3rd leg - MEL-ADL onboard JQ774 Background Since, I booked my BKI-ADL one-way flights via Emirates, my final connecting flight was booked on Jetstar Airways in which Emirates has interline agreement with (along with Malaysia Airlines). The night before my trip, I also went to Jetstar Australia website hoping to do online check-in. But, the problem was unlike MH and EK, I wasn't given any information on my booking reference on the JQ flight. So, basically I can't check online via JQ's website. So, I tried the alternative - went to the airline's help page and contact them so I can obtain my booking reference from them. And then I found out that JQ provides an online web chat service for guest to field any question to the airline staff regarding their booked flight.
So, I entered the web chat service, and suddenly a person gave a greeting message. I was surprised first (since I never use this kind of customer service before), but upon further study (well, I just stared at the message) then I acknowledge that it was a message from a real person. So, without further ado, I went straight to request the JQ staff who went online at that moment my booking reference. The staff asked my full name in which I gave. I also explain to the staff my whole flight booking thing from BKI to ADL. In just 1-2 minutes, I successfully obtained my booking reference. Feeling the sigh of relief, I thanked the staff for being so helpful. Then, the web chat session ended with a survey which asked me a bunch of questions regarding my experience using such service. Feeling very positive after I obtained my booking reference, coupled with a helpful staff, I rated the service highly in the survey form. I went back to do online check-in using the booking reference that was given to me, but the system was unable to process it, although my name did appear at the end. So, basically I have to wait for check-in by the time I arrive at MEL.
Fast forward to my MEL-ADL flight With the visa issue finally over, I proceeded to the arrival hall after handed my inbound immigration card to the immigration personnel standing just before reaching the hall. The first truly Aussie term I heard was 'cheers mate', uttered the personnel after I gave him the card. At the arrival hall, I saw quite a number of people - relatives, friends and also a group of Emirates limousine chauffeurs holding a piece of paper with names of their guests for pick-up. Still at Terminal 2, I went to the toilet. My impression of MEL is that, in terms of overall cleanliness, it is well maintained. Since this is the first time I went through this airport, I also notice there is some minor renovation at T2 arrival hall. Not wasting any time, I went straight to Terminal 1 departure hall which can be directly accessed from T2 arrival hall via inclined walkalator.
It was almost 2.30AM when I took this photo, all check-in counters were closed though.
Qantas (QF) check-in areas…
Jetstar (JQ) check-in areas, like QF, lots of self check-in kiosks…
I went to one of the JQ's self check-in kiosks to try checking-in using my booking reference, but it was rejected as check-in was still too early. My flight was scheduled to depart at 6.00AM, so I waited.
'This is not a boarding pass'
So, while waited for the check-in time to commence, I wander about the Terminal 1 alone. There were two to three passengers sleeping inside the departure hall. Since, it was warm inside the hall, I took time to venture outside at the drop-off area. Except maybe an airport janitor located faraway at the end, there was no one outside. I wore my jumper as the weather was very cool outside. I took out my iPad hoping to get a wifi connection, but the coverage quickly dissipated as you moved to the outside. So, with no internet connection, I sat there on the railing, or just stood-up eating Eclipse chewy mints I bought earlier at KUL.
Scene outside MEL Terminal 1 departure hall at 2.40AM…
While outside, I suddenly heard a faint but noticeable sound of thrusting jet engine akin to a large passenger jet. Immediately, I realised that A6-EGY took-off with a set of new crews and passengers back as EK409 to KUL and onwards to DXB.
Parkroyal Melbourne Airport Hotel…
Despite being among one of major international gateways to Australia (the other being SYD), the airport is fast becoming dated despite renovations here and there. Well, this is just my humble opinion as a passenger.
For those people who are unsure how much their checked baggage weighs, JQ provides a few of these for convenience. I put mine and it came to be around 10-11kg…
Since check-in time commenced at 3.00AM, I waited an extra 30 minutes just in case. Already, few passengers came to the airport to do self check-in. A around 3.30AM, I made another attempt at self check-in. This time, it worked wonderfully. I printed my boarding pass and since I want to put my checked baggage inside the cargo hold, I also printed out checked baggage tag.
My boarding pass and checked baggage tag - all PIY (Print-It-Yourself)…
A first time for me - I attached my checked baggage tag onto my baggage handle myself. Not too difficult, though I would not pass as a check-in agent as I was too slow.
At almost 4.15AM, security clearance zone was opened, and queue started to build-up.
I went to the JQ check-in counter to drop-off my checked baggage, and then proceeded to the security clearance zone. As my turn came, I put everything into the scanner - my wallet, my mobile phone, my iPad and my own strap bag. So, I walked through the metal detector, and BEEP!. The security personnel, with her strict tone asked me whether I have any metal objects, in which I showed to her my belt. So, I took off my belt, put in the scanner and was asked to go pass the metal detector again. As I walked slowly to the detector, the security personnel told me to go faster, so I did and no beeping sound. Phew! I took back all my belongings and wore back my belt. Honestly, I think that security personnel gave everyone a hard time, though I understand she was just doing her job.
