Mini-TR on QF & AY in J: SYD-BKK-xHEL-PRG-xHEL-xSIN-SYD on A330s,A340s, A319/320s | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Mini-TR on QF & AY in J: SYD-BKK-xHEL-PRG-xHEL-xSIN-SYD on A330s,A340s, A319/320s

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nonpop

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A quick trip up to Czech Republic (such a great place) over Easter, so grabbed some airline pics along the way for anyone considering AY.
AY have started to introduce their refurbished fleet especially across the A340s. It was a refurbished A340 on the way up from BKK and then an old config back to SIN.

All the AY (and QF) flights were bang on time and connecting at HEL (from AY to AY) was from plane door opening to lounge (clearing security & passport control crossing in / out of Schengen zone was < 10 mins and was very fast and efficient). At that point the lounge to next flight was a few mins walk. All too easy and very convenient and stress free. I love HEL airport for transiting.

And let's just say the odd glass of Champagne and Red was consumed along the way which at times meant that I did miss taking the odd photo.

(ignore the dates on the photos as I reset the camera date when I was in the lounge)

Here we go ... The journey starts SYD to BKK

View from QF Syd 1st Lounge.
Even though we were on a QF A330, I always have a soft spot for the QF B747s. Just such good looking.

Lounge - view.jpg

Oh Sydney - such a beautiful city
Lounge - view 2.jpg

A330 SYD>BKK
Champagne on board --- The bubbles just seem to bring out the joy in life
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Champage.jpg

Our Seat fro SYD to BKK --- usual Mk1 seat. Was comfortable enough for a mid haul flight especially with the extra seat cover that is applied after take-off. The extra padding is nice on the bum and hips. Overall the cabin was showing her age. But she performed well with no delays.
QF-SYD-BKK Seat 1.jpg

General seat shots
QF-SYD-BKK Seat 2.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Meal Time: The food was hit and miss. Service though was a big positive and the crew did a great job.

Entrée #1 was pleasant. Not great, not bad.
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Entree.jpg

Entrée #2 was tasty a full of flavour
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Entree 2.jpg

Main #1 was a Chicken curry. Nice and tasty
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Main 1.jpg

Main #2 was a shocker ... it was a mushroom lasagne and just didn't work. Neither of us liked it. It was also like something out of a Ghost Busters movie (giant snot sample).
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Main 2.jpg

Pre-landing meal #1 was tasty noodle box beef
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Landing 1.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Pre-landing meal #2 was tasty noodle box BBQ pork
QF-SYD-BKK Meal - Landing 2.jpg

Ok that was QF to BKK.
Flight was very good and service was well done and Champagne was free flowing.

We then stopped off for 1 night in BKK to catch-up with a few friends. We stayed at Millenium Hilton BKK and they looked after us

So now we go BKK to PRG via HEL.
AY A340 was a refurbished bird. Flight departed bang on time at around 9am.
We used the QF BKK lounge as the BA lounge wasn't open.
QF lounge opens at 6:30am and the BA lounge (supposedly) opens 7:30am (but we noticed it didn't open until 8am).
This is the lounge at 7:30am. It was empty. We left about 8:15am when some pax started to arrive for what I suspect was a DXB flight

Lounge shot 1
BKK lounge 1.jpg

Lounge shot 2
BKK lounge 2.jpg


Lounge shot 3 --- the important stuff
BKK lounge 3.jpg

Lounge shot 4 --- in the event of flying in Y, consume much of this stuff prior (ok don' judge me :D) Thankfully we didn't need to.
BKK lounge 4.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Now to our AY flight from BKK to PRG via HEL.
I've got a lot of cabin shots so hopefully gives you a feel for their new hard product. The seating was very new and carpets in perfect condition. The seat and controls worked perfectly as did the AV system.

Cabin shots
1
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 1.jpg

2
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 2.jpg

3
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 3.jpg

4
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 4.jpg

5
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 5.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Seat is comfortable and as new is well padded.
The side space is significant next to the seat (arm rest area) and there is plenty of space of bits and pieces.

Seat shots of full flat seating:
1
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 8.jpg

2
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 9.jpg

3
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 6.jpg

4
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 10.jpg

5
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 12.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Seat power worked well. USB power charged by tablet without issue.

1
AY-BKK-HEL Seat 11.jpg


Now meal time. Food is always a good way to make any trip go faster.
Meal service was fast and efficient but well done. Several bread runs were done and Champagne / Red was free flowing with constant top ups during the meal.

