Lindsay's Mileage Run across Australia

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Jun 20, 2002
Continuing on from the discusion about my impending Mileage Run in my Flyertalk thread QF WP's mileage run, following are my notes from eight flights around Australia on 1 May 2004.

This day started particularly early for me as I'm not normally an early riser. A 5am wake-up call using my mobile (cell phone) had me rolling out of bed quickly, knowing that if I missed the first flight, the entire trip was in jeopardy. Thankfully I only live 12.5 kilometres (8 miles) from the airport, so after a quick shower I picked up my pre-packed Qantas Frequent Flyer bag and called the taxi.

It arrives shortly thereafter and in no time I was at the airport. Given the early hour, I decided to use the Qantas Quick Check check-in facility, as I had no luggage and I thought with multiple sectors it would be easier - I wasn't in the mood for human interaction at this point. The first two sectors showed up so I keyed through the prompts and changed my second flight (SYD/CBR) seeking from 14D to 7D. I already had a forward aisle seat that I was happy with on BNE/SYD, so I left that alone.

Straight up to the Qantas Club and as I wanted to get some photographs of the Club for this Mileage Report (they will be loaded shortly), I bypassed the food offering knowing I would get a meal on the first flight. Barely 30 paxs in lounge at 5.30am. Boarding was called at 5:50am for Gate 25.


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF501 From/To: BNE/SYD
Rego: VH-VXJ (737-800)
Seat: 6D Sequence: 99
SDT: 06.00am ADT: 06.00am (push back), 6.08am (take-off)

Flight crew were: Captain Alex Shenk, First Officer Rick Fitzsimons, CSD Anthony Mason, F/A's Teresa, Jodie, Trish and Julie.

At 5.52am, the CSD made his final announcement and the doors closed at 5:54am. At 5:55am the Captain announced that the flight time was 60 minutes with good flying conditions. It was good to see that Qantas had already loaded the May 2004 magazine "The Australian Way". J had four empty seats whilst WHY was relatively full.

Takeoff was uneventful and at 6:20 AM breakfast was served. The pax in 6C (allow me to nickname him Aussie Yobbo) complained that his UHT milk was off (after he had poured it on his cereal), so the flight attendant got him a new tray. Then he proceeded to belch loudly at the end of his meal and subsequently clear his nasal passages multiple times :( . To cap it off, he laughed loudly at the video presentation and looked sideways at me wondering why I wasn't laughing. (I was already thinking that I was glad it was only a short flight). Thankfully, he worked out that I wasn't impressed or going to engage him in conversation, so closed his eyes until his wife nudged him on descent as he began to snore with his mouth wide open :evil: . By this stage, I was considering what I could drop into his open mouth :twisted: , unfortunately I had not retained anything from the breakfast tray to use as an offending article. As a final affront, he yawned without covering his mouth directly at me.

Touchdown was at 7:15am and with a 9 min taxi we arrived at Gate 5. Only Gates 1 and 6 were empty, with the following QF jets in the remaining gates: 2 - VH TJB, 3 - VH TJJ, 4 - VH ZXC, 7 - VH TJH, 8 - VH TJE.

After getting the registrations of the aircraft sitting at the other Gates, I made my way quickly off the flight and up to the sanctity of the Sydney Qantas Club. I thought it was prudent to get the rest of my BP's now, so as to save time later in the day when I had minimum connection times between some flights. Thankfully, a friend it was on duty at the West Service Desk and organised the rest of today's flights - thankfully I had seen her at a wedding the week prior and knew that she was on shift today. She was aware of my mileage run but still shook her head at what I was undergoing as she progressively printed out the boarding passes for Flights 3 to 7. It was just the other CSA's on the Service Desk who looked quizzically at me as I kept collecting BP's. The system was unable to print out the BP's for my flights that commenced tomorrow as check-in still wasn't open for those flights.


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF787 From/To: SYD/CBR
Rego: VH-TJE (737-400) "Kookaburra"
Seat: 7D Sequence: 59
SDT: 08.10am ADT: 08.09am (push back), 8.24am (take-off on 34R)

Flight crew were: Captain Chris ??, First Officer Matthew Grove, CSD Jennifer and F/A's Donna, Robyn, Yvonne and Jo.

