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It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y

It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y

Old Sep 20, 07, 12:33 am
  #1  
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It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y

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 3:59 pm Reason: Updated index of my TRs
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Old Sep 20, 07, 12:42 am
  #2  
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Index to this trip report
  1. Lover lover why do you push? - plan A
  2. Why do you push? Why do you push? - plan B, and greater urgency
  3. Baby baby, did you forget about me? - ticketed, eventually
  4. Lounge voodoo you do do - side bar about my odd luck with lounges
  5. Prologue (AKL-WLG on QF 737-400 with business seats)
  6. Prologue (WLG-AKL on QF 737-400 with business seats)
  7. Prologue (AKL-WLG on QF 737-300)
  8. Prologue (WLG-AKL on QF 737-300)
  9. Prologue (AKL-CHC on QF 737-300)
  10. Prologue (CHC-ZQN on QF 737-300)
  11. Prologue (ZQN-CHC on QF 737-300)
  12. Prologue (CHC-AKL on QF 737-300)
  13. I've been standing at the back of your life (AKL-MEL on QF 737-400 business class)
  14. Auckland to Melbourne business class menu
  15. In transit in Melbourne
  16. Back row centre just above the ice (MEL-HKG on QF 747-400 business class)
  17. Melbourne to Hong Kong business class menu
  18. In transit in Hong Kong
  19. Hong Kong to London Heathrow business class menu
  20. Back row centre just above the ice (HKG-LHR on QF 747-400 business class)
  21. Please don't ask me how I've been getting off - in transit in London Heathrow
  22. Please don't ask me how I've been getting off (LHR-KWI on BA 777 business class)
  23. London Heathrow to Kuwait City business class menu
  24. Please don't ask me how I've been getting off - in transit in Kuwait City
  25. Please don't ask me how I've been getting off (KWI-LHR on BA 777 business class)
  26. Kuwait City to London Heathrow business class menu
  27. Please don't ask me how I've been getting off - in transit in London Heathrow (again)
  28. No please don't ask me how I've been getting off (LHR-PHX on BA 747-700 business class)
  29. London Heathrow to Phoenix business class menu
  30. No please don't ask me how I've been getting off (PHX-ORD on AA 757 first class)
  31. No please don't ask me how I've been getting off (ORD-BOS on AA 757 first class)
  32. No please don't ask me how I've been getting off (BOS-SFO on AA 757 first class)
  33. Boston to San Francisco first class menu
  34. Break my body, with the back of your hand (SFO-DFW on AA MD80 first class)
  35. Doesn't make sense from where I stand (DFW-BDL on AA 737-800 first class)
  36. Doesn't make sense from where I stand (BDL-DFW on AA 737-800 first class)
  37. Doesn't make sense from where I stand (DFW-LAX on AA 757 first class)
  38. Baby, baby why you want to mess it up (LAX-HKG on CX 747-400 business class)
  39. Los Angeles to Hong Kong business class menu
  40. Hong Kong to Tokyo Narita business class menu
  41. Sooner or later I'll find my place (HKG-NRT on CX 747-400 business class)
  42. Find my body better fix my face (NRT-CGK on JO 777-200 business class)
  43. Tokyo Narita to Jakarta business class menu
  44. In transit in Jakarta
  45. Find my body better fix my face (CGK-NRT on JO 777-200 business class)
  46. In transit in Tokyo Narita
  47. Jakarta to Tokyo Narita business class menu
  48. Please don't ask me (NRT-SIN on JL 747-400 business class)
  49. Tokyo Narita to Singapore business class menu
  50. Singapore to Melbourne business class menu
  51. Please don't ask me (SIN-MEL on QF 747-400 business class)
  52. How I've been getting off (MEL-CNS on QF 767-300 business class)
  53. No please don't ask me (CNS-MEL on QF 767-300 business class)
  54. Melbourne to Auckland business class menu
