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A few flights to end 2011

A few flights to end 2011

Old Dec 23, 11, 12:11 am
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A few flights to end 2011

Index to my trip reports

If you like this report, you may be interested in some of my other trip reports.
  1. AKL-YYZ with NZ/AC in F & C - my first trip report
  2. Europe to Iceland & return on Icelandair (FI) - somewhere different
  3. Some FTers DO the Inaugural Worlds Longest Flight SIN-EWR vv 28 June 2004 - 2 long flights back to back
  4. 7 Crazy Days - includes an almost inaugural flight
  5. Champagne and figure eights on ice - Antarctica flightseeing
  6. a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe) - mostly central and eastern Europe
  7. Big DO DOs - or a Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness - lots of flights
  8. Another Manic Month for Kiwi - again lots of flights
  9. Mini Tour of NZ - over 100 domestic flights in New Zealand covering all domestic routes (ongoing)
  10. Across the Globe in 5 Continents - criss-crossing the globe
  11. Auckland to National Park by Train - train in New Zealand's North Island
  12. Across the Globe in 5 Continents Again - criss-crossing the globe, but this time mainly on One World
  13. A Warm Embrace of the Tropics - short trips to the tropical South Pacific
  14. Singapore (SQ) new first and business class, plus a medley of 12 F & C SQ flights - name says it all really
  15. Across the Globe in 4 Continents - around the world on star alliance, including some unusual flights
  16. Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Sampler - a sampling of Qantas flights, domestic and international, in economy and business (ongoing)
  17. Around the World in Under 60 Hours - around the world in a weekend
  18. The Heat is On - another longhaul economy trip in under 60 hours - what a contrast, Asia and Qantas' new first class lounges
  19. Fast on the ground and in the air - it must be Shanghai – a flying visit to Shanghai + Maglev
  20. It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y – mostly One World
  21. Back and forth across the Pacific on a variety of airlines in a selection of classes - 16 crossings of the Pacific plus some other related flights
  22. It isn't every day that you witness a hijacking attempt + NZ's forgotten 4th island - a visit to Chatham Islands coincides with New Zealand's first hijacking attempt
  23. There and back - first day Air NZ flies to Coolangatta (Gold Coast)
  24. A Run Around (part of) The Axis of Evil: A Perfect *A RTW in C? - Axis of Evil 0 US Immigration 1
  25. Wellington to Auckland by train - self-explanatory title
  26. A mad couple of days flying, including domestic international flights - a double longhaul inaugural, domestic international shuttle and domestic leg of an international flight
  27. Regional C *A RTW & (hopefully) finishing flying every route (100+) for an airline - featuring new QF First on A380 special flight, "you have to get off now", and 105th different current route with NZ
  28. One World Revolutions - Around Mostly the Southern Hemisphere - mostly Southern Hemisphere and mostly on One World on a mix of products
  29. Cris-cros the Med & the Globe on Emirates, Qantas & Star Alliance in mix of F/C/Y+/Y – starting with EK First on A380 and ending with Qantas economy, with a lot of travel mostly on *A in between
  30. An FTer flies to a Do (or Why take the nonstop when you can fly 10 flights instead?) - combining an FT Do with an aerial tour of northern Queensland
  31. The Ultimate Qantas Flight - short report on the ultimate flight
  32. Premium Flying Across the Ditch (Between New Zealand and Australia) - experiencing the forward cabins on Trans-Tasman flights (ongoing)
  33. 5 Boeings Straight to the Airbus Do - FTer feasts in first, business & economy - my journey to & from the *A / Airbus Mega Do
  34. NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special) - an odd collection of flight routes & schedules around the world
  35. From my first low cost redeye to a first class trifecta - an insane fortnight - some firsts of all types
  36. G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class - a day & night tripping around the South Pacific on Air NZ
  37. A Feast of First Class Flying on British Airways, Qantas and Emirates - long distance in style
  38. A Weekend of Old and New - Lufthansa first & business, Air New Zealand business - a quick longhaul trip featuring some old and new products
  39. Star Alliance tres primo, and tres biz - a trio of first and business on Star Alliance
  40. A few flights to end 2011 - a quick trip around the world + more
  41. Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012 - a selection of my 2012 travels
  42. Sky Team madness - 14 weeks, 200k miles, 5 continents, CI brand new business – mostly Sky Team
  43. Off to Star megado on Oneworld - mostly business incl brand new AA 787
  44. A Glutton for Punishment: red eye, new world's longest flight & more, in comfort?

