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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Strolling down memory lane between London and Sydney in 1969

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Strolling down memory lane between London and Sydney in 1969

Old Feb 26, 2014, 10:31 pm
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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Strolling down memory lane between London and Sydney in 1969

Earlier this summer, a few of us over at the Old Timer’s Airline and Airliner Quiz were discussing the introduction of 'Empire class' flying boats in 1937 which allowed British Airways predecessor Imperial Airways to offer a real through-service from Southampton to the far reaches of the British Empire.



The Imperial Airways Empire Class Flying Boat

Of particular interest to us was the journey between London, England and Sydney, Australia. The trip took eleven days and included stops in such exotic ports of call as Brindisi (Italy), Tiberias (Palestine), Rangoon (Burma) and Sourabaya (Netherlands, Indies) to name just a few.

HERE is a link to the 1939 Imperial Airways timetable detailing the eleven day journey, complete with all the stops and overnight hotels to be stayed at enroute. What a fascinating journey and epic adventure this trip must have been compared to the relatively pedestrian twenty-three hour, one-stop direct flights we enjoy today.

Being the inquisitive and imaginative types that some of us are over at the Old Timer’s Airline and Airliner Quiz thread, it wasn’t long before we got to wondering how this trip might be flown today. Since some of the places in the 1939 itinerary no longer enjoy air service or are no longer served directly from the preceeding city shown in the 1939 schedule, the challenge would be to attempt to follow the route using the nearest sensible airport to the places that were visited in 1939.

Being the “Old Timer” that I am (I grew up in the 1960s and 70s), the idea of flying along this route in a collection of everyday Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s held no great appeal. Rather, I was much more interested in seeing how this route would have been flown utilizing the classic jetliners that so enthralled me when I was growing up. We're talking about four engine jetliners such as 707s, VC10s and - that's right - Convair 990s!! Thankfully I just happened to have a complete copy of the November 1st, 1969 International Edition of the Official Airline Guide. For an “avgeek” like me, an old OAG is right up there with the bible as one of mankind’s great reads. Over the next few days I managed to put together an enviable collection of flights aboard exotic airlines and airplanes that leaves me seriously hoping someone will develop a time machine during my lifetime so that I can go back to 1969 and follow this schedule myself.

In any event, it occurred to me that this might make an interesting trip report and so I now submit it for your consideration. I understand that it’s 2014 – not 1969 – and as entertaining as it might be for me to fantasize my way down memory lane, for many of you born after 1980 a submission such as this may not hold that much appeal. The same goes for you “travelogue types” who only want to read about the destination, the hotels and the activities in any given destination. More than a few of you will probably just ignore this report as it holds no relevance to your future or potential travel plans involving premium class service on a comparatively mundane 777 or A380. Then again, you could consider this a historical review - today's nonstop flights between London and Singapore were 1969's five stop milk runs. Additionally, the frequency of service between many cities was quite limited compared to today's multiple daily flights. In many cases, if you missed a flight on Monday, you might find the next departure wouldn't be until Thursday. So if this journey back to those times holds any interest to you, read on.

I should note that in each city I am using the first and/or most convenient flights to continue along the 1939 schedule as expeditiously as possible. As such, when you see mid-afternoon departures it’s because they’re the first available flights, not because the traveler wants to sleep in or see the sights.

Also, in imagining yourself on these flights, remember that it’s 1969. Most alll of these airports were nowhere near as nice as they are today. As an example, the airport in Dubai in 1969 was little more than a filling station for airliners traveling between Europe and Asia. There was no Emirates Airlines and the only lounges in the airport were gate lounges. When it came to an enjoyable trip in First Class, that didn’t really begin until you’d boarded the airplane.

