So after hearing that my brother was due to make an appearence at home for a weekend I decided to dissapear south to visit my new friends Michelle & Stuart who I haven’t seen since the big North American Journey. So after a little bit of looking around and chatting with Stuart about dates managed to find some nice cheap S class tickets for pretty cheap against the red e deals and dropped some points for a bit of Business Class Indulgence (i gotta use the points somehow). I managed to book a few nights cheap at a hotel through work and it all looked good. Only later on did i find out that the weekend i was to head to Canberra would be the Weekend of Skyfire (a big fireworks spectacular).
Friday 19th March 2010
After a hard day at work and a morning at the Gym it was off work 15 mins early to make sure i get the train, meet a friend at the Station (who is heading north while im going south), and onto the Airtrain. With the last time i flew getting to use that scammed Virgin Atlantic Silver Status and making it off the Train, checked in and through security in 4 minutes, I was hoping that i could see just how much time i could save with Qantas doing a similar thing. So with the train arrived and a quick walk down to the Check In, i get up to the Priority lines for Business class and I have to wait damn. I only had to wait 3 or 4 minutes but im already losing. After a total of 8 mins since off the train it was through to security and I was through in less than 10 minutes total. Not as good as Virgin but the distance was a little further.
Made my way up to the Business lounge where the Dragon (this time a male) was guarding the door and my quick flick of a boarding pass didn’t work, he called me back so he could inspect it. No chance of a reprint (checked in online to try and get a half decent seat) onto real card though as the desk was very busy in the J lounge. Pretty much exactly the same as how I remember the J lounge last April when I flew to Sydney, but this time, REALLY packed. Hard to find a seat but i did manage a quick connection to the net on my phone and a quick tweet. Mineral water drunk and then off to the gate just as boarding is called. Expecting to get boarded by Zones like Qantas usually does instead its a scrum.. and when i mean Scrum i really mean it. People were running from everywhere! I was about 20 or 30th to board (way down the line) and found my seat quite quickly after a very “meh” greeting by the Flight Attendants.
Brisbane to Canberra (BNE-CBR)
Boeing 737-400 (Rego Unknown)
Business Class – Seat 4A
Boarding: 1845 – Gate 17
Push Back: 1906
Take Off Roll: 1915 – Runway 19
Top of Descent: 2125
Touch Down: 2147 – Runway 35 – Gate 11
I hadn’t experience the Convertible Seats that Qantas use on a 737-400 in business class mode before. They were pretty comfortable but more familiar to the First Class Seat used on Delta being that you have a tray drop down rather than out of the arm rest. Not as good as the millenium seats used on the 737-800s and 767-300s as they had no footrest and not as much legroom (but still good enough!). A quick water before push back and the playing of the all to familiar Safety Video. Quickish Taxi to 19 and quick take off, turn left and up we go to cruising altitude. Seat belt sign off, ipod on, book out and out come the hot towels, such a way to relax.
Dinner was going to be an interesting experience tonight. I had tried to request the Low Fat Meal through Qantas. Doesn’t exist. Had to request the “Diabetic Meal”. I had been dreading just how bad this was going to be. But what was laid out infront of me was not to bad. Another Mineral Water (the stuff is growing on me) and I was ready to relax.
Flight felt very short after a decent meal, a nice relaxing seat and some good music to listen to.
We turned right over Sydney Airport and headed in for our descent into Canberra. We had an early arrival into Canberra, I must of been sitting on the wrong side to see any sights because I sure didn’t notice any.
Stepped off after a quick farewall to the young yet cute flight attendant (good to see some younger people rather than the normal older staff on QF domestic), downstairs to the greetings of my friends. After my bag came off right towards the end (is everyone in Canberra entitled to a Priority tag?) It was off to my hotel.
Sunday 21st March 2010
After a fantastic day exploring the city of Canberra with my friends they dropped me off Curbside to Canberra Airport (this place is a mess right now to!. So thinking I could get a nice quick check in process I figured I would be through quickly…….. WRONG!
I am standing by my theory that every single person with Qantas club must belong in Canberra as the Priority Queue was just as large as the normal Economy Queue… W T F. 15 mins in line and I finally check in for my Business Class Flight. I was instructed to go Up and to the right for the Business Lounge. Through security slowly (couldn’t find the aerosol can I had in my bag… stupid me) and up to the lounge. Stepped in expecting it to be packed…. wrong. It was nice and quiet, just the way you expect a business lounge to be.
Grabbed a spot by the PCs and got myself a mineral water from the Bar and it was time to relax. Jaunted around on the net for a while including some Flyertalk reading, some twittering and a bit of facebook. Then grabbed another mineral water (love it now) and sat back to read some of my book for a while. I had plenty of time in the lounge to relax and just chill out. This is what I love about flying in Business. Being able to actually relax before a flight so I am walking on calm and relaxed and not worrying about gate changes or where should I be or where can I sit etc.
Time kinda flew in the lounge and soon enough I saw that we were due to board in a minute or so. Rather than wait for the boarding call, I headed down. Good timing to. As I reached the bottom of the ramp they called for boarding as I was standing right next to the gate entry. Was 3rd on Board the aircraft (what timing), welcomed on board by name to.
Canberra to Brisbane (CBR-BNE)
Boeing 737-400 (VH-TJU)
Business Class – Seat 2A
(All times are local)
Boarding: 1850 – Gate 13
Push Back: 1919
Take Off: 1927 – Runway 35
Top of Descent: 1927
Touch Down: 19:44 – Runway 01 – Gate 16
On board with lots of people, as more and more people piled on, i got stuck into my book (Weary Dunlop’s POW Diary is really growing on me). Water or Juice on offer as usual, and enjoyed while the sun set in the window out side. Snapped a few photos, enjoying the sunset as we eventually pushed back it was a slow slow taxi (i think we were waiting on a Crash 8 to go past) to the active and a nice, quick take off. A few bumpy bits on the climb out (not much) and then we were cruising nicely north as the sunset on my side.
Drinks and meals were slow to come (But with a flight time of 80 mins i didn’t expect them to be). Rather than giving my special meal up first, they kept me till normal but this time, i went with a diet coke (didn’t ask for lemon or lime i forgot). Dinner wasn’t as good this time, but it was ok. A white roll was offered, it was put to the side as it was soggy.
Not much more to say about this one, the tv show didn’t interest me, so read my book some more, while sipped on my diet coke and a nice cup of coffee (I don’t know how they do it, but it was strong and black just the way I like it). Pretty soon we were on decent into Brisbane, coming in from the south, with approach to Runway 01 meant a slight track across the inner gold coast and the southern Suburbs with a lovely view of the city on my side. Was fantastic, just wish I hadn’t of put my camera away.
Upon landing it was a quick taxi but a long wait at the gate while they bought the mobile stairs over as I was lucky enough to end up with the only Qantas Jet capable gate without an air bridge.
Bags were quick (ish) and I was headed home.