  55. How I've been getting off (MEL-AKL on QF 737-400 business class)
  56. Summary of first RTW
  57. It's a fine line between pleasure and pain (AKL-SYD on QF 767-300 business class)
  58. Auckland to Sydney business class menu
  59. You've done it once you can do it again (SYD-CNS on QF 737-800 business class)
  60. You've done it once you can do it again (CNS-SYD on QF 737-800 business class)
  61. In transit in Sydney
  62. Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney (and Melbourne) menus
  63. Whatever you done don't try to explain (SYD-HKG on CX A330-300 business class)
  64. Sydney to Hong Kong business class menu
  65. Whatever you done don't try to explain (HKG-NRT on CX 747-400 business class)
  66. In transit in Tokyo Narita
  67. Whatever you done don't try to explain (NRT-TPE on CX 747-400 business class)
  68. Tokyo Narita to Taipei business class menu
  69. Taipei to Hong Kong business class menu
  70. Whatever you done don't try to explain (TPE-HKG on CX 747-400 business class)
  71. Whatever you done don't try to explain (HKG-ICN on CX A330-300 business class)
  72. Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon business class menu
  73. Whatever you done don't try to explain (ICN-HKG on CX A330-300 business class)
  74. Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong business class menu
  75. Whatever you done don't try to explain (HKG-YVR on CX 747-400 business class)
  76. Hong Kong to Vancouver business class menu
  77. Whatever you done don't try to explain (YVR-JFK on CX 747-400 business class)
  78. Vancouver to New York JFK business class menu
  79. In transit in New York
  80. It's a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain (JFK-SEA on AA 757 first class)
  81. New York JFK to Seattle-Tacoma business class menu
  82. It's a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain (SEA-DFW on AA 757 first class)
  83. It's a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain (SEA-SJU on AA 757 business class)
  84. It's all the same (SJU-JFK on AA A300-600 business class)
  85. It's all the same (JFK-BGI on AA 757 business class)
  86. It's all the same (BGI-SVD on LI Q300 economy class)
  87. It's all the same (SVD-POS on LI Q300 economy class)
  88. It's all the same (POS-GND on LI Q300 economy class)
  89. It's all the same (GND-BGI on LI Q300 economy class)
  90. It's all the same (BGI-MIA on AA 737-800 business class)
  91. In transit in Miami
  92. It's all the same (MIA-LHR on BA 747-400 business class)
  93. Miami to London Heathrow business class menu
  94. It's all the same (LHR-BAH on BA 747-400 business class)
  95. London Heathrow to Bahrain business class menu
  96. It's all the same (BAH-DOH on BA 747-400 business class)
  97. In transit in Doha
  98. It's all the same (DOH-BAH on BA 747-400 business class)
  99. Bahrain to London Heathrow business class menu
  100. It's all the same (BAH-LHR on BA 747-400 business class)
  101. London Heathrow to Hong Kong business class menu
  102. Hong Kong to Melbourne business class menu
  103. It's all the same (LHR-HKG on QF 747-400 business class)
  104. It's all the same (HKG-MEL on QF 747-400 business class)
  105. Melbourne to Singapore first class menu
  106. It's all the same (MEL-SIN on SQ 777-200 first class)
  107. In transit in Singapore
  108. Singapore to Melbourne first class menu
  109. It's all the same (SIN-MEL on SQ 747-400 first class)
  110. It's all the same (MEL-AKL on QF 747-400 business class)
  111. Auckland to Vancouver economy class menu
  112. Inaugural flight (AKL-YVR on NZ 777-200ER economy class)
  113. In transit in Vancouver
  114. Inaugural flight (YVR-LAX on UA CRJ700 economy class)
  115. Inaugural flight (LAX-PHX on UA CRJ200 economy class)
  116. Inaugural flight (PHX-LAX on US A319 first class)
  117. Inaugural flight (LAX-AKL on NZ 747-400 economy class)
  118. some trivia


