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Big DO DOs - or A Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness

Big DO DOs - or A Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness

Old Oct 24, 05, 2:17 pm
  #31  
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Can't wait to get the next flights report. I am guessing it's eastbound?
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Old Oct 25, 05, 7:39 am
  #32  
 
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I've only read about a third of this report so far, but I'm pretty sure that it's gonna be one for the collection book. Thanks for taking the time to include the menu transcripts on the longer flights. A thoroughly enjoyable read so far! :-: :-: :-:

Last edited by Seat 2A; Oct 26, 05 at 9:16 pm
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Old Oct 25, 05, 12:41 pm
  #33  
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TO NEW ZEALAND ON QANTAS

CNS-SYD ON QANTAS 767 (international config)

After my short stay in Cairns it was another early start back to the airport. Shared a ride with a nervous Brit who was panicking about missing his flight - he had an hour to spare before check-in cut off and being a very frequent flyer I was surprised by his nerves.

Check in was speedy. Again a long queue at security. Not sure why Cairns seems to have the biggest screening queues - at both domestic and international. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe there's a lot more infrequent travellers?

Grab a coffee in the Qantas Club which quickly fills up (its quite small). The flight is uneventful. Being an international flight (albeit domestic leg), the breakfast is slightly nicer than usual. Nothing else noteworthy. We have an unusual approach flying almost over the top of SYD airport, then out to sea and back in to land. Arrive on time. I notice the immigration queues arent as large as the other day but still sizeable. I had, however, deliberately taken this flight so I could transfer through security and upstairs to departure level - bypassing immigration at SYD. The alternative domestic flight would have involved change of terminals at SYD and almost certainly much bigger immigration queues.

SYD-AKL ON QANTAS 743

Freshen up in the Qantas Club F lounge (not that I'm travelling F there is none on Qantas to New Zealand, but have access through my status) - which is the crowdest and noisiest I have ever seen it. However I'm not there long and off to board the onward flight from the gate at the end of the pier, right next to the one I'd arrived at not long before.

There's a small delay at the gate while we wait for some late connecting passengers. Cabin temperature is extremely high initially but by the end of the flight I am shivering as its been turned down so low.

There were problems with the IFE system with the kids movie option only running in Japanese! They ran out of arrival cards for New Zealand, so the back half of the aircraft missed out.

My luck with great service by the FAs ran out. Meal was served about 80 minutes into the relatively short flight (not long enough to see a complete movie) - meaning very rushed and they took the tray away before I was finished Also no top ups of drink at all during the flight - so get slightly dehydrated.

Arrival is late due to the late departure, but not by too much. Notice they have moved the agriculture check of arrival forms from immediately in front of the xrays to around the corner opposite the luggage belts. The corridor is cordoned off for longer than normal, meaning a few extra metres walk (from some of the luggage belts). Presumably this is to fit more people queuing for xray machines and hand searches. Sure enough it takes longer to go through the agriculture xray queue than it did to get through immigration.
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Old Oct 25, 05, 12:43 pm
  #34  
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When I get a chance I'll try to do a comparison of the business class trans-tasman offering of the 3 main airlines - Air New Zealand, Emirates and Qantas; all of which I've flown in the past few weeks.

I am now busy with last minute work, also researching some trip stuff and have yet to pack for the next longer phase. Please be patient if it takes me a while to get the next part posted. Thanks.
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Old Oct 26, 05, 7:59 pm
  #35  
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COMPARISON OF TRANS-TASMAN BUSINESS CLASS OCT 2005

In the past few weeks I have flown business class across the Tasman on the 3 biggest carriers on this route - Air New Zealand on A320 and 747 (non-refurbished), Qantas on 767 and 743, and Emirates on A345.

Of course this is highly subjective and others will disagree.

Pre-flight
Limo transfer with Emirates is a big plus for me - saves both cost and hassle. Gate experience good with Air New Zealand and Emirates. Poor with Qantas (called too early and no separate line). All offer champagne, water or orange juice pre-departure.

Emirates best here, then Air New Zealand then Qantas.

Seat
No real stand out in the seat other than Air New Zealand's non-refurbished 747 where I got an F seat on account of my status (F no longer being offered). Hopefully I will get to sample the new business class suite on Air New Zealand 777 or refurbished 747. Managed to get bulkhead on A320, 767 and A345. The 767 "A" seats are both window and aisle and have a handy ledge between seat and window for putting stuff. On the Qantas 743 was in forward cabin which completely ran out of overhead space (pretty much all platinums as best I could tell who were travelling without checked luggage).

Air New Zealand 747 best, then Qantas, then Air New Zealand A320 & Emirates.