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:38 pm
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Old Dec 23, 11, 12:16 am
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Index to this trip report
  1. Intro
  2. Wellington to Sydney in Qantas 737 business class and menu
  3. Sydney transit and Sydney first class lounge menu
  4. Sydney to Tokyo in Qantas 747 business class and menu
  5. Tokyo transit
  6. Tokyo to Singapore in Japan Airlines 767 business class and menu
  7. Singapore transit
  8. Singapore to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific A330 business class and menu
  9. Hong Kong transit
  10. Hong Kong to Vancouver in Cathay Pacific 777 business class and menu
  11. Vancouver transit
  12. Vancouver to New York in Cathay Pacific 777 business class and menu
  13. New York transit
  14. New York to Santo Domingo in American Airlines 777 business class, first seat
  15. Santo Domingo transit
  16. Santo Domingo to Miami in American Airlines 767 business class
  17. Miami to Sint Maarten in American Airlines 737 business class
  18. Sint Maarten to Miami in American Airlines 737 business class
  19. Miami transit
  20. Miami to Panama City, Panama in American Airlines 737 business class
  21. Panama City, Panama to Miami in American Airlines 737 business class
  22. Miami transit #2
  23. Miami to London in British Airways 747 business class and menu
  24. London transit and menu
  25. London to Abu Dhabi in British Airways 777 business class and menu
  26. Abu Dhabi to Muscat in British Airways 777 business class
  27. Muscat transit
  28. Muscat to Abu Dhabi in British Airways 777 business class
  29. Abu Dhabi to London in British Airways 777 business class and menu
  30. London transit #2
  31. London to Singapore in Qantas A380 business class
  32. London to Singapore in Qantas A380 first class and menu and wine list
  33. Singapore transit #2
  34. Singapore to Melbourne in Qantas A380 first class and menu
  35. Melbourne transit
  36. Melbourne to Wellington in Qantas 737 business class and menu
  37. Wellington to Auckland in Air New Zealand economy class, space+ seat
  38. Auckland transit
  39. Auckland to Singapore in Singapore Airlines 777 business class, refitted regional seats and menu
  40. Singapore transit #3
  41. Singapore to London in Singapore Airlines 777 business class and menu
  42. London transit #3 and menu
  43. London to Singapore in Singapore Airlines A380 business class and menu
  44. Singapore transit #4
  45. Singapore to Auckland in Singapore Airlines 777 business class and menu
  46. Auckland transit #2
  47. Auckland to Wellington in Air New Zealand economy class, space+ seat
  48. Wellington to Auckland in Air New Zealand economy class, space+ seat
  49. Auckland transit #3
  50. Auckland to Singapore in Singapore Airlines 777 first class and menu
  51. Singapore transit #4 and menu
  52. Singapore to Tokyo in Singapore Airlines 777 first class and menu
  53. Tokyo transit #2

Map by great circle mapper

I think I have some time before my next flight to make a start on this report. First a quick drink to settle the nerves. It has been one of those days. Even now I can't quite bring myself to believe the trip is really on.

Crud - my glass is empty. Hang on a minute, I'll be right back.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:39 pm
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Old Dec 23, 11, 12:23 am
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Ah, but dear Kiwi Flyer, where art thou off to to finish off the year?
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Old Dec 23, 11, 12:43 am
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Okay I'm now sufficiently lubricated. Apologies for the delay.

