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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 16, 05, 8:57 pm
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Big DO DOs - or A Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness

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 4:09 pm Reason: Update index of my TRs
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Old Oct 16, 05, 9:20 pm
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Big DO DOs – or A Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness

I’m always on the lookout for new places to go, or new people to meet. The big DO DOs of the title refers to some FT DOs I will be attending, or perhaps it will be my state of mind and body by the time I finish my crazy trip?

As I write this I have planned an itinerary that includes the DOs and meeting other FTers along the way, and visits to other places I haven’t been to yet as well as return trips to places I have visited many times before.

I will have a lot of travel over the month, and hopefully a lot of fun (its been fun planning). I’ll pass through many countries, flying several airlines, earning and burning points and miles left and right – including a few promos. In short a real mish-mash of travel. I wont reveal my full itinerary just yet, partly to keep the suspense (ha!) and partly with such a complex trip there’s every chance of changes along the way.


IN THE BEGINNING

Last December, Dovster posted suggesting a DO in Tel Aviv (TLV) November 2005. Since Israel is a place I’ve always wanted to visit but have not yet made it to, I was immediately interested.

Fast forward a couple of months to February when alanw confirmed the dates for Barcelona (BCN) October 2005 – the weekend before TLV!

Great! For one long trip to Europe I can fit in 2 DOs!

The best option for me looked to be an award, and decided to splash out for first class (any excuse for Singapore Airlines F ) and the chance to finally try out the fabled Frankfurt F terminal.

I've also lumped into this report some other travels around the same timeframe. This is one wacky month - apologies in advance if I get things muddled up.


INDEX

I can see this report is going to get very long. So to aid readers I'll try to maintain an index in this first post.

Cheers

This post!
To Australia by Emirates (first of 3 posts)
Comparison of first class Emirates with Singapore
Rock hopping with Qantas (first of 2 posts)
Six hours to New Zealand with Emirates (first of 2 posts)
A nouvelle experience with Air New Zealand (first of 2 posts)
Nouvelle Caledonie
A new airline to New Zealand by Air Calin
To Australia by Qantas
A mad-cap day of flying (first of 2 posts)
To New Zealand on Qantas
Comparison of trans-Tasman business class Oct 2005
Another day another flight, but what a flight! (first of 2 posts)
Lufthansa first class (first of 2 posts)
Boo Doo Two
A town and/or a country
To Italy by Iberia
A nice alpine run (first of 2 posts)
See His Holiness and the eternal city
I to I - Italy to Israel (first of 2 posts)
Israel
A marathon flight sequence (first of many posts)
DO DO DO
Back to New Zealand
Day 32 update

=====================

TO AUSTRALIA BY EMIRATES

For some time I've seen the ads for some amazing deals offered by Emirates for trans-tasman travel, and the odd trip report here on FT. However, having both One World and Star Alliance status to maintain I have tended to fly Air New Zealand and Qantas across the ditch.

Earlier this year, however, curiosity got the better of me at just the right time. Great fare - first one way and business return for the price of non-sale economy, combined with great mileage bonuses (enough for economy round trip) and throw in free limo transfers (saving for taxi/bus alone worth 1/3rd of the fare) and I was easily convinced to try Emirates for the first time, and in first too boot.

I chose to fly to Melbourne from Auckland (my base) - partly because I like Melbourne and partly because this route offered the A345, which I knew from reading FT was the aircraft of choice in first at least. Unfortunately Emirates has a habit of changing routes and aircraft types on the trans-tasman flights, so I crossed my fingers and hoped.

The transfer to Auckland international terminal was okay – basically a more comfortable taxi ride. Scored well in my books by being ready for me (something the taxi company I use is not always able to manage and certainly not the case for the airport bus). Check-in as at the far left hand end, in the newly expanded check-in area. It doesn’t take long, no bags to check, and they’re happy for me to pay the $25 departure tax at the counter in cash. They provide a card for lounge access. There’s a special immigration agent near the premium check-in desks, which enables to bypass the queues at the main immigration area upstairs (go through pre-cleared line). Security is upstairs though. This is the same set-up as in the Qantas/One World premium check in area (Air New Zealand premium check-in is along similar lines but slightly different).

