This series covers a quick mileage run down to Australia. To kick off AA’s new services from LAX to SYD and AKL, there were a series of fare sales. I jumped on a ~$700 fare over Memorial Day weekend. The routing was picked to ensure that I could leave Friday night after work and get back to LAX first thing Tuesday morning. Since the QF flight from BNE is the earliest arrival (6:00), the routing was picked to spend one day in SYD and one day in BNE. Returning from BNE was also attractive since QF still sends a B744 on this route and any chance to fly a Queen should not be passed up.
Part 1 – LAX-SYD [AA 73, Boeing B777-300ER, Economy] – Here Part 2 – SYD-BNE [QF 512, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – You are here Part 3 – BNE-LAX [QF 15, Boeing B747-400, Economy] – Here
I arrived at Central Station in Sydney at 6:50am, purchased my ticket for $17.40 and headed up towards the platforms. The signage is very clear in order to find the T2 line to the airport.
The train arrives on time and isn’t too crowded on this Monday morning.
The Domestic Terminal is the first stop at the airport. Exiting the station you are able to access T2 (others) and T3 (QF).
Upstairs in the Departures Lobby of T3, they have a replica of an Avro 504 on display.
T3 is very new and open feeling.
I use the self-service kiosk to collect my boarding pass. It has no problem finding my AA record locator.
FIDS in T3.
Boarding pass in hand, I head towards security. There is a priority lane off to the left side, but with no noticeable back up at security, it doesn’t save any time. I was airside in a couple of minutes.
Clearing security, I’m immediately drawn to this plane getting towed into a gate. QF A332 in OW livery.
At the adjacent gate was this QF B738 in the Mendoowoorrji special livery, one of the QF liveries honoring Aboriginal artwork.
The concourse is lined with shops.
I head down to the Qantas Club, which is accessible to OW Sapphires. I’m greeted and my boarding pass is scanned as I enter. The lounge is huge for a domestic lounge, but hopping.
Not the greatest of breakfast buffets, but acceptable for a snack.
Ten minutes before the boarding time, I walked down to the gate. My plane for today, she is no spring chicken for B738 standards. She is named after the town Logan.
At the indicated boarding time, 20 minutes to departure, boarding was called with special assistance and business class passengers.
The agent scans my boarding pass and says “Thank you, enjoy your flight Mr. NGO85.” A nice touch to address passengers by name. Down the jetbridge we go.
Reaching the galley, a FA takes my boarding pass and says “Welcome aboard Mr. NGO85, you are seated in an exit row, is that okay?” I acknowledge and he directs me down the aisle. Strafing the J cabin.
The Y cabin (blurry because I got bumped in the back).
Seat pitch is good in the exit row.
No personal IFE.
Armrest features the controls.
Our next door neighbor. Look how close the nose is to the terminal.
Exit row safety instructions.
Safety card for this B738.
Qantas in-flight magazine.
The plane was about 85% full and the middle seat would remain empty. We push back a little late giving a nice QF tail line-up. The last B738 looks to still have the old livery (very subtle difference in the kangaroo silhouette).
Safety demonstrations are performed as the video plays on the overhead monitors.
Control tower as we taxi to the far reaches of the airport.
VA B738 taking off.
VA ERJ-175 landing.
We approach the threshold of the runway as this TT A320 goes heading off towards the CBD.
This little ZL Saab 340B cuts us off to take off in front of us.
It’s our turn and we align onto the runway.
We lift off over SYD.
The CBD is visible below.
Entering the Tasman, we turn to the north to follow the coastline up to BNE.
Service starts up. We are handed a sweet snack of chocolate cookies.
This is followed by the drink cart. Every passenger is handed a water bottle. The FA asks “Gentlemen, would you like something to drink?” The consistent use of titles to address passengers is quite remarkable. The crew was definitely polished. A pretty good cup of coffee.
I went to the bathroom after the carts cleared the aisle. The lavatory was clean and recently renovated. This felt like a new B787 lavatory not a 13-year old B737.
Exiting the lavatory, the 4 FAs were cleaning up the carts. I asked one of them if they had a pen so I could work on the crossword puzzle. Two of them go hunting and pull out a QF pen for me with a smile.
Not too much later, we are approaching BNE.
The CBD is visible in the horizon.
We turn in to land from the north.
Touching down ahead of schedule.
QQ Fokker 70 surrounded by VA B738s.
QF’s domestic operations.
We pull into a gate next to our twin.
Deplaning was quick. The first thing I notice in the jetbridge is this “Welcome to Brisbane” sign, which is subtitled in Japanese of all languages. Everything else in Australia is mainly English/Chinese, so the placement of this Japanese signage at the domestic terminal is curious.
BNE is under heavy renovations right now. Down to the baggage claim we go.
Outside, you can access the Airtrain platforms.
The train takes about 25 minutes to reach the city center and costs $17.50. You can buy the tickets discounted online (~30% off), but I forgot to do this the week before.
I drop off my bag at the hotel and set off to explore BNE on a warm sunny day.
Qantas Club - 3
Sydney - SYD
Brisbane - BNE
QF domestic standards are very high. The crews and in-flight service was phenomenal. This older cabin wasn't great, but the exit row was comfortable and the snack offering on this flight was acceptable.
Cabin comfort: This older QF cabin was fine for a flight of this length. Plenty of leg room in the exit row and the empty middle seat helped with overall comfort. One of the nicer lavatories I've seen in Y.
Crew: An excellent crew. Addressed me by name boarding twice (not sure if this is only to elites). Service with a smile and even went out of their way to get me a QF pen.
Meal and catering: The chocolate cookies are average food for a 1.5 our flight. The distribution of water bottles in addition to the normal drink service is a really nice feature.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No personal IFE. They had overhead monitors, but they were only used for the safety video.
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