We were advised that there was strengthening winds with turbulence approaching Canberra (CBR). Flight time was 30 minutes, expected temperature on arrival at 13 degrees Celsius.

On this flight I was seated next to a father and his young son. The son was excited at being on board a plane but unhappy at being stuck in the middle seat, having to peer across his father out the window. There was a snack service on this flight -- I got fruit pieces (Honeydew Melon and Rockmelon) and OJ, the other pax got ham and cheese rolls with OJ.

This flight was similarly uneventful and touchdown was at 8:58am. We taxied to a stop at 9:04am on the tarmac (on of only 2 airport in australia where this still happens). We alighted using the old-fashioned stairs and quickly walked towards the terminal. Now I had to get back through security and up into the Canberra Qantas Club.

This was my first visit to the new CBR QC (Qantas had given it a makeover four months ago). Or is very impressed with the new layout however what I pulled out my digital video camera to photograph the new reception area, the lounge CSA (I nicknamed her Dragon Lady) abruptly told me that corporate policy did not allow photography in the Qantas Club. What??? I'd never heard of that before ?!! Unfortunately, DL was training a gorgeous CSA who I nicknamed Stunner...she truly was :wink: :p .

So I simply crept around the corner and photographed there anyway. I christened the FT corner, as it's near the Bar. Alas the "Closed" sign on the Bar said it all -- I thought about taking it off and saying "This bar is now open for business", but thought better given that I still had to get past the Dragon Lady on the way back out.

I grabbed some more breakfast and started to write my notes, realising the boarding was delayed five minutes already. I said goodbye to Stunner on the way out, alas DL was talking to other pax, I was so devastated....


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF787 (CBR/SYD)
Rego: VH-TJE (737-400) Kookaburra (again)
Seat: 11C Sequence: 2
SDT: 09.40am ADT: 09.55am (push back), 10.02am (take-off)

Boarding was at Gate 14 (don't worry when you see Gates 11, 12 or 14 showing on your boarding pass as their directly outside the QC). After boarding I did not hear the Captain or First Officer's names. CSD was Amanda, FA's were Margaret and Mandy. Service on this meal was a light refreshment -- same meal as my previous flight however the fruit was pineapple pieces and grapes added to the two types of melon. It was served at 10:07am.

The highlight of this flight was a person who I dubbed Orangeman. He was clothed in an orange Hare Krishna sheet, wearing sneakers and carrying a briefcase, I'd seen him wandering around the QC, then join the line onto my flight. He kept his orange headpiece on until he had boarded and then replaced it with a driver's soft cap when onboard. He was seated in to 2G.

I had been seated in a row with a balding bearded middle-aged gentleman who actually looked like a Professor, thus he was nicknamed. In fact, later in the flight I saw his BP and noted he was a Doctor, so my initial assessment was fairly correct.

The delay of 20 minutes was certainly meaning that my time (if any) back in the Sydney QC was going to be brief, before heading to my next flight to MEL (as I had initially had a 40 minute turnaround between these flights). There were beautiful views of Sydney beaches likely a sunny day on approach. A bit of clear air turbulence struck when we came in on final approach -- I never seem to mind too much however others weren't enjoying it too much.

We touched down at 10:28am on runway 34L 16R (I think) and after a short taxi, arrived at Gate 4. The only rego I copied down was VN TJW at Gate 9, given that I had to be packed and ready for immediate transit to my next Gate for my following flight.

With my next flight at 11.00am, I had no time other than going to say hi to Maria, my CSA friend who by this stage was manning the Reception Desk in the East Wing. So I walked straight off the flight, up the SYD QC West Entrance escalator and walked up the corridor (past the Chairmans Lounge) to say "hi and bye"; then down the escalator and strode over to Gate 3 where boarding had already commenced. No rest for the delayed :( , however I had factored into my expectation for this MR that I would get some delays. Still, this was one of the tightest turn arounds that I would have.