So not long before I’m in the Emirates lounge which is shared by elite status pax, business and first class. I have walked past this lounge so many times on the way to Air New Zealand or Qantas lounges upstairs, but this is my first time inside Emirates lounge. The lounge is nicely laid out, with separate dining area. Didn’t try out the showers but bathrooms are nice. A few computers, a couple of tvs and usual selection of newspapers and magazines. Quite a lot smaller than the other Auckland international lounges, but then it is only used for 3 flights a day. There are unfortunately no windows so I wouldn’t like to spend too much time there.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 4:10 pm
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Old Oct 16, 05, 9:57 pm
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TO AUSTRALIA BY EMIRATES continued

Soon enough it is time to board. Auckland airport has been in the process of segregating arrivals and departures and has only just opened the top level of the pier. There’s a thread in the Air New Zealand forum if you’re interested, but in short it’s a mess with poor passenger flow.

At the gate and it’s a big queue. It seems Emirates does not follow the practice of Air New Zealand, Qantas and some other airlines of calling the flight in the lounge when boarding is nearly complete – or perhaps they were being cautious given the recent changes in layout add several minutes to the lounge to gate time? At the gate, elite status pax and first/business class can use the left hand boarding pass reader, with general pax using the right hand one. It doesn’t take long for me to arrive at the suite.

My first impression is the general layout is similar to Singapore Airlines’ first suite, but yet different. Hmm that doesn’t help much. There’s no overhead bins, instead a couple of cubby holes that would comfortably fit a sports bag or small backpack but struggle to fit a small rollaboard. The suite is much more enclosed – complete with door (must be open for takeoff and landing), but the lack of overhead bins helps create a sense of space. Being an evening flight the mood-lighting is a star pattern, and calming background music is softly playing.

Before I even have a chance to settle in, an FA approaches and asks me if its my first time! She then spends the next 10 minutes explaining all the features and showing how everything works (it probably helped that the load was light with just 2 pax in first). Boarding takes a while so there’s enough time for a couple of glasses of bubbly.

Eventually we take off and soon dinner is served. I’ll add the menu shortly. I wasn’t hungry so skipped quite a lot but enjoyed the tomato soup. Due to strong head-winds the flight took around half an hour longer than usual. So I managed to squeeze in 2 movies (like Singapore Airlines’ AVOD system you can start watching immediately – no need to wait 30 or more minutes into the flight for it to start, and it doesn’t get switched off until right on landing). On this route flying Qantas I’d be lucky to see one movie in entirety.

We arrive at a fairly quiet time for Melbourne and so immigration formalities are very quick.
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Old Oct 16, 05, 10:19 pm
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TO AUSTRALIA BY EMIRATES menu

COCKTAILS WITH CANAPES
A combination of hot and cold canapes, which includes prawn skewer, mushroom quiche, quail breast and parmesan cheese with pesto, stuffed red bell pepper with anchovie and olives

HORS D’OEUVRES
New Zealand Lobster Medallion placed on creamy celeraic salad and served with marie rose dressing

Cajun Spiced Lamb Loin accompanied with char grilled vegetables, dried tomatoes and served with a beetroot relish

SOUP and SALAD
Moroccan Tomato Soup served with fresh cream and fried basil sprigs

Freshly Prepared Salad offered with olive oil and tomato tarragon dressing

ENTREES
Pan-Fried Orange Roughy fillets of orange roughy with garlic and parsley sauce, accompanied with grilled red capsicum, sugar snap peas and gratinated semolina cresents

Grilled Beef Tenderloin prime New Zealand beef tenderloin, topped with gratinated Kikorangi blue cheese, served with roasted shallots, summer vegetables and Chateau potatoes

Thai Style Chicken Curry with a hint of coconut and lemon grass flavour, accompanied with baby pak choy, carrot flowers and steamed rice

VEGETARIAN ENTREES
Pumpkin Ravioli served with mornay sauce, topped with tomato capsicum coulis, shaved parmesan cheese and basil julienne

