Trip Report – DONE4 (17 flights)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Rae, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Here we go with my first ever trip report. Thanks to the people on this forum, I decided to change what would have been a MEL/SYD/PER/NRT/LHR/JFK/LAX/MEL flight to include a whole bunch of completely unnecessary flights to get extra SC’s towards partner gold. I could have taken 3 more flights but decided against it for sanity reasons. I actually even cancelled 2 (LHR/CDG/LHR) for the same reason. Of course I’m stuck with a paper ticket which isn’t much fun. Due to meetings and actual work, I’ve attempted to route all my unnecessary flights through weekends to maximise work time required.

    I won’t be reporting on the fine wines (I don’t drink it and only actually drink once a year or something) and I won’t report too much on the meals as I’m vegetarian thus usually get a special meal and pay no attention to the menus.

    Being female I usually travel with a decent sized bag, but considering some legs are short, I’ve taken up the challenge and convinced myself that I really can fit everything into my new Samsonite light weight carry on (and my hand/shoulder bag). This is a work trip however, so half the bag is loaded with work material, the other half with clothes in space bags (the type that doesn’t require a vacuum of course). It’s amazing how much one can condense when needed! Little things, like instead of taking 4 plugs for the blackberry and iPod etc, condense down to the smallest US one and carry just one converter for recharging. Leave UK mobile at home and switch sim cards. Carry ONE pair of shoes – that was tough! I can fit my 12” Mac into my shoulder bag, but it’s going to be a real challenge getting everything into one carry on - If only it wasn’t for UK baggage rules. I guess the shopping will have to wait until New York.

    Quick weight check… hmmm… 11 kilos. That’s okay, I can remove the magazines and books and place into a tote bag if required.
     

  2. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Flights 1 & 2

    Thu May 31 – QF422 MEL 1000 / SYD 1120 Boeing 737-800 Seat: 1A (Flight 1/17)

    Normally I fly direct out of Melbourne overseas but on this occasion there’s business to attend to in Sydney & Perth thus I don’t yet get to experience the F lounge. My husband also has business in Sydney so we’re on the same flight. He just returned from a 2 week RTW himself and 3 days later it’s my turn. At least we get a little time together before I take off.

    Having a horrible paper ticket meant that I had to line up at ticketing and get one of those funky post-it notes on the 2 domestic flights due to flight time adjustments. No quick check for me unfortunately! There’s just enough time to grab some toast in QC to help me kick my long workday into gear, which I’m grateful for considering the meal offered on the flight!

    I must say, that since graduating to Platinum, I find myself in seat 1A on domestic flights often and I’m really not a fan of it. I hate having to stash my bag in the overhead and not having anything within easy reach. I’m only 5’3” so the extra legroom does nothing for me.

    Refreshment was offered and I really wish I hadn’t bothered. On a 10am flight it’s a multi-grain sandwich with eggplant, capsicum and mushroom. Exactly the same sandwich they offer in economy for lunch! The only difference being that there was margarine on the bread and a warm pastry came with it. Everyone else had the choice of an omelette (no meat) or fruit salad – I would have taken the omelette in a heartbeat! Vegetarian = I don’t eat meat. It doesn’t = I only want to eat mushrooms and lettuce all day every day.

    The person seated next to me had one of those CL boarding passes – first time I’ve seen one and I noticed it also says VIP on it – I wonder if that’s always the case with the CL coded BP’s or not. Overall it’s a pretty non-eventful flight – after all, we are talking Mel/Syd here! Departed on time, arrived a few minutes early and I was in a taxi by 11.30am – I could get used to this no baggage thing!

    I will say though, that going straight into 4 meetings before having a chance to check into the hotel was annoying – the bag became a little cumbersome but without it I guess I’d have found myself needing to go to the hotel first and pushing the meetings back – can’t have it both ways!

    We stayed at the Holiday Inn in the city. It’s definitely better than the hotel I usually choose (Holiday Inn, Potts Point). I was greeted from the taxi and my bag was in my room before I was. Slightly larger room too, but I can’t say anything about the view as I didn’t check it out. I had another meeting 30m after check in downstairs in the bar. We ate nachos and chips and both were undercooked. Overall this Holiday Inn is definitely better than the Potts Point one though.


    Fri Jun 01 - QF575 SYD 0845 / PER 1135 Boeing 747-300 Seat: 1K (Flight 2/17)

    I didn’t get home from my final commitment until around 2am and I’m up again at 6.30am so sleep will be the priority on this flight. I didn’t waste much time after rising in getting to the airport, preferring to grab some toast in the QC. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I’ve never noticed a post-mix machine in Sydney’s QC. I like a diet coke with breakfast instead of coffee and always do so in Melbourne but unless it’s after 1pm and the bar is open in Sydney it’s not an option – have I missed spotting it every single time or what?