So, with no further ado, let’s head on down to Waterloo Station and get this trip underway.
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Last edited by Seat 2A; Feb 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 10:33 pm
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PART ONE: LONDON to KARACHI

Based upon the twice weekly service between Athens and Alexandria, to be travelled five days hence on a Tuesday, this journey will commence on Friday. British Rail offers numerous departures from London Waterloo down to Southampton’s Central Station. Arriving at Southampton in the early evening, you might enjoy dinner at your hotel before retiring for the night in anticipation of the marvelous journey ahead.



Cambrian Airways Viscount

While the original 1939 schedule called for a 5:00am departure, flying nonstop to Marseille, in 1969 the only way to fly from Southampton to Marseille is via connection at Paris’s Le Bourget Airport. The first flight of the day to Paris is aboard a Cambrian Airways Viscount departing at the leisurely hour of 1100. Unfortunately, the next possible departure out of Le Bourget down to Marseille won’t be until 2115. The vast majority of flights between Paris and Marseille depart from Orly Airport, located on the other side of the city. Pleasant though it might be to spend the afternoon in and around Paris, you’re looking forward to strolling about Marseille's historic old town (Aix) and so hire a taxi down to Orly where a seat aboard Air Inter’s mid-afternoon Caravelle nonstop awaits.

After a pleasant evening in Marseille, you'll enjoy a leisurely lunch before boarding Alitalia's 2:30pm Caravelle to Rome. Following a short one hour and twenty minute layover, you'll continue on to Brindisi aboard a DC-9-30. A comfortable hotel and a delicious seafood dinner await.

In 1969 the only air service into Brindisi was two daily flights from Rome and one each from Bari and Catania. The best way to continue on to Athens is to fly back up to Rome, where a multitude of connections are available to the Greek capitol. You’ll get an early start aboard Alitalia’s 0700 F.27, connecting to Olympic’s daily 727-200 over Athens. Or if you’d prefer, you could book a seat on TWA’s daily 707 departing Rome just 30 minutes later. Despite your early arrival in Athens, you’ll still have to spend the night as the next available flight into Alexandria won’t depart until tomorrow afternoon.

United Arab Airlines delivers you down to Alexandria aboard an Antonov AN-24, the Soviet counterpart in both appearance and capabilities to the Fokker F.27. At a quaint family run restaurant just two blocks from your hotel, you discover the wonderful flavors of Egyptian cuisine via a plate of Kushari, a delicious combination of rice and lentils cooked together, then topped with pasta with garlic tomato sauce and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. It just might be the best meal of your trip so far.

Travel from Alexandria to Tiberias (Tel Aviv in 1969) will be substantially more difficult than it was back in 1939. In 1969 there are no nonstop flights from any Arab country into Tel Aviv, so the most geographically convenient schedule would involve routing through Nicosia, Cyprus, located 350 miles to the north of Alexandria. Getting to Nicosia from Alexandria will involve a connection in Cairo. Interestingly, the schedules indicate that United Arab Airlines offers First Class seating aboard one of its four AN-24 departures between Alexandria and Cairo. Unfortunately, that flight operates on Tuesday only and here it is Wednesday already. As such, you’ll depart Alexandria for Cairo at 0845 where there just happens to be a most fortuitous twice weekly flight with Cyprus Airways operating a Viscount to Nicosia with convenient connections into Tel Aviv aboard a Hawker Siddeley Trident. Since a First Class seat aboard that Trident can be had for just 6.06 more, you’ll enjoy the sun setting over the Mediterranean from the comfort of seat 2A. A well crafted gin and tonic will make this flight memorable.



Cyprus Airways H.S. 121 Trident

The 1939 schedule indicates onward service to Habbaniyeh (now served through Baghdad) and once again the lack of nonstop service between Tel Aviv and any Arab countries presents you with an interesting challenge. You’re more than up to it however as you consult your trusty OAG and come up with an exciting day involving flights through Nicosia and Beirut. Fortunately for you, the only flight operating between Tel Aviv and Nicosia on Thursday is a morning Viscount departure, which sets you up nicely for the daily MEA VC10 over to Beirut where a multitude of connecting flights are available onwards to Baghdad. Although you were quite tempted to lay over in Beirut for the Friday only Convair 990 into BGW, you’ve decided that MEA’s Comet 4C departing at 8:00pm will be quite satisfactory!