A la carte Vegetables a selection of alternative vegetables, which includes green beans, roasted pumpkin, baked gratin potatoes, and linguini noodles

DESSERTS
Mini Desserts featuring chocolate mousse, fig and vanilla mascarpone and pont royale cake

Bread and Butter Pudding served with vanilla sauce and fresh berry compote

FRUITS
seasonal cut fresh fruits

CHEESE
International Cheeseboard selection, served with crackers, grapes and crudites

BEVERAGES and CHOCOLATES
Tea Ceylon, China, Earl Grey, Camomile

Coffee freshly brewed or decaffeinated

Chocolates

BAR SERVICE
Aperitifs and Cocktails Sweet or Dry Sherry, Campari, Dry Martini, Sweet or Dry Vermouth, Gin or Vodka Martini Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni, Whisky, Gin, Brandy, Gin Fizz, Tom Collins, Rum.

Special Cocktails Bloody Mary, Martini Cocktail, Jumeirah Delight, Island Fantasy, Champagne Cocktail, Brandy Alexander

Wines Cuvee Dom Perignon vintage 1996, Meursault Premier Cru Genevrieres Vaucher Pere 2001, Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Riva Ranch Reserve Arroyo Seco 2002, Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste Grand Cru Classe Pauillac 1997, Murrieta’s Well Vendimia Red Livermore Valley 1999, Croft Port Late Bottled Vintage 1998

Spirits Whisky, Scotch, Malt, Jack Daniels, Rye, Gin, Vodka, Bacardi Rum.

Liqueurs Drambuie, Cointreau, Tia Maria, Cognac VSOP, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Late Bottled Vintage Port

Beers assortment of beers
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Old Oct 16, 05, 10:39 pm
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COMPARISON OF FIRST CLASS EMIRATES WITH SINGAPORE

I know its unfair to compare just one flight in Emirates first class and not too many more in Singapore first class, but I will anyway. I couldn’t help compare them during the flight and so will share my views with you, dear reader. Of course this is highly subjective and others will disagree.

Here I am comparing Emirates A345 with Singapore’s 747 – both suites. Other aircraft have lesser first product (I believe). I’ll compare Singapore between Bangkok and Singapore as this should be comparable to Auckland to Melbourne on Emirates (neither long-haul so no pajamas for example).

Pre-flight
Limo transfer with Emirates is a big plus for me - saves both cost and hassle. I like Singapore’s pre-departure text alert. Gate experience good with both. Both offer champagne, water or orange juice pre-departure. I liked the FA showing me how everything works.

Both very good but Emirates better.

Seat
Both very comfortable. Emirates has the edge if you want privacy.

IFE
Both exceptional and put other airlines’ IFE to shame. Emirates was easier to use (navigation intuitive and touch screens worked well) but felt like smaller range of offerings (I know this isnt the case but maybe its my bias in what I am used to on Singapore). Draw.

Food and drink
Given how little I ate and drank I don’t think I can do justice to any comparison here. (Some readers are probably rolling their eyes at that )

Service
Apart from the initial welcome and show how everything works, the Emirates service was more reactive than proactive. On Singapore I’ve found they often ask if you want a top up before you even finish a drink, or offer a bottle of water if you ask for a second water. On Emirates, drink top ups were only when I requested on using call button.

Singapore is definitely better service this time.

Amenity kit
Emirates offers a small plastic wrapped box with a few different goops but not much else. I imagine for the longhaul sectors eye shade, slippers, etc are handed out separately. Singapore has a kit complete with eye shade, lip gloss, bulgari perfume, etc. Singapore better here.

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

Overall
On balance I think first class on either airline is great (in slightly different ways). As to which is best? Sorry but I’m going to sit on the fence, at least until I’ve had a few more flights in first (something to work on ).
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Old Oct 16, 05, 11:14 pm
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ROCK HOPPING ON QANTAS

Having been in Melbourne quite a bit lately, and after thoroughly catching up with some friends, I decided to do a run on Qantas to go towards requalifying.

The usual cheap places came up but none interested me, until I came across one destination that I’d visited by land but never flown to before – Yulara (the township by Ayers Rock or Uluru as it is now called). If searching for this destination on Qantas website (and I presume others) – need to look for Ayers Rock. Even better, I could route through Sydney both ways for almost the same price as the direct option.

