup. I while away the warm morning wandering around looking at the old town and the markets, before heading to the jazz & blues festival which coincidentally is on today. The afternoon is hot and sunny - a reminder that summer isn't quite ready to give way to autumn. Later, on the way back to the airport I decided I had just enough time for some shopping and even a haircut.

    Back at the international terminal and there are lots of passengers milling around. Oh dear the monitors show a significantly delayed flight with expected departure pushed back 9 1/2 hours. It turns out there was a mechanical issue, and since Air New Zealand's fleet is very well utilised that means delay. In all my hundreds of flights I have been fortunate to rarely have major flight delays, with the worst cases weather related.

    I have some more flights the next day, scheduled a few hours after the red eye was supposed to arrive. So when I reach the counter I ask my options. The expected arrival time is late enough that I cannot be shifted to later flights that day. The nice agent puts some notes into my record and advises someone will call when I get back to Auckland.

    They aren't checking in anyone, but instead issuing hotel and taxi vouchers to spend the night at the Sheraton. I've stayed there before so I know its a nice enough hotel. So an hour after leaving the city for the airport and I'm on my way back to the city. I'm sure it must have taken considerably longer for those without status flying economy.

    Even though dinner is included I decide to flag it, prefering instead to take a walk and get to bed early. The wake up call is due at OMG o'clock and I'm not looking forward to it. The shrill of the wake up call does its job. Bleary eyed I check the clock - grrr its early. A note slid under the door explains Air NZ set a group wake up call (makes sense) and booked a bus and cancelled the taxi vouchers. There was a lame excuse about traffic concerns - come on there's hardly going to be any at 3:30 am. After freshening up and checking out, it turns out the bus isnt big enough for everyone so a lucky few stragglers get to go by taxi after all.

    Back at the airport, check in is quick but immigration hasn't yet opened. There's a stampede when immigration opens and so a long queue forms. This isnt helped by one of the two officers having problems with her computer. Once through security I browse the duty free and reconfirm prices are better in New Zealand (at least for booze). Air NZ uses the Qantas lounge for *Gold, Koru Club and business class passengers (the Qantas agent who did the checking in forgot to mention this but I know from past experience); however it hasn't yet opened. When it opens 20 minutes later I enter and grab a much needed coffee or three.

    The inbound flight arrives even later than expected, probably due to the strong headwinds again, and so boarding is late. Shortly after announcing boarding in the lounge, I'm paged :eek: for late boarding. While I appreciate they want a fast turnaround, there was no need for this call as there was still a huge queue in the airbridge when I arrived at the gate.

    I notice once again I'm in the same aircraft(!) and of course the same crew who flew over. With the strong tailwinds the flight is very quick - a little over 5 hours compared with close to 8 hours on the way over. The flight path took us south of Adelaide and over Melbourne.

    A breakfast is served not long after take off. Sorry no menus handed out due to catering being completely different. I missed the usual fruit selection and plain yoghurt for example.

    From memory there was a strawberry smoothie; some fruit (pineapple, melon, watermelon); fruit yoghurt, croissant or blueberry muffin; choice of omlette, mixed grill or fish; tea, coffee, juice or water. There was no snack offered later in the flight.

    So I arrived back at Auckland about the time I expected, but without the 2 extra flights elsewhere. Immigration, customs and agriculture check went fairly quick and I was landside within 10 minutes.
     
  8. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Summary to date

    Map

    4 flights
    9,133 flown miles
    1 continent - Australia
    3 countries - Tonga, NZ, Australia
    1 aircraft type - 767 (actually just 1 aircraft!)
     
  9. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    RTW PLANNING

    The planning for this trip started a year ago. As usual, I wanted to visit some new places and get a lot of bang for my buck. I expected I'd comfortably requalify my main FFPs and so slightly less focus on maximising that aspect compared with last easter's RTW.

    I decided on a CRWSTAR3 (39,000 mile *A round the world) since this allowed me to visit some further afield places. However, unlike previous round the world trips, I didnt have enough mileage to do lots of short hops for minimum mileage earning purposes (if you read the link in the first post you'll know what I mean). I ticketed rather early to beat significant fare increases and increases in the phoney taxes that are fuel surcharges.