I'd hardly settled into the lounge for the first flight, just reaching for my first drink, when I saw people congregating in front of the telly. More major aftershocks in Christchurch - fortunately no early news of fatalities. My heart sank as I numbly wandered over to a computer searching for details while I called the office for word on whether to abandon the trip or not.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.
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Old Dec 23, 11, 12:55 am
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Although I haven't written up much travel this year I have still had a reasonable travel year. By the end of the year I should have flown close to 400k miles, or equal to about 20 times around the world. Not even close to my busiest travel year, but a respectable amount of flying nonetheless, and certainly much more than I anticipated at the beginning of the year.

I've had my shares of highs (fantastic product & service) and lows (yes more run-ins with Canadian border protection) while travelling this year. However, I've been insanely busy and unable to write up my trips.

Even now as I start my first trip report for over 6 months I'm wondering whether it is wise. Will I really have enough time to do justice to the report? 12 hours ago the answer to my self-posed question was yes. I have a few quite lengthy transits in which I could keep the report fairly up to date and thus not have to complete it when the trip is over and I'm back to madly busy. Now, with significant unplanned work to do during the trip I am less sure. There is a chance I may need to cut the trip short although work assures me I can take it - for they know I really need the break after the crazy year that is almost over. If anything, today's events underline the need for rest and recuperation - 2012 work is sure to commence at a frenetic rate and I'll be better placed being somewhat rested.

For most people the idea of zig-zagging around the world with minimal time spent at any destinations is a horror story. Some kind of cruelty inflicted by an evil travel agent. Not for me. I love travel. Even the middle of the night transits. It is my wellspring of energy and tranquility. Where others stress about security hassles, flight delays and cancellations, missed connections and whether or not their bags will make it to the destination - I smile, relax and bliss out.

The core of the trip was booked a long time ago, based around an around the world ticket. I've now flown so many around the world tickets that planning an itinerary has become second nature. The hard parts are (a) keeping up with all the alliance and network changes, and to a lesser extent fare rule changes (via FT), (b) finding ways to efficiently obtain new travel experiences in the air or on the ground, (c) fitting in as many new places as possible (this is now getting difficult on my secondary alliance but alas this has much cheaper fares), and (d) minimising risks. For minimising risks I mean selecting a routing to reduce the risks of misconnection - e.g. even though they'll let me ticket an international to international 1:30 connection at say Miami I know this is asking for trouble as a non-US passport holder, reduce the risks of weather issues (few flights through certain airports), avoid if possible overnight stops in cold clime places (a transit has 1 opportunity for weather disruption whereas an overnight has 2 opportunities), etc.

Subsequently side trips were added - some small, some not so small. As with most complicated trips booked a long way in advance there is the inconvenience of dealing with schedule changes. Mostly they are minor - who cares if I have 5 minutes more or less to connect at some hub when the original transit was 3 hours? Some were more significant, like the time I was given a connection time of negative 1 hour. Of course the airline didn't bother to contact me - neither the airline whose schedule change caused the misconnect, the airline I was on for the preceding flight, nor the airline I ticketed with. My usual monitoring of my 100+ bookings for future travel identified the issue. As with the original trip I had fun rearranging my ticket to make it work, although in the old paper ticket days it would have been much easier as the simplest solution of allowing a 17th flight on my main ticket was disallowed.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Dec 23, 11 at 1:09 am
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Old Dec 23, 11, 1:46 am
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WELLINGTON to SYDNEY (WLG-SYD) on Qantas 737-800 in business

The end of 2011 has snuck up on me and just a few days after returning from San Francisco (dang upgrade didn't clear, I got my own wine spilt over me and almost every flight was delayed) I was rushing from the office to pack and head out to the airport.

I just about fell asleep while standing outside waiting for my ride. The fear of missing the first flight and having to rearrange my complicated run of 8 flights in sequence at this time of year was about all that kept me from dropping where I stood. It was a battle between tiredness and fear, and just as the delay in my ride arriving got long enough that I thought I'd lose out it turned up. Phew.

The airport terminal was heaving with pre-Christmas travel just getting underway. I walked past the long economy line into the short business/elite check in lane. After about 10 minutes wait the person in front suddenly remembered he'd checked in online and thus could go to bag drop (no queue) instead.

