Hello, this series covers a total of 34 flights that I have and will be taking over the next few weeks. I am a little slow in catching up with the reports but quite a few should be completed over the next few days! Please read Parts 1 or 3 for the full introduction, I’ll just duplicate a small portion here as a reminder.
1. I intend to do this series semi-live; i.e. I shall type as I fly and publish the FR soon after arriving at a destination. I do apologise if there are delays but I will try my best to be as up to date as possible.
2. I will do away with my usual “timeline” style (see my past reports), otherwise it will take me much, much longer to get my reports ready.
3. Those square brackets in italics will give you an idea as to when exactly I was writing parts of the reports in this series, i.e. right now I am rushing the backlog in Los Angeles.
4. And lastly for now, my apologies for not catching up on those previous series of mine. Was so super busy in school and also, busy preparing for this massive trip of mine. (:
A look again at the map and flights included in this series:
This report starts off with a quick guide on the topic of "The cheapest way to get to Melbourne Airport!"
If you are heading to the airport from the outer metropolitan areas, like me, you'd have to catch a train first from one of the suburban Melbourne Metro stations.
Most of the trains will bring you to Flinders Street or Southern Cross station – the two main Metro stations in Melbourne City.
I recommend alighting at or starting your journey from Southern Cross, because it's slightly easier to navigate your way in that station.
From there, catch a Craigieburn Line train, which typically departs from Platform 11.
On the day of this flight, I arrived at Southern Cross at 11.10am, about 4.5h before my flight departs.
Southern Cross Station is quite a huge railway facility. In general, there are suburban metro services, regional train services (within Victoria) and long-distance train services (e.g. trains bound for Sydney). Make sure you don't get on to a V-Line or long-distance train.
Example of a V-Line train:
The Melbourne Metro rolling stock looks something like this:
Usually, you don't have to worry about luggage space because this is the typical crowd on Craigieburn trains:
You will most likely be able to find a space for your luggage and a seat for yourself.
At about 11.40am that morning, I received a notification from Qantas about my flight's gate information. (I tried reducing the size of this screenshot but it still ended appearing quite huge, sorry about that!)
Anyway, 13 stations later, alight at Broadmeadows station and find your way to Bus 901's bus stop.
FYI, this is the timetable for the Bus 901 bound for Melbourne Airport from Broadmeadows station (correct as at 13 May 2016).
I checked and confirmed the train and bus schedule on Victoria's public transport website before setting off. That way, you wouldn't have to wait too long before the bus arrives. I boarded the bus after waiting for a short while and it left for the airport promptly at 11.56am.
In about 20 minutes, I arrived at Melbourne Airport's newly built bus terminal, situated beside Terminal 4. It's definitely an improvement from the secluded bus stops used a few years ago.
Lastly, simply follow signs to the terminal your flight's departing from. And… Tadah! You have arrived at Melbourne Airport with just a transport fee of AUD3.90.
Compare this to AUD19 by the SkyBus service or AUD50++ by taxi.
It was, however, quite a long trek from T4 to T2, MEL's only international terminal. I was under the impression that Qantas had all-day common check-in for flights departing MEL.
I was told otherwise by two (restless and a little disinterested) check-in staff that QF37 will "only begin to accept passengers about 5-10 minutes later."
It was about 12.30pm and I took a seat near the counters. Qantas sent another notification about a gate change.
Check-in commenced about 15 minutes later and I was Seq No. 2!
The check-in agent, like I mentioned just now, looked a little restless. And when I asked if he can ensure that my bag is tagged all the way to Tokyo, he said…
"Sure. Let's see… You'd have to check in again in Singapore. For your onward flight to Tokyo, and you're travelling on… This JL thing? Is it Jetstar?" "Oh. It's Japan Airlines." "Ah, okay. It's (my bag) going all the way." "Thanks!"
Okay, within seconds, I received all my documents and dumped my bag. I won’t see it again until the next morning, all the way in Japan.
I didn't waste any more time thereafter. 15 minutes later, I was already airside, passing by my gate on the way to the QF Business Lounge.
My aircraft was already at the gate, ready for the 3.40pm departure.
Qantas / A330-300 / VH-QPB / QF37 MEL-SIN
I made my way to QF's Lounge @ MEL. This lounge is situated one level beneath the departure airside area. It isn't in the basement but unfortunately don't feature any windows as well. This results in the lounge lighting being quite dark regardless of the time of the day – something that I don't quite like.
