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Perth to Broome to Darwin Aboard Skywest's Fokker 100 Jetliner

Perth to Broome to Darwin Aboard Skywest's Fokker 100 Jetliner

Old Apr 10, 10, 6:07 am
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Perth to Broome to Darwin Aboard Skywest's Fokker 100 Jetliner

Now I would imagine that a fair segment of Flyertalk's modern day readership is probably a bit weary of the long and rambling trip reports that I usually submit. Whereas these days the favored method of reporting would appear to be keeping one’s correspondence short and sweet, replacing overly descriptive prose with a collection of quick and easy to peruse photos, I have attempted to compromise and submitted a shorter trip report interspersed within a collection of photos. I sincerely apologize that even in this effort, I have still managed to write more about an Economy Class flight than many reporters submit about their International First Class flights. Even so, I have made an honest effort to keep things short and in the interest of doing so, I won’t waste your time describing all of the tedious First Class travel aboard planes, trains and busses that occurred or will occur on either side of the flights described herein. That report would simply be much too long. Besides, there are plenty of other people currently putting out reports about their First and Business Class travels that will be equally if not more entertaining, not to mention less time consuming to read.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this report and in particular the photos. This very well may be the first ever report submitted about Skywest, an Australian regional airline based in Perth. As to the photos, I hope you'll allow me a bit of latitude as I have only a tiny Canon SD850i camera for which, after two years of ownership, I’ve yet to completely read the instruction booklet. Still, I do my best. Hopefully that will be sufficient to allow everyone to get through this report in its entirety.

Happy Contrails!


April 09, 2010
Perth – Broome - Darwin
Skywest Airlines Economy Class
Fokker F-100 VH-FSW Seat 1A


I arrived at Perth’s Terminal 3 at 9:00am, two hours in advance of departure time. Proceeding directly to the counter of the empty Skywest check-in area, I was subsequently ignored by each of the four agents as they chatted amiably amongst each other until I finally asked “Are you guys open?” At that point the agent in front of me broke away from the conversation and completed the check-in process in a more professional manner. I asked for and received seat 1A, then proceeded through security and on to Virgin Blue’s lounge, accessible to me via Priority Pass.

All airline lounges offer comfortable seating and a quieter ambience that’s more conducive to rest and relaxation or work. Based upon these two attributes alone, many of my favorite lounges are operated by U.S. airlines. Australian domestic airline lounges differentiate themselves from those of the rest of the world with outstanding food and beverage offerings that are on par with what many airlines offer only in their First Class International lounges. Knowing this, I held off on a proper breakfast until I’d arrived at The Lounge.

Strolling over to the coffee bar, I ordered a café au lait from the “Barista”, then headed next door to the food buffet to inspect the morning’s breakfast offerings. Arrayed in front of me were an impressive selection of breakfast cereals, three different types of milk (including soy milk), an assortment of fruits, meats, cheeses and yogurt along with a variety of breakfast breads and muffins. I put together a continental breakfast fit for a king and then relocated to a comfortable work area where a table and a wi-fi connection awaited.



Virgin Blue’s Perth Lounge



The Lounge Beverage Bar



The Lounge Breakfast Buffet


At about 10:30 I headed upstairs to the gate area. Parked way down at the end of what must surely be the longest jetway at Perth International Airport was the attractive blue and white Fokker 100 that would take us north to Broome and Darwin today.



My Skywest F-100 At The Gate (Taken from half way down the jetway)


As this would be my first flight aboard Skywest and only my second flight aboard Fokker’s largest jet, I was excited to get on board and see what this plane was like. There’s always a bit of excitement and anticipation as I board what for me is a “new” plane. What’s it look like inside? What color are the seats? What color is the carpet? I know… I know what you’re thinking. Still, I am unrepentant. This is exciting stuff!



All Aboard to Broome and Darwin


Skywest operates its fleet of Fokker 50s and 100s in an all-economy class configuration. Their 100s are outfitted with just 100 leather seats, resulting in a seat pitch of 34” per row. Unless you’re sat in Qantas’ Business Class, a seat aboard one of Skywest’s Fokker 100s must surely be amongst the most comfortable in Australian skies.