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF7427 (SYD/MEL)
Rego: VH-EAN (767-238) "Alice Springs"
Seat: 23F Sequence: 8
SDT: 11.00am ADT: 10.01am (push back), 11.16am (take-off)

Crew were: Captain Doug McCullovich, F/O Ben Marsh, CSD Martin and F/A's Hailey, Tammy, Kylie and Michelle.

This Captain actually gave an excellent commentary as we began the long taxi to the runway - a fact agreed by fellow pax around me. He advised that we were third in the queue with a 12 to 15 minute taxi. We'd make a right hand turn over the Eastern suburbs, a series of right hand turns ending up over Woolongong, we'd reach cruising altitude of 38K feet and the flight would take 1 hour 5 mins with some mild turbulence. In fact, I was worried that he wasn't going to stop talking and put the bird into the ocean :eek: ...

I had been seated in the front row of economy, in a section that held 3 WHY seats, before the main cabin of WHY. I enjoy helping the FA's with the safety demonstarion, so I assisted Tammy by holding the oxygen mask and life vest. She started chocking back laughter as I mouthed the words to the video. Well, I had to entertain myself somehow as the programming hadn't started...

Thankfully, Maria had blocked off the middle seat when she had allocated my seating on this flight, as the pax at the window seat was easily christened The Unit (if you can recall the American Football player called "The Refridgerator", well this guy was a spitting image - for another likeness, a black Vince Sorrenti on steriods with a crew cut). There was just no way he fitted into his seat, his shoulders and legs spead half-way into the middle seat. Although I'm no Thunderbird (at 6'2" and 87kgs/220pounds), I felt positively miniscule in his shadow and made sure I said nothing to disturb him :D . He wasn't the chatty type as he buried his head in a book (I as surprised he could read :wink: )

The service on this flight was a refreshment - the QF Snack Box with a local artist Marnie Wark's "Acrylic on Canvas" embossing. It consisted of an apple, two Luken & May cookies (Apricot Museli and Double Choc - yum :D ) and a bottle of Summit Mineral Water. Actually, this was one flight where I was happy my special meal hadn't been loaded.

40 minutes into the flight, the Captain came back over the PA advising that we had 50 km/h headwinds and cloud cover to 800m on the approach to MEL.

Watched the John Travolta story "Come Fly With Me: John Travolta's Spirit of Friendship" as it had special meaning. My wife and I had been selected by QF, along with other leading QF Frequent Flyers in BNE, to attend a dinner (at AUD$250 per person mind you :shock: ) in honour of that RTW trip by John and Kelly. But when my wife found out that we had been invited, I had no option but to RSVP "yes" (if I knew what was good for me :roll: :wink: )...

Well, the Captain really nailed the landing at 12.22pm - there was nothing soft about it . I'm sure the entire plane shook as it bounced down for the second attempt at landing. The Unit mouthed a couple of expletives (I won't mention them here, it's a family site) and looked across at me. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought better of commenting...

We pulled up to the Gate (didn't get which one this time) at 12.35pm and I made my way up to the MEL QP to prepare myself for the return journey.


Jun 20, 2002
This was the quickest 90 mins between flights. Firstly, I checked with the CS Desk about the possibility of an On Departure Upgrade (ODU) using some of my FF points for my intended Flight 7 (MEL/PER). However, as it was outside the window of opportunity (3 hours before take-off), the CSA initially said I couldn't do it. I advised her my position (that I was about to fly to MEL/SYD/MEL and connect to that PER flight), so she said she would ask a colleague to process it (as she was going off shift in an hour)...I wasn't hopeful but I'd check when I came back from SYD. She understood my dilemma (that I'd be landing in SYD when the window of opportunity for the ODU opened and others may take it). Again, I put it down to beign a Platinum member that she was willing to go that extra mile.

I dived quickly into the food bar...chicken & cheese as well as cheese & tomato rolls with a Hahn Premium to wash them down, of course (as anybody who's visited the FT Qantas Forum would know is our beer of choice!!). I then wandered over to the Business Centre to log on and report in (for those FT'ers following me on my day trip, I had to keep the suspense up).