I turned up at the airport a little early and went to the quick check-in machine (having no bags this bypasses all the queues). If I wanted I could do this in the Qantas Club lounge, but I use the ones landside. I was offered the option of taking an earlier flight which was about to board and so I took it. As usual in this situation, the boarding pass printed out something along lines of meal not guaranteed, but, as usual in my experience, there are enough meals so I can have one if wish. No visit to the Qantas Club this time – straight through screening and out to the gate and onboard. Flight is not very full at this hour of the day.

The flight to Sydney is fairly short. Offered brekkie, which I nibble at bits of and leave most. Don’t watch the IFE – there’s only so many times can watch the same episode of Kath & Kim or whatshisface chat guy (edited to add someone has reminded me its Enough Rope). Instead read the complimentary newspaper. Since arrive at Sydney earlier than planned I have enough time to visit the Qantas Club and grab a coffee or two before the next, longer, flight to Yulara.

This flight appears to be completely full. The first part of the flight is rather bumpy and so the meal isn’t served until half way through. The meal choice was rather odd though (perhaps the catering was misloaded?) – you can have the fish or another type of fish. Good thing I like fish then!

Once we clear the cloud cover I spend a lot of time staring out the window, just watching the desolate scenery and mulling things over. Despite flying over the Australian outback/desert many times (to/from Asia or Perth), I never tire of the view. While there are not many signs of human habitation there is plenty of variation of colours and textures – rocky areas, sandy areas, salt pans, an incredible number of dry river beds, the odd track, scrubby areas, plains and rolling hills, etc.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Oct 18, 05 at 10:26 am
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Old Oct 16, 05, 11:33 pm
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ROCK HOPPING ON QANTAS continued

As we approach Yulara I notice the area is looking much greener than when I’d previously visited. Of course this is relative – being in the middle of a (sandy) desert means red-brown is still the predominant colour. On approach to the airport we fly a big loop so there are good views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (previously called the Olgas). For a straight in approach you want to be on the left of the aircraft, whereas for a loop approach the right gives best views but the left is okay too. Deplane by stairs and get the early summer warmth while walking across the apron to arrivals area.

I have enough time before the return flight for a quick trip to Yulara township, or perhaps an extremely rushed visit to the big rock itself. Not wanting to miss the return flight I decide to stick with the township/resort for a quick look around and then back to the airport. I already had my return boarding passes issued so all I needed to do was go through security. That was a mistake. Once airside there are a number of seats (too few for the pax waiting), a café and a small souvenir shop. That is all. Oh well at least its only a quarter hour or so of standing around.

The flight back to Sydney is fairly uneventful. Offered another meal (no fish!) but decline. Again bumpy the last hour and a half into Sydney. The strong tail winds means we arrive too early and so fly a big loop almost over Canberra and Wollongong before landing from the sea. This would be one of the roughest landings I have had in Australia, but still doesn’t compare with a good Wellington cross-wind.

Again I have enough time for a visit to the Qantas Club. Being evening there are drinks on offer which I partake of a couple. Then its onto another full flight down to Melbourne. Offered yet another meal and nibble but don’t feel like eating much. Arrive in Melbourne as the domestic terminal is shutting up for the night. Step outside and am reminded that summer isnt here yet – must be 25C colder than Yulara was, so I rush off somewhere warm.

All in a fairly typical Qantas run experience. Some very good service mixed with indifference. Plenty of food, some of it quite tasty. Nice Qantas Clubs to relax in (except Yulara). A relaxing and fun day out.
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Old Oct 16, 05, 11:57 pm
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SIX HOURS TO NEW ZEALAND BY EMIRATES

An early start to the day with the airport transfer. Check-in is fairly quick, as is immigration and through to the lounge after a short stop at duty free. At Melbourne, Emirates uses the Cathay Pacific lounge. Here I also had the choice of Singapore Raffles lounge or Qantas First lounge. But in the spirit of trying new things, decided to try out the Cathay Pacific lounge – the last of the Melbourne international lounges I had yet to visit.