IFE
Emirates IFE is exceptional. (See my earlier post.) Qantas has about 10 channels of tvs/movies. The Qantas 743 also had extra games. On the eastbound flight some technical problems and not enough time to see fully even the shorter movies. Air New Zealand also has 10 channels of tvs/movies, plus additionally the A320 has personal DVDs selected from a library of about 20 titles. If I'd been on refurbished 747 would have gotten the new IFE with lots more channels and avod.

Emirates clearly the best. Air New Zealand had a slight edge over Qantas (would be bigger gap with the refurbished 747).

Food and drink
Emirates prints wine and food menu. Air New Zealand prints food menu (includes drinks), but no longer has a wine menu. Qantas had no menus (which is odd because I know they do have printed menus) - maybe they just hadnt been loaded both flights?

Emirates and Air New Zealand have a wider range of choices than Qantas (ie 3 mains instead of 2). Qantas had the biggest sized servings, followed by Emirates then Air New Zealand. I liked the food on Air New Zealand best - not as bland and not always typical airline food (eg touches of native New Zealand herbs) as opposed to Qantas' food which was very unimiginative.

Overall for food and drinks, hard to gauge as each good in different ways. On balance I think Air New Zealand is best.

Service
Unlike in first, Emirates service was poor. Qantas was poor one flight and good the other. Air New Zealand on board service was very good.

Amenity kit
No amenity kit for any of these airlines in business class trans-tasman.

Post flight
Emirates offers transfer at destination (as well as origin). Air New Zealand and Qantas have nothing. Neither have arrival lounges, and as I didn’t have checked bags I can’t compare that aspect.

Overall
All three airlines are generally good, and the product is better in my experience than eg intra-europe business class or north american business class. I know Qantas can do better but for me on these flights they were not up to scratch.

If any airline can offer the best of all these features, for a reasonable price, then they can have my trans-tasman business.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Oct 26, 05 at 8:21 pm
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Old Oct 26, 05, 8:12 pm
  #36  
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ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER FLIGHT, BUT WHAT A FLIGHT!

When I left you a couple of posts above I had just returned from Australia. Then I had a couple of very hectic days with all the usual last minute stuff that needed to be dealt with - I swear sometimes seem to spend more time before and after a holiday getting things out of the way and then catching up, than do spend actually away.

But I digress. Didnt sleep much in this short spell at home. No, get your minds out of the gutter. First night did a lot of research for the next part of my month of madness. By the end I was seriously wondering if I have bitten off more than I can take. Oh well, plough on regardless I say. Second night was packing, washing etc getting ready followed by my usual trick before a big trip of not sleeping much at all.

Finally departure day dawns sunny and warm. Have I done everything I needed to? Probably not but it will have to do. Since the flight isnt early I again have the luxury of time and take the bus out to the airport. In fact have enough time that I get off at domestic terminal and take a leisurely walk across to international terminal. Its a busy time of day at AKL and so en route I see several take-offs and landings and a veritible hum of activity. The walkway is pleasant (unless you dont like the smell of avgas I guess), although not fully sheltered if the weather is foul.

Pull up to the check-in after the usual pre-screening of bags (as is always the case for SQ's flights to SIN). Ahh SQ F to look forward to and already I'm getting relaxed and in the mood. I am just so lucky to have the opportunity when I think of the countless others less fortunate. Funny how any (rare) F flight never fails to put me in a good mood.

So the (unfortunately all to usual) problems printing out my multiple boarding passes dont phase me and just chat away while they try to sort it out. Eventually they press the right buttons and out it spits. Pay the departure tax at the counter.

Pre-clear immigration at the special counter at the far left of the check-in area (next to Emirates check-in) and swiftly through security screening to the F lounge.
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Old Oct 27, 05, 8:15 am
  #37  
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Where was I? Oh yeah - off to the gate to board and a pre-departure drink or 2. A small delay on departure as we wait for a few aircraft to take off in front of us - Air New Zealand, Norfolk Air Express and Air Calin. Looks like Air Pacific, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Emirates are in behind us in the queue. A busy time for AKL.

We take off to the northeast and as we sweep a lazy turn over the Hauraki Gulf I notice how the sea appears to glow with various colours - turquoise in the gulf itself, lighter in shallower parts of the Waitemata Harbour and Tamaki River, deep navy blue of Lake Pupuke and the green of the Tasman Sea. In all my times flying out of Auckland I cannot recall having such a magnificent vista combined with a great flight path over Waiheke Island, past Rangitoto Island and Whangaparaoa Peninsula before crossing Northland.

We have a northerly track over Australia flying overhead of Brisbane and Darwin - on most trips we pass near Uluru (Ayers Rock) but not this time.