    Originally I intended to include Bhutan (as a side trip since the only airline, Druk Air, is not a member of any alliance); however I had difficulty fitting it into my schedule, and also difficulty in having long enough without passport to get the visa done, that I gave up on Bhutan for this trip. So a late change to my routing was required.

    As usual, I have some side quick trips planned also.
     
  10. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    I forgot to mention that on the PER-AKL flight we got business amenity kits, which was a surprise. These must have been just about the last of the old stock as for the past several months (at least) Air New Zealand has not been using amenity kits but rather passes around a basket of items for business class passengers to select the items they want.

    A few days later I noticed the AKL-PER and PER-AKL flights hadn't automatically posted so I made an online mileage claim. This was processed instantly which makes me wonder if they have all the data to verify the claim why couldn't the points have been automatically credited?


    AT LONG LAST NEW NZ LONGHAUL

    Anyway, it's again time to head back to the airport straight from work. This time premium check in is fairly empty and so it doesn't take long until I have a fistful of boarding passes and processed for immigration. I half expected the immigration officer to comment on all my trips but she doesn't say anything out of the ordinary. Back in the lounge I check some email and take a refreshing shower.

    I'm looking forward to the flight. Since the new longhaul product was launched nearly a year ago I've had a series of flights on non-refitted 747s, 767s and even a couple of aircraft substitutions from brand new 777s to the old 767 :( Today at least I'd get to see for myself if the experience lives up to the hype.

    There are plenty of reports on the new longhaul both in Trip Reports forum and Air New Zealand forum. In business class the old seats have been replaced with the Virgin Upper Class suites, and the IFE now has avod which is a great benefit on the long flights across the pacific. There are a few other changes as well (such as pre-ordering breakfast early in the flight so you can get some extra sleep).

    We had a slow taxi again, and I saw several executive jets - I'm not sure what was on but this is more than the odd one or two usually seen at Auckland.

    I found the suite great - in my experience easily the best business class seat, although of course I haven't flown all airlines. Rather more enclosed than the Singapore Airlines first suite for example, but still ample room to stretch out and plenty of places to put things (reading material, water bottle, etc).

    As usual, the service was great as was the food. Dinner service started quickly, which is good for the overnight flight, and breakfast started about 2 hours out of San Francisco.

    The Sauvignon Blanc was again Wither Hills, and I sampled the reds - Villa Maria Pinot Noir, Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon and Vidal Shiraz. I felt the reds were a bit too young.

    The IFE was easy to use, although unlike some other airlines the handset was not marked with symbols for pause, stop, fast forward and rewind. It took about an hour into the flight before the system was working as they took several system reboots :( The ife was switched to the arrival video about an hour out from San Francisco - unlike some airlines' systems there is no way to ignore the arrival video and continue watching your movie/tv show/game.

    I watched a couple of New Zealand feature movies, and some other shows, had plenty to eat and drink, and also had a good shortish sleep for a few hours. In short - a great flight.

    San Francisco was clagged in with rain and low cloud, so we didn't see anything until just above the runway. Unlike my previous visits to San Francisco, the Air New Zealand flight arrived before several other international flights and thus immigration queues were short and I was through domestic security within 10 minutes.
     
  11. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Menu AKL-SFO

    DINNER

    Starter

    Peppered tuna with pickled vegetable salad, king prawn on saffron aioli and salmon pate with wasabi caviar

    Main course

    Lemon and oregano rubbed loin of lamb on kawakawa gratin potatoes, leek and spinach with honey, oregano olive oil dressing and macadamia nuts.

    Crispy skinned snapper with soft herb couscous, cream tarragon sauce, orange and pink grapefruit citrus salsa.

    Basil and feta filled chicken thigh, kumara and thyme mash, broccolini and spiced black Doris plum sauce.

    Light choice of warmed quinoa salad with lime and herbs, roasted vegetables with hummus and yoghurt dressing.

    Fast dine

    Ask your flight attendant if you would prefer a light meal consisting of a selection of breads, the starter of the day, cheese and chocolates.

    Dessert

    New Zealand titoki liqueur tiramisu with poached pineapple.

    Gourmet ice cream dessert of double chocolate and golden kiwifruit ice cream.

    Cheese

    A selection of fine New Zealand cheese.

    Beverages

    Freshly brewed or decaffeinated coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate.

