Review of Alliance Airlines flight Brisbane Adelaide in Economy

Airline Alliance Airlines
Flight VA1338
Class Economy
Seat 17A
Aircraft Fokker 100
Flight time 02:35
Take-off 18 Nov 23, 09:15
Arrival at 18 Nov 23, 12:20
QQ 3 reviews
Jett Tyler
By GOLD 300
Published on 3rd January 2024

Recap- Australia 2023 Tour So far!



Final Frontier- Flying Fokkers in Australia!


The Dutch aviation manufacture Fokker went bankrupt in 1996, which meant eventually Fokker aircraft would begin to disappear from the skies as the 21st Century progressed. Eventually KLM and Austrian Airlines were two of the last major airlines to fly the last generation of the aircraft and their fleets retired by the end of 2017.


Austrian retired the Fokker F100 and KLM retired the Fokker F70, both airlines introducing brand new Embraer ERJ aircraft for their regional jet operations going into the 2020s. It was especially a huge deal for KLM as they'd been operating Fokker planes since 1919, almost their entire century of flight until then.


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However, until late 2023, Carpatair of Romania still operated Fokker F100 in their fleet, but as they are a charter and ACMI airline, you couldn't just book a flight on one as easily as KLM or Austrian were. You'd have to research when they'd be flying on behalf of another airline which they did regularly for KLM and Air Baltic for on and off. However these have now retired in favour of the Airbus A319…


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There are only three places you can easily acquire flights on the Fokker F100 or Fokker F70 in 2023 and beyond. Iran and Papua New Guinea are not the most easily accessible of places but one place can be considered the most easiest is Australia!


Alliance Airlines has arguably the largest fleet of Fokker regional jets at the current time, despite recently introducing the Embraer ERJ. Most of their flights are to regions in the outback on behalf of Virgin Australia and Qantas. Various of these planes carry the Alliance livery, but most carry QantasLINK or Virgin Australia liveries.


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A lot of these planes can be found in Perth, Western Australia or Brisbane, Queensland. Mainly used for the mining flights out to small airports that these jets serve a unique niche market in serving. If you are happy to fly an F100 over to one of these mining towns for a few days, you can bag a final trip on an F70 or F100. 


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They are not cheap flights however, with a hypothetical return trip from Perth to Kalgoorlie (priced up for 6 weeks in advance for 2 nights away) can cost $405/AUD (£216 or $275/USD) return. I don't mean to be a "party pooper" but these are at the end of the day essential air services.


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During the booking of my trip, I opted to give Virgin Australia a try, so I went to book a Brisbane to Adelaide leg, expecting to find a Boeing 737-800 flight. Three flights were available on the day I wanted. The evening flight was the most expensive so I looked at the two morning flights. The first and earliest was a Boeing 737, so I looked at the later morning flight which was the same price as the earliest flight…


The flight details said it would be operated by Alliance Airlines Fokker F100!!!


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I know there is a risk when tracking flights operated by certain planes, but given my options- it was worth doing, so I booked the one-way flight and hoped for the best. The day before the flight rolled around and sure enough, when I went to check in- it was still a Fokker F100, and Virgin Australia sent an email confirming the arrangement and apologising if this was an inconvenience… it was not!


Virgin Australia by Alliance Air!



My flight left the Virgin Australia section of the domestic terminal, I was able to check my bag at the Virgin Australia check in area before heading through security which was quite efficient and I went to the concourse area for the Virgin Australia flights. I saw multiple Boeing 737s around as well as Alliance Fokker F70/F100 aircraft in their own livery.


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I spotted my Fokker F100 parked on a remote stand and was able to snap a photo of it from the walk way leading to the boarding gates. This Fokker F100 is VH-XWR. A 33 year old plane built in June 1990 with a very interesting history, it started out with US Airways as N864US from 1990 to 2003, it was then sent to Germany where it then flew for Germania and then Air Berlin using regional subsidiaries until 2010 as D-AGPG. In 2010 it came to Australia and joined Alliance Airlines as VH-XWR where it has been in service now for as long as it flew for US Airways!


Alliance Airlines is introducing Embraer ERJ-190 and has mainly used them to take over the leased flying for Qantas and Virgin Australia, however a few Fokker F100/F70 are still flying on behalf of the two airlines still and the airline is still using them on the flights to the remote Outback Mining Towns of Western Australia.


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Boarding began on time, using an open board method, which I was not going to complain about. It was nice getting a good look at the Fokker F100 as I boarded up the stairs. I even grabbed a good snap of another Alliance F100 parked across the apron. I boarded as one of the last as I don't hold status on Virgin Australia, so there was no need for me to scramble on.



I booked to sit in Seat 17A, right at the back of the plane between the wing and the engine… Oh how I've missed that view!


The planes cabin seemed very retro, as if the airline had done little to modernise this aircraft since 2010. It was quite the novelty and I did find the seats to be quite comfortable as this type of seat is a bit of a relic in Europe these days. The flight was almost full so I couldn't get many cabin shots until we arrived into Adelaide. This plane was set up with an all economy class layout for 100 passengers.



We eventually pushed back from the stand and the pilots started up the two Rolls-Royce Tay 650-15 engines, which sounded amazing. 