    Again I need to line up to check in with my paper ticket but there’s only 1 person ahead of me and I’m carrying a box (for drop off in Perth) that requires luggage check in this time so I’m not so bothered having to check in via old school means.

    This time there’s 2 doors for boarding so I’m in my seat quickly, but rather annoyingly the person seated behind me has decided to store his 2 bags in the overhead closest to my seat so I have to put mine down closer to seat 3, which no doubt will annoy the people sitting there, but what can I do?

    Soon after take off it looks like sleep won’t be an immediate option as there’s someone in 3B who is snoring REALLY loudly, much to the amusement of the other passengers. Business class is completely full with exception to 1A and I’m pleased to see that pillows and blankets are on every seat this time. I guess a lot of people choose to sleep on a flight this early to Perth. Breakfast is offered soon after take off thankfully. The veggie option is eggs and Roma tomatoes with toast. Pretty non-eventful and the eggs are a little hard. It appears that everyone else had the same, but with cherry tomatoes, ham (I think) and spinach. Damn – again I want their meal as it comes with the spinach, yet the vegetarian option doesn’t – how strange.

    I fell asleep soon after breakfast, didn’t watch films and can’t really report on the flight other than it took off a few minutes late and also arrived about 5 minutes late. I was greeted by name straight away and throughout the flight on this occasion.

    My bags were out quickly and I was soon arriving at the Crown Plaza on Terrace Road in Perth. Some of my plans had changed when I originally booked this room so on arrival I asked if I could get a larger room as I’ll be having 5 people in it for a couple of hours (trying on clothes from that box I bought with me from Sydney), but I’m told I’ve already been allocated one of their better rooms so I leave it alone. It’s a pretty standard room, but there’s a balcony and a FANTASTIC view across the lake. I don’t know what the lake is called, but it sure is nice. Again my bags beat me to my room and so far the service is great.

    I’m out for the rest of the day and evening so I can’t report too much about the hotel other than my amusing morning experience! I was on the phone, room service arrived (toast again) but instead of butter and vegemite I was given salt and pepper! Still in my PJ’s I left my phone conversation hanging to bolt after the girl who delivered it, and on my way out I quickly pulled the DND sign around the door to keep it from locking - too quickly actually. Not only did I miss her going into the lift, but I also locked myself out! So there I was in my PJ’s with my phone conversation still hanging, and I had to get down to reception to get another key (and the cursed vegemite/butter)! How unlucky for me that half the Kangaroos football team got to see me in the lobby my PJ’s too!
     
  3. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Flights 3-6

    Sat Jun 02 – QF071 PER 1530 / SIN 2050 Airbus A330-300 Seat: 4A (Flight 3/17)

    And so we begin - the first of my ‘not needed’ flight experiences for SCs. Instead of a flight straight to Tokyo, I’m going PER/SIN/NRT/HKG/NRT. Why not? My meetings don’t start until 10am Monday and after all this I still arrive at Narita 9.30 Sunday night (if all goes to plan) so that’s plenty of time to rest before work starts. My longest transfer is 3 hours at Narita and the shortest is Singapore at 1H50 so overall it should be pretty smooth… I hope!

    I’m a little nervous as I haven’t done this type of flying before and I just have to hope all flights go without a hitch and I get into Tokyo when required. My first flight isn’t until 3.30pm so I managed a fantastic sleep, waking 2 hours before my alarm! That’s unusual for me as I work long hours and suffer insomnia. A late check out ensured I was able to prepare properly for the 28h45m I will be travelling.

    I was given 2 t-shirts yesterday and although I don’t need them I can’t throw them away so somehow I managed to fit them in the carry on bag and sure enough I still have a tiny bit of room left. So far so good with the new bag! I took advice from previous trip reports on this forum and packed some tracksuit pants for flying (I usually wear jeans) so this will be a first for me, and one I think I’m going to appreciate!

    The first flight is a short 5h20m and I definitely will be attempting to stay awake throughout to keep my sleeping patterns semi-normal. It will be a challenge as I’m one of those people that whilst I can’t sleep like normal people at home, I’m always falling asleep on planes – even in Y and even Mel/Syd!

    First check in done and it turns out that I can only get a boarding pass as far as Singapore. Something to do with JAL not being fully sorted with Qantas systems yet or something. It’s somewhat annoying as I thought I’d be able to get all the way through to Narita. Oh well – plenty of time to sort that at the other end I guess.

    Although careful to ensure all toiletry items were fewer than 100m, I didn’t think about the vegemite and had to surrender the 240m jar at security. They kindly advised that a store in the terminal sold 40m ones so I stocked up on those. As I was checking in, I took note of the flashing signs stating all carry-on to be under 7 kilos – I know mine isn’t and be annoyed if you will, but considering there’s no other luggage I don’t think it’s too much strain.