When my passport was swiped the agent just about fell off her chair and had to get her colleagues to "check out this crazy itinerary". A few moments later I had boarding passes for the first 3 flights, paid the NZ$25 departure fee by credit card and was off. I was exhausted and wondering how I'd make it to the flight. If I lapsed into a semi-coma in the lounge would the staff manage to get me onboard? One foot in front of the other. Sheer will power holding my eyelids open. Hoping for no hassles - in this state I have no idea whether I can respond sensibly to any queries or conversation. I nodded to the departure fee sticker checker as I entered the international part of the terminal. Security was a breeze and then to the smartgate machines - there was no queue but I didn't want to speak with an immigration officer. The first machine I tried I heard the whirring of the ticket being prepared but none came out. Ah crud. I tried another machine and this one worked.

Through the duty free shop on autopilot, barely registering the pleas from shop staff to buy some booze or try some chocolates. I handed over a boarding pass to the lounge bouncer, hoping I'd given the right one as I was struggling to read by this point.
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Old Dec 23, 11, 2:37 am
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As noted already then was the shocking news and the rest of my time before the flight went by in a blur of activity. All flights were delayed as air traffic control is based in Christchurch.

Boarding was eventually called for the Sydney and the Melbourne flights. I finished up my work and found myself the last passenger in the lounge and the side door direct to airbridge had been closed, so I was escorted by a lounge staffer past the queue of economy passengers.

Despite being a heavy travel day the business class cabin wasn't completely full and I had a spare seat beside me to put various papers, some of which related to the days news which I'd printed off while waiting for the delayed flight. Pre-departure drinks on offer were bubbles (Charles Heidsieck), orange juice or water. Boarding went by fairly quick but we had a moderate wait before doors were closed and pushback. We skipped ahead of the other 4 trans-Tasman flights also about to depart and soon roared into the skies.

A few minutes later I was staring out the window at a great big river valley and mountains with last of the winter snow just about disappeared from the peaks. I was so tired it took a few minutes concentration to realise I was looking at the Wairau and Awatere valleys and the Inland Kaikoura mountain ranges.

A hot towel that was too dry. I don't like sloppy wet towels, but there should be at least some moisture. Arrival cards and express arrival cards for Sydney, which I declined.

I listened to a movie while reading. Bagged peanuts declined, but a glass of water accepted.

An hour into the flight and the meal was served. Just one drinks round! It wasn't that long ago when even economy class got 3 drinks rounds on trans-Tasman flights, at least for the longer westbound ones (about 3 hours flying time).

I avoided falling asleep during the meal, but only just. I was woken after 30 odd minutes by the announcements prior to landing.

We did the obligatory few loops and turns before landing in Sydney a little late, having made up a lot of time en route. Normally by now I'd be thinking about what I'll do during transit and about the flights ahead. Instead my thoughts were with the poor people of Christchurch and work.
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Old Dec 23, 11, 2:38 am
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Business Class menu
New Zealand to Australia
December 2011


From The Bar

Roasted Nuts


Cream of Mushroom Soup

Main Courses

Seared Hapuka with Red Pepper Sauce and Herbed Farro with Roasted Vegetables, Green Beans and Toasted Almonds

Japanese Style Chicken Salad with Somen Noodles and Ginger Miso Dressing

Roast Lamb with Braised Peas, Potatoes, Asparagus and Black Olive Tapenade

Warm Bakery

Selection of Cheeses

Ice Cream and Biscotti




Your Flight Attendant will advise whether today's menu features Billecart-Salmon Brut or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.

Australian and New Zealand Wine

Wine from Australia and New Zealand is renowned around the globe for its intensity of flavour and fine fruit characteristics. Differences in climate, topography and soil type provide us with a broad spectrum of wine styles and varietals.

For your enjoyment we have a selection of these wines onboard. Your Flight Attendant will advise you of today's selection.


Bloody Mary
Campari and Soda
Gin and Tonic
Vodka and Ginger Beer


Bacardi White Rum, Puerto Rico
Bundaberg Dark Rum, Australia
Chivas Regal 12yo Scotch Whisky, Scotland
Plymouth The Smooth English Gin, London
The Glenlivet 12yo Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Scotland
Wild Turkey 86.8 Bourbon, Kentucky
Wyborowa Polish Vodka, Poland


James Squire Golden Ale
Victoria Bitter
Hahn Premium Light

Dessert & Fortified Wine

Australian dessert and fortified wine is available for your enjoyment.