This lounge has a separate section for first class, but the separate section is essentially a sign indicating certain seats are for first class only! The usual coffee (ahh needed that) and drinks, as well as breakfast foods. The lounge is fairly small and quickly fills up. I imagine if a Cathay Pacific flight coincided with an Emirates flight it would be overcrowded. Other than having a computer terminal it is comparable with the United lounge which Air New Zealand has been using since its own lounge was demolished last year.

Despite having no status I managed to get a bulkhead row seat in business class, which is totally full. The overhead bins are jammed full and I notice most pax have a couple of carry-ons. Apparently carry-on limits are not policed as much in Dubai (where the flight originates) than it would be in New Zealand and Australian airports. A number of pax needed to have their bags stored in closet.

Settle into seat, have 1 pre-departure drink before the glass is snatched away and get into a book I’d brought with me but yet to open. After a while I realise we’d been sitting for longer than normal and no sign of departure. Various groundstaff wander in and out talking on their radios. Eventually the captain comes on the PA to apologise for the delay but apparently we have ice on the wings and we’ll give it 30 minutes to melt properly. 30 minutes comes and goes with another update from the captain that it still hasn’t melted. At some point, I forget exactly when, the ground staff leave the aircraft and we push back out of the gate to a remote stand, so an arriving aircraft can use the gate. You know its going to be a long wait when a ladder is pulled up alongside so the ground staff can get back on the aircraft. After an hour and a half on the ground, the FAs finally break open some more drinks – gratefully received. Finally, some 2 hours after boarding, the captain announces the ice has melted and so we can depart. Yaah – but what a joke. Its not even winter, not that cold, and it takes about 3 ½ hours on the ground for the ice to be cleared from the wings.

The flight itself was fairly quick and uneventful, if rather bumpy for the last 30 minutes (100+ kilometer per hour wind gusts). I’ll post the menu shortly. Needless to say the late arrival ruins the plans for the afternoon, but at least we arrived at the destination safely. Immigration is surprisingly quick given the time of day, and the poor limo drivers are grateful we have finally arrived.

Service on this flight was very poor. Not only pre-departure (I thought they could have offered a second drink much sooner) but also during the meal and afterwards. Not offered all the courses of the meal Not offered drinks – had to ask. No top ups whatsoever. Forgot to offer coffee after the meal. I arrived feeling hungry (very rare for me) and quite dehydrated despite the short flight.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 12:08 am
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SIX HOURS TO NEW ZEALAND BY EMIRATES menu

FRUIT JUICES

APPETIZERS
Assorted Fruit of seasonal fruits

SALAD
Seasonal Salad served with a choice of dressing

MAIN COURSES
Australian Mixed Grill consisting of grilled beef tenderloin, lamb cutlet, veal sausage, sauteed field mushrooms, slow roasted tomato, baby spinach and roesti potatoes

Creamy Herb Omelette served with grilled chicken medallion, green asparagus tips, Roma tomato and roasted new potatoes

Stir-Fried Bay Scallops on ginger soya sauce with snow peas, served with steamed rice and mixed capsicum

DESSERTS
Chocolate Raspberry Gateau light chocolate sponge topped with glazed raspberries

BREAD
Bread Basket selection of bread and breakfast pastries served with butter and preserves

BEVERAGES and CHOCOLATES
Tea Ceylon, China, Earl Grey, Camomile

Coffee freshly brewed or decaffeinated

Chocolates

BAR SERVICE
Aperitifs and Cocktails Sweet or Dry Sherry, Campari, Dry Martini, Sweet or Dry Vermouth, Gin or Vodka Martini Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni, Whisky, Gin, Brandy, Gin Fizz, Tom Collins, Rum.

Special Cocktails Bloody Mary, Martini Cocktail, Jumeirah Delight, Island Fantasy, Champagne Cocktail, Brandy Alexander

Wines Charles Ellner Cuvee de Reserve Brut NV, Tokay Pinto Gris 2002, Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2004, Monthelie 2002, Torbreck Estate Barossa Valley Old Vine 2004, Barros Porto Colheita 1996

Spirits Whisky, Scotch, Malt, Jack Daniels, Rye, Gin, Vodka, Bacardi Rum.

