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A Most Excellent Flight..in coach....SYD-SFO on Qantas 4/4/07

A Most Excellent Flight..in coach....SYD-SFO on Qantas 4/4/07

Old Apr 4, 07, 5:07 pm
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A Most Excellent Flight..in coach....SYD-SFO on Qantas 4/4/07

This is the last leg of a One World award (20,000 flight miles in coach for 100,000 frequent flyer miles), which started with a couple nights in Hong Kong, continued on to Melbourne, Australia, and ended up in Sydney. This report will only cover the last segment from Sydney to San Francisco, and I'm writing most of it while in the air.

This is not my first Qantas experience. In the last year I have flown them in coach to New Zealand, and in business class to Brisbane (SFO-SYD-BNE-LAX-SFO), also on award tickets. I was favorably impressed with both of these award itineraries.

I arrived at the Qantas check-in counters at the Sydney Airport about 11:30, after coming out by train from the central railway station ($A12.20/$US10). This was the 4th stop for the train, so a total of about 10-15 minutes travel time. You quickly exit the train station and go up a couple escalators to the Qantas check in counters. Although I was entitled to check in at the First Class counter as a One World Emerald (AA EXP), the business check-in counters had no line, and I walked right up and checked in very quickly.

No problem getting through customs and security, even with the new security enhancements for liquids and gels that have just started in Australia. I didn't notice any delays, and was third in line at the security checkpoint to have my carry-on and laptop scanned.

I picked up a box of chocolates in Duty Free for a neighbor that is collecting my mail, and from there proceeded to the Qantas First Class Lounge to
leisurely await my 1:55 San Francisco departure. While waiting, they made an announcement that due to a mechanical, the flight would not depart until 3pm. No problem for me, as I did not have an onward connection and was homeward bound, and more time to snack

The lounge did have two PC's, but neither appeared to have power, nor did the wall outlets I tried to plug my laptop into. There was an ethernet cable next to one of the PC's, though, so I was able to easily get on line using that connection, and that met my needs just fine.

The morning food offerings included some pastries, sliced pineapple, and cheese. Once lunch time rolled around, they added sandwiches, turkey, ham, tomato soup, and some rolls. I started with Moet champagne, moved on to an Australian shiraz (I've seen so many labels this week, and had so many good wines, I've forgotten which vineyards), and finished with Diet Coke and a bottle of water.

Flight did depart shortly after 3pm, and even with the hour delay our scheduled arrival was only going to be 30 minutes behind schedule.

On the first beverage service I had a Jacob's Creek Chardonnay (have actually driven by there on a prior backpacker's tour). With dinner (Italian beef-cubes of beef accompanied by potatoes and pumpkin), I selected a Jacob's Creek Cabernet, and after dinner a Taylor's Cabernet Shiraz (I've always enjoyed this blend of cabernet and shiraz when visiting Australia, and had several different bottles the last two weeks that affirmed that impression).

After dinner, mango ice cream bars, and a snack pack that included a small chocolate bar, bread sticks, mints, a granola bar, and a bottle of water.

Highlight of the trip: the purser clearly recognized my One World status and came back and asked how the flight was, and if he could do anything for me. I had an open middle seat between me and the aisle passenger (also EXP on AA/One World Emerald), and it's my guess that Qantas blocked it for both of us, as most of the forward coach cabin had middle seats that were
occupied. The purser also checked in with the aisle passenger. I did not see him check on any other passengers in the forward coach section, so nice to
have him stop by, and maybe this is a good sign for AA FTers planning Qantas travel in coach.

Another feature I enjoyed on previous Qantas flights, and had on board today, was ON DEMAND entertainment that allows you to watch movies, or listen to a wide variety of CD's, on your schedule. I watched the Good Shepherd with Matt Damon, and listened to CD's by the Eagles, Abba, and the Beach Boys. They pretty much have all tastes covered, with a classical
channel, and a rock channel that included Pink and Coldplay. You can even customize your tracks on the CD channels to listen to only specific songs you want. I started watching The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, but we landed before it was over.

I slept about 5 hours in the middle of the flight (12.5 hour flight time).

The lights came on two hours before landing, and breakast was served. My breakfast choice was scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, sausage, and beans (I left the beans behind--have never got use to those with breakfast). Sliced pineapple and melon accomanied breakfast, with a container of orange juice and a scone.