In 1969 there was no problem finding flights between Baghdad and Basra as Iraqi Airways offered daily Viscount service. You book a seat on the 0730 departure. Unfortunately continuing on from Basra to Bahrain in a timely fashion proves to be quite a bit more difficult. There’s a once weekly direct flight from Basra to Bahrain that stops in Kuwait. It’s a Monday only service though and today is Friday. Iraqi Airways does offer three once weekly flights from Basra to Kuwait but unfortunately they only operate on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Hmm… You could turn around and fly back up to Baghdad but then almost all of the very limited number of flights from Baghdad to Kuwait, Doha or Bahrain leave in the early morning, well after your return flight from Basra would arrive. In fact, the next possible flight from Baghdad south to any of these cities wouldn’t depart until the next evening via a Kuwait Airways Trident down to Kuwait City. You’d be forced to spend another night in Iraq.

Then again, Kuwait is only 96 miles and three hours away by road from Basra. Even though you’d like to do as much of this trip as possible by air, the idea of staying in Basra - consistently one of the hottest cities on the planet – holds no appeal. Neither does adding another day by routing through Baghdad. So, it’s off to Kuwait on the noon bus. You’ll arrive with plenty of time to enjoy a savory plate of Machboos, the national dish made with chicken (or mutton or fish) served over fragrant rice that has been cooked in a well spiced broth. Later that evening, your patience and tenacity will be rewarded with a First Class seat aboard BOAC’s VC10, delivering you down to Bahrain in comfort and style.



BOAC's beautiful VC10

The next morning it’s back to the airport where you’ll board Gulf Aviation’s one stop service (via Doha) down to Dubai. Interestingly, the schedule indicates this flight being operated with a two-class Hawker Siddeley Trident though so far as you know GF never operated this aircraft. As it turns out, Gulf Air in 1969 were using a Kuwait Airways Trident on these services pending the delivery of their own One-Elevens at the end of the year.

The Dubai of 1969 was a far cry from the gleaming city of today. Nonetheless, you manage to entertain yourself with a local tour followed by a delicious lamb stew dinner before heading back to the airport for your late night flight across the Gulf of Oman to Karachi. Four airlines offer service between Dubai and Karachi – BOAC (VC10), Kuwait (Trident), Syrianair (Caravelle) and PIA (Indicated as a “JET” Most likely a Trident or a 720B). Each of the flights are once weekly services as opposed to the multiple daily departures found today. You’re thankful for a seat aboard Kuwait’s Trident even if it does depart at 0245.


Day One ~ Friday

London to Southampton by train

Day Two ~ Saturday

Cambrian Airways (CS) 3707: Southampton (SOU) to Paris (LBG)
Dep. SOU 1100, Arr. LBG 1215 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers Viscount

Air Inter (IT) 705: Paris (ORY) to Marseille (MRS)
Dep. ORY 1520, Arr. MRS 1635 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Sud Aviation Caravelle

Day Three ~ Sunday

Alitalia (AZ) 705: Marseille (MRS) to Rome (FCO)
Dep. MRS 1430, Arr. FCO 1535 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Sud Aviation Caravelle

Alitalia (AZ) 064: Rome (FCO) to Brindisi (BDS)
Dep. FCO 1655, Arr. BDS 1755 - Nonstop service
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30

Day Four ~ Monday

Alitalia (AZ) 181: Brindisi (MRS) to Rome (FCO)
Dep. BDS 0700, Arr. FCO 0830 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Fokker F27

Olympic Airways (OA) 416: Rome (FCO) to Athens (ATH)
Dep. FCO 1300, Arr. ATH 1540 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Boeing 727-200