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF438 (MEL/SYD)
Rego: VH-EAN (767-238) "Alice Springs" again
Seat: 23B Sequence: 2
SDT: 2.00pm ADT: 1.58pm (push back), 2.06pm (take-off)

I didn't get the Captain or F/O's names, however the CSD was Shane Bullock and F/A's Dieter and Larry (yes, you guessed it, my first gay FA's on my flights today).

I looked around for FT'er RichardMEL (I'd met him previously), who had advised me he was going to be on the same flight, however he must have boarded early and I couldn't spot him in the sea of faces behind me in the main WHY cabin. I put my FF bag up in the overhead locker with my Flyertalk tags showing prominently, hoping that while the lockers were still open, he might spy them and know that I was on board. When he didn't show, I thought I'll just have to look out for him upon disembarkation at SYD - perhaps his Ansett Australia cap would show up in the throng of alighting pax.

The service on this flight was a Snack - delivered at 2.12pm and collected at 2.25pm. Box was an Alison Curry design with a sandwich (corned beef & tomato), a box of Tana's (sultana's), Summit Water, and skim milk triangle for a cuppa which was greatful drunk. I was starting to tire of the viscious circle.

Quiet Girl was my seatmate on this flight. She smiled at me when I sat down, but buried her head in a magazine and then a book during the flight. I offered my box of sultana's as I don't like them...she popped them one-by-one for the rest of the trip.

The Captain was remarkably quiet (another reason why I didn't get his name) as I don't recall him saying anything - however as soon as I was writing up my TR, he came on to advise we'd be arriving @ 3.15pm at the Gate.

True to his word, we landed at 3.04pm on Runway 34L 16R and taxied to Gate 4 on time. I was off quickly and turned to join the general public awaiting their friends/family - I spotted RichardMEL, we shook hands and quickly decided to catch up over a Hahn Premium (HP) up in the Qantas Club [we affectionately renamed it the Qantas Pub (QP) over in the Flyertalk Qantas Forum].


Jun 20, 2002
I got RichardMEL into the SYD QP using my Plat card (and his boarding passes, as he was returning to MEL later that night) and settled down near the Bar to catch up. Dave Noble also joined us so I introduced them.

Well as everybody who's ever taken a MR knows, expect the unexpected when you least want it. We expected to sit there, have a couple of HP's and they'd see me off on my next flight (the return to MEL). No such luck... to quote my comment at the time:

QF WP said:
Just heard about a delay for my returning MEL flight, so that's going to eat into my chances of sampling more HP's there and I hope it doesn't affect my chances of an ODU (depending on whether my new friendly CSA is true to her word)...

I will admit that I am getting drained after waking up at 4.30am this morning...starting to slow down...might catch some winks MEL/PER...

Now let's follow this through to it's inevitable conclusion...with the following twist.

This was meant to be my next two flights:


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF447 (SYD/MEL)
SDT: 16.00pm

connecting to:


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF481 (MEL/PER)
SDT: 18.35pm

Taking a step back, you'll recall that I had asked for an ODU on my MEL/PER flight. Have a flying guess what happened...the CSA in MEL was good to her word (as was her colleague), as when I checked with Maria (who was still on shift), I now had a J seat MEL/PER and had my FF account debited with the points. But the possibility that I was going to be able to access that seat was becoming more remote as the delays on my next flight mounted...soon it went past the point of no possible return to MEL and the fun began. We decided to start a guess how QF WP gets to PER which certainly got the post count up for FT that night.

Armed with my trusty FT guru Dave Noble and RichardMEL for moral support, I approached Maria and her fellow CSA who RichardMEL dubbed Clueless. Everything that Dave Noble, RichardMEL and I suggested to her to get me to PER, she had no idea about - it was as if we knew more about flights and availability than she did)...

Finally, after some gentle persuasion (as she was saying there were no seats available, yet we could see 2 on ITN), she agreed to reverse the ODU on the MEL/PER sector, refund the FF points and get me on the next (and last for the night) flight SYD/PER...


