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.
We had four hours to kill in Sydney before catching our last flight back home to MEL. I was quietly looking forward to this flight simply for the fact that I had not yet flown on QF's refurbished A332s; even though it was a short hop back to MEL, it promised to be fairly interesting nonetheless.
Part 1 – MEL-HTI [QF 870, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 2 – HTI-SYD [QF 867, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 3 – SYD-MEL [QF 493, Airbus A330-200, Economy] – YOU ARE HERE
As mentioned in my previous flight report, I really enjoy SYD's Qantas terminal. It feels a lot more spacious, warm and inviting than MEL's domestic counterpart, with a better array of cafes and shops as well.
A pleasant surprise: Retro Roo II on its way!
The Tim84 clan took a vote on what to do to kill four hours and in the end, we unanimously decided to catch the train into the city for good coffee (shout-out to Cabrito Coffee Roasters), and a quick stroll around some iconic sights. The Airport train was fairly steep in price (clocking in at a little over $64 for both Mrs. Tim84 and I to get to Circular Quay and back) but ran every couple of minutes and was a pretty decent option.
After spending a pleasant couple of hours in the city, we headed back in time to board our flight back to MEL.
The seat (31" pitch, iPad 2 with Q streaming loaded, headphones and the usual seatback magazine and safety card):
It was my first time ever using QF's iPad 2 for IFE and I really enjoyed the comfort and flexibility it provided. It had a different selection to the seatback TVs on the previous flights - more of an emphasis on TV shows and less movies, but this was perfect for the short 1.5 hour flight to MEL. Mrs. Tim84 even managed to squeeze in a movie (from memory, "How to be single") in the short time as IFE / streaming was on a 'gate to gate' basis. And the seat itself? I have to confess, the A330 is probably my favourite aircraft to fly for its 2-4-2 arrangement. I like Qantas' refurbished seat and color scheme; my only complaint was the harsh fluro lighting in the cabin (gimme the SKY interior any day!)
The plane was full and took off on time; again, kudos to the brisk efficiency of the FAs. Not too much time to chat and horse around with us passengers this time; a very business-minded crowd on board and certainly a change from the young families / couples on the HTI flights!
In-flight cabin shots:
Shortly after take off, dinner was served. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the FAs offering a choice of either a hot or cold meal; the hot option was a penne pasta whilst the cold option was a fennel, potato and chicken salad. Feeling in the mood for potatoes, I went with the salad and boy was it delicious! QF's catering hit the spot with this offering; just the right amount of potato, chicken and mayonnaise, and a hearty serve at that. I washed it down with my customary Coke, before the FAs came through again offering bottles of water to finish the meal service. What a pleasant surprise for this short-haul flight!
Pretty soon the captain came on to announce our descent into MEL; he also warned us to brace for strong winds and lots of rain upon touching down. Thanks, Melbourne. What a way to return after six days of balmy, 25 degree weather with blue skies!
Flight path showing our approach into MEL:
We finally touched down (on time), and sure enough, hit wet weather immediately. I managed to snap a couple of photos of our bird, before it was time to collect our luggage and leave the terminal, back into the real world but with many, many more trips to come in the near future!
Sydney - SYD
Melbourne - MEL
Whilst I regard QF's now-retired B767-300ERs with a certain sense of nostalgia, these A332s are an upgrade in every single way. I thoroughly enjoyed this short flight and would happily have sat on the newer A332s to destinations such as SIN or KUL without any complaints! The personal iPads worked a treat as well and provided a very high level of screen resolution and sound quality. Another very solid flight on QF's domestic product.
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