Day Five ~ Tuesday

United Arab Airlines (MS) 748: Athens (ATH) to Alexandria (ALY)
Dep. ATH 1545, Arr. ALY 1830 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Antonov AN-24

Day Six ~ Wednesday

United Arab Airlines (MS) 302: Alexandria (ALY) to Cairo (CAI)
Dep. ALY 0845, Arr. CAI 0930 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Antonov AN-24

Cyprus Airways (CY) 068: Cairo (CAI) to Nicosia (NIC)
Dep. CAI 1330, Arr. NIC 1510 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers Viscount

Cyprus Airways (CY) 066: Nicosia (NIC) to Tel Aviv (TLV)
Dep. NIC 1900, Arr. TLV 1950 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Hawker Siddeley Trident 2E

Day Seven ~ Thursday

Cyprus Airways (CY) 067: Tel Aviv (TLV) to Nicosia (NIC)
Dep. TLV 0920, Arr. NIC 1010 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers Viscount

Middle East Airways (ME) 262: Nicosia (NIC) to Beirut (BEY)
Dep. NIC 1140, Arr. BEY 1230 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers VC10

Middle East Airways (ME) 320: Beirut (NIC) to Baghdad (BGW)
Dep. BEY 2000, Arr. BGW 2230 - Nonstop service
Equipment: De Havilland Comet 4C

Day Eight ~ Friday

Iraqi Airways (IA) 015: Baghdad (BGW) to Basra (BSR)
Dep. BGW 0730, Arr. BSR 0840 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers Viscount

Local bus transport from Basra to Kuwait City

BOAC (BA) 780: Kuwait (KWI) to Bahrain (BAH)
Dep. KWI 2050, Arr. BAH 2245 - Nonstop service
Equipment: Vickers VC10

Day Nine ~ Saturday

Gulf Aviation (GF) 303: Bahrain (BAH) to Dubai (DXB)
Dep. BAH 0950, Arr. DXB 1155 – Direct service via Doha
Equipment: Hawker Siddeley Trident

Day Ten ~ Sunday

Kuwait Airways (KU) 270: Dubai (DXB) to Karachi (KHI)
Dep. DXB 0245, Arr. KHI 0520 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E
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Last edited by Seat 2A; Feb 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 10:34 pm
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PART TWO: KARACHI to SINGAPORE

Arrival into Karachi is early Sunday morning, so we're now beginning the tenth day of travel since departing London. By comparison the 1939 Imperial flying-boat service took just four days to get to Karachi. Then again, there was no enroute change of aircraft or airline on that schedule.

From Karachi the original 1939 schedule continued on across India with stops in Raj Samand, Gwalior and Allahabad. Per the 1969 OAG there are no scheduled flights into Raj Samand, but there is service into Udaipur, just 40 miles to the south. Unfortunately there is no service eastward from UDR, and the two flights from Bombay into Gwalior do not fly anywhere close to the 1939 Imperial Airways routing. However, it does appear that one could cobble together a few flights with state-owned Indian Airlines along a route that geographically at least would not be too far off the original 1939 routing. So it looks like the best thing to do is get down to Bombay and commence your air tour across India from there.

Consulting the OAG, the sight of Swissair’s Convair 990 “Coronado” departing Karachi for Bombay at 0730 is cause for a considerable spike in blood pressure. Oh no! It’s a Tuesday only service and today is Sunday. Hmm… what’s this? An Air Ceylon Trident is departing Karachi at 0830, just three hours after your arrival from Dubai. Book it, Danno! In First Class, please.

From Bombay Indian Airlines has a conveniently timed daily service up to Jaipur with stops in Ahmedabad and Udaipur (close to Raj Samand). The same plane continues under a different flight number on up to Delhi. There you can overnight and then catch an early morning four stop Fokker into Calcutta with stops in Lucknow, Allahabad, Patna and Ranchi. There is a similarly timed two-stop Viscount service as well as a nonstop Caravelle from Delhi into Calcutta but you really want to route through Allahabad as the 1939 schedule did, so you’ll spend your morning on the Fokker. The breakfast served enroute consists of Aloo Paratha (Basically unleavened dough stuffed with a spiced mixture of mashed potato with butter and/or chutney) and coffee.