    Snacks

    Help yourself from our wide range of snacks, available for you to enjoy during your flight.


    BREAKFAST

    To order breakfast, complete the enclosed card and return to your flight attendant before going to sleep.

    Beverages

    Start your day with a fruit smoothie, your choice of juice, freshly brewed or decaffeinated Gravity coffee, tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate

    Continental selection

    Fruit selection with assorted cereals and yoghurts.

    Croissants, friands, white and wholemeal toast with fruit conserve.

    Hot options

    Potato, tomato, red onion and cheese omelette with chicken sausage and roasted tomato relish.

    Blueberry ricotta pancakes with streaky bacon and manuka honey and apple syrup.


    BEVERAGES

    See earlier post.
     
  12. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Update on the 2 missed flights. They've been rebooked for a new date, although it was hard to fit into my schedule.
     
  13. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    NORTHWEST SFO-PDX-SEA-ANC

    With the quick processing through immigration, I had enough time to visit the United domestic Red Carpet Club (RCC). My previous transits through San Francisco didn't have enough time for a visit. The lounge was okay but hardly up to the standard of most domestic lounges in NZ or Australia for example.

    The large windows afforded views of the water pooling on the tarmac and pouring off the wings of aircraft taking off right in front of us. So it was no surprise to see the monitors showing lots of delayed flights. My next flight to Portland was showing as on time so I headed to the gate, where we were told the inbound aircraft is only just now leaving Eugene for SFO - ie despite the monitors there really is a significant delay.

    So, worried that I'd be stuck in Portland for the night I headed back to the RCC, where the lovely ladies on the desk were helpful and eventually managed to get me on the overbooked non-stop flight to Seattle. Sadly I had to give up my first seat, but on a short domestic flight not really missing much. I grabbed at the exit row seat offered (not sure why they bothered offering a choice of a middle seat right at the back?).
     
  14. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    SFO-SEA-ANC

    Now rebooked I didnt have to wait long to boarding of the new flight on a United 757. There was the usual scrum at the gate with both passengers and gate agents alike ignoring the priority boarding calls. The flight was full and those that boarded towards the end had to check all bags since all the overhead and under seat space was full. Offered mini-pretzel snack and non-alcoholic drink. No real food.

    In Seattle I have enough time to stretch my legs by walking a few circuits of the satellite terminal used by United before heading downstairs to the RCC for a coffee. I think the Seattle RCC is nicer than the San Francisco one.

    The next leg was on a United A319. Back in first (on a CRWSTARx business class books into first on 2-class domestic USA flights) for this night time leg. There is no meal, but a selection of cheeses and crackers, plus a suprisingly large amount of fruit. The movie showing on the small bulkhead screen is Narnia.

    When we arrive at Anchorage a ghostly full moon is shining weakly through a veil of high cloud. Not having any checked bags, it isn't long before I'm rushing off to the Hilton Anchorage to check in. As a Diamond HHonors member, I get a nice room upgrade to the exec floor (and with a great view of the inlet and surrounding mountains) - the room keycard is needed to access the floor, the lounge as well as the room. The lounge is nice - food selection for breakfast and evening canapes (with alcohol available for a couple of hours) is a bit limited, but non-alcoholic drinks and cookies are available all day. There is also one computer terminal.

    I notice the contrast of the military jets maneouvering at low level after take-off and preparing for landing at the base, with the mountains reverberating to their roar, while the slow single engine props whine and the distant muffle of the commercial passenger and freighter jets landing and taking off at Ted Stevens airport several miles away.

    I do quite a bit of walking, albeit gingerly in places as not used to walking on ice (daytime snowmelt freezing overnight). Around the coast to Earthquake Park, along some "valleys" such as Chester Creek, etc. The scenery is stunning. With slightly dodgy weather forecast, and a limited schedule, I decide to abandon my thoughts of a day trip to Denali (sorry Seat 2A) - I don't want to get stranded! At least that is one reason for a repeat visit.
     
  15. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Summary to date

    Map

    7 flights
    17,776 flown miles
    2 continents - Australia, North America
    4 countries - Tonga, NZ, Australia, USA
    4 aircraft types - 767, 777, 757, A319
     
  16. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    SOUTHEAST HALFWAY AROUND THE GLOBE

    All too quickly it was time to leave Alaska, USA and head halfway around the globe to the next stop. Check in at the airport and get a fistful of boarding passes.