A random pic of their glasses I have always liked

AY-BKK-HEL Seat 7.jpg

Entrée of smoked salmon ... very tasty and went perfectly with Champagne
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Entree 1.jpg


Main #1 ... a tasty pork nice with a French Red
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Main 1.jpg

Main #2 ... tasty chicken nice with an Italian Red
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Main 2.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Dessert ... we both elected just to have a 'lite' dessert with a glass (or 3) of Baileys. These little cakes were very nice. The dessert trolley came back to us after we had finished this to check we didn't want more of anything sweet + any more drinks (inc more tea / coffee).
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Dessert.jpg


Mid flight hot snack Quiche was tasty
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Snack.jpg


Pre-lading meal of noodles and chicken (we both had the same thing from a choice of 3 items) ... again it was a winner
AY-BKK-HEL Meal - Landing.jpg


View during flight
AY-BKK-HEL View.jpg


HEL airport after entering the Schengen area on way to 'domestic' lounge. Such a great little airport with very fast transfers.
HEL Airport.jpg

TBC ...
 

knasty

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Thanks for this. Fingers crossed for an op-up on my AY in a couple of months. J looks pretty spacious with the staggered design.
 

get me outta here

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Thanks for the TR. I always appreciate the Finnish design aspects of the AY accoutrements such as the glasses and plates, cutlery etc.
 

nonpop

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View from HEL AY Schengen domestic lounge
HEL Schengen Lounge view.jpg

Lounge is very much like a QF club. WiFi worked very well and could Skype video call from tablet easily.
At lounge reception remember to ask for a Power KISS ring ... which is a little adaptor that plugs into your mobile / tablet and then wireless charges the device from designated touch points on all the lounge side tables / benches. Saves digging out chargers.
HEL Schengen lounge.jpg

Ok time to board our AY A320 intra-EU flight from HEL to PRG
Priority boarding was called. This flight was code share with JAL.
I didn't get any on-board pics on the way up but did on the return, so will follow later.

The AY intra-EU flight was uneventful with prompt service.
The J seating is same as Y in a 3 / 3 config except with middle seat empty.
What was a nice surprise was the J cabin was only about 5 rows yet had 2 toilets on the A320. And the J cabin toilets was policed with Y pax turned away.
Off to Prg.jpg

Prague airport. From flight door opening to being outside was 13 mins. Priority baggage worked well.
PRG outside airport.jpg


Summary of the way up journey: Everything just worked.

The QF & AY flights were separate PNRS as it was much cheaper this way.

Service ... Both airlines looked after us and nothing was an issue.
All the crew seemed friendly, though AY crew are 'cool' in dealing with you. But this is a cultural thing we've come to discover.
The QF crew seemed more 'flustered' though vs the AY crew in moving about the cabin i.e the order of events / actions seemed more ordered on AY. This was just an observation.

Capacity ...
The QF flight SYD>BKK was 100% full in J.
The AY BKK>HEL was 99% full in J and Y appeared to be similar.
The AY HEL>PRG was only about 50% in J yet Y was 99% full.

Baggage ... we had 1 bag each only weight about 18kgs & nothing was damaged and priority baggage worked each leg on QF & AY.

Status ... having WP status didn't really do much as we were in J. In SYD we used the 1st lounge, but that was about the only benefit I can tell.

Points ... Below is the posting. All flights posted without needing intervention.

DateDescriptionBase
points
Cabin
bonus
Status
bonus
Total
points
Status
credits
20 APR 14QF 023 BUSINESS 18APR14 SYDNEY/BANGKOK4,6842,3424,68411,710120
23 APR 14AY 717 BUSINESS 19APR14 HELSINKI/PRAGUE823206-1,02960
23 APR 14AY 090 BUSINESS 19APR14 BANGKOK/HELSINKI4,9221,231-6,153140


TBC ... Return journey via SIN to follow
 

nonpop

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Now time to make the trek home.

Showed up T-190 mins at PRG and airport was mid-busy but everything was functioning fine.
It is clear that PRG is not a OW hub as Skyteam & Star Alliance really dominated check-in areas.
The AY check-in was relegated right up one end of check-in, but was easy enough to find.

There were already pax in the Y line. When check-in opened at exactly T-180 mins the J line was empty but Y line already had 20-30 pax.
The mix seemed to be very business heavy clientèle returning home / doing business as many had suits on plus typical same day / overnight luggage as I'd typically do back home on the golden-triangle.

