BNE-SYD and my first experience in J

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by littl_flier, May 27, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.
Joining AFF is fast, simple & ABSOLUTELY FREE -  join now by clicking on the JOIN NOW button, and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.
Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)
  1. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    #1 littl_flier, May 27, 2007
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
    BNE-SYD-BNE and my first experience in J

    I have finally calmed down and have decided that for my first attempt at Business Class, I will attempt a Trip Report.

    I want to thank both Lindsay and KiwiFlyer for being the inspiration behind this report and I apolgise upfront because mine won't come anywhere close to theirs.

    Hope you enjoy!
     

  2. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Background

    After several changes of dates and shortening of the trip, it was finally time for my next adventure away. With five days of work to do with the client in three days, it was going to be a big week. Whilst the rest of the team were flying down late Sunday, I decided I would treat myself and spend the day at Manly, my next home if I ever move to Sydney.

    I had never flown Business Class before and after hearing all about it here, I decided I would pay the difference between the full economy fare and J class and live life to the full.

    Rising early, I skipped breakfast knowing I would indulge in the Qantas Club and trial my first business class “refreshment”. After the hour trip to airport, I walked straight to the Priority area of check-in and was surprised to see that since I last flew without an International connection, there are now two lines- one for QC, Silver and Gold FF’s and the other for Chairman’s Lounge, Platinum and Business. With only one person in the latter line, and flying business class, I walked straight to the front. The person in front of me seemed to have problems though and the CSM spent at least five minutes on the phone. It would have been a much smarter option to take the other line but no need to stress over small things like this.

    Taking a leaf out of Kiwi Flyer’s book, after passing through security I stopped to rummage through my bag to ensure I wasn’t the next victim of the explosives test. Upstairs and turning left, I walked straight into the Qantas Club where the CSA barely even looked at my card, instead greeting me warmly.

    Opting for my usual QC breakfast, I had juice and the fruit salad covered in Mango Nectar. Five minutes before boarding, I made my way the short distance down to Gate 24 to ensure I could get the serial number of the plane for the report. Luckily, we commenced boarding a little early and I was one of the first to board.
     
  3. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Sunday 27th May 2007
    QF513 BNE/SYD (Distance 468 miles), Seat 1K (Business Class, right window)
    Boeing 767-338, VH-ZXB “Bourke”
    STD: 9;15am (doors closed 9.12am & push back 9.13am,actual take-off 9.21am)
    Captain – Gary Crittle, F/O: Richard Brown, CSM- Kathryn, FA’s – Elina & ??? (in J)


    Taking my seat in 1K, it felt great to finally have the tables turned and watch the stragglers head back to slum class ;) (ok, very harsh but this was an exciting experience for me). Elina greeted me warmly (not by name at this stage though) and offered me a juice before take-off. As the last of the stragglers boarded, our CSM greeted us and welcomed us abroad. Elina offered newspapers which I began to read before the Captain made his announcement. He informed us that the F/O would be flying the plane today and the luggage was all loaded but we were waiting on some cargo. This was to be the normal Brisbane - Sydney route today, passing over Armidale and the Hunter Valley before making our descent into Sydney.

    A couple of minutes later the door was closed and we pushed back from the gate. We taxied down to the Moreton Bay end of the runway (sorry, I don’t know runway names) where we moved straight out and at 9:21am, the engines were powered up. Remarkably quiet from my new cabin, we glided effortlessly along the runway before lifting. Looking through my window, I could see the EK, JAL and Qantas planes awaiting their next international journey. We turned left over the river giving me sweeping views of the city before climbing through the cloud cover and into oblivion.

    At 9:27, the seatbelt sign was switched off. I must say, at this point I was starting to get a bit frustrated that I couldn’t get my usual Billboard for entertainment. Normally channel 5 in economy and not having an Australian Way magazine in the seat pocket in front of me, I felt a bit lost. Finally I found it and settled back listening to Mike Hammond and my favourite tunes. Ahh, it was great to be home again!

    Hot towels were delivered at 9:31and promptly collected before Elina offered me (this time making a poor attempt at addressing me by name) my “refreshment”, Baked Ricotta with Pastrami, Roasted Capsicum and a Turkish Sausage. On the side was a hot Apple Cinnamon danish, a fruit bowl and juice, coffee and tea. All of the above were absolutely divine and certainly beat the biscuit I would have been offered down the back. We were never offered refills and it took forever to collect our trays but I did ask for a tea which Elina promptly made for me and delivered to my seat. Still like a little kid playing with a new toy, I fumbled with the controls in my Millennium seat and found the seat comfort adjuster. I lay back into my seat and watched the world go by (or the landscape below anyway).

