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Qantas: QF 12, 25, and 43: Yay Oneworld!

Qantas: QF 12, 25, and 43: Yay Oneworld!

Old May 28, 07, 3:36 pm
  #1  
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Qantas: QF 12, 25, and 43: Yay Oneworld!

So, unexpectedly, I have to fly SFO-SYD at the last minute. Five days before the flight, Y tickets (that earn AA miles) are still very reasonable through LAX, but coming back, only through AKL. So:

5/23: SFO-LAX (wait 7 hours) - SYD
5/28: SYD-AKL (1 hr)-LAX (4 hrs)-SFO

The LAX-SYD trip (QF12) is incredible, despite being almost full in back. Although I'm booked on what seatguru calls one of the worst seats on the plane, 58A (partially obstructed exit row), actually I like it a lot. Nobody is in front of me and I can stretch out my legs next to the exit door life raft protrusion. The seat seems to recline a lot for a Y seat and I can lean against the wall. Plus, there's noone to climb over if I decide to get up, which is a big plus. I find myself hoping seatguru will continue to call this a terrible seat so I can book it in the future.

The real feature of the flight, though, is the flight crew. Our flight attendant, Peter Vartelas, refers to us by name during the flight (after asking us how to pronounce our names)--a feature typically lacking from Y--and is warm and helpful throughout. The meals are fine, nothing to write home about, but the service is outstanding. Despite a passenger leaving the flight and his bags being off-loaded (which delays our departure by about 30 minutes as they dig through the containers), we arrive SYD essentially on time. Bag claim is quick, maybe 30 minutes for all bags.

The return flight SYD-AKL (QF43, a 767) is similar to a US domestic long-haul, except with food (braised beef with salad and potatoes, plus maybe a chicken option, unremarkable). There's a single movie for the whole cabin and only a few pillows and blankets anywhere in the Y cabin. The flight crew is fine, and apologizes profusely for having a delayed coffee/tea service towards the end of the flight.

QF25 AKL-LAX is on a 2-class 747, maybe 80% full in back. The flight seems sub-par from the boarding gate. The gate area is packed and noisy, and the PA system isn't loud enough for the GA to be heard above the crowd. The GA seems stressed and lacking the warmth one has come to expect from Qantas' excellent staff--but perhaps the GA is with the airport; everyone is dressed in green. There is some delay due to a mechanical, and boarding finally gets rolling about 10 minutes before the flight is to depart.

The flight itself is fine, but the flight crew seems to be phoning it in. As we board, the flight attendant nearest me is very direct with pax, rather than being warm or helpful. There is limited eye contact between FAs and pax; once served, the finished meals are not picked up for more than an hour; in-flight water service walk-bys are done so quickly it is not possible to flag down the flight attendant to actually get water before she passes (I'm in 46K--another obstructed exit row seat that seems closer to seatguru's "bad seat" description, because it seems more obstructed than 58A, and is also near the lavs, so it's disturbed more than 58A, which is near the galleys. Still, it features lots of unoccupied space in front and nobody to crawl over if one wants to stand up). Water is easily available if pax go get it from the galleys where the FAs congregate for much of the flight.

Other small details are lacking. For example, where the crew on QF12 (LAX-SYD) made sure to draw the curtains by the lavs and galleys during the "sleeping" part of the flight, on QF25 passengers wind up doing much of that themselves. During the flight, a strip of foam progressively peels further and further from between a wall and ceiling panel near the lavs. About 6 feet have been revealed and are hanging over the lav archway by the end of the flight, but none of the FAs has tried to stuff it back into the seam, tape it up, or anything like that.

At the end of the flight, one of our flight attendants commendably comes by to police up any loose paper in front of the exit door. She does this with a sense of purpose that has seemingly been absent for the previous 10 hours on the flight, and she winds up chatting amiably with my seatmate. So a nice finish, but I find myself wishing she'd been as thoughtful during the flight.

Upon arrival at LAX, some of the priority bags are delivered to the priority belt starting 30 minutes after our arrival at the gate. Economy bag delivery starts 1 hour after our arrival, and a slug of priority bags come out mixed with more economy bags 80-90 minutes after arrival. The last priority and economy bags are delivered to the economy belt 1 hour 35 minutes after we arrive at the gate. The difference between this and SYD is remarkable.

Overall, a good Y experience for a total of about 30 hours in planes within 5.5 days.

-Hayden
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Old May 28, 07, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Hayden View Post
Despite a passenger leaving the flight and his bags being off-loaded (which delays our departure by about 30 minutes as they dig through the containers), we arrive SYD essentially on time.
Coincidence! -- despite being a QF nut after my first trip down under (I too, took QF12), I was in LAX all last week on business, and each night I would wait and watch QF12 takeoff from my hotel room. My gf came up to visit me last Wednesday and I made her watch QF12 takeoff with me -- we were both wondering why QF12 was late that night for departure.....
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Old May 29, 07, 4:38 am
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Great TR Hayden! Just goes to show that the crew can make all the difference in the world.
Originally Posted by Hayden View Post
Although I'm booked on what seatguru calls one of the worst seats on the plane, 58A (partially obstructed exit row), actually I like it a lot...
Did you put these comments into SeatGuru? The website relies on the feedback of pax like you to get it's information! I've put in numerous comments to SeatGuru and they've been very forthcoming with suggested changes.
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Old May 29, 07, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by TrayflowInUK View Post
Did you put these comments into SeatGuru? The website relies on the feedback of pax like you to get it's information! I've put in numerous comments to SeatGuru and they've been very forthcoming with suggested changes.
I will give it a shot, thanks for the suggestion! As an aside, I did not talk with Qantas until the day of the flight about changing seat assignments. At that point, all of the exit row seats other than these obstructed ones had been assigned.

-Hayden
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