Baileys Irish Cream


Martell VSOP

Juice Bar

Apple Juice
Orange Juice
Spicy Tomato Juice
Tomato Juice

Non Alcoholic

Appletiser Sparkling Apple Juice
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Coke Zero
Lemon Squash
Sparkling Mineral Water
Still Mineral Water
Soda Water
Tonic Water
Ginger Ale

Hot Beverages

Fix Coffee
High grade Rainforest Alliance, 100% Arabica Coffee


Dilmah Tea
Experience the flavour of these fine Ceylon teas.

English Breakfast
Earl Grey
Jasmine Green

Vittoria Chocochino Hot Chocolate

Italian style drinking chocolate

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Old Dec 23, 11, 2:59 am
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My thoughts are also with the people of CHC, lets hope there are no fatalities - 60 people reported injured so far.


Looking forward to hearing about yet another crazy itinerary of yours Kiwi Flyer!
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Old Dec 23, 11, 3:19 am
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Looking forward to another great TR.

Aroha to the people of CHC, I waited a long 4 hours to hear how my brother was doing, he is fine but says the human strain is significant...
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Old Dec 24, 11, 4:06 am
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I only have a few minutes before I need to board the next flight, thanks to a ridiculous length of time spent circling before landing (no, not at London Heathrow). Apologies in advance for the brevity. I'll post more later.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 4:14 am
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SYDNEY transit

Our gate was at the end of the pier so a moderate walk to security. No queue and I managed to avoid the "random" explosives check. Up the lift to the lounge.

No bouncer at the entrance downstairs, but of course need to show boarding pass at reception upstairs.

The transit was moderately long as my next flight is one of the last of the night, juggling dual curfews at original and destination. However the time went fast. By the time I'd caught up on news and messages for work, and had a quick shower, there was only 30 minutes until boarding.

The lounge was fairly empty despite QF1 to London Heathrow via Bangkok being delayed by a few hours due to the inbound aircraft from Johannesburg being diverted to Melbourne, and also the Christchurch flight was hours late.

I decided for a light snack so I could sleep through the flight if I wanted. Unfortunately the dining staff had other ideas, taking & filling my drink order very quickly, and soon providing a refill, but taking an age to get my food order. I noticed the menu was much improved - not so much in terms of quantity or quality of food & beverage, but rather it had none of the numerous typos which characterised the Qantas Sydney and Melbourne first class lounge menus for so long.

The food had barely turned up at my table when boarding was called. Cleaning staff had already started clearing up and vacuuming around the few remaining lounge guests. I trudged off.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 4:15 am
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First Class menu
Sydney First Class Lounge
December 2011

In the Sydney First Lounge we bring the market's inspirations to our seasonal menus along with great producers that understand the Qantas and Rockpool philosophies. On this menu we feature Bannockburn chickens from the small town by the same name, just North West of Geelong in Victoria. Processed without chemicals - the only commercially produced free range chickens in the country that do so - using a unique air chilling process, allows the natural flavour, colour and texture of these chickens to be of outstanding quality.

Summer Menu

All Day Dining available from midday

Buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes, basil and 20 year old balsamic
Rustic pate of blue eye and ocean trout on toast with herb salad & salmon roe
Tapas plate - piquillo & goat's curd, jamon, octopus, black sausage
Spicy rare beef salad with fragrant herbs, green mango and cashews
Salt and pepper squid with green chilli sauce and aioli

Tofu, vegetable and udon noodle soup
Grilled fish with prawn butter, green and white asparagus
Bannockburn free range chicken schnitzel with Italian coleslaw and aioli
Veal fillet with wild mushroom sauce, soft polenta, green beans & salsa verde
Rangers Valley 300 day grain fed tenderloin with bearnaise, harissa and chips

