Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Trip Report 4 - Part 3 - MEL-SYD - QF J

Needless to say, it was bright and sunny when on the day I was leaving Melbourne.

I had originally been booked onto QF438, but I arrived rather early at Melbourne Tullamarine and the check-in machine offered me a seat on QF434 one hour earlier. I decided to take that and it was a good job I did as you'll see from the next post. There was, of course, a downside in that catering was not certain (if only). The ticket was a BA Award ticket, 30,000 miles and a pittance in taxes.

Proceeding swiftly through Domestic Security, where my bag went for a swab test, swiftly went the Qantas Business Lounge where I thought I would make up for a possible lack of catering. I'd also had no brekky that morning except for a bag of Twisties. As much as I like Twisties, they aren't brekky.

Relaxing with two glasses of tomato juice, I swiftly indulged myself in Silverside, Cheese, Sourdough Bread and some slightly naff Potato Salad. The Silverside and Sourdough were excellent, so I had some seconds. I also made use of the wireless internet for a few minutes.

The flight was then called and we went for boarding. This was the usual array of anyone with a "small" child or needing extra time to go first (a small horde of both), followed by QF Golds, Plats, OneWorld Emeralds and people with a business class ticket. We were then held up by the mother of all arguments at the gate of a pax with what was deemed to be an oversized carry-on. I will say now and the passenger over the aisle agreed that it didn't look that big to me.

Anyway, we boarded the Boeing 767-300 and the bad vibes continued as I was directed down the wrong aisle by the very mature cabin crew. I proceeded down the correct aisle, was stopped and told to go down the other aisle. I then went down the other aisle and through an empty row to get to my seat. One of the cabin crew then asked for my boarding pass and looked at it, looked at the seat and handed it back without a word. Oh Dear. The large business class domestic seats are nothing to write home about, but are like sitting in a comfy armchair from the 80's

Eventually, the flight boarded with the exception of the gentleman and his bag at the gate who was still having his argument. The pilot made a pointed and I considered unprofessional announcement about this as it was causing a delay. Oh Dear.

There was an pre-flight beverage service by the crew, but it only reached row 3 as they both had to stop and have a lengthy conversation with some people in row 2. I was in row 4. The load was about 90% in Y and 50% in J.

We took off about 10 minutes late due to the shenanigans, but were swiftly headed up towards Sydney. Service was mainly done by two crew, one was forgetful, the other was nasty. The CSD was not seen much, but may have been acting as Galley Bitch, but he did find time to go out and talk to row 2. Service was slow, which is not a good idea on MEL-SYD, it's not a long flight. My aisle was served by the forgetful one for the meal. She had a nice long chat to row 2, then decided she had to push on. I asked for the roast beef salad with no dressing, she slopped the dressing on anyway. No drink was offered, she appeared to be offering drinks randomly. Bread rolls were also random, but seconds were offered to Row 2 and no-one else. I managed to get one, the guy across the aisle didn't.

After discarding the tainted pieces of the salad. I was left with some leaves, which I ate, some couscous which had been poorly prepared and was indelible and some slices of Pedigree Chum disguised as roast beef. I ate the leaves and the bread roll. Coffee was offered, but tea never materialised, which is a shame because QF tea is usually very nice. As the other flight attendant came past, I asked for a cold drink, she snapped "no, too close to landing". However, row 2 got another round of wine a few minutes later from her.

Anyway, it's a short flight and I'd brunched in the lounge, so I just settled back to finish the Bourdain. Stuff was cleared for landing promptly, but we had the excitement of a go-round as a 747 took too long to lumber out the way. This is where a window seat would have been very nice.

Anyway, we landed about 15 minutes late at a slightly drizzly SYD. A nice clinking bag was given to Row 2 by the CSD. I quickly made my way to baggage claim which is a bit of a dump compared to the rest of Sydney QF domestic which is quite nice, looked at the un-turning carousel and popped outside for a cigarette. My bag came off reasonably promptly after I returned from my smoke and I was soon off into a taxi to the Sheraton.

All in all, the flight got me there, but were the crew on loan from United? Because they showed all the hallmarks of what stopped me flying that dire excuse for an airline. I would point out this is my 10th domestic flight with Qantas and the first one where I've had reason to be unhappy, I'll just put it down to the luck of the draw.

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