    Just before immigration, a lady asks to weigh my bag – oh no – this is going to be difficult! I have a tote bag inside ready to transfer items into it if required, but even though it weighs in at 12 kilos now, I’m not asked to do anything. She asks to look at my boarding pass and waves me on through.

    I didn’t get a peak anywhere else, but J Class is 100% full. We sit at the gate waiting while the captain tells us there’s a slight mechanical problem and there will be a short delay while we wait for maintenance. 10 mins later we’re told it will be another 15 mins. I start thinking to myself ‘Oh no – last time Qantas said this we ended up having to disembark and stay overnight in Singapore! Another 15 mins goes by and finally the captain confirms it’s only another 10 mins and we’ll be off. So, an hour after scheduled departure and we’re on our way.

    Having decided to stay awake through this sector, I was disappointed looking through the entertainment guide that it was almost the same programming as when I last flew internationally with Qantas in March! Only a couple of changes! And please, is it really necessary for Qantas to do the sales pitch for duty free before EVERY film???

    Some of you will be interested to know that the amenities kit handed out on this flight was the older blue zip up one! None of the items were what they’ve been promoting either.

    The meal served was dinner and it looked like a prawn salad and some sort of chicken dish. I was given roasted vegetables (boring) and a pasta dish with – you guessed it – vegetables. As for the ‘fantastic designer cutlery’ – well it was fashion over function in my opinion. Heavy, difficult to use and uncomfortable to grip.

    A couple of films and we were already almost in Singapore – what a quick flight! We did however, land 1 hour behind schedule, leaving me a little panicked about getting my boarding pass for the next flight…


    Sat Jun 02 – JL710 SIN 2240 / NRT 0640+1 Boeing 747-400 Seat: 10A (Flight 4/17)
    Great… 50 mins to get my boarding pass and get back to the gate to board the flight before they close the gate. Following previous instructions at Perth check in I headed straight for the JAL lounge to request a boarding pass but was told to go to the transfer desk (wherever that was). I then headed next door to the Qantas Lounge to be told the same thing. Thanks Perth check in guy! I raced to the transfer desk (which was in another terminal) and asked the lady for my next boarding pass. In a hurry I didn’t want to confuse the issue by asking for more than the next boarding pass, but it spat the next 3 out anyway and that’s when things got really confusing as I had to try to explain to her that yes I know I’m going SIN/NRT/HKG/NRT and yes it’s all in one day and it really is okay to give me all 3. She couldn’t get her head around it so I had to wait while she called a superior to confirm that she was allowed to give me all three boarding passes.

    By the time that’s through there’s barely enough time to race to the gate and board the flight – I’m amongst the last to board. Seat Guru had indicated standard seats so I was surprised to find their version of the Skyed (not sure what it’s called). I decided on this flight to take some notes for this report, figuring I’ll get muddled up with 4 in a row otherwise. Also, as JAL have only recently joined One World I thought the note taking would be even more relevant.

    The J class was in a 2-3-2 configuration and my lower section comprised of 21 seats, 11 of which were taken. Happily the person seated next to me moved upstairs soon after take off. The seat seems wider than the Qantas one, but a little harder too. The first thing I notice are the slippers in the seat back pouch – everyone else in the cabin is quick to put those on, but I refrain – slippers aren’t really my thing.

    The amenities kit is handed out soon after boarding and it’s a long plastic drawstring kinda thing with a full size toothbrush, eye mask, earplugs and some weird thin one-use type of eye freshener and in-flight moisturiser mask – in plastic bags. I don’t use any of it. The safety instruction video is fun to watch – cute little Japanese animation.

    There are TV screens in the back of each seat, but also at the front of the cabin – the main screen shows take off which is interesting for about 2 minutes. Notably there are no drinks offered before take off and considering my haste in transferring at Singapore I’m starting to feel damn thirsty!

    We leave the gate on time, but sit at the start of the runway for 20 mins before the captain finally tells us that we have to wait another 20 mins due to congestion. Thankfully there’s a couple of hours transfer time at my next stop – I certainly don’t wish to be going through the last drama again in a hurry.

    Soon after take off we’re offered a light snack and drink, after which I decide to go straight to sleep. It’s probably the most uncomfortable of the Sky beds I’ve experienced so far and from memory it seems to be a much worse angle than Qantas, but I note in their magazine they are advertising flat beds coming soon. All the same I manage to sleep until 30min before arrival. Breakfast is apparently served 2 hours before landing and I learn that my vegetarian meal wasn’t logged by the system. How annoying! The western dish comes with bacon on the side, so the FA tells me he’ll remove it beforehand. Better than nothing I guess!

    I don’t wake until 30m before landing and was surprised that breakfast was still offered that close to arrival. The bacon is still on the plate but removable so I deal with it. Oh – we get a real knife instead of a plastic one!