Arriving in Calcutta early Monday afternoon, you procure an air-conditioned hotel room in the city before heading out to the fabulous Kali Temple. Tonight’s dinner will provide a delicious introduction to Bengali cuisine with a main course of Kacchi Biriani.

Although in 1939 the flying-boat continued from Calcutta down the coast to Akyab and on to Rangoon, the 1969 schedules require one to fly first down to Rangoon and then up to Akyab. Since you'd have to spend the night in Akyab and you’ve got to fly through Rangoon anyway, it is decided to skip Akyab. Pan American offers an early morning (0655) nonstop from Calcutta to Rangoon, with continuing service on to Bangkok. You were hoping to take the Burma Airways Viscount down to Rangoon at 1000 but unfortunately there are no later flights from there onward to Bangkok. In fact, you’d have to stay in Rangoon until Thursday – two days later – before a Thai International DC-9-41 could get you down to Bangkok. Looks like it’s time to book a First Class seat aboard The World’s Most Experienced Airline.



Pan American 707
The World's Most Experienced Airline

Despite your late morning arrival into Bangkok, there are no connecting flights down to Penang until the next day. Oh well. There are certainly worse places to layover. You book yourself a room at Bangkok’s landmark Oriental Hotel, then head out for a canal tour of Bangkok before ending the day with a deliciously spicy bowl of Tom Kha Gai soup in the hotel's excellent dining room.

Your 1120 departure down to Penang the next morning allows you to take full advantage of the Oriental’s comfortable mattress on your extra large bed. Your flight down to Penang will be aboard MSA (Malaysia Singapore Airlines) utilizing a 737-112. MSA is the first Asian operator of the 737 and this will be your first flight aboard the slightly smaller -100 variant of the plane. After a 45 minute layover at Penang, your aircraft continues on down to Singapore. Luncheon will be served in the forward cabin.

A limousine will deliver you to your suite at the Raffles. After a shower and a short nap, you greet the evening with a visit to the Long Bar followed by...?



Raffles Hotel ~ The Long Bar
Home of the Singapore Sling


Day Ten ~ Sunday

Air Ceylon (AE) 322: Karachi (KHI) to Bombay (BOM)
Dep. KHI 0830, Arr. BOM 1035 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E

Indian Airlines (IC) 126: Bombay (BOM) to Jaipur (JAI)
Dep. BOM 1300, Arr. JAI 1715 – Direct service via Ahmedabad and Udaipur
Equipment: Fokker F.27

Indian Airlines (IC) 482: Jaipur (JAI) to Delhi (PLV)
Dep. JAI 1800, Arr. AGR 2005 – Direct service via Agra
Equipment: Fokker F.27

Day Eleven ~ Monday

Indian Airlines (IC) 411: Delhi (PLV) to Calcutta (CCU)
Dep. PLV 0615, Arr. CCU 1315 – Direct service via Lucknow, Allahabad, Patna and Ranchi
Equipment: Fokker F.27

Day Twelve ~ Tuesday

Pan American (PA) 002: Calcutta (CCU) to Bangkok (BKK)
Dep. CCU 0655, Arr. BKK 1130 – Direct service via Rangoon
Equipment: Boeing 707-320

Day Thirteen ~ Wednesday

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MS) 521: Bangkok (BKK) to Singapore (SIN)
Dep. BKK 1120, Arr. SIN 1455 – Direct service via Penang
Equipment: Boeing 737-100
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Last edited by Seat 2A; Feb 27, 2014 at 10:32 pm
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 10:36 pm
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PART THREE: SINGAPORE to SYDNEY

The schedule between Singapore and Djakarta (ex-Batavia in 1969) is a delight to contemplate. At various times and days of the week it is served by the following airline and aircraft combinations:

Air India: 707
CSA Czechoslovakian Airlines: IL-62
Garuda Indonesian Airlines: DC-8 * 990 * Electra
Japan Air Lines: DC-8-61
Malaysia-Singapore Airlines: 707 * 737
Qantas: 707
Thai International: Caravelle * DC-9-41

As tempting as it is to stick around for the Friday departures of either the 990 or the Electra, there is a time element to this journey that requires continuing on to Sydney just as the Australia-bound passengers of old did. So it is that on Thursday you plan to fly on to Djakarta aboard the first flight of the day - Garuda’s 1330 DC-8 departure.

But wait! The last flight of the day from Djakarta to Surabaya (ex-Sourabaya in 1939) departs at 1250, forty minutes before you even leave Singapore! Once you get to Surabaya, you won’t be able to continue on to Kupang (ex-Koepang in 1939) until Monday morning. Worse yet, in 1969 at least there is absolutely no way to get from Kupang to Darwin without going all the way back to at least Denpasar. Alright then, so what if we just go straight to Surabaya and skip Kupang? Alas, there are no nonstop or direct flights from Surabaya to Darwin and the only available connection – via Denpasar – would entail a two day layover until Monday morning.

Hmm…

How about we just go from Singapore to Djakarta to Denpasar to Darwin and onwards? Once again, the Thursday departure out of Singapore is going to leave you with an overnight layover in Djakarta since the first scheduled flight to DPS that connects with your inbound from SIN won’t depart until Friday at 1300. And even then you’re still going to have to layover in Denpasar until Monday morning before there’s a flight over to Darwin.

Sigh…

Alright then, since you’re going to have to layover somewhere enroute and you’ll still get to Darwin at the same time on Monday regardless of where those layovers will be – here’s the plan:

You’ll contact the Raffles and see if they can put you up for another night. On Friday morning you’ll depart Singapore aboard Garuda’s all-economy class 990 down to Djakarta (Yes!!!), connecting to the early afternoon flight over to Surabaya. You’ll spend the weekend there. On Monday morning you’ll catch the early morning DC-3 departure over to Bali and then continue aboard yet another 990 down to Darwin. As an added bonus, the 990 flight between Denpasar and Darwin offers a First Class cabin. A seat up there will cost just 30.00 more. Yes, please!



Garuda's Convair 990
Prior to the introduction of the Concorde SST,
the 990 was the world's fastest jetliner


As an aside, the original 1939 schedule called for a 0530 departure out of Sourabaya, stopping briefly in Koepang before arriving in Darwin at 1810. Your 1969 schedule departs Surabaya at 0600, has a one hour and fifty minute connection in Denpasar before arriving in Darwin at 1410. Gotta love the speed of those 990s!

The 1939 schedule spent the night in Darwin and then continued on to Karumba and Townsville the next morning. Unfortunately, in 1969 there is no direct service to Karumba from Darwin. MacRobertson Miller Airlines comes very close, offering a Fokker F.27 down the coast to Gove and Groote Eylandt (Island). Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to go from GTE but back to Darwin. The only way to get to Karumba is via connection through Mt. Isa, but then getting from Karumba to Townsville will require a three day layover and connection via Cairns or a return to Mt. Isa and onward.

Weighing the desire to follow the old 1939 routing as closely as possible vs. continuing your journey as expeditiously as reasonably possible, you decide to route south through Mt. Isa where you’ll overnight before continuing over to Townsville the next morning. Your decision is made easier by the fact that TAA Trans-Australian Airlines just happens to offer a Monday only 727-100 T-Jet nonstop down to Mt. Isa. The connection is tight (only 1:05) but the OAG indicates that the one hour minimum at DRW for International to Domestic flights makes it legal. It also helps that the four General Electric CJ-805-23s powering your Convair 990 made short work of the 1100 mile flight from Denpasar, enabling you to arrive into Darwin twenty minutes early. Welcome to Australia, Mate!