The load up to Broome was light this morning. The plane was only about 60% full and I was the only one seated in the first row. As we taxied out to the runway, we passed the hulk of an old BAe-146 parked out on the airport perimeter. The aircraft was stripped of its engines and based upon its location I would imagine it was now used for fire and/or anti-terrorism training. Clearly visible was its registration number, VH-JJT. That sounded familiar to me and sure enough, when I checked out my flight log later in the flight I found that this was the very same aircraft I’d flown with Ansett on a Cairns – Alice Springs – Ayers Rock – Perth flight back in 1995.

Flight time to Broome was projected at 2 hours and 24 minutes. Outside my window was a beautiful sunny day, nicely highlighting the reddish brown earth of Western Australia gliding by 35,000 feet below us.



Colorful West Australian River bed



Colorful West Australian River bed


In the distance lay the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Against this colorful backdrop, luncheon was served. I started with a $7.00 bottle of Crown Lager, accompanied by a complimentary packet of Japanese style rice crisp snacks. Luncheon consisted of a salad of rocket and radicchio leaves topped with turkey, tomato, egg and croutons. Included on the tray were a roll, butter, a small Cadbury chocolate bar and a sealed cup of water. Not bad, not bad. Though I’m thankful that we received a meal at all, I couldn’t help but wonder if any domestic airline still offers a hot lunch?



Complimentary Lunch Served Aboard Skywest Airlines


The last time I was in Broome was twenty-two years ago. I’d come in by bus from Perth, stopped for a meal, and then continued on to Darwin. That was a four day trip. Today I was making the same journey in just four hours and fifty minutes, seated in a decidedly more comfortable seat.

Because there was a crew change in Broome, all through passengers were required to disembark and head into the departure lounge. Temperatures in Broome this time of year are typically in the 90° range, so stepping off the nice cool Fokker and on to the hot tarmac was a bit of an adjustment.

Inside the airport, ceiling fans provided adequate cooling. I did like the layout of the departure area though. Once you’ve cleared security, you enter a large shady atrium. In its center are tropical plants set in a small pool. Surrounding that are tables and chairs, while off to one side are a bar/café and a gift shop. I bought an ice cold VB and took a seat underneath one of the fans. Ahh…



Departure Lounge at Broome Airport



Boarding At Broome



Your Fokker 100 Awaits


After about a half hour, boarding was called and I returned to the aircraft. Unfortunately, the APU had broken down resulting in cabin temperatures even hotter than those out on the ramp. The captain apologized for the lack of air-conditioning, we boarded as quickly as possible, closed up the doors and took off into the clear blue skies above where temperatures hovered in the -50° range. Inside the cabin we reclined in air-conditioned ecstasy while the Flight Attendants came down the aisle with drinks and a snack. Ice cold apple juice, a curried chicken roll, a spacious seat and a pretty view of the Australian coastline made this 1 hour and thirty-seven minute flight seem much shorter.



Complimentary Snack Aboard Skywest



Pretty Northern Australian Coastline



Flying into some large cumulonimbus clouds



Oops!


Upon landing in Darwin, I collected my backpack and caught the airport shuttle into downtown Darwin where and air-conditioned villa at the Palms City Resort awaited. Following a delicious dinner at a local Indian restaurant, I returned to my hotel, watched a bit of the AFL game between St. Kilda and Collingwood, and then called it a night.

Were that all travel days could be so pleasant.

Last edited by Seat 2A; Apr 11, 10 at 12:11 am
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Old Apr 10, 10, 2:56 pm
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Nice pictures Seat 2A, oh and the words are OK too

As I noted in one of my recent missives I love flying over northern Australia the scenery is often spectacular.
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Old Apr 10, 10, 3:16 pm
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Great trip report Seat 2A. A change from reading international SQ F TRs. I'm not sure if I've seen a PER-BME-DRW TR before. Now I am not an Australian FF expert. Is Skywest a division of Virgin Blue? I certainly would have wanted to spend some time in the Perth Virgin Blue lounge.
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Old Apr 10, 10, 8:53 pm
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Fantastic photos, thanks for posting.