Latest summary

As at post #227.
  • lifetime status achieved ^
  • day 29
  • map
  • 146,040 flown miles
  • 66 flights
  • 15 a/c types
    • 737-400
    • 737-300
    • 747-400
    • 777
    • 757
    • MD80
    • 737-800
    • 767-300
    • A330-300
    • A300-600
    • Q300
    • 777-200ER
    • CRJ700
    • CRJ200
    • A319
  • 10 airlines
    • Qantas (Jetconnect and mainline)
    • British Airways
    • American Airlines
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Japan Airlines (JALWays and mainline)
    • LIAT (and Caribbean Star)
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Air New Zealand
    • United (Skywest)
    • US Airways
  • 18 countries & 1 territory
    • New Zealand
    • Australia
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • United Kingdom
    • Kuwait
    • United States of America
    • Japan
    • Indonesia
    • Singapore
    • Taiwan
    • South Korea
    • Canada
    • Puerto Rico
    • Barbados
    • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Grenada
    • Bahrain
    • Qatar
  • 29 airports
    • AKL (Auckland)
    • WLG (Wellington)
    • CHC (Christchurch)
    • ZQN (Queenstown)
    • MEL (Melbourne)
    • HKG (Hong Kong)
    • LHR (London Heathrow)
    • KWI (Kuwait City)
    • PHX (Phoenix)
    • ORD (Chicago O'Hare)
    • BOS (Boston)
    • SFO (San Francisco)
    • DFW (Dallas Fort Worth)
    • BDL (Hartford)
    • LAX (Los Angeles)
    • NRT (Tokyo Narita)
    • CGK (Jakarta)
    • SIN (Singapore)
    • CNS (Cairns)
    • SYD (Sydney)
    • TPE (Taipei)
    • ICN (Seoul Incheon)
    • YVR (Vancouver
    • JFK (New York JFK)
    • SEA (Seattle-Tacoma)
    • SJU (San Juan)
    • BGI (Bridgetown)
    • SVD (Saint Vincent)
    • POS (Port of Spain)
    • GND (Grenada)
    • MIA (Miami)
    • BAH (Bahrain)
    • DOH (Doha)
  • personal firsts and other trivia
    • most airports arrived/departed international flights in one country - PHX = 7th in USA
    • in this trip overflown more than half of the USA states (so far with more to come)
    • most different airlines (not counting separately subsidiaries or feeder airlines) flown in/out of any airport = CX is 10th at LAX
    • 5th airport to fly to/from at least 10 countries (nonstop) = LAX
    • in the first 15 days of this trip report, plus the previous 2 weeks, flown more than 50 flights and 100,000 flown miles
    • Port of Spain is my 150th airport I've flown into/out of
    • most airports arrived/departed international flights in one country - MIA = 8th in USA
    • flown more than 50 flights and 100,000 miles flown in first 3 weeks of this trip report
    • Florida is the 16th US state I have flown to/from
    • 44 US states overflown on this trip alone
    • Bahrain to Doha is my 400th unique route, totally some 700,000 miles of unique routes. A long way to go to catch up with Seat 2A but not bad.
    • 4th inaugural flight = AKL-YVR. I'd hoped for a 5th inaugural flight the following week after this report but the airline changed the date, time and route - I'm still working on it.
    • 43 unique nonstop routes to/from AKL, the most for any airport.
    • most different airlines (not counting separately subsidiaries or feeder airlines) flown in/out of any airport = US is 11th at LAX
    • most different terminals (not counting separately satellite terminals) flown in/out of any airport = LAX T2 is 7th terminal
  • upon request, champagnes (and some sparkling wines) drunk (incomplete listing)
    • Lawson
    • Veuve
    • Chandon
    • Piper Heidsieck
    • Charles Heidsieck
    • Heidsieck Monopole (aka monopoo for BA FTers)
    • some unmemorable US sparkling wines
    • Louis Bouillot
    • Deutz (yes really)
    • Moet
    • Domaine Machaud
    • Joseph Perrier
    • Domaine Michelle
    • Krug
    • Dom Perignon
    • Lindaeur

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

LOVER LOVER WHY DO YOU PUSH?