Here are photos of the lounge seating and computers.
I found a seat for myself and went to the buffet counter to get lunch.
This was my lunch! The food choices were nice, and the lounge attendant personally prepared and served me the cup of mocha. (:
The same lounge attendant also chatted up with me before I started browsing the food selection. He was a really pleasant man to talk to, and I must say – very observant too.
He saw me scratching my hand and asked if my skin is often dry when staying in Australia. He then took out a QF lounge feedback card and wrote down the name of a product he recommends that I try out. Nice gesture even though it's nothing much!
Anyway, just some more random thoughts about this lounge.
To be frank, I don't quite like the seating choices in this lounge as I have yet to find a corner / type of seat that I prefer (having visited it for a few times). Nonetheless, at some of the sofa seats, there's this large area by the side that you can place your belongings / food and drinks (see photo below), allowing you more space to manoeuvre, especially if working on a laptop.
In the washrooms of this lounge, each individual cubical has separate basins and mirrors, which is a good point as it allows lounge guests to wash up more comfortably before their flights.
I left the lounge for the gate just before 3pm.
Here’s my aircraft again – a pity I couldn’t find a good angle to take a full aircraft photograph that day.
Now… Things were getting weird. It was already past the scheduled boarding time stated on the boarding pass… Where is everyone?
Boarding began at 3.12pm. Still, no signs of any crowds!
The boarding announcement went “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Qantas flight 37 bound for Singapore will now like to invite all guests for general boarding.”
Woah… What’s happening?
Things started to get clearer as I stepped into the aircraft: the flight wasn’t full! Or maybe I should say… Is this really a revenue service?
Walking pass Business Class and there wasn’t anyone yet.
How I hope I get to fly in these seats one day…
And here’s the rear Economy cabin. It was so bright outside, causing my cabin photographs to be overexposed… You see, the problem is – I have a good camera, but I am an idiot when it comes to technology and I am just starting to figure out all the settings one year after I got hold of this camera.
This would be my seat(s) for the next 7h!
Or maybe… Hey guys, welcome to my (almost akin to) private jet’s cabin view… All the way to Singapore!
Okay… Maybe not. There are still a few others on board.
But look at the left side of this photograph! She must be pretty amazed at how empty the flight was as well!
This aircraft would be turning around as QF38, back to MEL that night. My guess was that QF38 must have been quite full – or at least full enough for Qantas to send an A333 over, otherwise, they could have pretty much downsized the aircraft and used an A332.
I mean… Given the number of passengers on board QF37 that day. Even a B738 won’t be full!
Alright… Enough of nonsense from me. As boarding continued with just a couple more passengers joining us, I made a trip to the lavatory.
Back at my seat, a quick look at the amenities – the pillow, blanket and headset were pre-set on all seats.
The pretty awesome legroom.
And the nice leg rest / shoe storage area.
And here’s the even more awesome IFE screen!
The tray table that’s quite big in terms of size.
And one of the best part about this seat is the storage areas. The space beneath the IFE screen could even fit my iPhone 6 Plus.
The overhead panel had adjustable air vents.
And the headrest, which was very comfortable.
Boarding was almost completed at about 3.25pm and eventually, ALL seats immediately around me remained empty!! Seriously. I told myself “I am so going to cherish this flight’s experience!”
Of course, after boarding was completed, I shifted to the window seat!
My window view for the next 7h+, I knew that it would be a good flight from then on. (:
I am addicted to this style of reporting – let’s do some timekeeping now. (Once I’m done with this series, I promise to resume the utilisation of timelines in my reports! @marathon)
1527 Doors Closed 1535 Push Back 1540 Taxi 1547 Take Off 1550 Signs Off
An FA came by to pass me the menu for this flight before push back. Our captain also came on the PA to welcome us onboard.
And while we pushed back into the taxiway, the safety video played, take a look at it if you haven’t done so; the new QF safety video is quite nice!
We took off from MEL’s Runway 27 at 3.47pm and this is the video of take off.
And then the view soon after take off. In this report, I think I got addicted to taking window shots. So I decided to match most of them with a corresponding FlightRadar24 screenshot.
The seatbelt signs went off at 3.50pm.
More window views!