Shortly after take off there's another round of drinks and also hot nuts, followed by lunch. I watch a few movies - there's been a significant change in the programmes offered since I last flew Singapore Airlines ust over a month ago. That's one of the things I like about them.

We encounter some turbulence early in the flight, and again over the top end of Australia, but on the whole it is a smooth flight. The usual headwinds must have been absent as we had a very fast flight time - arriving nearly an hour early despite the small delay on departure.

About an hour and a half before arrival dinner is served. Menu to follow.

LIGHT MEAL from Auckland to Singapore

Appetisers
Smoked magret duck breast and confit of duck with mesclun. Walnut oil and xeres vinegar dressing

Main courses
Seafood noodle soup. Egg noodles with prawns, fish, and vegetables in broth.

Thai style red curry beef served with seasonal vegetables and steamed rice.

Cold chicken with Greek salad.

Dessert
Chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream.

From the bakery
Oven fresh rolls with a choice of extra virgin olive oil or butter.

Garlic bread.

Hot beverages
Freshly brewed coffee.

Espresso or cappuccino.

Selection of tea.


DINNER from Auckland to Singapore

Canapes
Satay with onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce.

Appetisers
Chilled petrosian caviar with melba toast and condiments.

Tasmanian gravadlax. Marinated salmon with tomato bush chutney.

Soup
Snow fungus soup with Chinese mushrooms and quail egg.

Cream of asparagus garnished with roasted pinenuts.

Salad
Fine field greens. Soya vinaigrette. Thousand island dressing.

Main courses
Roasted lamb rack with rosemary jus, spiced eggplant with mango chutney and baby vegetables in vinaigretta.

Panfried blue eye cod fillet in white wine sauce, stewed vegetables and potatoes.

Indian rogan josh chicken with spiced vegetables and potatoes.

Seared sweet potato with avocado, globe artichoke, Kenyan beans, quail egg, roasted portobello mushroom and fennel. Red capsicum-virgin olive oil dressing.

Cheese
Selection of cheese with garnishes.

Fresh fruit
A selection of fresh fruit.

Dessert
Panna cotta. Cream timbale with peach and strawberries.

From the bakery
Oven fresh rolls with a choice of extra virgin olive oil or butter.

Garlic bread.

Hot beverages
Freshly brewed coffee.

Espresso or cappuccino.

Selection of tea.

Pralines
To end on a sweet note.

BEVERAGES

Special cocktail
Orange cooler. A light tangy drink that stimulates the taste buds, created from orange juice and ginger ale with a touch of lime cordial.

Cocktails
Singapore sling. A famous cocktail since the early 1900s, made from dry gin, DOM Benedictine, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Angostura bitters, Grenadine, lime and pineapple juice.

Silver kris sling. One of Singapore Airlines' special touches, this cocktail is a delicious mix of gin, Cointreau, orange juice and pineapple juice, topped with champagne.

Gin fizz. A delightful concoction of gin and lemon juice, topped with soda.

Cloud nine. A refreshing tropical mix of rum, Cointreau and pineapple juice, topped with soda.

Screwdriver

Bloody Mary

Daiquiri

Red or white wine cooler

Aperitifs
Campari

Dry Vermouth

Non-alcoholic cocktails
Citrus Royale

Tropical Sparkle

Golden Spice

Fruit Spritzer

Sunrise Surprise

Spirits
Bombay Sapphire Gin

Cognac XO - Hennessy

Chivas Royal Salute Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

Macallan 12 years old Single Malt Whisky

Absolut Vodka

Bacardi Carta Blanca

Liqueurs
Cointreau

Tia Maria

Baileys Original Irish Cream

Beer
International selection

Champagne
Dom Perignon 1998

Krug Grande Cuvee

White wines
2004 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Meursault 2000

Red wines
1997 Chateau Reynella Cabernet Merlot

Chateau Cos D'Estournel 1998 Saint-Estephe

Port
Warre's Twenty Year Old Tawny

Tea selection
Pure Ceylon Tea

Earl Grey

Darjeeling

Japanese Green Tea

Chinese Jasmine Tea

Camomile

Decaffeinated Tea

Mint Tea

Fruit Tea

Gourmet coffees
Brazil Santos Bourbon

Colombian Supremo

Jamaican Blue Mountain

Kenyan AA Kilimanjaro

Specialty coffees
Brewed coffee

Cafe Royal

Espresso

Cappuccino

Cafe Latte

Cafe au Lait

Decaffeinated Coffee

Mocha

Other beverages
Hot chocolate

Ovaltine

Milo

Mineral water
Carbonated mineral water

Non-carbonated mineral water

Fruit juices
Apple

Orange

Pineapple

Tomato

Soft drinks
A range of regular or low-calorie drinks is available

Iced drinks
Iced Fruit Tea

Iced Tea

Iced Mint Tea

Iced Coffee

Iced Mocha

Iced Chocolate

Iced Ovaltine

Iced Milo

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Oct 27, 05 at 8:39 am
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Old Oct 27, 05, 8:56 am
  #38  
 
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Great stuff, Kiwi Flyer. I particularly liked the EK/QF/NZ comparo - was interested to see that EK's new-style J seat on its flagship aircraft rated equal last with NZ's shorthaul J product. Any particular reason why you rated it so low?