    Overall I would say that Qantas is a better experience – bigger pillows, FA’s remembering to collect hot towels etc… But if you like a wider seat closer to the window then JAL is for you. Oh yeah – I notice that the headphones were kinda crappy for what it’s worth – not comparable to the Qantas ones.


    Sun Jun 03 – CX509 NRT 0945 / HKG 1325 Boeing 777-300 Seat: 14A (Flight 5/17)

    Narita is quite overwhelming if you’re not familiar with it – the signage is difficult to find and read. I eventually figure out where to go to transfer and whilst in the line some academic and his wife tell me in a rather condescending manner that we’re in the wrong line and the grumpy man starts crapping on about how he’s desperate to get to the first class lounge. Oh please – why must people be this way? He sat in the same class I did, and is a platinum member – big deal! Why does that give him the right to talk down to people? Okay, he is more educated than I am, but my IQ is higher and I don’t treat him like an idiot! Anyway, since he’s so smart we leave the line to follow Mr Educated Idiot and after 10 mins I convince him to go back to the original line we were in – which is the right line. It’s a long wait to get through, as there’s only one security point for all people transferring to another flight.

    Eventually we make it through and I head to the Cathay lounge in an effort to get my meal request fixed up. This is also not an easy experience as the only lounge I can find is via an elevator with a JAL sign and a JAL rep standing at the entrance. After a bit of back and forthing I ask her where Cathay is and sure enough – it’s next to JAL one floor up. Gee, a sign would have been nice! Yes I know I could go to the JAL lounge, but I prefer going to the lounge of the airline I’m flying – seems more polite or something. The lounge is very quiet, with free internet and average snacks. There’s another rude guy speaking at what feels like 100db via Skype – attention Skype users: you don’t have to yell to compensate for not being able to hear.

    Enough crap – onto the flight. This is my first time flying Cathay and although a short one I can see what all the fuss is about. We were offered apple juice, water or wine prior to take off and the safely regulations seem closer to what we’re used to on Qantas. The flight departs on time and essentially the FA’s seem intensely focussed on ensuring your every need is taken care of. Oh, with exception to my veggie meal of course! Hmmm… that’s 2 different airlines not getting the request, better fix that in Hong Kong. The FA offers to fix the next Cathay flight for me, but can’t help with the others.

    For a 4+ hour flight, the time flies quickly and most notably the FA’s are constantly walking past removing any plate from your tray within seconds of it being finished with. I can only imagine that this would be a wonderful long-haul flight experience.


    Sun Jun 03 – CX508 HKG 1610 / NRT 2125 Boeing 777-300 Seat: 16A/16H/14A (Flight 6/17)

    We arrive on time into Hong Kong and it’s a wonderfully clear day so I get a great view of all the mountains and water. I had no idea Hong Kong looked so pretty from above! I head straight to the Pier Lounge (near gate 2) to ensure my meal request is fixed but I’m told they can’t change any of the others for me. I consider checking out the other Cathay lounge but it’s ages away and we depart from Gate 16 – the Qantas Club is Gate 15 so I head there, where they try fixing my meal problem. The observant of you might note that I have 3 different seats listed. 16A is the seat the Qantas sales person told me I had, 16H is what was on my boarding pass (aisle) and 14A is what I had it changed back to. This is the first flight where my seat is different to what was originally allocated.

    The first lounge is located at the back of the business lounge so I check it out – no different really, just a little quieter. There’s only me and 2 other people there, and the first thing I notice is one of them picking up different food options with their fingers instead of using the tongs – charming. I spend some time getting part of this report written and before I know it, it’s time to board my final flight to Narita.

    The flight is not really any different to the previous one except that I notice the meals being served from the back of the cabin to the front. Perhaps it’s a similar policy to the American Airlines one I read on a post here. Again there’s a lot of FAs for a reasonably small cabin with insanely attentive service.

    On arrival number 2 at Narita it’s finally time to get out into the real world and to my hotel for a good sleep. It’s been 28 hours PER/SIN/NRT/HKG/NRT and I’m actually feeling okay! Going to sleep soon after getting to my room will ensure I’m in good shape for meetings all day Monday before hitting another 26 hours in transit for NRT/SIN/LHR.
     
  4. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    1,616
    182
    Manchester
    Re: Flights 1 & 2

    :shock: I think the lake you are refering to is actually the Swan River, and you would have looked across it to South Perth.

    Now Rae, as you flew out before the West Coast v Kangaroo's game, I'll let you know that the mighty Coasters flogged the roo's by 66 points.:D So any chance you and your PJ's will be in Melb on the last Saturday in Sept and able to make an appearance at the oppositions hotel. We sure could have used you in Launceston the prior weekend, couldn't we Serfty?:(
     
  5. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,441
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Top notch effort, Rae! Looking fwd to reading more. :)
     
  6. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Flights 7 & 8

    Tue Jun 05 – JL719 NRT 1105 / SIN 1715 Boeing 747-400 Seat: 10A (Flight 7/17)

    Two flights today and 25 ½ hours total travel time. I was only issued my JAL boarding pass so I have to wait until Singapore for my next one. When I was in Perth I’d called Qantas to request an upgrade for the SIN/LHR leg. At 12.5 hours flying time and just 35,000 points I thought it was a pretty good deal! It will be interesting to see if it comes through, considering the request was only made a few days ago. On last check there were 3 empty seats in first on that flight.