Cheers Larry.
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Old Apr 10, 10, 9:49 pm
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Thanks for sharing your TR and the great pics!
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Old Apr 10, 10, 10:46 pm
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A nice TR. The pictures and wording are great. Nice slipping in the last picture.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 1:18 am
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great TR.

Just where and when was that last photo from?
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Old Apr 11, 10, 2:13 am
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That last photo is from "the tedious First Class travel aboard planes, trains and busses that occurred or will occur on either side of the flights described herein". Believe me, it's just another bunch of First Class travel that has become so commonplace here at FlyerTalk. I figured you guys would rather a nice short report about Economy Class travel instead.

By the way, thanks for all your comments regarding the photographs. As much as my little camera allows me, I try to capture the excitement of flight in a way that basic photographs of airplanes from observation decks simply can't.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 4:38 am
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Originally Posted by Seat 2A View Post
That last photo is from "the tedious First Class travel aboard planes, trains and busses that occurred or will occur on either side of the flights described herein". Believe me, it's just another bunch of First Class travel that has become so commonplace here at FlyerTalk. I figured you guys would rather a nice short report about Economy Class travel instead.

By the way, thanks for all your comments regarding the photographs. As much as my little camera allows me, I try to capture the excitement of flight in a way that basic photographs of airplanes from observation decks simply can't.

First of all, Seat 2A, thank you very much for this trip report.

For me I can say, I never become tired, reading an extended detailed tripreport written by you.(and a few other Flyer Talk members)

If I would have a choice, I would opt always for the longer version.
But I know, it is a lot of work to write thousands of words.

Greetings from Germany.


Michael

(English is not my mother language)
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Old Apr 11, 10, 6:14 am
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Nice trip and nice report. But both 22 years ago and now you've missed the best part: Broome. Great place, and has a lot more to offer than just the airport.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 6:31 am
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Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
Great trip report Seat 2A. A change from reading international SQ F TRs. I'm not sure if I've seen a PER-BME-DRW TR before. Now I am not an Australian FF expert. Is Skywest a division of Virgin Blue? I certainly would have wanted to spend some time in the Perth Virgin Blue lounge.
Skywest was a division of the now defunct Ansett with just 4 F50's. When Ansett went under in 02 it was purchased by private investors and expanded its ops to 8x F50, 8x F100 and 1x A320. So XR is currently an independent company, but it does do quite a number of mining charters.

Hope that helps.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by belfordrocks View Post
Skywest was a division of the now defunct Ansett with just 4 F50's. When Ansett went under in 02 it was purchased by private investors and expanded its ops to 8x F50, 8x F100 and 1x A320. So XR is currently an independent company, but it does do quite a number of mining charters.
More on the ownership here from Air Transport World, April 2008, p.67. An interesting ownership !!
In January 2005, Singapore-based Captive Vision Capital emerged as the controlling shareholder and CVC Chairman Jeff Chatfield was appointed chairman of Skywest. CVC is a subsidiary of majority-Australian-owned Advent Air Ltd., incorporated in Singapore but listed on the London Stock Exchange.

<snip>

In January Skywest signed a strategic codeshare agreement with Virgin Blue. The move significantly increases Virgin's footprint in Western Australia and gives its passengers seamless access to a network that will include Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Kununurra while providing additional flights between Perth and Broome. At the same time it gives Skywest passengers similar access to Virgin Blue's extensive route network. The agreement includes full interlining of baggage and frequent-flier points.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Apr 11, 10 at 7:15 am
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Old Apr 11, 10, 7:31 am
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Nice report! Was that fruitcake any good?
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Old Apr 11, 10, 12:34 pm
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Thank you, belfordrocks & Mwenenzi for this explanation.

and belfordrocks, welcome to FT.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 3:31 pm
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Nice report Seat 2A, and you're always welcome to write about your other flights & travels (indeed now it will bug me on just what fabulous way did you get to PER and from DRW?).
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