Soon after we levelled off, the Cabin Service Manager (aka Purser) came all the way from Business Class to my row at the back to welcome me onboard.
“Hi there Mr. Tn92! Welcome onboard!” “Hey good afternoon! It’s so empty today!” “Oh! Yes. It’s kinda weird and even I am not used to it.” “I hope your airline doesn’t cancel this flight because I love the timing, as compared to the morning flight!” “I don’t think they will! I’m guessing it’s this empty because the public still isn’t aware about this new flight. Enjoy your journey and please just take any seat you like!” “Thank you!”
Moving on, this is the view somewhere over Macedon.
Look at those hills and settlements around them. (:
Qantas serves welcome drinks in Economy cabin as well. I’m not very sure exactly what drink this is, but the menu says “Bickford’s Signature Range” as the brand. According to Tim84 in his latest report featuring QF’s LAX-MEL flight, he was offered a guava juice as welcome drink. Mine however looks slightly different, but I really can’t figure out what juice this is.
A separate bottle of water was distributed as well.
This was the view at 4.01pm. Looking at the tidy patches of field, there appears to be some civilisation still on ground. In the later stages of this flight, we will mostly be flying over desert areas.
We continued to climb and our altitude eventually reached FL400.
I am guessing that we climbed to such a high altitude right at the beginning of our flight due to the aircraft’s light load. Is this true?
Anyway, I decided to spend some time during the flight watching a Hong Kong action movie “Connected” and the rest of my time writing Flight Reports! (Can you recognise which report of mine is this? :P)
The FAs started pushing the drink/food cart at about 4.30pm but I only received my meal at 4.45pm – still, that’s less than an hour after take off, so no complaints! Nothing surprising though, given the light load.
The bread was hot and really nice!
As for the mains, I chose the lamb option. I don’t eat lamb often so I’m not exactly sure if this was good or so-so. But the meat was at least tender and I managed to finish everything.
During the meal service, we were already flying above the deserts – also known as Bimbowrie Conservation Park; a pity I didn’t manage to take a photo of the Route A32 that cut across the desert (see the map) – missed it by a little.
After the meal service, hot drinks were served with a Lindt coconut flavoured chocolate. The chocolate was really nice!
And… The view outside changed again!
I tidied my belongings a little after the meal and walked around the cabin! Wow, it was really empty, I must say. Especially the rear cabin I was seated in. I also went to the other lavatory in the centre of this A333.
This last photo was taken using my iPhone and the quality isn’t as good, sorry! But, this photo reflects better the actual lighting in the aircraft.
Soon after take off, the FAs lowered almost all of the windows in the cabin, presumably to keep the aircraft temperature and lighting more comfortable.
Back at my seat, the views outside continued to be so amazing. Frankly speaking, I’d never want to find myself on ground exploring these deserts, never. But seeing them from the skies is just plain awesome!
I’ll let the pictures do the job.
Cabin lights were switched off at around 6.13pm (Melbourne time).
The cabin therefore became quite dark, except for lights sipping in because of people like me who refuse to lower my window shade.
I really wouldn’t want to give up these views!
M&M’s chocolate was distributed later on in the flight – interestingly, this was even reflected in the menu. Apples were also offered but I denied having one.
The sun was about to set at around 7.30pm. At this point, we were about to leave Australian air space.
This is the view of the edge of Australian grounds.
The location as seen on the moving map…
… and on FlightRadar24. This large gulf area is actually called the King Sound; you can check it out on Wikipedia ‘cos the satellite images are quite pretty!
The sun continues to set and these are the last few window shots for this flight.
Throughout the flight, the FAs were also very proactive in offering drinks – juices, water, and etc.
We overflew Bali-Denpasar at 9.08pm but I didn’t manage to take a good photograph of the city view. I tried videoing but the effects didn’t turn out well, so please imagine the night view yourself! :P
As promised in the previous instalment, here’s a more detailed coverage of Qantas’ in-flight magazine and other seat pocket contents for May 2016.
The view from Dubai’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa. Dubai is a city I really want to visit! Has anyone went up to Burj Khalifa before?
Travel articles featuring Venice and Ho Chi Minh City.
I tried searching for flights from SYD to VCE, apparently there isn’t any QF codeshares on EK from DXB to VCE for the month of June. Weird…
For SGN however, Qantas codeshares on Vietnam Airlines and fly direct from SYD and MEL. One can also choose to fly on Qantas’ Singapore service and connect to a Jetstar Asia codeshare.
