I woke early due to slight jet lag combined with overindulgence the night before and made an update to my report. I showered and checked out by 07:50 and grabbed a taxi to the airport. It was fairly swift until we got to the road leading up to the airport when we came to a standstill. We crawled along at a snails pace and it took at least 30 minutes to do the last couple of kilometres. My cab fare was at least 20 dollars over what it would normally be.
We eventually made it to the airport and I forked out the cash and made my way inside. QF have a walled off section at SYD that is used for First passengers. Inside there are some seats where one can fill out their emigration cards and in my case grab something from my suitcase that I needed on the flight.
I was checked in quickly and given an express path card for outbound and one for inbound as well.
I entered the express path door and lined up for emigration that was a quick and painless affair. Security was next where there was a short queue and I escaped unscathed or so I thought until I was selected for the swab treatment. I gave the usual monosyllabic answers to the questions and nothing more to the agent.
Finally free of the farce I then was forced to navigate the duty free maze and was decidedly grumpy by the time I made my way up the escalator to the First lounge.
My mood didn’t improve much once inside as the place was positively heaving. There were passengers for the LAX, JNB QF flights along with a CX flight to HKG a codeshare with Asiana to ICN and a codeshare with Vietnam Airlines to Ho Chi Min. I was not able to secure a seat for breakfast and opted to sit at the bar watching the chefs at work in the kitchen. I ordered some OJ and coffee and the wonderful eggs benedict. The guy next to me tried to start a conversation but grumpy bum here wasn’t having any of that it quickly died.
The OJ was lovely and freshly squeezed and the eggs were as lovely as ever although they got cold very quickly. The coffee took its time to appear and only showed up after I was half way through the meal.
After the meal I decamped to a section of the lounge looking over gate 24 where my aircraft was parked. I noticed that it was the infamous Nancy-Bird Walton that had the incident over Indonesia back into service only 6 weeks ago with four new engines and wing repairs along with 6km of wiring having been replaced.
After IMing with a friend for a while it was time to head on down to the gate. Just as I was going down the escalators the lounge agents made the call for the flight. Gate 24 was a short walk away and on arrival the rest of the madding crowd had already boarded and I was able to walk straight up to the agent who scanned my BP and wished me a pleasant flight.
I walked down the ramp and through the door marked First.
Flight QF00127 SYD-HKG Seat 2A
Departure time: 11:40
I was welcomed on board and directed to my seat. As soon as I got to the seat a crewmember took my jacket and returned to offer me a drink. Well you all know what I asked for and had been eagerly awaiting. He returned with a plate of wasabi peas & almonds and another with olives and the champagne flute. He returned soon after and presented the bottle of Comtes de Champagne to me. I said my usual ‘died and gone to heaven’ routine and he laughed and poured me some of the delicious nectar.
Mmmm, mmm that first sip is heavenly. The crewmember said there is plenty on board so enjoy.
He came back shortly after with an amenity kit and some PJs.
A hot towel was handed out on the ground before pushing back at 10:40 exactly. My fabulous crewmember returned and filled up my glass with more of the nectar of the gods.
As we taxied out the crew did a manual safety demonstration to accompany the IFE version. The captain then did his welcome speech and announced a flight time of 8 hours and 50 minutes. Oh how lovely a nice long flight today.
We taxied right out into Botany Bay and turned for our take off run just after an AC 777 took to the skies.
We started our run at 10:57 and I was forced to remember how quiet these babies are. You could hardly hear any engine noise as we took to the skies on a beautiful sunny morning over Sydney.
Once airborne I tried to move my seat from the forward position to the angled position towards the window. No dice. Not again, I think this is the third time I have had a dodgy seat on the 380. Nothing worked apart from the IFE. The shades did not go up and down the seat didn’t move but the lights were working. I tried the manual buttons under the control unit but still no go. The call bell didn’t work either so I walked down to the galley and informed my man of my dilemma. He said I will have a look for you. He came to my seat a moment later and said he reset the seat and to wait a few minutes and all should be in order. Alas once the seat was back online it still refused to budge.
He said wait a minute and I will sort something out for you. I looked around the cabin and realised all 12 seats were occupied. Oh dear yet again I am going to kick out a staffer from their seat.
The CSM dropped by and shook my hand and introduced himself. He handed me a landing card for Hong Kong.
Sure enough my crewmember came back and said I can move you to 5 Foxtrot, it is not a window seat but it does work. Is that OK? I said sure but again the guilt set in at having to kick someone out of their seat.
I collected my gear and walked down to the seat and waited for the occupant to vacate. I settled in and the crew member asked me if everything was OK and all was in order.
