Upon return to Melbourne, Mrs. Tim84 and I were pleasantly surprised to find that our entire family had booked a vacation in the Whitsunday Islands in tropical North Queensland. This trip report will cover QF's domestic offerings, servicing both a purely tourist destination, and one of the busiest domestic air routes in the world.
After spending six blissful days in tropical far north Queensland, it was sadly time to return to wintry Melbourne. As we had booked the flights using our Frequent Flyer points, we were routed via Sydney for our return leg; not necessarily something we were looking forward to, but a necessary pain to get back home!
Part 1 – MEL-HTI [QF 870, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 2 – HTI-SYD [QF 867, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – YOU ARE HERE Part 3 – SYD-MEL [QF 493, Airbus A330-200, Economy] – Coming soon
Hamilton Island Airport
HTI consists of a single level terminal next to pristine blue water. We arrived an hour before our flight was scheduled to depart (which was MORE than enough time), checked our luggage through to MEL, and then explored around the terminal to see what we could find. About 2 minutes walk from the terminal was a pier that was situated roughly parallel to the runway, and we had a blast watching the QF B737-800 land.
Terminal and check-in area:
"Plane spotting" next to the Reef:
Back in the terminal, we headed airside (which consisted of three boarding gates and bar - yes, only in Queensland). Boarding was super relaxed, the Qantas staff were extremely friendly and cheerful and we were all loaded onto the plane with ten minutes to spare:
Airside / boarding:
The seat, IFE screen and headphones (again, 30" pitch which was also quite comfortable the second time round too):
The plane pushed back on time, and very shortly we were on our way down south to SYD. The crew on board seemed very hospitable and friendly this time around; stopping to chat with passengers and going out of their way to help assist us with our luggage! I would estimate the plane would have been around 60% full, and once the "seat-belt" sign had been switched off, the Tim84 clan dispersed to find rows of their own to snooze and pass the time with.
Take-off / cabin shots (still can't get over how incredible the water is in this part of the world!):
About half an hour into the flight, lunch service commenced. A meatball panini was offered, as well as your beverage of choice; the panini itself was decent-sized, and SURPRISE OF ALL SURPRISES one of the FAs came through with seconds for everyone that wanted a second sandwich! Being a little piggy I gladly accepted his offer and was thoroughly satisfied by the quantity of the offering. Quality-wise? It wasn't a gourmet sandwich by any stretch of the imagination, but it did its trick and tasted relatively like how a meatball panini is meant too - so not too bad, actually. I polished it down with a Coke and the FAs came around with bottles of water to conclude the lunch service.
Flight time was two hours and pretty soon we were starting our descent into Sydney. I had passed the time watching Flight Path and this time playing Battleship on the IFE (and getting thrashed by Mrs. Tim84). Kudos to the crew for regularly coming through the cabin offering water and generally making sure everyone was alright.
The descent and arrival:
Welcome to SYD!
We now had four hours to kill in Sydney before our final flight home to Melbourne.. what would we do? Find out in the final report in this series!
Hamilton Island - HTI
Sydney - SYD
Kudos to Qantas for putting on a great flight! Great FAs, a filling lunch, good IFE and a very pleasant experience overall. It definitely helps when the load is under 75%, but QF's refurbished B737-800s feel far more spacious than narrow-bodies should. It's also always pleasant arriving into Sydney's Qantas terminal - one of the best domestic terminals in the Southern hemisphere in my opinion!
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