It all started so simply. I would do a round the world (RTW), as I often do at this time of year.

I'd try to fit in the inaugural A380 passenger flight on Singapore Airlines, which is expected to be on the Singapore to Sydney route, although the dates were unknown at the time. As time progressed and still no word on the inaugural date (no doubt after Singapore Airlines was burnt so badly from the many Airbus delays to date), I realised that making the inaugural is optimistic and a more realistic goal (I thought) would be to fly the A380 as part of the RTW. Surely by late October / November the A380 will have started service?

Then Air New Zealand announced a new service to Vancouver, which conveniently for me timed nicely with a planned visit to USA. Great – I can add to my list of inaugural flights. Unfortunately the downside of an inaugural flight soon became apparent – all business class and premium economy class seats were blocked for VIPs Eventually, Air New Zealand released a couple of full fare business class seats – which means a hefty surcharge on the RTW fare. As I'd waitlisted for this, and had top status with Air New Zealand, I was able to nab one straight away.

So now I had some planning to do to try to make the travel fit my plans – an efficient mileage earning, visit some new countries and places, include the destinations I needed to visit at the right dates, include the Vancouver inaugural flight, include the likely A380 flight to Sydney, and make it to Queenstown in time for the Mainland Do, which I am hosting. Try as I might spending hours poring over my spreadsheets of routing data, the *A RTW mileage calculator tool and various airline websites, the best I could do would mean arriving at Queenstown at about 5pm on the first day of the Mainland Do. With several connecting flights to get there, tight connections and the ever present vagaries of Queenstown weather I would have a reasonable chance of missing the start of the Do. That will not do.

So it was back to the drawing board.

Note that eventually the date of the inaugural A380 passenger flight was announced as October 25. This is a date I could have made work if only it was announced a few weeks earlier. But it wasn't to be - by then I'd already made too many other plans. Still some FTers have been successful in bidding for the inaugural flights, in both directions SIN-SYD and SYD-SIN, so I eagerly look forward to a report or two and live the experience vicariously.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:59 pm
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Old Sep 20, 07, 12:57 am
  #3  
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WHY DO YOU PUSH? WHY DO YOU PUSH?


Plan B was to separate out the Vancouver inaugural from the RTW. With the never-ending delays for an announcement of the A380 inaugural it seemed that I should not count on being able to fly the A380 in this trip and thus could consider either One World or Star Alliance (for I collect miles and status with both programs).

I ended up choosing to do a One World RTW due to (a) the large fare increases for the Star Alliance RTW earlier in the year, (b) I already had my several Star Alliance statuses wrapped up for the year, and (c) the One World RTW (xONEx) being continent based instead of mileage based (xRWSTARx) allows for potentially much greater earning as well as the ability to combine several interesting new places in the same trip.

Then as Singapore Airlines removed lifetime status from its program, my plans morphed once more. Perhaps I could lock up lifetime status on Qantas before it, too, is removed by cost-cutting bean counters (apologies to all FT bean counters)? On my then plans I expected to attain Qantas lifetime Gold status (the mid-tier One World Sapphire status) in the next 18 months or so (after this trip as originally envisaged). So it was tantalisingly within reach. But one RTW will not be enough, no matter how well I optimise it. So two RTWs it is then.
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Old Sep 25, 07, 4:33 pm
  #4  
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BABY BABY, DID YOU FORGET ABOUT ME?

After a couple of weeks experimentation I came up with an itinerary that was reasonably efficient at earning status on QF. It was not fully optimised since I wanted to visit certain places, fly certain routes and airlines. I developed the itinerary using routing databases, the one world website for schedules, mileage monkey for checking routing rules, and various availability tools to check availability.

With that prepared I forwarded the draft DONE4 (business class One World Explorer round the world) times 2 info to AA for ticketing. I chose American Airlines because their “taxes” are but a small fraction of the “taxes” charged by some other airlines – due to greatly reduced fuel surcharges. For more information, check out the one world forum. On my particular itinerary it saved me over a thousand dollars.