    At 10:12, the familiar change in pitch of the engines took place and the angle of the plane began to descend. Surely this could not be over already! At 10:12am, the Captain asked the cabin crew to prepare the cabin for landing. Elina collected my tea, this time pluralising my first name with a Mr at the front. Smiling, I thought the attempt was worthwhile. Passing over the Hunter Valley and then over the Hawkesbury River, we were blessed with views on a gorgeous day. The F/O addressed us and informed us that we would have wonderful views from my side of the aircraft for landing as we flew over the harbour before a series of left hand turns with views of Coogee and Bondi with a long taxi to the terminal. Unfortunately, soon I realised we were making right hand turns and the views became Parramatta and Telstra Stadium. After a couple of minutes we made a hard left-hand turn intercepting the coast and descended before touching down at 10:32 onto runway 16R/34L (hope this is right?). My experience of life at the front was almost over- temporarily I hope!

    It would appear that one benefit of the new approach was that we only had a short taxi to gate 4. At 10:40, the door was opened and I was first off the aircraft. After consuming a large amount of liquid on board, I found the toilet before heading downstairs hoping to see my baggage rotating. No such luck and at 10:58, the carousel finally moved and I collected my bags (another perk of Business). I made my way outside where the luxury continued with a silver service taxi for the trip to my home for the next three nights, the Four Points Darling Harbour.

    Overall, I would definitely pay the difference between Full Economy and Business Class again, but for such a short sector, I doubt whether (unless I won Lotto) I would ever pay to fly Business on this sector. The food was great but not worth $658. I loved the overall experience and eating plane food from real crockery was nice. Unfortunately, my flight home is back to economy but for my next work trip (probably August), I will definitely pay the difference again.
     
  4. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    PS. I want to thank the very experienced Platinum who had to sit beside me as I fumbled with my Serviette, the Audio system and my seat. Hope I can be like you next time and join you on your connecting BA flight in First. ;)
     
  5. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    39,047
    7,702
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Thank you for your trip report; it brought back many memories of my first Business sector (SYD-MEL in 1994 on an old Airbus), especially the part "Remarkably Quiet"; it's certainly a different sound being in front of the engines.

    Interesting about the $658 cost, if you look closely and are flexible with times there are currently 'D' class seats available on that sector most Sundays for $484.
     
  6. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Thanks for the report - I still have those moments of wondering how everything fits together (too many trips not repeated so have to learn it each time).

    Glad you enjoyed it - you just now have to wonder if you will be able to go back to the back of the bus ;)
     
  7. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Thanks Serfty. Unfortunately we didn't book until late on Friday and Qantas had blocked all their D seats Friday morning. It turns out though that becuase of the volume of travel my org does, and policies to either fly full economy (ie Y class) or J class, depending on rank, Qantas offers us a 30% approx discount upfront on Y & J class and its only $23 difference between D and J. Total cost return in J is $810 which is less than a walk-up Y fare. :)

    It will be quite tough heading down the back again but as I mentioned, for a short sector I'll manage, it will be the BNE-PER runs that will be a killer. ;)
     
  8. clifford

    clifford Established Member

    Jul 6, 2004
    1,761
    243
    Canberra / London
    Hi littl_flier, nice trip report and good luck for the future.

    Must admit my first trip in F/J/C was F class on BA in 1974, LHR-BKK-HKG-SYD (showing my age a bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing...).

    The pink gins were very nice.
     
  9. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Thanks Clifford. I will be posting the trip home (in whY unfortunately) late tomorrow after I have done some study. :rolleyes:

    Remember, as Billie Burke once said, "Age does not matter unless you're cheese." With age comes experience. ;)
     
  10. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Re: BNE-SYD-BNE and my first experience in J

    Ok, well here we go with the rest of the trip report and what will now classify me as a "posting freak". :p

    As reported, it was tough flying down the back (literally) again.

    Hope you enjoy,
    little_flier.
     
  11. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Re: BNE-SYD-BNE and my first experience in J

    Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour

    I stayed at this hotel towards to the end of last year because the Hilton was full and had a mixed experience where I got upgraded to a suite, but there was no pool, the breakfast is sub-standard comparably and the fire alarm went off at 3am. Unfortunately though, I don’t get to chose where we stay on this trip so it was time for a hopefully better experience.