Saturday, 1 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF571 (SYD/PER)
Rego: unknown
Seat: 26D Sequence: 126
SDT: 5.25pm ADT: 5.30pm (push back), 5.39pm (take-off)

Well, finally on board to the right destination, but not from the departure point that I thought and definitely not the class of travel that I had envisaged :mad: (as a saving grace, at least my 14K FF points had been refunded and perhaps I'd be able to get an ODU on the return leg tonight). Even being in the 4th back row was better than staying in SYD the night and ruining my MR.

Captain was James Yellow, F/O ??, CSS Tanya Coy (a credit to QF, this girl, as you'll read below!) and F/A's Paul, Daniel, Darryl and Bronwyn.

As I was boarding, Tanya had taken a call at the Gate CS Desk and I found out that it was about me (it must have been from the QP CS Desk upstairs). She came back after take-off to personally hand me the Menu for the flight, apologise for the problems with my flights and asked me whether there was anything that she could do to make my flight better...would I like wine from Business Class (as otherwise I'd have to pay for it on this weekend flight). I accepted the gracious offer with barely a second thought...she delivered a bottle to the back galley and asked that I get up get top-ups lest the other pax around me get upset with my "favourable" treatment.

Sydney to Perth - Supper Menu


Green Leaf Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Main Courses

Stir Fried Chicken with Steamed Rice; or
Three Cheese Ravioli with Beef, Tomato & Herb Sauce


Chocolate Buscuit
Ice Cream

I chose the Ravioli and whilst it wasn't "My Restaurant Rules" quality, it filled me up. Mini Heaven ice creams finished me off (as I scored some extras from the back galley crew). I sat next to a female pax (I'd had the middle seat blocked again), who was really curious as to why I was getting al this much so, that after supper she confronted me and asked was I a VIP...alas, I had to let her down gently, but explained my afternoon drama and advised her it was the joys of being top tier status.

I ended up for the last hour in the back galley having a drink while talking to the F/A's. The excellent crew and service made up partially for missing the J MEL/ least I was getting in around the same time anyway.

I made it to PER at 7.55pm (2 hours behind BNE time, so my body clock was starting to flag it was time to sleep).

Firstly, I went to the QC Bar to try and take QF to task. I then logged back onto FT and updated my thread to find out who had guessed how or whether I'd made it to PER. I also updated a physics experiment for NM and caught up by phone with fellow BNE FT'er IainF who was in PER that night. Joyfully, I saw that QF had already posted my points and status crdits for the flights....incorrectly but I wasn't about to advise them of their error.

Then I settled into the next 3 hours of waiting in the PER QP before my return across whittle away some time, I checked with Elisabeth (at Reception) whether on the off-chance there were any ODU's for my next flight. Sometime you just have to be lucky - 1 left that didn't require me to say too much. 2 minutes later, I was allocated a seat in J and happily gave back to QF all of the extra FF points they had just incorrectly credited me.

I saw that Elisabeth has some study books open (it was a quiet night) and we started talking...she was doing BComm subjects (I had already finished 4 MComm subjects so I offered to help). Very few pax came in the next hour, so she got a long way through her study that night...she was a wonderful CSA, always smiling even on a Sat night when all her friends were out partying...

I then excused myself and took a cold shower to wake myself up. Going on 19 hours awake and I was starting to feel the pinch. A couple more HP's and food helped me through to boarding which commenced at midnight through Gate 3 (2am BNE time).


Sunday, 2 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF518 (PER/SYD)
Rego: VH EBA (Airbus 332)
Seat: 1E Sequence: 16
SDT: 00.15am ADT: 00.15am (push back), 00.23am (take-off) Runway 21

Didn't score the Captain or F/O names'; however SSC was Melena and FA's in J were Michelle and Simone. The last thing I wrote down was "cruising at 39K feet, relatively smooth flight to SYD" as I chose to get some much needed rest. I received the Dinner Menu but I had eaten my fill in the QP for the express purpose of catching up on sleep, so I passed on the meal.