Priority boarding intra-EU ... notice OW Ruby
PRG check-in to HEL.jpg

J time
PRG check-in.jpg

No dedicated AY lounge, rather they use a Menzies shared lounge.
PRG Lounge - 1.jpg

Lounge
PRG Lounge - 2.jpg

Lounge seating ... the lounge also extended the other way but was closed off as the lounge seemed quiet.
There was also a PC / printer available.
PRG Lounge - 3.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Small selection of snacks and beer, wine, soft drinks etc.
PRG Lounge - 4.jpg

Shower ... now this was a real disappointment.
I was going to have a shower at PRG, so asked for a bathroom kit. I got given a towel. When I went to the shower room (which there was 1), there was nothing except the shower. And by nothing I mean, no shampoo, no soap, no stool / bench ... nothing. I returned the clean towel after asking about an amenity pack ... to which the answer was, computer says no.
PRG Lounge - 5.jpg

At the gate waiting for our AY A319 PRG>HEL in J.
The gate was packed.
Priority boarding was called. And anyone found to not be PB eligible was ejected.
The flight departed exactly on time.
PRG to HEL Boading 1.jpg

Our A319 waiting
PRG to HEL Boading 2.jpg

View down the runway at PRG
PRG AY-PRG-HEL View 1.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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J Cabin. Bulkhead seats have tray tables in arm rests. This J cabin had 2 rows on the port side and 1 row starboard config 3 x 3 with mid seat blocked as per usual.
PRG AY-PRG-HEL Cabin 2.jpg

Leg room shot
PRG AY-PRG-HEL Cabin.jpg

Pre-dinner I opted for the Red ... again nice glasses
PRG AY-PRG-HEL Meal 1.jpg

J dinner meal. Was excellent. And was given as much Red as we wanted. The couple next to us were hitting the Champagne hard (piccolo bottles) which was great to see others enjoying life.
PRG AY-PRG-HEL Meal 2.jpg

View as we levelled out
PRG AY-PRG-HEL View 2.jpg

TBC ...
 

RooFlyer

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Thanks nonpop. As you know from previous threads I lurve AY :) The new J cabin looks fantastic! I trust they had overhead bins for the middle rows ;) ?

I'm a fan of their glassware - you can buy it in shops in Finland (a well known Finnish designer).

I was intrigued by your comment:

The QF & AY flights were separate PNRS as it was much cheaper this way.
Surprised by this and it may influence my bookings later this year. I've always booked 1 PNR on AY paper, and they codeshare QF from Oz through to Asia. Was the Qantas leg on Qantas paper, or on AY's ?

Were the HEL-PRG-HEL flights 'free' as a result of your flying from Asia, or priced flights?
 

nonpop

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Landing into HEL was on time.

Now the HEL to SIN leg starts:
Again, from Schengen area to international lounge < 15 mins.
As we have a 1 hr connection, this meant we could have a shower at HEL especially seeing how all the international departure gates are centred around the AY lounge.
We were welcomed into the lounge. WiFi worked very well and was fast. We didn't have anything to eat as time was short.

HEL Lounge.jpg

Lounge
HEL Lounge 2.jpg

Shower ... everything supplied for men & women. Shampoo, conditioner, shave kit, make-up remover, hair dryer etc. You just book a shower upon reception check-in.
HEL Lounge 3.jpg


Boarding time. Priority boarding was called.

A340 old configuration. Yet was still comfortable even with not a full flat seat. Though you wouldn't want to be over say 6' as you'd run out of foot space i.e the seat I don't think would be long enough to fully stretch out on comfortably.
The cabin ended up being 95% full n J and about 90% in Y.
AY-HEL-SIN cabin 2.jpg

Seats
AY-HEL-SIN cabin 1.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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More seat shots
AY-HEL-SIN cabin 3.jpg

The AV system worked well with no glitches. It was just more clunky as no touch screen and one had to use the remote.
AY-HEL-SIN cabin 4.jpg

Dinner ... we both had the same choice which again was hot and tasty
AY-HEL-SIN Meal - Dinner.jpg

Breakfast coming into SIN was a hot meal or several cold options. This was chicken, eggs, has browns etc. Very tasty. I do like having the option of a full meal at breakfast.
AY-HEL-SIN Meal - Breakfast.jpg

Then we landed into SIN right on time.