    The next flight was on a United A319 back to Seattle. We had the same crew, and of the first class passengers 1 was apparently a turnaround and 3 more of us had come up to Anchorage just a day or 2 earlier with this crew. Again a cheese selection and fruit. Movie was "Rumor Has It". However I slept most of this redeye flight.

    We arrived in a wet Seattle (what a surprise :rolleyes: ) a bit early. Given I'd be flying the next couple of days I made the most of my transit by putting in just over a couple of dozen laps of the terminal. I could see some fellow travellers and airport staff wondering what this bozo was doing just walking, but who cares?

    The next flight was to Washington Dulles, on a 3-class 767 in first again ^ The seat was the best I'd had within the USA but still only comparable with most international business class seats. We had a choice of 4 movies playing on the PTVs or a video from a selection of about half a dozen titles. Channel 9 wasn't working properly with bad feedback. The meal was breakfast with choice of fruit and cornflakes, or mushroom fritatta. There was also a cookie offered before landing. I slept most of the flight. We arrived early into a cloudy IAD, but ground crew weren't ready for us - by the time the airbridge was engaged it was an on-time arrival.
     
  17. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    I had a couple of hours to kill in IAD so after a bit of a walk headed to (one of) the RCC. It was very full and busy. The coffee machine wasn't working. Since it was my first time at Dulles airport I wasn't sure how much time to allow to get the bus to the G concourse for the next flight. I ended up being a little early and wished I had waited some more as it was jammed packed - barely enough room to stand. Many of the boarding announcements included comments about onboard toilets being out of order, so the terminal toilets were well used with lengthy queues.

    Across the tarmac to the Mesa Airlines CRJ bound for JFK. Not unexpectedly I had to gate check my carry-on. The all economy aircraft was full. We had a late pushback due to an aircraft behind blocking us in. The short flight (comparable flight time to most domestic flights in NZ) had no service at all. There were no views and indeed it was raining in New York. I was beginning to wonder if the whole northern part of the lower 48 was clouded/rained in today - it sure seemed that way. We were able to collect gate checked bags at the aircraft (the same system I'd experienced in europe), so it was straight to the airtrain for the change of terminals.

    The JFK Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is a very nice lounge - certainly in the top 5 that I have visited. Not only the usual nice showers, computers and a wide selection at the bar, but it also has sit down dinner service which is great for the overnight trans-atlantic flights. In case you're wondering what Virgin Atlantic has to do with a Star Alliance around the world, this is the designated lounge for Singapore Airlines (at least for PPS and first/business class passengers) with whom I'm flying to Frankfurt tonight.

    While in the lounge I catch up on email but skip the meal and drinks on offer. After an hour or so it is time to head through security and board from the far end gate. The flight is moderately full - in contrast to the other time I flew this leg when it was almost empty. Nevertheless we push back on time, but have a very slow taxi due to a runway change (grrr that happened last time too). It took us more than 30 minutes from push back to reach the start of the active runway. This is where Singapore Airlines IFE comes to the fore - unlike some other airlines (eg Air New Zealand, Qantas, etc); the avod Wisemen 3000 is up and running from before pushback and so I make the most of the ground delay by watching a movie.

    As we pass the northeast of Canada we get a spectacle which I've rarely experienced - the northern lights are on display out the left hand side. We have strong tailwind and so arrive on time, but again delayed slightly - this time due to the prior aircraft still being at our gate.
     
  18. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    Menu JFK-FRA

    DINNER

    A Savoury Note

    Salad of asparagys with olive and tomato, marinated prawns and garden greens. Honey mustard dressing. Balsamic and extra virgin olive oil dressing.

    The Main Event

    Seared beef fillet in cabernet butter, baby carrots, sauteed fingerling potato with onion, crispy pork and sage.

    Braised cod fillet in XO sauce with seasonal vegetables and fried rice.

    Stir fried chicken with dried chillies and rice wine, Oriental mixed vegetables and steamed rice.

    Seared lamb loin in rosemary jus with roasted vegetables and leek-mashed potatoes.

    The Cheese Board

    Gourmet cheese with garnishes.

