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Visit to South Africa (QF63, QF64)

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PaulST

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Visit to South Africa (QF63, QF64) - includes flying over Antarctica.

Hi all,
This is my first trip report so feel free to give constructive criticism. Most of it will be videos (a picture tells a thousand words, I've been told...).
I flew QF63 out of Sydney and then QF64 back.
There's some repetition so if you're seeing something familiar, scroll a little forward.

PE in QF63 flight review:
[video=youtube;_15VBLIxGEA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_15VBLIxGEA[/video]

I'm only allowed to post one video per post so I'll reply with a few more.
 
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PaulST

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Takeoff in a miserable, rainy Sydney:
[video=youtube;x6mMnW8ebwM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6mMnW8ebwM[/video]
 

PaulST

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Footage of Antarctica from above (includes takeoff and landing)
[video=youtube;UaIiw0uKE-s]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaIiw0uKE-s[/video]

 

PaulST

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QF64 leaving JNB:
[video=youtube;UgDAqnHycOg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgDAqnHycOg[/video]
 

PaulST

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Landing back in Sydney on QF64:
[video=youtube;wEkjwzWemEc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEkjwzWemEc[/video]
 

Dalescott

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Whats the music from, I like it.
What was the flight like, any good. We flew CX last time, in PE. Did you think QF PE was worth it. Also can I ask what you paid, as I go to UK twice yearly, and would like to go via South Africa.
 

love_the_life

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Your TR brought back lots of memories, but when we went there was no PE and as we were travelling with relatives we were in Y. It was a loooooong flight! I know there was one meal and a "snack bag" with an apple and some lollies or similar - pretty poor pickings. I reckon PE would make it a lot better!
I remember the excitement of seeing Antarctica and the feeling of being a million miles from anywhere.
 

PaulST

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Whats the music from, I like it.
What was the flight like, any good. We flew CX last time, in PE. Did you think QF PE was worth it. Also can I ask what you paid, as I go to UK twice yearly, and would like to go via South Africa.
Hi Dalescott. I credited the author of the music at the end of the video. :) Ludovico Einaudi and the song was called 'Experience'. I agree, it's a great song!
The flight was smooth and otherwise uneventful. It felt fairly old (I think it was an un-refurbished 747) although not as old and dirty as an El Al 747 I flew in back in July. The service was great too.
Was it worth it? Hard to say. I must admit that 14hrs would have been painful to spend in Y and I'm usually happy to pay a premium to get access to the window (I love the view) and easy access to the isle (I'm sure i was given an abnormally small bladder). The food was fine and the wine appeared frequently (which was appreciated). The service was good in that genuine Qantas kind of way (FAs seem to like their job, unlike in my Emirates experience where the friendliness seemed forced) too. It was nice to get the priority bag check too as the crowd was massive. Although, you share the queue with Status Silver so that advantage is negated if you're PS.
I think the price was ~$2600 which was roughly $1000 more than Y. I booked it back in Jan but I'm fairly sure that was the price.
 

PaulST

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Your TR brought back lots of memories, but when we went there was no PE and as we were travelling with relatives we were in Y. It was a loooooong flight! I know there was one meal and a "snack bag" with an apple and some lollies or similar - pretty poor pickings. I reckon PE would make it a lot better!
I remember the excitement of seeing Antarctica and the feeling of being a million miles from anywhere.
Yeah we had two decent meals and one or two snacks.
Seeing Antarctica was almost a highlight for the whole trip. It was amazing to think that you were flying upside-down underneath the world. :)
You do feel very isolated too, and I must admit I felt a lot more comfortable being in a trusty old 747 (rather than a newer A380 or even a 787) considering the nearest airports were essentially Melbourne or Durban (not sure if the latter is 747-friendly).
 

RooFlyer

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Greatly enjoyed the videos - thanks. I don't recall ever flying across Antarctica when I flew to JNB, but that was abt 15 years ago, the last time.
 

Skyring

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I've gotten a return Y seat for about $2K - to pick up a cheap DONE4 (round the world in business) beginning in Johannesburg. Didn't get quite that close to Antarctica. I also found that they dimmed the lights and encouraged passengers to lower the window shades during the middle of the flight. It looks like you got out of your seat and hunted up a couple of those little windows in the doors.

It also looks like exactly the same economy food, right down to the yummy Weiss bar and the greasy pizza.

My preferred Y seat on that flight is the very last window seat on the port side, right at the back of the cabin where the rows narrow down to two. The sun is on the other side of the plane, so you can sneak the shade up now and then.

The view over Africa as you come in is also interesting. Sometimes the weather can be dramatic.

There's also a few high level views over Victoria. The track is often over Melbourne and it's unusual to see Port Philip Bay from so high up.
 

Skyring

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That's a very good video coming into Sydney. What camera were you using?
 

love_the_life

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Prices seem to have come down a bit. Can't remember exactly when we went (maybe 2004 or 2005?) but I know we could have flown Y to LHR for the same or less. From memory it was about $2500 in discount Y then.
 