    Security was a little more difficult this time around, the lady searching my bag tried to insist that I throw away my vegemite but I wasn’t having any of it. Eventually I persuaded her to see reason, but not before she opened my underwear space bag and put the little vegemite jars in there – was that really necessary?

    I found the JAL lounge straight away so I figured I’d check out the first lounge as it was next door to the business one. It was packed! And I mean packed – hardly a spare seat in sight. There was no redeeming features to bother telling you about. Not too many food options and the soda machine was dispensing flat coke. I took advantage of the free wi fi until boarding.

    This JAL flight was much the same as the previous one I reported on. I sat in 10A, which was the first row of J. The amenities for the flight were not in plastic bags this time, but rather offered out via a basket where you simply took anything you wanted from the FA – I gave it a miss.

    If I board early, I usually listen to my iPod for a while but this flight was the first time I’d been told that wasn’t allowed, even though there was still 30mins before take off. That said I still felt the safety measures taken were again lower than what we’re used to and the man next to me enjoyed take off taking full advantage of the footrest.

    I can’t really report too much on the rest of this flight – take off and departure were on time and I didn’t bother checking the movies etc, favouring a few episodes of House on my iPod instead – and a couple of hours sleep! Oh – I did get a vegetarian meal on this one, so hopefully things are back to normal with my booking.


    Tue Jun 05 – QF009 SIN 2300 / LHR 0525+1 Boeing 747-400 Seat: 17A/4A (Flight 8/17)

    On arrival in Singapore I headed straight for the Qantas First lounge to get my next boarding pass. Seat 4A! There you go – it came through - my first chance to check out Qantas First Class. At 35,000 points I consider that a pretty good deal. I have meetings several hours after arrival into London – another reason for choosing this flight to try upgrade – A flat bed and good rest is just what I need.

    The Qantas lounge is one of the better ones I’ve seen so far on this trip. I was offered a massage on arrival, which I declined. Free internet access was provided via a password and staff were often walking around offering hot snacks. There were a few veggie options so I ended up eating more food than normal while taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up on work for 5 hours.

    A quick check of the Qantas site shows that all the QF & CX flights have been posted, but none of the JAL ones yet, so I make sure I still have both boarding passes and throw out all the others. The hours flew by and before I knew it, it was time to board again and check out the Qantas first experience.

    Seat 4A is in the last row of seats and I have to say it looks like it would be my favourite due to the bassinet area on the left (or whatever you call it) which means there’s a whole large area to store books, magazines and whatever else - same on the other side. There’s no seat next to me either which is nice. 15 seats in all and it’s a full cabin. There are 2 dedicated cabin FA’s and to be honest, maybe a little more personal attention than I prefer. We’re all greeted individually and told the flying time etc etc… We’re handed out pyjamas quite early in the piece and I note that I’m not actually asked my size. One person gets changed before take off but I decide to wait a little bit. I’m told that supper will be served soon after take off, with breakfast being 3 hours before landing (so 2am). When asked what I’d like for supper I mention the veggie meal and sure enough – there’s nothing recorded. Now I don’t know whether that’s due to the upgrade or because my requests have gone screwy again. Does anyone else know? I’ve upgraded before and received the meal okay. Thankfully I wasn’t too hungry anyway so I settle for a cheese plate and a very apologetic FA promising to fix it on all my other flights. To be safe, I think I’ll just eat beforehand. It’s weird that so many flights have missed it, as it’s never been a problem before. I particularly like that they ask who I booked the flight through (probably ready to blame them) and when I tell them Qantas direct they’re unable to say anything.

    2 mins before take off and the FA is rushing around madly trying to get everyone’s champagne glasses and I can’t believe it’s left that late! A rabbi and his wife are sitting in the middle of row 3 and he stands up DURING taxi to get something out of his bag. Not only is he not asked to sit down, but I was surprised to notice that he didn’t put his seatbelt on when he finally sat back down and no one asked him to do so.

    Supper (or a cheese plate in my case), was served with a full plastic cutlery set, the same design I complained of earlier, and I actually prefer it – not as heavy and annoying to use. After that I get changed into the pyjamas (which were the right size by the way) and I notice that the bathroom is quite a big bigger in this part of the plane. Within the hour everyone except the rabbi and his wife are in PJs and looking particularly cosy!