Our Signature Sandwiches

Club with chicken, slow roasted tomatoes, bacon and aioli
Beef burge with bacon, Gruyere, Zuni pickle and tomato chilli relish

Side Dishes

Bowl of chips
Our signature mixed leaf salad
Wild rocket and parmesan salad
Slow cooked organic carrots
Boiled greens with Colonna lemon oil

Dessert and Cheese

Seasonal fruit plate
Vanilla cream panna cotta with raspberries
Chocolate brownie with vanilla gelato and hot fudge sauce
Gelatomassi gelato selection
Bitter chocolate, Vanilla, Yoghurt, Pistachio or Walnut
Gelatomassi sorbet selection
Green apple or Wild berry
Cheese hand selected by Will Studd
Healy's Pyengana Cheddar, Dutch goat's cheese and Will Studd's selected Stilton

Daily Specials

Potato and leek soup
Sashimi of blue fin tuna with organic soy and horseradish
Crispy honey chilli beef with asian style mango salad
Wild mushroom risotto with crispy sage and truffle pecorino
Christmas pudding with brandy anglaise and berry salad

* we use sustainably farmed blue fin tuna



Negroni - Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and orange twist
French Martini - Vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice


Taittinger Brut Reserve
Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin
Bollinger Special Cuvee

White Wine and Rose

Carlei Green Vineyards Pinot Gris 2010, Cardinia Ranges, Victoria
Squealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand
Heemskerk Riesling 2010, Coal River, Tasmania
Rockford "Local Growers" Semillon 2006, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Yering Station Chardonnay 2009, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Rockford Alicante Bouchet 2011, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Red Wine

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2010, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Torbreck "Woodcutters" Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Wynn's Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Coonawarra, South Australia
Devil's Lair Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Margaret River, Western Australia
Penfolds Seventy Six Shiraz 2010, Koonunga Hill, South Australia
Petaluma Merlot 2007, Coonawarra, South Australia

Dessert Wine

De Bortoli, Noble One 2008m Riverina, New South Wales
Stella Bella, Pink Muscat 2010, Margaret River, Western Australia


Crown lager
Cascade light
Peroni leggera
James Squire amber ale
James Squire pilsner

Coffee Cinque Stelle by Vittoria

Short black
Long black
Flat white
Cafe latte
Vittoria hot chocolate

Tea by T2

English Breakfast
Earl Grey

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Old Dec 24, 11, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
However the time went fast. By the time I'd caught up on news and messages for work
Just out of curiosity, do you travel for work, or does work just enable you to travel?
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Old Dec 25, 11, 6:12 am
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SYDNEY to TOKYO NARITA (SYD-NRT) on Qantas 747-400 in business

Boarding for the flight was started late since departure was being delayed in order to avoid landing too early in Tokyo during curfew with short flight time tonight. It is a juggling act on this route as there isn't much time allowed to delay before Sydney curfew starts. I'm reminded of my many redeye flights from Singapore to Tokyo Narita which often sat on the ground for 30 minutes or more.

With the flight load fairly full, and lots more hours of sitting onboard aircraft ahead of me I wandered around and made sure to be one of the last to board. Only a couple boarded after me as the gate agent tried to switch their seats as they were not seated together.

The menu, fast-dine and breakfast order cards, amenity kit and pajama top were in my seat. I was just about dead to the world and declined the pre-departure drink. I noticed my breakfast order was not taken, but since I planned to sleep through it this was no matter.

Once airborne I wasn't quite fully asleep so tried watching a movie figuring the noise may put me to sleep. However my IFE wasn't working and required a reboot. When it came on the audio was "Its a fine line between pleasure and pain", which instantly brought back memories of my double RTW run for lifetime status a few years ago - since that was the title of the trip report. Sucess - I fell asleep about 10 minutes into the movie.

I slept most of the flight, awaking for the announcements on descent. As we got within a mile or so of the airport I guessed we'd be arriving too early for curfew, and sure enough we pulled out of final approach for a go around. During most of the next 10 minutes until we landed there was an announcement basically .....ing about stupid curfew rules. I thought it was quite unprofessional and besides which the home base of Qantas, ie Sydney, also has a curfew.
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