PaulST

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Return tickets in Y are currently going for $1300 (or 1399, I can't recall exactly) although they were $1600 back when I was looking. I wonder if they've lost quite a few more seats to fill after ending their agreement to co-chair with South African Airways? Over December and January, the flights literally double in price.

They did get us to close the blinds but after a few hours everyone was opening them to have a look. I got up and walked around for around 30 mins and there were quite a few others running around with cameras. Only Y+ passengers and higher are able to walk forward enough to get photos in front of the wing so I was quite happy that I paid the extra cash to sit further up. I love the photo of two engines with the RR and QF badges on display and then the amazing sea of white below.

The camera was a Canon EOS 70D. I bought it a week before the trip so this was the camera's christening.
 

Skyring

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The camera was a Canon EOS 70D. I bought it a week before the trip so this was the camera's christening.
I've got a 70D. Lovely camera.

I left it at home on my last world trip. Got a smaller mirrorless that's a lot easier to manage and nearly as good.
 

PaulST

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I've got a 70D. Lovely camera.

I left it at home on my last world trip. Got a smaller mirrorless that's a lot easier to manage and nearly as good.
Funny you say that as I just replaced a fair good mirrorless camera (Panasonic GX-1) because I didn't quite like the quality of the images. I did miss the compact-ness of it! :) You look quite silly holding up the 70D to the window on takeoff and landing. :)
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Whats the music from, I like it.
What was the flight like, any good. We flew CX last time, in PE. Did you think QF PE was worth it. Also can I ask what you paid, as I go to UK twice yearly, and would like to go via South Africa.
I flew on QF63 yesterday in PE, & despite being my first trip ever in PE & not really having another PE experience to compare it to ( I've done plenty of trips on JQ business class which is very similar)..... I honestly loved PE on QF63.

Last year ( in May) I also flew on QF63 in Y & whilst I had better views last year, the 'hard' & 'soft' product on this sector was certainly not on par with the outstanding journey I had yesterday.

Everything from the welcoming drink, Much better Food & Bev offering, Noise cancelling Headphones, bigger seat , more recline, smaller cabin make PE a good choice & I couldn't recommend it enough.

Also the BA flights on the JNB > LHR sector depart a few hours after QF63 arrives & they usually have 3 flights departing in the evening & often is a 777, 747 & A380..... So plenty of aircraft choice.

For me it's a great way of traveling to the UK & is often forgotten as an alternative option.
 
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Cool Cat Phil

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Re: Visit to South Africa (QF63, QF64) - includes flying over Antarctica.

Hi all,
This is my first trip report so feel free to give constructive criticism. Most of it will be videos (a picture tells a thousand words, I've been told...).
I flew QF63 out of Sydney and then QF64 back.
There's some repetition so if you're seeing something familiar, scroll a little forward.

PE in QF63 flight review:
.
Thanks for your travel review & fantastic YouTube video!

I did exactly the same flight on QF 63 yesterday in PE & loved it.

The views were still good yesterday despite not flying quite as far South ( as to what the pilot may fly in times of very strong window current ) .

Here's a couple of pictures of my own taken from the emergency exit window/Galley between PE & J ( but certainly my pictures not quite on par with yours :) ) ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1415480547.528859.jpg ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1415480579.233452.jpg ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1415480636.568409.jpg ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1415480670.664479.jpg
 

Skyring

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Funny you say that as I just replaced a fair good mirrorless camera (Panasonic GX-1) because I didn't quite like the quality of the images. I did miss the compact-ness of it! :) You look quite silly holding up the 70D to the window on takeoff and landing. :)
I've got an Olympus OMD EM5 - another m43 mirrorless. With a 20mm ƒ1.7 pancake, it's quite a compact little thing, even with an electronic viewfinder and tilt screen. The 12-40mm ƒ2.8 is my walking around lens, and I have a longer (40-150mm) zoom I use occasionally.

Image quality is excellent, IMO. The 70D shades it here and there, but for low-light handheld the EM5 is superb. The 5-axis stabilisation is awesome.

But it's too big for me to store comfortably in a Y seat. I use a little P&S there.

i tried the Canon Eos M mirrorless and soon gave it up. With an adaptor, it can handle all my Canon glass, but the autofocus sucks, there's no EVF and no tiltscreen. In bright sunlight it's all but unusable.

I wouldn't dare use a fullsize DSLR anywhere but J or F, where I'll have a window all to myself, and the room to stow the kit and swing a decent lens around.

I do envy you your Antarctic transit. My two daylight flights came nowhere near that close.
 

PaulST

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I agree Phil. You do feel a little bit special without paying for J (which my CC can't stretch to yet).
Nice photos. Yep the emergency exit between PE and J was the best place to get photos. You get a nice view of the wing as well as a decent shot of Antarctica.

Skyring, I've heard good things about that Olympus. My 70D was a squeeze in PE but I forced my legs to sacrifice a bit of comfort for what I feel are fairly good photos.

I've posted up a whole lot of videos and photos from my Israel trip where I used my old GX1 here: http://www.australianfrequentflyer....isit-middle-east-emergency-landing-64087.html
Considering how cheap that camera was, it did a good job. (Note: I shrunk the photos to speed up the upload).
 
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