    Upon check-in, I was offered a room on the SPG floor and was upgraded to a Darling Harbour View room. The luxury was continuing! I checked in at 11am and was given my room immediately, definitely a bonus. Maybe I had been a little harsh after all. :oops:

    After dumping my bags in my room, I headed over to one of my favourite places, Manly. Here I had fish and chips on the beach before walking out to the headland. I caught the ferry back to the hotel where the lovely girl at concierge found a pool for me to do some laps at. Absolutely stuffed after this, I ordered room service and wrote up the first part of the trip report.

    The next couple of days involve work and nothing interesting but I do want to give a huge plug for Bungalow 8 at the King Street Warf. The meals were amazing and very cheap. Their signature dish appears to be the mussels- for $21.50 all you can eat on Tuesdays. This seems to represent unreal value but you must book ahead for this deal. I am allergic to shell fish so I had the Calimari for entrée ($16) and Steak and Chips ($23) for mains. Monday night we went up Centrepoint and had the buffet. I thought this was a bit overrated and probably overpriced but the view and the plane watching was worth it, particularly when I wasn’t paying. ;)

    Breakfast at the hotel was not too bad this time but still had a limited selection compared to Crown Towers in Melb or the Hilton in Sydney. The beds though are absolutely amazing.

    I do have one negative point about the hotel however. Upon check-out, I asked them not to credit the points to SPG but instead to QFF where they would probably have more value for me. I was informed though that they could not do this and all points had to be transferred through SPG. This means a devaluing of my points. Oh well, I intend on lodging a missing points claim with Qantas and seeing what happens. Overall, I would stay here again, particularly if travelling for leisure. :eek:
     
  12. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,432
    244
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Yo littl_flier - cheers for the trip report. Very nice flight there. :)

    Yes the 4P SYD is very good with upgrades. It used to have a very competitive price point but lately the rates are not too different to Sheraton SYD, hence my new hotel of choice in SYD. :)
     
  13. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Wednesday 30th May 2007
    QF546 SYD/BNE (Distance 468 miles), Seat 23D (whY Class, Aisle row with all the plebs at the back of the plane)
    Boeing 737-476, VH-TJL “Swift”
    STD:
    6.35pm (push back 6.34pm,actual take-off 6.45pm)
    Captain – ??? , F/O: ??? CSM- Donna Skriven, FA’s – Jo, Vanessa, Emma and ???


    After a mad couple of days, it was time to head home again. I was originally booked on QF552, the 8.05pm because I had made a mistake on my travel rec and had requested QF555 (the BNE-SYD flight) but as I was booked fully flex, I wasn’t too concerned. I knew I would fly earlier, but having flown down in J class and there being plenty of seats in J left on QF552, I had OLCI to see what seat I had. 4F was allocated, unfortunately no op-up today (I live in hope) so the flight would definitely be changing.

    As the day passed, the team and I realised we would make our deadline and get all our work done. They were booked onto QF546 and I was still on QF552 but seatcounter had been showing Y0 for many days now. I resigned myself to the fact that I would be on the 7.05pm flight which was perfectly fine as I would have a more comfortable 763 and some time in the Qantas Club to myself. Things changed though and I was confirmed for QF546 and least I could make it home for the end of Air Crash Investigation at 8.30. :)

    Just after 5pm, we jumped into our taxi in North Sydney, crossing the Harbour Bridge and turning down over Circular Quay for our final glimpses of what makes Sydney so famous. The usual traffic made the trip a little slower than I would have liked but we arrived at the airport at 5:35. Knowing I would be cutting it fine, I was hoping we might make the 6:05 and enjoy some time with our families before crashing after a big three days. No such luck though. I am the only one of the team with status and the others refused to believe that they could join me in the QC line, so we separated. To cut a long story short, economy check-in was much faster today than premium check-in and the girls were through at least 10 minutes before me. Oh well, that’s life!