    A Sweet Note

    A selection of fresh fruit.

    Ice cream

    A Connoisseur's Choice

    Gourmet coffee

    Selection of tea

    Pralines


    CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

    A Fresh Start

    A choice of apple, tomato or freshly squeezed orange

    A selection of fresh fruit

    From The Bakery

    Assorted breakfast rolls

    Butter - fruit preserve

    A Connoisseur's Choice

    Gourmet coffee

    Selection of tea


    BEVERAGES

    Special Cocktail

    Citrus Royale

    Cocktails

    Singapore Sling
    Silver Kris Sling
    Gin Fizz
    Cloud Nine
    Screwdriver
    Bloody Mary
    Daiquiri
    Red or White Wine Cooler

    Aperitifs

    Campari
    Dry Vermouth

    Non-alcoholic Cocktails

    Tropical Sparkle
    Orange Cooler
    Golden Spice
    Fruit Spritzer
    Sunrise Surprise

    Spirits

    Cognac XO Otard
    Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky
    Johnnie Walker Black Label
    Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
    Gordon's Dry Gin
    Smirnoff Red Label Vodka
    Bacardi Carta Blanca

    Liqueurs

    Cointreau
    Tia Maria
    Baileys Original Irish Cream

    Beer

    International selection

    Stout

    Guinness Stout

    Champagne

    Piper Heidsieck 1999

    White Wines

    Kloster Eberbach Riesling Kabinett 2003 Rheingau
    Montagny 1er Cru 2002

    Red Wines

    Chateau Cissac 1998 Cru Bourgeois Haut Medoc
    Serrata Belguardo 2003 igt Maremma Toscanna
    Pommard 1999 Bouchard Pere Et Fils

    Port

    Taylor 2000 Late Bottled Vintage Port

    Tea Selection

    Pure Ceylon Tea
    Earl Grey
    Darjeeling
    Camomile
    Decaffeinated Tea
    Japanese Green Tea

    Chinese Tea Selection

    Oolong

    Gourmet Coffees

    Brazil Santos Bourbon
    Colombian Supremo
    Kenyan AA Kilimanjaro

    Specialty Coffees

    Brewed Coffee
    Cafe Royal
    Espresso
    Cappuccino
    Decaffeinated Coffee
    Mocha

    Other Beverages

    Chocolate
    Milo

    Mineral Water

    Carbonated Mineral Water
    Non-carbonated Mineral Water

    Fruit Juices

    Apple
    Orange
    Pineapple
    Tomato
    Cranberry

    Soft Drinks

    A range of regular or low-calorie drinks is available

    Iced Drinks

    Iced Tea
    Iced Coffee
    Iced Mocha
    Iced Chocolate
    Iced Milo
     
  19. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    After clearing immigration - the usual 10 second check and stamp (grrr another blank page gone) - I change some money and check email. Then over to the lufthansa first class terminal (FCT). Since the forecast rain hasn't yet arrived I walk across instead of waiting for complimentary car ride.

    First up a shower after long day travelling, then a sleep since I watched movies and talked most of the transatlantic flight. Later I grab a nice meal. The FCT is almost empty - with between 1 and 10 of us at varying times.
     
  20. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    4
    FRA first class terminal menu

    BUFFET

    Antipasti

    Calamari con salsa
    Veal with truffel sauce
    Grilled vegetables
    Feta cheese with olive oil
    White eggplant puree
    Arugula with cherry tomatoes
    Shallots with aged balsamic vinegar
    Buffalo mozzarella
    Parmesan
    Manchego
    Jamon iberico / pata negra
    Grilled green asparagus
    Minced beef salad
    Stuffed eggplant

    Tapas

    Fried baby calamari
    Fried artichokes
    Meatballs in tomato sauce
    Fried prawns

    Smoked Salmon

    Scottish smoked salmon - Loch Fyne
    Horseradish cream / toast or cream cheese / bagel

    Desserts

    Do & Co's Mousse au chocolat
    Creme brulee
    Tiramisu
    Pannacotta
    Do & Co's French kiss
    Fresh fruit salad
    Viennese apple strudel
    Selection of sorbets
    Austrian style chocolate souffle
    Vanilla ice cream with warm chocolate sauce