Both AY flights we very good. Nothing to complain about. Service was attentive. Food tasty and Red / Champagne free flowing.
I would have liked a refurbished plan but AY are still working through their fleet.

Priority baggage also worked as we collected out bags in SIN to swap some clothes out.

I would happily use AY again as we found they represented great bang for buck.


TBC ... the QF SIN to SYD leg to follow ...
 

nonpop

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Arh SIN airport ... the carpet always gets me. Feels like I'm back in the 70s or I'm in a giant RSL club.

Anyways, decided to make my way back to Oz via SIN vs BKK as needed to catch-up with a mate and have some dumplings.
Ay don't penalise for open jaw bookings and their booking engine copes with it easily.
SIN Airport.jpg

Originally dropped into the QF club but it was a Zoo with no lounge seating available. So grabbed a shower and some food then jumped into the BA lounge next door which was empty. At BA lounge check-in I did first ask if I could just pop my head in to see if it was busy. The agent wouldn't let me unless I scanned by BP.
SIN BA Lounge.jpg

BA lounge service was excellent though with constant food being brough to us as nibbles. When they realised we like the spring rolls, they just seemed to keep cooking them up and bring them to us along with a bottle of Champagne and topping up our glasses. It was tough but someone had to do it.
SIN BA Lounge 3.jpg

Food was basic but at least they had real Champagne vs sparking wine in the QF lounge.
SIN BA Lounge 2.jpg

Just before our QF flight was boarding this is how busy the BA lounge got. It also meant WiFi worked very well and Skype video call was fine.
SIN BA Lounge 1.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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I like to shower along the way to break up flights. Plus it is still 'special' to be able to do this at an airport. I always remember to my younger days not even knowing about lounges and showers at airports. So brings a cheap smile to my face. And on longer layovers it helps pass the time.

QF SIN lounge shower --- main lounge is renovated but showers look the same
SIN QF Shower 1.jpg

Pic 2
SIN QF Shower 2.jpg

Pic 3
SIN QF Shower 3.jpg


Time to board QF A330 SIN to SYD.
Boarding was on time and priority boarding was called.
Pre-flight Champagne was offered and accepted.

This A330 is one of those strange ones where the J cabin is broken up in 2 sections with a galley as the divider.

The cabin crew appeared to be mature males and we were worried that 2 of them looked like they we going to have a heart attack (1 being very unfit and the other seemed to have breathing issues). It wasn't a good look and my concern was that in the event of a serious incident, these 2 crew would struggle. Yes I know I may be discriminating but this is just how we felt that these 2 crew didn't seemed ideally placed.
QF-SIN-SYD Cabin 1.jpg

More seating
QF-SIN-SYD Cabin 2.jpg

TBC ...
 

nonpop

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Dinner ... we both had the same (pre-ordered). Was a duck pasta. This was an excellent choice and I would suggest it. Served nice and hot.
QF-SIN-SYD Dinner.jpg

Breakfast ... this was the hot option. A real let down.
QF-SIN-SYD Breakfast.jpg

The SIN to SYD flight was uneventful and managed to get some sleep.
My only issue was the AV system was rubbish and constant glitches. Pause wouldn't work, sound would be out of sync at times and the picture would be jittery. Not good enough in J or Y. The AV is part of the package (like F&B). But this was my only issue on the entire there-&-back-again journey.

Priority baggage also worked well at SYD airport.

On-board kits: We got a real mix.

QF SYD>BKK we received 1st kits
IMG_4751 (800x600).jpg

QF SIN>SYD we received the usual J kits and Pyjamas
IMG_4748 (800x600).jpg

AY BKK>HEL & then again HEL>SIN. You need to ask for the toothbrush as well as lip balm and hand cream (it says to do this on the pack if you want them). But there freely available in the bathrooms along with deodorant and shave kits. The eye masks are the best I've ever gotten and love them. The toothbrushes are also excellent for travelling as they fold out and hold the toothpaste within.
IMG_4745 (800x600).jpg


Well there we have it. A successful journey. No major issues. All flights ran to time. No food poisoning, a few hang-overs and many photos later.
I would happily fly AY & QF again. Though QF really do need to upgrade their A330s - considering for the money QF charge it was considerably cheaper to fly from AY Asia to EU vs QF Australia to Asia when they are both similar products IMHO.

I trust some of you found a few of the pics useful.

Happy travels.

That' all folks
 
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