The entertainment guide could also be found in the magazine – onQ.
On B717s, A332s and B738s (selected aircrafts), personal IFEs aren’t available but QF offers another form of IFE called Q Streaming.
And here’s a Qantas Frequent Flyer advertisement, before we move on to see more information about the airline – fleet details, terminal maps, oneworld information and network maps.
Qantas has quite a large variety of aircrafts I must say; I’ve only flown on the first 5 though – A388, B744, A333, A332 and B738.
And I haven’t been on a Jetstar A321 before.
Terminal maps. Dubai comes first before any other airports…
Qantas domestic network.
Instead of looking at the international network by areas, we can actually sort them by colours!
Red for Qantas and orange for Jetstar.
Green for Emirates.
And, blue for American Airlines and other North American partner airlines.
The “in sky shopping” catalogue. Remember, Qantas frequent flyers can earn points for every AUD1 spent.
Recently, Vodafone has started a partnership with Qantas. This came a few months after Optus ceased its partnership with the airline.
And these are the only airline-related products I could find.
Finally, the safety information card.
I went to the lavatory again, and it was still kept really clean 5.5h into the flight. Oh well, of course! I was the only one using it. And maybe a few other FAs.
At this point, it was almost pitch black in the cabin. Try counting the number of passengers seated in this cabin.
Another Lindt chocolate was offered at about 9.40pm. I had not touched my M&M’s chocolate yet. #sugaroverdose
The cabin lights came back on again slightly after 10pm. Note – I’m still using Melbourne time.
And it’s because supper was being served.
The panini was nice but the serving size a little too small.
Dinner was served early on this flight, and by this time, I was already very hungry and planning to eat another late dinner in SIN’s QF lounge, later on during my transit.
Landing preparation commenced at 10.40pm, which translates to 8.40pm Singapore time.
The cabin crews went down the aisle raising all the window shades. That’s the problem of not having enough passengers to do it for them.
Our First Officer provided the arrival information prior to our descent. He informed us that we will be 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Yay! More time in the lounge.
About 15 minutes or so before arrival, the seatbelt signs came back on. I recorded the announcement for landing preparation as well. It’s interesting that headsets can only be inserted into a specific port on the armrest and not the other one on the IFE screen itself.
Time to get home back in Singapore, and then fly off again. (It’s sure to be an interesting experience transiting at my base airport.)
I was looking forward to videoing the landing into SIN. But a good video was however not possible because the cabin lights were not turned off.
The later part of the video will feature the announcements after landing.
(UTC+08:00, Singapore time) 2103 Signs On 2118 Touched Down 2127 Arrived at Gate 2135 Collecting Boarding Pass at Transit Counter
This is pretty much all of the passengers on board QF37 that day.
And this concludes my most memorable Qantas flight till date, and… 4 more flights and 42h more to go before arriving at Macau.
For now, it’s 4.5h of transit time in the airport that I’m most familiar with!
[Signing off from Los Angeles, USA]
(To be continued)
This report was completed on 27 May 2016 at 12.48pm (UTC-08:00).
Full sized photographs of this flight will be available soon.
Qantas Business Lounge International
Melbourne - MEL
Singapore - SIN
Can I give 10/10 for cabin comfort? I guess I can. The cabin crews were nice and some of them were obviously enjoying this flight, since they were singing along to the boarding music as they walked down the aisle. The male FAs however were just unfriendly. If I’m not wrong there were two of them, and none responded to any of my “thank you(s)” and neither did they even look at me when passing me drinks or other amenities. What's wrong with them?
The QF Business lounge in MEL has its pros and cons. It’s huge and definitely has some comfortable seats. The staff that interacted with me this time round was superb! But it doesn’t have any windows and always feels a little bit too dark. So I guess it’s a good lounge but there’s also nothing much to write home about.
I departed MEL in the mid-afternoon, so it wasn’t at all busy. Of course, this makes the entire departure experience extremely pleasant. I was also glad to be able to get to the airport at such a cheap fare – try it the next time you visit MEL and you’ll be glad that you’d save yourself enough for one or more meals in the city!
I’ll write more about the transit experience @ SIN in the next instalment. Look out for it! The next flight will also be my very first Japan Airlines experience. Thanks for reading! (:
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