    Dropping off a parcel to special handling, I joined the queues for security and juggled my two bags (I didn’t check my file bag because I wanted to keep the Business tag as a reminder of the fun times from Sunday) and laptop. Collecting my items, I noticed the explosives guy was looking for his next victim but aware the girls were waiting for me, I did a big loop by turning right and heading in the opposite direction to him. ;) Always wanting to do the right thing and not believing that we could at least try the Qantas Club, we went and sat at the gate with all the plebs, fourty minutes before a flight. Looks like no rum and coke for me then. Oh well, I fly Qantas because they give me a newspaper in the morning and a beer in the afternoon! :p

    In the last minute change of flights, I had given up 4F to sit with the plebs in 23D, three rows from the back. I kindly asked the CSA at the gate if there was anything further forward, but on a full flight, there was no chance. This was definitely going to be a different experience to the flight down and bring me back to earth!

    At 6.05pm and quite early, we began our boarding and suddenly the masses appeared from the lounge as we climbed onboard. At 6.20, we were fully boarded and I thought we might have an early departure until the engineers came onboard. Sure enough, they disappeared as quickly as they arrive after digging all the J class passengers out of their seats and at 6.34pm, we pushed back. I made a mental note to avoid the 737-400 flights in future as it appeared to be falling apart. Some genius had thought to block the seat beside me though, so I immediately spread out a little. Taxiing through Sydney airport is always a thrill for me as you see quite a few airlines. There was a sexy looking QF 744 sitting in the hangar behind gate 1 after having either a paint job or polish. :cool:

    We made our long taxi to 16L/34R where we powered up at 6:45 and I was drowned out by the sound of the engines. Unlike the journey down, there was no effortless gliding as I felt the plane swerve around and a grinding noise as we lifted off. There were a few small bumps on take-off but the seatbelt sign was soon switched off. I was starting to get rather irritated now as again I could not find Billboard. Channel 1 was overhead audio and Channel Five had nothing on. :( Oh well, again that’s life. I decided to visit the bathroom but in doing this I missed the only announcement from the Captain for the entire flight.

    On such a short sector, the FA’s quickly began preparing dinner and served a Lemon Chicken with Rice. This was accompanied by a nice white to polish it off. The Qantas In-flight News was screened and I caught up on the headlines after a few days. A show was screened after that about an indigenous AFL team but I decided to listen to Rock on Q and just chill out for a while. As the girls with thetrolley came up the aisle to collect the trays, I asked for a bottle of red this time to make sure I really chilled out. On offer tonight was a Zonte’s Footstep 2005 Cabernet Malbec. This went down really well and I was offered another when they collected my tray five minutes later. Did I look depressed or something??? :D Of course I took it and started to knock back another one. The rest of the flight was spent in a semi-dozed state and such; I don’t have much else to report on. :oops:

    At 7.36, the engines toned down as we commenced our descent into Brizzy. I went up the back and had a quick chat to one of the FA’s and asked them if they knew a friend of mine who is a QF CSM. Turns out they were a lovely Brizzy crew at the end of their day and we chatted for five minutes before the captain asked them to prepare the cabin for landing. As we descended, it was a little disconcerting when the person behind’s mobile started ringing but we all turned a blind eye to it. There were sweeping views over the Gold Coast and then the city for those lucky enough with a window. At 7.54, we touched down (or slammed down) and made our way to Gate 24. At the back of the bus today, it took forever to get off the plane but it was straight through the exit outside Gate 24 and downstairs to the carousel where my fragile item was coming off first. After the first round of bags, mainly being Business came off, we waited and then all the economy bags came. Now in a state after three bottles of wine where I just wanted to sleep, it seemed like ages before my bag came off, towards the end of economy. So much for priority.

    Anyway, it was outside and into the car for the trip home where I caught up on what had been happening in family life. Another trip had come to an end and I couldn’t wait for the next one. Overall, it was tough heading down the back (and this time right down the back) but with the wine offered complimentary, it was not as hard as I thought it might be. I can’t wait to do this again and will definitely be paying the upgrade again. Next time though, I’m going to make sure I choose a 763, or a 73H if I have too. The mini-cabin on the 763 is a great feeling!


    Thanks to everyone for ploughing through this with me. I hope you enjoyed my first trip report and I hope I can contribute plenty more.
     
  14. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Nice update littl_flier - sounds like a blast of a trip - I think I need a few of these short "there and back again" type trips to ground me a little ;)

    Keep grabing those ODUs ;)
     
  15. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,432
    244
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Thanks for the great read, little_flier. :)
    I see I'm not the only one who indulges in the little bottles of wine QF hands out - they go down quite well for WHY wines. Sometimes you get little gems like Wirra Wirra Shiraz, which would not be out of place in J. :)
     
Loading...

Share This Page