Our taxi route wasn't too dissimilar of the recent Dash 8 Q-400 flight I took out of Brisbane only 2 days prior. We passed all the parked Virgin Australia planes as well as the very busy Qantas domestic gates.



As we made the turn out of Brisbane, I got this amazing photo as the plane banked out over the Brisbane River.


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Fokker regional jets have always been pocket rockets whenever I've flown on one, but this aircraft was no exception, it buzzed up the engines and we were off into a sunny, but slightly cloudy sky over Brisbane before making the relevant turns South toward Adelaide.



The two flight attendants began the in flight service. Now Virgin Australia offers free Water, Tea or Coffee on all flights, which is was this Alliance crew provided. I opted for a Tea and Water. But there was no snack or food offered complimentary, also there was no buy on board menu provided by Virgin Australia for the Alliance flight, so if you do this flight or a flight with a similar set up- its something to be aware of!


It also goes without saying a 33 year old Fokker F100 has no Wi-Fi or IFE Screens installed, but there was no reading material provided except for the safety card. Luckily I had my phone full of music as well as a pair of the latest AIRLINER WORLD magazines which I packed before leaving the UK (no surprises there). Again, something to be aware of if you are on a Virgin Australia flight operated by Alliance Airlines.


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Despite the "short comings" on the service for this nearly 2.5 hour flight, it was worth putting up with for the sake of flying a Fokker one last time, as much as I don't want this to be the case- the reality is this is likely my final ever flight on a Fokker regional jet. I thought I'd flown my last Fokker flight in October 2017, getting this flight is somewhat of a final unplanned encore.


Again, I am by no means saying this is a bad experience. But I hope this reports helps other enthusiasts and travellers adjust their expectations and help prepare for a flight like this. The lack of buy on board or snacks would not make any difference to a 1hr flight for example, but a 2-3 hour flight leaving in the morning, especially if you don't get a chance to have breakfast at your accommodation or the airport… Its a long wait.


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I needed the facilities during the flight, so I took this chance to grab a quick snap of the rather retro airplane loo on this 33 year old regional jet. For such a small plane, it was still reasonably spacious, a lot more space compare to the Dash 8 Q-400.


I also used the chance to grab a cabin shot looking from the very back of the plane to the front of the cabin.


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I had a refill of water, and eventually the flight passed and we started our arrival into Adelaide Airport, passing from desert land and into built up suburbs and city blocks as we closed in on Adelaide.


Like with Brisbane, it was a clear and sunny day with some scattered clouds about.



After landing and as we were coming off the runway for the final taxi over to the domestic arrivals, I noticed a large aircraft at a distance with a very unique paint scheme… it was none other than A6-BAC, the Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300(ER) 25th Anniversary Retro jet!


The reason a Qatar plane is sat in the domestic terminal area is that Qatar operates an Adelaide Airport service via Melbourne Airport as an extension. Qatar Airways cannot fly domestically within Australia selling tickets, but it can operate to/from Adelaide and Doha Airport using Melbourne as a stop in the middle, I think they can connect passengers from other Melbourne flights from Doha Airport onto this flight in a single booking. 


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We pulled in next to this very appealing Boeing 777-300 and the end of my Alliance Airlines Fokker flight was over. I won't hold this as a full Virgin Australia experience, but I do have a Virgin Australia 737-800 flight coming up soon from this trip!


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Once everyone had left their seats and began to crawl forward, I used the time to grab some final cabin shots of the aircraft. I suspect by the time I go back to Australia (if it happens) then the Alliance Fokkers will be either history or totally relegated to expensive and hard to access flights out in the Mining Towns.


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I just had to ask for a Flight Deck visit and it was kindly granted. I didn't hang about for long as the crew and plane had to dart back to Brisbane Airport. I told them about my last flight on the final KLM service which the pilot found interesting. It was a pleasure doing this flight and I am very grateful.


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As with Brisbane Airport, the disembarkation in Adelaide required an open disembarkation and a short walk across to the Terminal building, which I entered duly, fully ending this Fokker flight from North-South.


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Verdict

Alliance Airlines

6.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi2.5
Meal/catering5.0

Brisbane - BNE

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.5

Adelaide - ADL

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Flying the Fokker again in 2023 was a brilliant opportunity as the aircraft have all but left European skies. From an Avgeek perspective it was amazing and a very memorable flight.
The service on this flight was a little lacking, but better than nothing, its something most people need to prepare for before getting on this flight. The crew were friendly enough though, so no issues there.

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2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 642521 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6717 Comments
    It's cool to still be able to fly a F100 in 2023 for sure! The cabin just looks soooo 90's! It reminds me a lot of my last MD-80 flight a few years ago--it felt like being transported back in time. These old seats are super thick and padded and look very comfortable. Virgin and Alliance list 33" seat pitch on the F100s, which is unheard of in Economy this day and age. Granted, the fact that the seats are so thick it probably doesn't feel as spacious as we'd expect a 33" pitch to feel. Nevertheless, this cabin, as basic as it is, is a reminder of days when travelling was so much more civilised. In a short time we've gone from 32-33" seat pitch in Economy being normal to 28-29" knew-crushing awfulness!

    Thanks for sharing!

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