Liqueurs Drambuie, Cointreau, Tia Maria, Cognac VSOP, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Late Bottled Vintage Port

Beers assortment of beers
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Old Oct 17, 05, 12:08 pm
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Thanks for the report. A pleasure to read

Just a comment - It is extremely unlikely that the A340-500 will be substituted for another plane on the DXB-MEL-AKL-MEL-DXB route, mainly because other planes couldnt make it nonstop (although I believe the 777-200ER could)

Cheers
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Old Oct 17, 05, 12:18 pm
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Didnt the A345 used to do DXB-SYD-AKL (and at one stage went to CHC instead)? The trans-tasman flights are tags of longer routes and seem to have changed around many times.

Anyway, this is only the first leg of my travels this month. More to follow soon.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 1:12 pm
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Keep it coming Kiwi. I enjoy your writing.
Rita
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Old Oct 17, 05, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer
Didnt the A345 used to do DXB-SYD-AKL (and at one stage went to CHC instead)? The trans-tasman flights are tags of longer routes and seem to have changed around many times.

Anyway, this is only the first leg of my travels this month. More to follow soon.
Yes, but they changed the route of the DXB-SYD-AKL flights to DXB-BKK-SYD-AKL and therefore the plane.

Now they operate

BNE-AKL (773)
SYD-AKL (77W)
MEL-AKL (345)
SYD-CHC (345)

Cheers
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Old Oct 17, 05, 2:31 pm
  #14  
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Keep it coming! ^
I am very jealous for your whole month of madness! Well, at least I can read the report on the ground. And I am watching your itinerary closely...
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Old Oct 17, 05, 3:57 pm
  #15  
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A NOUVELLE EXPERIENCE WITH AIR NEW ZEALAND

A few days later and it’s back out to the airport on another trip. This time it’s off to the warmer clime of New Caledonia.

For a change I wasn’t on an early bird flight (lost count of the number of times leaving home at 4am for the early flights), or going straight from work. This meant I could take it easy and take the bus. Since we arrive a little early and it’s a nice day I get off at domestic terminal and do the 10 minute walk to international terminal. The walk passes close to the edge of the tarmac so it’s always good to see the hustle and bustle of daily airport activity on the apron. Okay, also smell the A-1

Use the premium Air New Zealand check-in facility (available to Star Alliance Gold, business class and Koru Club pax when flying Air New Zealand) to bypass the large queues both at check in and at immigration. It’s a busy time of day and so plenty of people everywhere. Everywhere except, it seems, the premium check-in where one agent is very slowly serving an ever increasing line. This is my longest wait ever in the premium check-in, and after about 15 minutes a couple more agents arrive before we’re then quickly processed. Get a bulkhead seat, which is good, but doesn’t really matter for such a short flight (approx 2 hours 30 minutes). Through the immigration formalities and security and another visit to the lounge.

I had noticed earlier that a lot of arriving flights were running late so wondered if we’d depart on time (more likely due to connecting pax than aircraft arriving late in this case). So checked it out on the computer terminals – showing as one time. One of my minor pet annoyances is the departure screen in the lounge doesn’t show boarding time/expected departure time, only the scheduled departure time – which makes it impossible to tell if there’s delays without asking or looking it up on the website.

I grab a coffee or two to waken up properly and then it’s off to the gate. A first for me – first time I have used a bus gate at Auckland (had them plenty of times elsewhere eg Europe). The bus gates are downstairs and there’s a small delay while they wait for everyone to arrive including the last connecting passengers (apparently some came straight through from London and Paris). It always amazes me how everyone rushes to get on the bus first. It’s not as if the plane will leave without you, and in any case, those who board the bus last can get first off. As we are driven out to the A320 I realise the reason for getting a bus gate – the pier is full with a mixture of 747s and 767s of various airlines. No room for the assorted 737s and A320s, other than scattered remote stands.

I forgot to mention while boarding the bus we get a great nose-on view of an Air New Zealand 767 pulling up at the gate immediately above us.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Oct 23, 05 at 2:31 pm
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