    After watching one film I decide it’s time to take advantage of the flat bed and get as much rest as possible. I ask the FA for one of those super warm and comfy looking doonas only to be told that they’d run out! For some reason I thought they would carry enough for everyone, but it seems only half the people have them – so take note of that and ask for one early!

    I think I got a good 6 hours sleep, only waking once mid way through. The straight bed and PJ’s really made a difference to the rest and comfort. Would I pay to go first? Probably not – for the most part I think the business class product compares pretty well, but for this particular trip and with meetings the same day it was definitely worth it. I found it a little amusing that whilst the rest of the cabin slept, the poor rabbi and his wife remained fully clothed (jackets and all), and it appears they sat awake and upright for the entire journey – that’s a tough call! I reckon they’re going to be feeling pretty crappy by now.

    Breakfast for me was toast and tomatoes and spinach which I intended eating while watching a film but surprise surprise AVOD isn’t working. A reset gets it working for some, but not for me so it’s back to the iPod and a bit more snoozing before arrival.

    We were the first flight to land, and although handed out fast track forms to get through immigration, it wasn’t necessary as no one was there! I’m straight through (second person) and thanks to no bags I head straight to the green zone in customs and no one is there either – I mean no one - no staff or anything. 15mins after touch down I’m outside! I’m sure that has to be a record of some sort!

    After hotel check in (at 6.30am), a shower and a few meetings I fell asleep on arrival back at the hotel at 7.30pm – I tried so hard to stay awake longer but it just wasn’t to be. I awoke at 3.30am and it’s now 5.20am and I’m wide awake – how annoying. I have a conference call back to Australia at midnight tonight so it will be a real challenge to get through the day and stay awake until then. I guess the jet lag remains regardless of the flight class! Damn.
     
  7. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Re: Flights 1 & 2

    Well I live in Melbourne, so you never know! One of the guys I had to meet up with at the hotel (a Perth local) was very excited to be sharing a lift with some Roos players and wished them luck for the game as they're his team - a Perth boy! What is that about??
     
  8. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    452
    0
    Y’know… there’s a reason I can’t write a trip report, I’m never that sober when I fly! Awesome stuff, vegemite in the undies…too good! (Partners that don’t understand why flying to NRT, via NRT doesn’t make you insane…LOL)
     
  9. garyjohn951

    garyjohn951 Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    561
    2
    Melbourne
    Re: Veggie meal.
    When my wife was upgraded Y to J last year, they weren't able to give a J veggie meal and was told due to late upgrade, but they could get the one back in Y that would be there on the original booking. Fair enough it was there. They supplemented it with cheese, fruit extra.
     
  10. Platy

    Platy Guest

    I was very surprised to read that there wren't enough doonas for all of the first passengers. If I had been on that flight and paid the high price for that cabin I think it would have been somewhat vexing...this is the sort of casual attitude to their product which worries me about Qantas at times.
     
  11. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,441
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #11 Keith009, Jun 7, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2007
    Yeah I'm surprised to read about the lack of sufficient Doonas as well - hope you wrote to QF about it. I'd be pretty pissed off if I'd paid/MFUed to F and not have the full F experience as advertised.

    I know what you mean about too much personal attention. I was the only pax on a SIN-BKK flight on LX in F. Was fawned all over by the FAs - a bit uncomfortable. And I was literally forced to eat everything on the menu LOL since they had a lot extra due to the light load. My attempts to get rid of them went unnoticed. Was pretty much overfed when I arrived in BKK - can't imagine if I flew all the way to ZRH and the same thing happens. Good thing though that I kept automatic getting top ups of the very yummy Swiss pinot. ;)
     
  12. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Flights 9 - 13

    Sat Jun 09 – BA2193 LGW 1035 / DFW 1430 Boeing 747-200/300 Seat: 10K (Flight 9/17)

    Boy am I dreading this - 5 flights in a row, and 4 of them on my least favourite airline. I get the feeling that I won’t try this SC style trip again – not if it means flying AA – an airline I try to avoid at all costs. I understand it’s worth it for the first class (if that’s what you can call it) and extra SC’s but what a high price to pay! There’s some slightly tight connections throughout the AA run, so I have to hope everything runs on schedule. Anyway, this is meant to be about the BA flight so…

    At Gatwick I have to check in my bag for the first time since the wonderful BAA consider a ladies handbag as a piece of luggage. I decided to check it through to Dallas only, knowing I’d have to collect it there anyway. I got a second boarding pass for DFW/ANC but no more than that.

    The first thing I notice about this BA plane is how tatty and somewhat grubby it is. Sure the seats are clean, but look to the back of the armrest where the cleaners don’t and there’s a major build up of dust and dirt. Even worse is the air vent down near my feet – it’s come off the wall and I can see cables etc completely caked in grime and grease. OK, I’m being picky I know. This is the first time I’ve flown BA in a window seat and it’s going to be backwards all the way so that should be fun! There’s approximately 40 seats in J and it’s half full.