    BUFFET AND SPECIALS

    Soups

    Consomme with vegetables
    Cappucino di rucola with tomatocrostini
    Tom ka gai - Thai chicken soup with coconut milk / fresh cilantro and chili

    Local Special

    Bavarian leberkase - creamy potato salad / brezel / mustard
    Oktopus grost'l - caramelized shallots / tomatoes

    Steak and Salad

    Seared fillet of beef - eggplant salad / crispy rosemary chips

    Wok

    Stir fried chilli beef - fillet of beef marinated with chilli and Thai basil / sweet soy sauce / steamed rice
    Chicken koy soy - slices of chicken breast in chili coconut cream / soy bean sprouts / egg noodles / coriander

    Pasta

    Handmade tagliatelle - sauteed scallops / creamy lemongrass sauce / rosemary pesto


    BAR

    Before Dinner Drinks

    Bellini cocktail
    Veneziano
    Kir royale
    Cosmopolitan
    Martini cocktail
    Manhattan

    After Dinner Drinks

    White russian
    Alexander
    Godfather

    Water

    Voslauer still
    Voslauer sparkling
    Evian still
    Perrier sparkling
    Apollinaris still
    Apollinaris sparkling
    San Pellegrino sparkling
    Ramlosa sparkling
    Blue Keld still

    Beer

    Draft beer
    Beck's
    Radeberger
    Konig Pilsener

    Bottled beer
    Foster's
    Ottakringer
    Budweiser
    Carlsberg
    Kronebourg 1664
    Warsteiner
    Jever Pilsener
    Franziskaner Hefe
    Diebels Altbier
    Maisel Diat
    Corona
    Heineken
    Anheuser Busch
    Miller Genuine Draft

    Non alcoholic beer
    Clausthaler

    Cider
    Strongbow

    Cocktails

    Mojito
    Ciapirinha
    Daiquiri
    Strawberry Margarita
    Sex on the Beach
    Cuba Libre
    Pina Colada
    Mai Tai

    Red Wines

    2001 Spatburgunder
    2001 Chianti Classico Riserva
    2002 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOC
    1999 Rioja Rserva
    2004 Blaufrankisch Barrique Chevalier
    2003 Pinotage Laibach Vignery
    2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Brown Brothers
    2000 Chateau Fonpiquery

    White Wines

    2004 Riesling Smaragd Steinertal
    2003 Chardonnay Selection
    2005 Gelber Muskateller
    2005 Riesling Robert Weil
    2004 Sancerre
    2004 Chablis 1er Cru Domaine William Fevre
    2004 Pinot Grigio Collio DOC
    2005 Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay Babich Winert

    Dessert Wine

    2003 Beerenauslese Cuvee

    Whisky

    Blended scotch
    Ballantine's finest
    Ballantine's gold seal 12 years
    Chivas Regal 12 years
    Clan Campbell 12 years
    Cutty Sark emerald 12 years
    Dewar's
    Dimple original
    The Famous Grouse finest
    The Famous Grouse gold reserve 12 years
    Glob Kitty
    J & B rare
    Johnnie Walker red label
    Johnnie Walker black label 12 years
    Johnnie Walker gold label 18 years
    Johnnie Walker blue label
    Vat 68 finest

    Bourbon
    Four Roses kentucky
    Jim Beam kentucky
    Jim Beam black label 8 years 43% vol
    Maker's Mark 45% vol
    Wild Turkey 8 years 50.5% vol
    Woodford Reserve distiller's select

    Tennessee
    Jack Daniel's old no 7 brand
    Jack Daniel's gentleman jack
    Jack Daniel's single barrel 45% vol

    Canadian
    Canadian Club barrel blended
    Crown Royal fine de luxe
    Mc Guiness old canada

    Irish
    Jameson 12 years
    Kilbeggan finest
    Paddy
    Tullamore Dew

    Irish Malt
    Bushmills 10 years
    Connemara peated
    Locke's 8 years
    Tyrconnell pure pot still

