Bravo to Qantas for recognising my 1001st time in the air! (it was also my 292nd second flight with the Aussie airline) and my third time on this particular aircraft
an Airbus 330 (VH-QPF) named Esperance (after a town in Western Australia). I had last flown this plane back in March.
I was prompted to book by the announcement of a Qantas fare sale to Bangkok. In an unusual deviation from pattern, I only checked one fare comparison site kayak. I had almost hit “confirm” on the Qantas website which would charge my card and finalise the booking process, when I undertook a further search on skyscanner, I got the same ticket for $100 less at a different travel agency site. The total fare at $635 is about half of what people would expect to pay on this sector with a major airline. Not sure how sustainable this fare is but am I complaining?
I chose my seats at qantas.com after the booking was confirmed. The Qantas booking site is fairly smooth with a couple of minor glitches which can be annoying when searching for multiple options.
Check in: 7/10
Qantas on-line check in is easy to use. At the airport, a line is set aside for online customers. Apart from this, Sydney airport check in, on this day, felt like a disaster. Every Qantas check in line (except for First Class) was full. Since the switch to the Dubai focus, most Qantas flights now leave Sydney in the morning which brings a massive rush in a very short period of time. I much prefer flying out of Sydney in the afternoon and evening. It is much calmer.
Our agent was very warm, friendly and helpful. She glanced at my hand luggage (small briefcase and duty free bag). She was not able to find us bulkhead seats (there were two empty ones we discovered when on board).
The lines for customs and immigration were a nightmare. Even the express lines were slow but not as slow as the 40 minute wait some passengers found they had to get through the process.
The Qantas Sydney Business Lounge was completely full with people hovering waiting for empty seats to open up. If ut were not for the showers and free food, one is almost tempted to escape to the “peace and quiet” of the main airport!
Food quality was great, the showers and free toiletries are highly appreciated and the wifi is fast.
Boarding time was delayed slightly because of the foul weather outside. We boarded toward the “back of the pack” as we came from the lounge which was a fair walk. We, therefore missed most of the boarding process but it appeared to be orderly. Our welcome by the gate agents and staff on board the aircraft was warm and felt genuine. Crew down the plane were welcoming and helpful and kept this standard up for the whole flight.
What was less orderly was that the second officer was delayed getting to the airport because of an accident in the Sydney Harbour tunnel. In addition, the weather was delaying other passengers connecting on in-coming flights so we waited a long time.
The chief cabin attendant personally welcomed me on board along with other “higher status” frequent flyers in economy.
On Board: 8/10
This ten year old A330 has 30 angle-flat seats arranged 2-2-2 with a pitch of 60″ and a width of 21.5″.
Staff kept the lavatories clean for the whole flight. Qantas provided no amenity kit.
I was very impressed with today’s friendly crew.
Due to the weather, all flights into and out of Sydney were delayed. On arrival at the runway, we were seventh in the queue. Take off itself was smooth with only a few bumps as we hit the cloud layer.
Meal service was very friendly and warm through the whole flight.
Our choice of main meal was a beef dish or fish dish. I chose the Beef Bourguignon which came with potato mash, a bread roll and chocolate dessert. Serves were on the lighter side.
A coconut flavoured ice cream was handed out later. The airline has a great alcoholic and non alcoholic drink selection.
Apples, snacks, water and juices were available in the galley through the flight.
Prior to arrival, we were handed a mini pizza. I was hungry on arrival in Bangkok.
The Qantas Q entertainment system seemed to have fewer choices than usual. The airline says there are 60 movies and 250 Tv programs but bear in mind many of the movies were in different language which reduced the movie choice. I found enough to do in between reading a book and some work. I watched as many episodes of Big Bang Theory as I could, the three episodes of Modern Family that were in the system and the movie Pompei (admittedly fast forwarding sections).
The system worked well and the controls were smooth, although I keep expecting the screen to be a touch screen these days!
I still would like some wi-fi, a USB port , power outlet and e external cameras to watch the trip, features offered by Qantas competitor/partner Emirates.
We landed (as expected) late into Bangkok. There was one very significant bounce as we turned toward our final approach but apart from that, it was a very smooth landing.
Bangkok airport, in contrast to Sydney was much more peaceful. I was through immigration and customs in about ten minutes with a stop to get cash from one of the ATMs in the luggage hall. It is clear the coup here is having an effect on tourism. I will talk more about the
My Flight Rating: Overall 78% (4 out of 5). This is same as my last flight on this route.
My overall rating of Qantas: 76%
Skytrax: Qantas has a 4 star rating from Skytrax.
Negatives: Wifi, USB port, small meals
Would I fly them again? Yes