Although my bag was priority tagged, seems like half the bags came out before mine. I quickly exited customs (they actually called out to me after I went through asking if I left a bag behind...I was traveling light with a new Jansport Sierra Madre backpack and a small duffle bag with the laptop and accessories). Made it over to BART in the same terminal, and out to Concord for my car, and I'm now safely home.

LINK to Sydney photos and Qantas First Class Lounge photos (lounge photos at very bottom of page)

Tom back in the Bay Area tonight
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Old Apr 4, 07, 6:45 pm
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Wash your mouth out with soap, Tom. An excellent trip - in coach??

Seriously, it's good to be reminded that we really can fly coach and arrive at our destination. My husband and I failed to get our transpacific upgrades on UA twice this winter. We made it thru the flights just fine.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
Wash your mouth out with soap, Tom. An excellent trip - in coach??
I would have preferred an excellent trip in biz, but, alas, no availability, and I did check back regularly. The dates for swimming in Melbourne originally conflicted with Formula 1 racing, and weren't set in concrete until about 6 months back, which worked against me.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 10:26 pm
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Thanks so much for another excellent report, Tom!^

Like I always say one of the really nice benefits about OW seems to be F lounge access for EXP's, and all other OW Emerald's (I believe?). Even if flying coach it seems like that can add a lot to the experience, be it with BA in London, CX in HKG, or QF in SYD. Sounds to me like Qantas coach is actually enjoyable. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 5, 07, 9:33 am
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Thanks for the informative trip report. It's nice to hear that QF gives onboard recognition to OW emeralds, even sittting in coach. I've only flown three OW airlines (plus EI) in coach.

BA gives zero onboard recognition. CX goes above and beyond what is expected. On CX, at times I've been given extra snacks and served meals before all other coach passengers.

Two months ago on a CX 747 when coach was fairly full and I was seated in the aft coach cabin. About 30 minutes before landing, the inflight service manager (or purser) comes to my seat and asked me if I would like to sit in the first class cabin (near the nose) so that I could get priority disembarkation. That was cool. Well, now I can say I've tried the CX first class seat.

With the exception of short-haul flights (less than three hours), at least one CX flight attendant will come to my seat and greet me, ask me if I need anything, wishes me a pleasant flight. I've also been asked if they could offer me a special cocktail. I've never taken them up on that offer but I wonder if they'd be willing to make me a Pacific Sunrise?
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Old Apr 5, 07, 11:02 am
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It must really be hit and miss. I had two Cathay segments in coach as part of this trip (SFO-HKG, HKG-MEL) and no special contact on board. I'd like to see other reports on Qantas just to make sure it wasn't unique to my flight.
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Old Apr 5, 07, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by lucky9876coins View Post
Like I always say one of the really nice benefits about OW seems to be F lounge access for EXP's, and all other OW Emerald's (I believe?).
The F lounge access applies across the board to One World Emeralds, and is a rather nice benefit.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
The F lounge access applies across the board to One World Emeralds, and is a rather nice benefit.
...and not a benefit available in the Star Alliance, I'm sorry to say. I enjoyed your detailed report and pictures of the QF SYD F lounge, tom911. In comparison, the UA RCC in SYD is very modest and always crowded. UA SYD-SFO/LAX flights in coach offer E+, but otherwise no AVOD,...
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Old Apr 6, 07, 2:22 pm
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I suspect you know your way over to the Air New Zealand lounge at SYD, right? I popped in there a couple times as a 1K, and it, too, was very nice (as nice as the QF F lounge).
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Old Apr 10, 07, 9:13 pm
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That Air NZ lounge in SYD is one of my favourites on earth.

Have not been near a RCC there for years.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 3:50 am
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
Have not been near a RCC there for years.
Same thing I do in London--hit the Cathay F Lounge and bypass the two AA lounges there entirely
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Old Apr 11, 07, 4:44 am
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Hi, Tom! Thanks for posting that article.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Same thing I do in London--hit the Cathay F Lounge and bypass the two AA lounges there entirely
There are AA lounges in t3?

Dave
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Old Apr 13, 07, 11:38 am
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Nice report. In 2005 I flew QF coach LAX-MEL and ADL-SYD-LAX and found the experience perfectly acceptable. Legroom was fine with nothing under the seat in front of me. A little bourbon with dinner helps greatly for a nap.
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Old Apr 13, 07, 12:37 pm
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The IFE system makes all the difference. The more power to them for having it available in coach.

Have to agree with you and SanDiego1k about flying in the back California/SYD.
It's doable (if you emotionally prepare yourself).
It helped that I wore a pair of 'gifted' CX pajamas given to me a while back from SD1k.

dh
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