My flight was assigned at Gate 30. It was a long walk to the gate. Along the way, shops were still closed, though there were one or two that started to be opened. Upon reaching Gate 30 waiting lounge, I found out it is actually a sizeable waiting lounge for several gates. I also observed that not so many benches provided. Is this part of MEL a recent extension? Because the interior design of it does not really match of those other parts of the building. Oh, well this is just my humble opinion only. :-)
Good thing is that the waiting lounge floor is carpeted, so everyone feels a bit dry and warm. :-)
As boarding call was yet to be announced, I sat on the bench close to Gate 30, and began to fall asleep. As I haven't been sleeping for the whole night since completing my earlier flight, I took the time to take a nap.
More and more passengers came to the waiting lounge. Among them were a group of tourists (most probably from mainland China) that occupied the whole benches. Since they were in a group, they were given a breakfast box each. They headed for Gold Coast if I am not mistaken.
As I took time napping but partly conscious, I suddenly were woken up by a boarding announcement intended for all JQ774 passengers to ADL. As usual, we queued in front of the gate and gave our boarding passes to the agent on duty for boarding. As we exited the waiting lounge to head for our aircraft, the weather outside was just cold. However, as we walked to supposedly our aircraft, we were instructed to stop. I was thinking why we were stopped since the aircraft was right in front of us.
As we stood outside in the cold, I thought this was supposed to be our aircraft that would take us to ADL…
Nope, turned out that we had to take an airport bus as our aircraft was parked quite a distance to where we were. So, all of us entered the bus. While the bus still not moving, suddenly one of the passengers cracked a joke by telling that perhaps the bus would take us all the way to Adelaide. Quite a few in the bus laugh faintly. So, after everyone was accounted for, the bus was driven for a few minutes to an aircraft parking stand facing Terminal 2. After arriving, everyone disembarked by saying thanks to the driver in which he smiled. He really was a nice bus driver. Afterwards, we immediately boarded the aircraft via staircase. Our flight was operated using VH-VQF, which is an Airbus A320-200.
Waiting for all passengers to board the aircraft.
Lots of unoccupied seats around me - load was light on that particular flight.
Legroom was adequate…
As usual, cabin announcement were made to welcome passengers onboard. The flight would take roughly more than one hour. Before takeoff, safety demonstration was shown by cabin crew on duty that morning. We started push back and taxi to Runway 27 for takeoff.
QF and EK A380s parked side by side…
It took us only a brief moment to reach the end of Runway 27. It was almost sunrise and two flights arrived there moments before we took off - MH A330 from KUL and SQ A380 from SIN…
We took off past 5.40AM Melbourne time… As we climbed, I can see another aircraft on approach to Runway 34 (you can see the aircraft here as a white spotlight to the left of the photo just above the city lights)
We climbed past the cloud ceiling, leaving the bright lights of sprawling Melbourne beneath the clouds. At this time, the first rays of sunrise lighten up the sky.
As we cruised at 38,000ft towards ADL, there wasn't much activity in the cabin. I don't remember the cabin crews offering onboard meals or beverages. Passengers were all quiet (perhaps, taking a nap) except for a child who cried briefly before being calmed by the parent. As for me, I took the opportunity to continue napping.
Sunrise somewhere over western Victoria maybe near border with South Australia.
Rays of sunrise penetrate through the cabin.
Since the flight occurred during Easter season, before we commenced our descent, the crew took time to announce that they would give out free Easter chocolate eggs to all passengers onboard. What a nice treat. But, since I was still in napping mood, so I just let them skip my seat. But, still it was a nice treat from JQ.
We flew above Lake Alexandrina where Australia's longest river, the Murray flows into before reaching Southern Ocean. Nearby is Lake Albert.
Speedbrakes were deployed to descend quickly as we neared ADL. At this point we were just south of the South Australian capital.
I am not familiar with local geography of South Australia though, but I believe we were crossing Adelaide Hills.
Soon, Adelaide outer suburbs came into view. Another sprawling city…
We then turned sharply to the south on approach to Runway 23.
Pretty neat city…
On final approach to Runway 23. Adelaide Hills can be seen on the horizon.
Adelaide CBD came into view. The CBD is surrounded by a ring of parks collectively known as Adelaide Park Lands.
We touched down at ADL at around 6.45AM Adelaide time.
Passing by ATC tower…
We parked roughly at the end of the terminal (Probably at Gate 25 - can't really remember) . We disembarked from the aircraft via an aerobridge. Upon reaching the terminal, my eyes were refreshed by the spaciousness of ADL, with its softly white color scheme, lots of glass panels and with carpet flooring. I have to admit, it was quite a nice change compared with MEL. ADL has this regional airport atmosphere that is just right for me.