    Single Malt

    Highlands
    Aberlour 10 years 43% vol
    Balvenie founder's reserve 10 years
    Balvenie double wood 12 years
    Cragganmore 12 years
    Criagnure 10 years
    Dalwhinne 15 years 43% vol
    Ferintosh 10 years
    Glenfarclas 10 years
    Glenfarclas 21 years 43% vol
    Glenfiddich havana reserve 21 years
    Glenfiddich solera reserve 15 years
    Glenlivet 12 years
    Glenlivet 15 years 43% vol
    Glenluig 10 years
    Glenmorangie 10 years
    Glenmorangie 18 years 43% vol
    Glenmorangie sherry wood finish 43% vol
    Glenmorangie madiera wood finish 43% vol
    Glenmorangie port wood finish 43% vol
    Highland Park isle of orkney 12 years
    Knockando 12 years 43% vol
    Macallan 12 years
    Macallan fine oak 18 years
    Mortlach 15 years
    Talisker isle of skye 10 years 45.8% vol

    Lowlands
    Glenkinchie 10 years 43% vol

    Isle of Islay
    Ardbeg 10 years 46% vol
    Ardbeg uigedail 54.2% vol
    Druichan 10 years 43% vol
    Lagavulin 16 years 43% vol
    Laphroaig 10 years
    Laphroaig 15 years 43% vol

    Vatted Malt
    Glen Grant
    Johnnie Walker 15 years

    Aperitif and Bitters

    Aperol
    Averna
    Campari
    Cynar
    Fernet - branca
    Martini Bitter
    Nonino Amaro
    Ouzo no 12
    Pernod
    Ramazzotti
    Ricard

    Calvados

    Daron XO 18 years
    Papidoux 15 years

    Cognac

    Camus grand VSOP
    Hennessy fine de cognac
    Hennessy XO
    Martell cognac cordon bleu
    Otard XO gold
    Otard VSOP

    Brandy

    Carlos I
    Conde De Osborne
    Osborne Veterano

    Grappa

    Antinori
    Altesino
    Nonino grappa di moscato
    Nonino vuisinar

    Schnaps

    Apple
    Raspberry
    Elderflower
    Apricot
    Yellow Plum
    Quince
    Rowanberry
    Pear
    Plum

    Rum

    Bacardi carta blanca
    Bacardi carta d'oro
    Bacardi carta negra
    Bacardi 8 anos
    Bacardi lemon
    Havana Club anejo 3 anos
    Havana Club anejo 7 anos
    Havana Club anejo reserva
    Myers's original dark
    Pitu cachaca
    Pyrat XO planters gold
    Zacapa centenario 23 years

    Vodka

    Absolut
    Absolut citron
    Absolut mandarin
    Finlandia
    Grey Goose
    Stolichnaya

    Gin

    Beefeater
    Bombay Sapphire
    Gordon's
    Tanqueray

    Tequila

    Jose Cuervo classico
    Jose Cuervo especial gold

    Liqueur

    Amaretto
    Baileys
    Batida de coco
    Benedictine
    Cointreau
    Creme de cacao
    Creme de cassis
    Drambuie
    Kahlua
    Malibu
    Pepino peach
    Sambuca
    Southern Comfort
    Tia Maria

    Sherry

    Sandeman don fino
    Sandeman dry seco
    Sandeman medium dry
    Sandeman rich golden

    Vermouth

    Martini extra dry
    Martini bianco
    Martini d'oro
    Martini rosso
    Noilly Prat extra dry

    Prosecco and Champagner

    Prosecco Brusole
    Champagner Taittinger
    Champagner Taittinger Rose
    Ruinart

    Port Wine

    Delaforce

    Fruit Juices

    Pineapple
    Apple
    Pear
    Strawberry
    Blackcurrant
    Cherry
    Mango-passionfruit
    Tropical fruit
    Peach
    Tomato

    Soft Drinks

    Coca Cola
    Coca Cola light
    Fanta
    Sprite
    Bitter lemon
    Tonic water
    Ginger ale
    Kombucha
    Red Bull
    Red Bull sugar free

    Tea

    Assam Bukhial second flush
    Ceylon orange pekoe
    China Yunnan golden downy pekoe
    Darjeeling Lingia first flush
    Earl Grey imperior
    English breakfast
    Uva Blairlomond highgrown
    Formose oolong II
    China Lung Ching green tea
    China Wujuan jasmine
    Fruchtemischung / tropical fruit
    Camomile
    Peppermint
    Rotbusch Sahne Karamell
     
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