Perth to Sydney - Supper Menu


Mezze Plate

Main Courses

Roast Lamb with spicy Carrot Puree, Green Beans and Rosemary jus; or
Fish Fillet with Roast Vegetables and Olive Butter; or
Grilled Chicken with Risoni and Mesculun Salad *

* Healthier Option (as quoted on Menu)



It also stated that a Berry Energiser Drink will be served prior to arrival...I'm sure that's what enabled me to wake up and begin functioning after barely 5 hours sleep.

Touchdown was at 6.17am and we taxied to Gate 7, reaching it at 6.24am. I stumbled off the flight and went looking for the SYD QP, relieved that my final flight was just around the corner.

Conscious of the questions and requests that I had inflicted upon Karen (Clueless) the CSA in the SYD QP, I had found out last night that she had scored the early shift this morning. So the previous night, I had bought a box of Paton's Chocolate Macadamias as a thank you gift - as without her help, my delayed SYD/MEL flight would have torpedoed my MR and some of my best value flights per SC. So on my return, I surprised her firstly by arriving back in the QP (she had thought I was certifiable for flying to PER and return overnight) and secondly, by presenting her with the chocolates and my heartfelt thanks. It never hurts to have another CSA advocate in SYD QP. A couple of the other CSA's on the Service Desk remembered me from last night and shook their heads....


Sunday, 2 May 2004
Airline: QF Flight Number: QF504 (SYD/BNE)
Rego: unknown (767-336)
Seat: 23B Sequence: 67
SDT: 07.05am ADT: 07.04am (push back), 07.17 (take-off)

Given my low turn around time between flights 7 and 8, my flight was being called shortly after I had finished at the Service Desk. Not being one to board early, I wandered down the Gates doing some aircraft spotting (it also helped me stay awake - had I sat down I might have fallen asleep at the Gate):

1 - VH TJY
2 - VH EAO
3 - VH ZXF
5 - VH TJJ
6 - empty
7 - VH EBA (my flight from PER)
8 - VH TJQ
9 - VH TJW
10 - VH QPC
11 - VH ZXE
16 - VH ZXC

On my way back, I spotted a number of flight leaving - VH TQK, VH TQH and VH TQD.

Barely remembered boarding - lets be truthful, I was having an "out of body" experience due to the sleep deprivation. I remembered writing down the FA's names later (Tanya, Linda and Michelle). The rest of any announcements by the Captain or F/O were lost.

I remember "coming to" just before take off as somebody climbed over me to the window seat. One look at him nicknamed him Foreign Man. He was a young Turkish or Maltese who was last to board and very protective of his laptop, hugging it to his chest. His English was poor as he couldn't seem to grasp the requirement that he had to stow it in the closet diagonally opposite (as we were first row of WHY).

We taxied out to the runway and sat at G5/25 whilst other aircraft had right of way - an Air Ambulance went first, then a Virgin Blue flight. Then a Korean 747 crossed our runway as well as a QantasLink. We stopped at the 2450m position and then....full throttles and we were aloft.

After take-off and levelling, breakfast was served at 7.25am - mine consisted of Berri OJ, Purina Corn Flakes, Devondale Skim Milk and a banana. That meal lasted no time on my tray, as I was ravenous. Trays were cleared at 7.40am.

Foreign Man had trouble finding where his tray was to accept the breakfast offer. When he did, I noted it's state of disrepair and watched as he fought to eat his breakfast onan ever increasing angle as his breakfast tray slid towards the window with ever increasing regularity.

We tracked along the coastline of northern NSW and along the beaches of the Gold Coast, before making our way out to sea to land into runway 19-01. We landed at 8.25am and taxied to Gate 25, arriving at 8.30am. Home at last!! (apart from the taxi ride back to home and a day of eternal slumber).

Now this MR would have been greatly assisted by StevePER's Mileage Run calculator (see the QF Forum for this topic), however it was done months prior to the advent of such a useful tool (for QF Aust/NZ flights). Still, I hope that sometime in the not to disant future, I get to use this tool and create my next MR.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found it enjoyable (though not as exhausting) and even learnt something for your next flights on QF...
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