He said I will bring you a glass of champagne to which I had no argument. Menu cards were handed out and I was disappointed to find that they do not do the tasting menu on this flight.
The canapés appeared next and were delicious as too were the second helpings that were delivered a short while later. My bubbly was refilled again and again until I was asked what I would like for lunch.
SYDNEY TO HONG KONG
Tartlet of Beetroot and Goats Cheese
Spiced Lamb Pancake Rolls with Chilli Sauce
SALADS AND OTHER THINGS
Roasted Carrot and Thyme Soup with Dill Crème Fraiche
Yamba Prawns, Radish and Zucchini Salad with Lemon Dressing
Salad of Lonza and Arbequina Olives with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Pan Fried Snapper Fillet with Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing and Steamed Vegetables
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pizzeta
Wok Fried Mushrooms with White Noodles
Lamb and Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Our signature Steak Sandwich with Tomato and Chilli Relish
Spiced Butternut Pumpkin, Chickpea and Coconut Curry with Cauliflower and Roti
Pan Fried Snapper Filled with Braised Fennel and Green Shallots, Olive Potatoes and Romesco
Roasted Chicken Breast with Celeriac Gratin, Snow Peas, Balsamic, Pear and Walnut Jus
Grass Fed Sirloin with Port Wine Sauce, Jerusalem Artichokes and Creamed Silverbeet
Hot, Sweet, Sour and Numbing Kurobata Pork, Stir Fried Snake Beans and Fragrant Rice
Salad of Baby Cos, Radicchio and Frisee with your choice of dressing
Aged Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Palm Sugar Vinaigrette
Blue, soft and hard cheese, hand selected by Will Studd, Maitre Fromager, Calendar Cheese Company, served with accompaniments
White Chocolate and Quince Trifle
Apple, Ricotta and Hazelnut Torte with Cinnamon Crème Anglaise
Nice Cream Chocolate Coated Raspberry Ice Cream
Whole or Sliced Fresh Seasonal Fruit
A selection of Cacao hand made chocolates
Mocha Melting Moments
Orange and Pecan Cakes
Stonier KBS Chardonnay 2008, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
In 1978. Brian Stonier and his wife Noel established the Stonier vineyard in the coastal town of Merricks, one hour southeast of Melbourne, ten minutes from the challenging surf beaches of Bass Straight. Decades later, the name Stonier is widely recongnised as a producer of exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This single vineyard wine is their flagship Chardonnay with grapes sourced entirely from the cool east facing KBS Vineyard. The wine has a lovely line of natural mineral-like acid and shows some nice persistence and power on the palate which will build with medium term bottle age.
Tyrells “Vat 1” Hunter Semillon 2005, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2005 was an outstanding vintage. A blend of the ages is found in this astonishing drop created, in the main, from two vineyards – one planted in 1908, the other in the early 1960’s. Originally named Hunter Valley Riesling, the fruit for this trophy winner was picked at relatively low levels of sweetness. It offers up a striking, super-fine perfume and a gentle, minerally finish. Lemon and lime are the major players in this exquisite Semillon.
Henschke Lenswood “Coralinga” Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Adelaide, South Australia
Grown at the Henschke Coulter Vineyard at Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills, near the heart of the South Mount Lofty Ranges. A refreshing passionfruit, citrus and gooseberry wine with flinty mineral aromas following up, this is a distinctive regional Sauvignon Blanc from a grand winery, delivering complexity and true excellence.
Castagna Genesis Syrah 2008, Beechworth, Victoria
An iconic Australian wine. Winemaker Julian Castagna perhaps best sums up the style as “Very much a Pinot lovers Shiraz”. Whilst Australia has justifiably earnt a reputation for its full-bodied Shiraz, Castagna demonstrate that Australia is also capable of producing Shiraz of elegance and restraint.
‘Genesis Syrah deserves its icon status.’ James Halliday
Yabby Lake Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009. Mornington Peninsula Victoria
A truly outstanding wine. Inspired by the classic wines of Burgundy, Yabby Lake Vineyard wines are a tribute to the unique Mornington Peninsula terroir, and the skills and experience of winemaker Tom Carson. This wine exhibits a great depth of colour. The bouquet is of ripe black cherry, dark forest berries and Asian spice with perfumed oak aromas. The palate displays a complex array of ripe small berry characters and spicy oak.
Woodlands ‘Alma May’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Margaret River, Western Australia
This winery has been going through something of a renaissance in recent years and is increasingly being viewed as one of the region’s best. This wine is beautiful, delicate and pretty. Lovely ripe fruit shows cherry and strawberry highlights. The tannins are remarkably fine and integrated. There is excellent length of flavour. A lovely drink.
Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2010, Clare Valley, South Australia
An outstanding dessert wine. A thoroughly delectable experience that takes you on a journey through ripe lime essence of orange marmalade. Lively and full of flavour.
VITTORIA CINQUE STELLE COFFEE
Other blends available on request
VITTORIA CHOCCOCHINO HOT CHOCOLATE
Experience the beautiful fragrant loose leaf tea bags from around the world, supplied by T2.
English Breakfast – A blend of finest the Sri Lankan full bodied teas produce a rich and well rounded flavour.
Earl Grey – A full bodied Sri-Lankan blend of Ceylon orange pekoe and generous amounts of bergamot, producing an all-time classic tea
Peppermint – A well rounded peppermint flavour captures the sweet essence of all things ‘minty’ with a sweet, cool lingering aroma.
Chamomile – Relax and unwind with this fragrant infusion of sweet golden chamomile flowers.
Sencha – A classic green tea grown in Japan. These beautiful emerald green leaves produce a sweet, smooth grassy flavour.
Lemongrass and Ginger – Zesty and bright lemongrass contrasts the spicy flavour of ginger to create a wild taste sensation.
Other teas are available on request.
Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth
Bacardi White Rum
Bundaberg Dark Rum
Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
Chivas Regal 18yo Scotch Whisky
The Glenlivet 18yo Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Wild Turkey Rare Breed 108° Bourbon
Wyborowa Polish Vodka
Little Creatures Pale Ale
James Squire Golden Age
Hahn Premium Light
Baileys Irish Cream
Your flight Attendant will advise whether today’s menu features Penfolds Grandfather Fine Old Liqueur Tawny or Grant Burge 20yo Tawny
Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay
Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Muscat
Martell Cordon Bleu
Spicy Tomato Juice
Appletiser Sparkling Apple Juice
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Sparkling Mineral Water
Still Mineral Water
The CSM dropped by again and apologised for the faulty seat.
After another glass of the nectar of the gods my table was set for lunch.
I decided to start with the soup and it was very nice indeed.
Next up the steak that although a little overcooked for my taste, was exceedingly tasty and so too were the accompanying vegetables. I switched to the Cabernet Sauvignon for the meal and it was beautifully smooth and full of flavour.
After the main plates were removed the seatbelt sign came on and the captain asked all passengers and crew to take their seats. Due to some clear air turbulence we would be in for a bumpy ride for the next 40 minutes.
I got out my laptop and started to work on this report. As soon as the belt sign was off the crewmember looking after me was back to ask if I cared for cheese or dessert. I said I would try the torte and a glass of the sticky.
Both were delivered soon after and by the time I was done with these I was full up to pussy’s bow.
The other crewmember came by and filled my water glass, twice in quick succession and also dropped by with a bottle of water.
My crewmember came back a while later with the box of chocolates and convinced me to take one of each, ‘They only go to waste if you don’t eat them.’ I ordered a double espresso to go with these little delectables.
I have been watching skycam and listening to 1 track in my playlist for the last two and a half hours so I think it is time to stop being morose and find some more music to listen to. Be back laters peeps.
Well I sort of half dozed and listened to my now extended playlist for the remainder of the flight. The crew were around asking if I wanted anything to drink or eat before we landed and I opted for a double espresso and no more food.
My crewmember had promised me some service recovery in the form of a bottle of something from the galley but it never showed up which really soured the end of the flight for me. Don’t offer and not deliver it is worse than not offering in the first place.
Around an hour before landing I changed back into my civvies and spent the remainder of the flight reading my book and listening to my playlist.
We touched down at 17:42 and taxied up to the gate. Door 1L was opened a short while later and I departed and made my way up to immigrations. The queues were quite long but moved relatively swiftly. Once I got to the front I was placed behind a woman who had some sort of paper visa that took the officer an age to deal with. OK great the icing in the cake in what has been a spectacularly poor day of travelling for me. Any more like this and I may be cured of my addiction.
My bag was on the carousel when I finally made it out and I purchased a round trip on the AEX to take me into Kowloon.
The train arrived just as I approached the platform, well at least one thing worked in my favour today. Soon enough I was negotiating my way through the crowds of the elements shopping centre and into the W hotel.
At check-in I asked if my upgrade had a partial harbour view and was told it didn’t. I said the room I booked had a partial harbour view. They said they were sorry but the suites they offer as upgrades don’t have harbour views. I said so I could have just booked the cheapest room and still got the same upgrade. They were forced to agree this was the case. Oh well lesson learned and a perfect ending to this rotten day.
If anyone doesn't understand why I am so aggrieved about losing my window seat, I just checked my Flight Memory stats and of the 681 flights I have recorded all but 12 of these were window seats.
If CX disappoint me on my next flight I think I will retire.