Incidentally, did you notice any apparent difference in pitch on QF J between the 767 and the 743? When I flew the 743 in the nose, the pitch seemed distinctly tighter than I had remembered from the 763s... or was it just me? Definitely didn't feel like the NZ/QF standard 50"...

Last edited by mad_atta; Oct 27, 05 at 9:00 am
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Old Oct 27, 05, 10:27 am
  #39  
 
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KF- I'm still catching up on the early parts (and I'm looking forward to hearing about more of it this weekend), but of course had to check....and glad to see you had your satay in SQ F!!!! I know that made you even happier than you already were!

Last edited by cawhite60156; Oct 27, 05 at 10:30 am
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Old Oct 27, 05, 3:08 pm
  #40  
 
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The SQ segment sounds great as both light snack and dinner...Great opportunity to try multiple entrees aboard. I also love SQ first class...
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Old Oct 29, 05, 7:10 am
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Interesting report so far; so many trips just back and forth; hope the cost justifies the outcome.
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Old Oct 29, 05, 10:51 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Bundy Bear
... so many trips just back and forth; hope the cost justifies the outcome.
I am sure it does. So many EQMs and redeemable miles.
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Old Oct 30, 05, 3:13 am
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Thanks for sharing this, Kiwiflyer. I always enjoy reading your reports.
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Old Nov 1, 05, 7:47 am
  #44  
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Originally Posted by mad_atta
Great stuff, Kiwi Flyer. I particularly liked the EK/QF/NZ comparo - was interested to see that EK's new-style J seat on its flagship aircraft rated equal last with NZ's shorthaul J product. Any particular reason why you rated it so low?

Incidentally, did you notice any apparent difference in pitch on QF J between the 767 and the 743? When I flew the 743 in the nose, the pitch seemed distinctly tighter than I had remembered from the 763s... or was it just me? Definitely didn't feel like the NZ/QF standard 50"...
I didnt try any of the seats as a bed.

I dont know much about EK so not sure if I had a new or old seat. But width definitely less than Air NZ A320 seat, and pitch seemed comparable - maybe an extra inch or two.

Sorry I cant help with the QF 767/743 comparison - managed to snag one of the middle seats which has reasonable amount of space in front (to a locker rather than another seat).
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Old Nov 1, 05, 8:05 am
  #45  
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LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS

Arriving at Singapore had enough time to visit one of my favourite lounges, SIN F lounge, where grab a quick shower and a couple of glasses of Dom (yes MAN Flyer - still no Krug).

Then wander over to transfer desk to pick up the boarding pass for later flight. The trip from New Zealand to Europe is so long that, as is usually the case, check-in for intra-europe flights hasnt opened when I check-in for the first leg. Again problems printing the boarding pass, which may or may not be related to them checking me in again for the Singapore to Frankfurt leg (I'm already checked in mate).

As we board a big thunderstorm erupts with heavy rain and "strobe" lightning (ie very frequent flashes every second or so). I wonder if we'll be delayed but we do leave on time. First class is full with just one spare seat.

The F seat is very comfortable but is no suite. The seat base feels strange, though, as it slopes backward pressing body against the seat back. The base is well cushioned so thighs are not uncomfortable in this position. Plenty of nooks and crannies to put stuff. However feels more claustrophobic compared with Singapore F (on 747). Felt seat move slightly whenever seat mate moved Bathroom had paper towels not cloth ones!

The meal service was incredibly slow - took more than 2 hours to get to the mains, when for the night flight really want a quick bite then sleep. At least kept the glass topped up frequently. I'll post the menu later.

Amenities included socks, a small kit (toothbrush, comb, moisturizer, etc) and pajamas.

The in flight entertainment was not working until after I finally fell asleep about 4 hours into the flight. By the time I woke up a few hours later it was going. The IFE had changed since I last took Lufthansa on longhaul, and was now a limited form of avod (with small selection and pause/rewind not working), operated by touchscreen. Screen is much smaller than Singapore (only a little bigger than Air NZ's "old" personal tvs).

A breakfast is served before landing. Fairly uninspiring so I skip it (apart from coffee and water).
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