View across the tarmac. MH A330 just arrived from KUL. Two more flights would arrived from Southeast Asia that morning - SQ A330 from SIN and Airasia X (D7) A330 from KUL (which brought my parents and the rest of the family members who joined the Adelaide trip).
I proceeded to the baggage carousel to pick my baggage. Since, my parents and other family members (at this point I will call them as 'The Group') scheduled to arrived at 8.45AM, I waited them near the international arrival hall. I took advantage of the free wifi connection at the airport by opening the Flightradar24.com app in my iPad to locate The Group's flight. At around past 9.00AM, I finally met my uncle at the airport while he waited for The Group at the international arrival hall. Since I came earlier than The Group, my uncle curious on why I didn't message him so he could pick me up first and stayed at his house while waiting for the rest to arrive. Well, I think it's better to wait for everyone at the airport, then leave simultaneously. I finally reunited with The Group after completing my one-way solo journey to Adelaide. What a flight trip that was!
Outside the terminal building at ADL.
While staying in Adelaide, my uncle and his family has been very welcoming to us. We rented a van so my uncle can bring us to interesting places around the city and the surroundings. Below or some of the photos I took during our trip, in random order:
The city of Adelaide The capital of South Australia is the fifth largest city in Australia with a population of just over 1 million.
Victoria Square, Adelaide CBD
Victoria Square was named after Queen Victoria. Notice two flags behind the Queen Victoria statue - Australian National Flag (right) and Australian Aboriginal Flag (left).
Rundle Mall - the major high street shopping area in Adelaide
Major shopping outlets, branded items, souvenirs, foods, etc…all in one row of car-free street.
Adelaide skyline from across River Torrens.
Myer Centre at North Terrace.
Rymill Park, one of many parks that surround Adelaide CBD.
Adelaide Central Market - thought to be largest in the southern hemisphere.
Glenelg The suburb of Glenelg is part of Adelaide. Historically, it is the oldest European settlement at mainland South Australia, established in 1836.
It was here at this exact spot in 1836, South Australia was proclaimed as a colony. The site is located at suburban residential areas at Glenelg North.
This tree was finally plastered with cement to prevent from further decay. Compare this image to the one below…
The Proclamation of South Australia 1836 by Charles Hill. Note the same tree here.
Hahndorf & Barossa Valley South Australia's history is also shaped by the arrivals of not only settlers from British Isles, but also Germans who wanted to seek better life abroad. Unlike New South Wales, South Australia was established as a free colony not based on convictivism. Australians of German ancestry are highly ocncentrated here compared with the rest of the country.
Autumn leaves are in abundance at Hahndorf, one of the oldest German settlement in South Australia.
Bavarian and German flags inside a restaurant in Hahndorf. The walls of the restaurant also showcase the town's history
Autumn leaves in front of Hahndorf Memorial Institute.
Strawberry picking at Beerenberg.
We went to Maggie Beer's Farm Shop at Barossa Valley - we bought our picnic lunch at the shop and we all sat outside overlooking the lake while enjoying our lunch.
A brief visit to Jacob's Creek Tourist Centre - We were told that these grapes yielded expensive wines.
While other visitors had their wine tasting inside the tourist centre, there was a musical performance outside.
The Pavlova - a national food for both Australia and New Zealand. It is a homemade recipe courtesy of my uncle and his family.
I can't remember the place, but we went to this zoo and saw various animals. Of interest is of course kangaroo! (BTW, is that white animal a wallaby?)
On our way to Victor Harbor via coastal road.
South Australian rural areas…
At Victor Harbor - on the way to Granite Island. There are two options to get there - by walking or…
…taking a horse-drawn wagon. Poor thing, I felt pity with that horse!
So, what do I think about Adelaide? It is a very laidback mid-sized city with lots of parks. The weather had been wonderful in the first two to three days of our trip, though there were cloudy days leading to the end of our trip but that didn't dampen our holiday mood. Overall the trip was a memorable one. We even plan to have a second big family outing there, hopefully in spring 2016 and hopefully more family members join in.
Next, my flight reports on my return journey home to Kota Kinabalu onboard Airasia X and it's regional affiliate Airasia. Stay tuned!
Melbourne - MEL
Adelaide - ADL
Overall, Jetstar Airways was alright. Since it is a low cost airline, so I don't expect much from them. Besides that, this is just a short haul route within this vast continent. I actually find that the check-in process is very efficient, provided that you know how do you want to travel. I don't mind doing everything myself (self check-in, baggage tagging) because that would save a lot of time and energy. And the airline has handle its customer service quite well, something which I rated highly in my review.
Regarding MEL and ADL, I prefer the latter. Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that ADL is smaller, simpler and newer compared with MEL which mixes-up everything, although I find the connection (by walking) between terminals at MEL is easy. Both airports are well-maintained in terms of cleanliness.
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