    10 mins after scheduled take off we’re told there’s been a problem with BAA’s luggage conveyor belts and most luggage isn’t yet loaded. The captain doesn’t want to take off without the plane loaded so we have to sit and wait. He tells us they say 30 mins, but we all know what that means! While we wait we’re offered drinks and I’m told my veggie meal is loaded (Yay)!

    11.30am and still no bags. I’m cursing Gatwick for having the one bag only rule now, and cursing myself for not simply making everything fit into the one bag (which I could off if I’d put the effort in). There’s only a 2h20m connection time between this arrival and my flight to Anchorage – and I have to clear immigration. Normally that’s ample time of course, but not if this flight gets any more delayed! I consider leaving my bag on the conveyor belt in Dallas if necessary to avoid missing the one flight per day to Anchorage – if I miss it, it will screw 3 other flights as well!

    11.45am and the bags are finally on (well, some of them). We’re told some won’t make it, which is worse really! Imagine having to wait an hour in Dallas only to find your bag didn’t make it! We’re told we’ll be arriving into DFW at 4pm – 50mins before my scheduled departure for ANC. I decide not to stress about it any further, knowing that it won’t resolve anything anyway.

    The weirdest thing about taking off for this flight was having the FA come and reset my seat to a reclined position! And here I was sitting upright dutifully for the last hour for nothing – I wasn’t expecting that one! That explains why the seat was reclined when I first sat down I guess. Normally take off is my favourite part of flying, but sitting backwards didn’t float my boat at all – I had to tightly grab my blanket, headphones etc to prevent everything flying forward and the noise of the engine is blasting in my ears. Other than take off and landing however, you don’t notice the difference at all.

    So far the FA’s are offering a great and slightly overattentive service but I must say I don’t really like the privacy thing being pulled down every 5 mins to ask if I want something (and especially to ask if I want to buy any duty free). Lunch for me was a Raviolli that was slightly dry and overcooked, but still good. I watched a crappy film about Andy Warhol (played by Guy Pearce) and tried to sleep the rest of the time (even though it’s day time) knowing that I have four crappy AA flights coming up so all rest I can get is important.

    So – were the flat beds as good as everyone says? For me? No. I think my footrest was slightly faulty (leaning forward), resulting in a dip in my ‘flat bed’ roughly where my ankles & shins were. I assume it’s normally not the case, but pretty annoying for me. I can’t tell you much more about the flight as I attempted to sleep as much as possible. I awoke to be told we were arriving into DFW a little earlier at 3.40pm. Phew – that gives me 1h10m so I have a slightly increased chance of making my next flight!


    Sat Jun 09 – AA278 DFW 1650 / ANC 2035 Boeing 757-200/300 Seat: 1A/1F (Flight 10/17)

    I raced to immigration and my line didn’t seem to be moving so I changed to the line next door and just like you see on those TV ads or Minties wrappers, the immigration officer serving my new line decides to leave her booth and go for a wander. My previous line is longer so I’m faced with that age-old dilemma – move or wait – oh crap – why did I change lines??? I watch the guy that was originally behind me go through and yep – I’m still waiting. Eventually I get there and she wants to chat. I often have a hard time at US immigration due to having a few work visas in my passport. This time I don’t have one and have to explain in 5 different ways why I don’t need one for a week of meetings and no I am not travelling with anyone and uh no – no pets are with me either?!?! A terrible situation as I feel I have to be polite and chat to her about pets to get my stamp but time is ticking and I don’t want to miss that flight!

    Finally I get to baggage and a BA rep tells me that not all bags made it. I explain my situation and that I’m coming back to DFW the next morning, so can I leave my bag and get it then? Of course she advises that I can’t usually, but in light of the situation if it doesn’t come through within the next 10 minutes, bail on it and let her know. Cool! As it turns out, my bag was the third one through so I race through security again (well, not race – it’s security after all) and get the wonderful Skylink (LOVE that thing) to the right concourse for the ANC flight. I get to the gate at 4.30pm – it took a full 50mins from arrival - and I would have just scrapped it in except that the flight is delayed 20mins so I get a breather before boarding.

    While waiting to board there’s an announcement that the flight is oversold by 2 and they’re offering $300 and a flight via Denver that arrives 5 hours later at 1.30am into ANC. After 2 announcements they finally get 2 takers and we start to board, finally taking off at 5.30pm, 40mins behind schedule.

    So this heading says seat 1A/1F. That’s because when I booked the flight through Qantas, I asked them to do my seat allocations for me as I have a major preference for the left hand side of the aircraft. So far most flights allocations haven’t changed from what Qantas originally had issued, but hey – we’re with AA now so it’s a different story. BTW – have I told you how much I hate flying in the front row?