Trans-Australia 727-100

After a blissfully comfortable night in the comparatively dry air of Mt. Isa, you awake the next morning to a classic old Australian breakfast – lamb chops and eggs with toast and Vegemite – before heading out to the airport for your early morning three-stop flight to Townsville. Man, you sure have been spending a lot of time aboard Fokker F.27s of late. Your flights across India accounted for ten individual segments, to which you’ll add another four today and two more tomorrow. Throw in the Alitalia flight from Brindisi up to Rome a couple of weeks ago and you’ll have logged seventeen flights aboard F.27s on this trip.

Continuing on from Townsville we’re back to that little problem of trying to match the 1939 routing with 1969 schedules. While there is service to Gladstone from both Ansett and TAA, unfortunately GLT is not on any of the mainline through services from Townsville south to Brisbane. It gets service up from Brisbane but not from Townsville or Rockhampton. Interestingly, a check of schedules from the year before shows that ROK-GLT service existed. Perhaps the fact that Gladstone lies only 70 miles south of Rockhampton may have had something to do with dropping the Rockhampton-Gladstone route a year later in 1969. As such, since it makes no sense to fly down to Brisbane just to fly back up to Gladstone and back, you elect to fly straight to nearby Rockhampton. Following a two and a half hour layover in Townsville (Those were great homemade meat pies at the airport kiosk!) you’ll board Ansett’s DC-9-30 for the short one-stop flight down to Rockhampton.

The next morning you’ll head out to the airport to board yet another F.27 for the short two-hour service down to Brisbane. Your flight to Brisbane makes a stop in Bundaberg, home to Australia’s famous Bundaberg Rum. It’s a bit early for rum though, so during your three hour and forty-five minute layover at Brisbane Airport you order a delicious plate of baked Barramundi in a coconut curry with a delightful Chardonnay from the Margaret River region in Western Australia.

And finally, we’ve arrived at the last leg of this fantastic journey! You’ve a choice between either an Ansett or a TAA DC-9-30, both of which depart at 1445 and arrive at 1600. Since you’ve not yet flown aboard TAA’s model, that’s the one you choose to take you down to Sydney.

And that's it, gang! At twenty-one days it’s been almost twice as long as the original flying boat schedule but hey - what a great trip!

* * * .. * * * .. * * *

To those of you who’ve taken the time to read this “trip report”, thank you! I hope you enjoyed tagging along and that you’ve found it worth the read. If the interest is there, perhaps I can work up a trip back to my home in Alaska through the South Pacific.



Day Fourteen ~ Thursday

Forced layover in Singapore

Day Fifteen ~ Friday

Garuda (GA) 891: Singapore (SIN) to Djakarta (JKT)
Dep. SIN 0950, Arr. JKT 1045 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Convair 990

Garuda (GA) 470: Djakarta (JKT) to Surabaya (SUB)
Dep. JKT 1250, Arr. SUB 1500 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Convair 340

Day Sixteen and Seventeen ~ Saturday and Sunday

Forced layover in Surabaya

Day Eighteen ~ Monday

Garuda (GA) 620: Surabaya (SUB) to Denpasar (DPS)
Dep. SUB 0600, Arr. DPS 0730 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Douglas DC-3

Garuda (GA) 998: Denpasar (DPS) to Darwin (DRW)
Dep. DPS 0920, Arr. DRW 1410 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Convair 990

TAA Trans-Australian (TN) 551 Darwin (DRW) to Mt. Isa (ISA)
Dep. DRW 1515, Arr. ISA 1730 – Nonstop service
Equipment: Boeing 727-100

Day Nineteen ~ Tuesday

TAA Trans-Australian (TN) 467 Mt. Isa (ISA) to Townsville (TSV)
Dep. ISA 0700, Arr. TSV 1055 – Direct service via Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Hughenden
Equipment: Fokker F.27