    I ask for a pillow on boarding only to be told ‘your blanket is your pillow – it’s a two for one deal’ – what?? No pillow? No pillow and some crappy earplugs in a yellow plastic bag – oh I love flying AA. We’re offered a drink in a crap plastic cup prior to take off.

    As the next 3 flights are also AA and are ALL crap, I won’t bore you all with too many details, suffice to say that I HATE flying AA and avoid it at all costs usually. That said, this is the one flight that offers a vegetarian option for a meal so I actually get to eat which I wasn’t expecting (a mushroom pasta) and a lovely raspberry and chocolate ice-cream desert. It was the only meal I was able to eat for the four flights.


    Sat Jun 09 – AA279 ANC 2205 / DFW 0725+1 Boeing 757-200/300 Seat: 1A/5A (Flight 11/17)
    Sun Jun 10 – AA2332 DFW 0900 / ORD 1115 MD-80 Seat: 3A/5A (Flight 12/17)
    Sun Jun 10 – AA255 ORD 1355 / LAX 1620 Boeing 757-200/300 Seat: 1A/6F (Flight 13/17)


    I had to go out to the check in area to get my next boarding pass and it’s another rush as the last flight arrived 30mins late. I’m thankfully issued with the next 3 boarding passes: ACH/DFW DFW/ORD ORD/LAX.

    Another seat change, but a LH window and not the front row so I’m happy. I note on this flight that there’s 3 other QF WP’s and wonder how many of them are regular readers of this forum – why else would they be flying to Anchorage Alaska??? I also spot someone with a flyertalk.com luggage tag.

    Again no pillow and on this flight it’s chicken or turkey, so no food either. Forgive me, but why is AA part of one world when the service is clearly substandard by comparison? No special meal options (I can’t even buy food) and no pillow on a red eye flight. Lame. Thankfully I’d anticipated as much and spent $18USD at ANC to get me through the next few flights with as much sleep as possible.

    I won’t waste your time slagging AA any more – let this one count for all 3 flights. Um… arrived a little late into DFW but had enough time to grab a quick bagel for dinner/breakfast before the ORD flight. Also, I must be the only one to think so, but I really prefer the MD-80 we took to Chicago vs the 757 on all other flights. The big grey leather seats with no seat pitch are horribly uncomfortable, whilst the blue seats on the MD-80 have an adjustable headrest and better seat pitch. Definitely my least hated of the four flights. As a short person, the lack of foot rests is a major problem and I started getting a tingle in my legs half way through the flights that I’m still suffering from now – yes I tried to exercise my ankles etc as much as possible.

    The only lounge I had time to check out was the Chicago one – not worth it. Just like the other Admirals clubs, I’m offered one voucher on arrival and have to present my Qantas Platinum card to gain access. There’s food available for purchase but it’s all cold meat based sandwiches. I take advantage of the power to charge my iPod and that’s about it.
    Take me back to Qantas (and Qantas Club) please. Soon – only 4 flights to go now.

    Sorry for being so negative, 37h45m of flights and transit time will do that to you!! It’s 7.15pm LA time and I’m typing this up to help me stay awake until at least 10pm so I can get my jetlag sorted for 3 days of meetings starting tomorrow. I’ll try write some nice positive things about my final 2 AA flights, but don’t hold your breath!
     
  13. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Thanks for the update - I have my own mileage run type DONE4 coming up so am intrigued to see how yours goes :) I tried to do the ANC run but couldnt manage it (I could either getup there and not get back or get back but not get there).

    Shame you dont like the AA flights - I have actually enjoyed most of mine.
     
  14. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    The ANC run certainly seems to be a popular one. I found it quite easy to handle being that there's only a 90 min wait between the flights arrival and departure back to DFW and for 300 SC's and a beautiful view of the snow, well worth it - even if flying AA

    So far all flights have been credited to my account except the last 2. JAL took about a week. Most people probably already know this, but the double points for status doesn't apply with CX or JL.

    In terms of pleasant flights, service, entertainment etc I'd rate in the following order: CX, QF, BA, JL, AA. Ahhhhhh only 4 flights to go now! The hardest part (38 hours straight) is done :D
     
  15. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    39,260
    7,782
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Hmmm ... We were in DFW at the same time and maybe LAX on Sunday.

    - I arrived 5:45am in C and departed 9:05am from A.

    - On Sunday I arrived into LAX at 5:45PM and departed 8:25PM.
     
  16. Rae

    Rae Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    159
    0
    Sounds like we were definitely at DFW at the same time though which terminals when are a bit of a haze for me. I was at both A & C at SOME point :D

    I was out of LAX super fast thanks to no baggage - I was at the hotel by the time you arrived.
     
  17. garyjohn951

    garyjohn951 Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    561
    2
    Melbourne
    I concur about AA. you quoted "I'd rate in the following order: CX, QF, BA, JL, AA.".
    Having flown AY last week, my order for J class is CX, QF, AY, BA and then AA being lapped in racing terms.
     
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