Ansett (AN) 651 Townsville (TSV) to Rockhampton (ROK)
Dep. TSV 1330, Arr. ROK 1515 – Direct service via Mackay
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30

Day Twenty ~ Wednesday

Ansett (AN) 669 Rockhampton (ROK) to Brisbane (BNE)
Dep. ROK 0845, Arr. BNE 1100 – Direct service via Bundaburg
Equipment: Fokker F.27

TAA Trans Australian (TN) 419 Brisbane (BNE) to Sydney (SYD) D9S
Dep. BNE 1445, Arr. SYD 1600 – Nonstop service
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
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Last edited by Seat 2A; Feb 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 6:30 am
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Fascinating. Thanks for posting.
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 6:35 am
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{Yawn....) You're welcome.
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 9:30 am
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What a great idea, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Amazing how long some airlines have been going in one form or another.
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 9:51 am
  #8  
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Fascinating! I`m glad I live today
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 12:28 pm
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Thanks for posting.
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 1:03 pm
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Beyond the Blue Horizon

I'm sure you're aware but if not Alexander Frater wrote a book called "Beyond the Blue Horizon" in the 80's where he did exactly what you're describing (London to Australia using scheduled air routes of the 80's to recreate the Empire run). He could not make it to 2 or 3 locations because there was no air service to those places but other than that he did a good job of touching down at all points on the original route.

An exellent read!
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 3:06 pm
  #11  
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This is like a bodice-ripper for Aerogeeks. I am more excited than I reasonably should be reading this thread. Now, about that time machine . . .
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 3:13 pm
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Superb.

I had a chuckle at the Australian breakfast (steak and eggs). That isn't one you see very much nowadays. Of course, back in the day, particularly in rural areas, a meal wasn't a meal unless there were lamb chops served! I went to uni with some folks from the country who grew up on a sheep farm and said their mother literally cooked lamb chops at breakfast, lunch and dinner! The accompaniments varied - eggs at breakfast, "salad" (in Australia in those days that meant iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato if you were lucky or maybe grated carrot) at lunch and mashed potato at dinner!
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 4:13 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by anthonyd
I'm sure you're aware but if not Alexander Frater wrote a book called "Beyond the Blue Horizon" in the 80's where he did exactly what you're describing (London to Australia using scheduled air routes of the 80's to recreate the Empire run). He could not make it to 2 or 3 locations because there was no air service to those places but other than that he did a good job of touching down at all points on the original route.

An excellent read!
Interestingly, one of the regulars at the Old Timer's Airline and Airliner Quiz just happens to know Alex Frater. As such, Mr. Frater has already read this "trip report" back when I put it up on the OTAAQ thread. From what I hear, he enjoyed it. As for his book "Beyond The Blue Horizon", it's still widely available on sites like amazon.com or Alibris. It's a great read for anyone interested in aviation history.

Originally Posted by Chalkie
Superb. I had a chuckle at the Australian breakfast (steak and eggs). That isn't one you see very much nowadays. Of course, back in the day, particularly in rural areas, a meal wasn't a meal unless there were lamb chops served! I went to uni with some folks from the country who grew up on a sheep farm and said their mother literally cooked lamb chops at breakfast, lunch and dinner! The accompaniments varied - eggs at breakfast, "salad" (in Australia in those days that meant iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato if you were lucky or maybe grated carrot) at lunch and mashed potato at dinner!
Thanks, Chalkie! In the interest of historical accuracy, I hope you won't mind that I've taken the liberty of changing that morning breakfast meat in Mt. Isa to lamb chops. Following another fine tip from you, I just may treat myself to a large Tanqueray Ten very dry martini later this afternoon. ^ Maybe two... ^^

Last edited by Seat 2A; Feb 27, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 7:13 pm
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This wasby farone of the most innovative and enjoyable "trip reports" that I've read on FlyerTalk. Loved the premise. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old Feb 28, 2014, 5:17 am
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Yawn.
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