The ticketing however, proved to be a frustrating experience over a period of more than a month – this for an itinerary which my draft required no changes, and had availability on every flight.
  • Calling American Airlines on weekdays required calling during working hours in another country in another timezone, and on weekends calling during working hours in a third country several timezones away. Yes phone calls forward through 2 different countries. Unfortunately 1-800 numbers do not work from my location, as some FTers have experienced recently.
  • I got some calls returned at 10:30pm – apparently the agents don’t bother to check what timezone I am in.
  • Several calls got cut off. Of course upon calling back I’d get a different agent and have to repeat the question/request.
  • Being given the wrong fax number to send my credit card authorisation to
  • Lack of response to emails.
  • AA deciding my request to ticket didn’t matter – they wanted to not ticket in case schedules changed

Eventually I got the tickets. As expected they were paper tickets. Not expected was that they were a blast from the past – hand written paper tickets! Wow it has been so long that I cannot recall the last time I got a hand written ticket.
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Old Sep 25, 07, 11:44 pm
  #5  
 
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Nice start to your TR, Kiwi Flyer! ^

Bestest of luck on the QFF LTG!
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Old Sep 26, 07, 12:11 am
  #6  
 
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Handwritten paper tickets??!! Damn...

I bet half the check-in agents out there have never seen one. I haven't since I can't remember when.
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Old Sep 26, 07, 5:28 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
[list][*]Calling American Airlines on weekdays required calling during working hours in another country in another timezone, and on weekends calling during working hours in a third country several timezones away. Yes phone calls forward through 2 different countries. Unfortunately 1-800 numbers do not work from my location, as some FTers have experienced recently.
On Telecom NZ and TelstraClear PSTN services, you should be able to call 0168-1-800-<whatever>. You get charged at the direct dial NZ-USA rates, but it will put the call through. The service is known as "Access 0168" and was introduced for precisely this reason.

Pretty sure that Vodafone cellphones just allow direct access by dialing +1800; but that may not work if you are inbound roaming.
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Old Sep 26, 07, 6:38 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by ajnz View Post
On Telecom NZ and TelstraClear PSTN services, you should be able to call 0168-1-800-<whatever>. You get charged at the direct dial NZ-USA rates, but it will put the call through. The service is known as "Access 0168" and was introduced for precisely this reason.

Pretty sure that Vodafone cellphones just allow direct access by dialing +1800; but that may not work if you are inbound roaming.
I am aware of the alternate numbers, but they don't work properly for me
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Old Sep 27, 07, 2:59 am
  #9  
 
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Have you tried installing Skype to call 1800 numbers?

I use it to call AC - and it doesn't even cost!
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Old Sep 27, 07, 1:07 pm
  #10  
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unfortunately not an option on my laptop
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Old Sep 30, 07, 11:43 pm
  #11  
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Just a few days to go. It has been a hectic couple of weeks with a mix of flights in first, business, and economy on LAN, Lufthansa, Qantas, Swiss and Thai. 1 op up ^, 1 Do, and some other meetings with FTers (including an unexpected meeting with a FT lurker!). I was even witness to a family being denied immigration and escorted onto the returning international flight

I'm currently working through several schedule changes - both airline induced and changes to my requirements. While I can't wait for the trip to start it seems I have a million things to do in the next few days.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Sep 30, 07 at 11:58 pm
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Old Oct 3, 07, 1:19 am
  #12  
 
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Thanks for the link, Kiwi Flyer. I'll be travelling in the next month, so whilst we may not meet in BNE, there's always the possibility of another city...
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Old Oct 5, 07, 1:32 am
  #13  
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Lounge voodoo you do do

While I prepare the next instalment (finally underway) I realised I have an odd luck with lounges.

I was flying from LAX TBIT terminal the first day the interim lounges were in use instead of the various airline lounges.

I was flying from AKL in F one of the first days after the NZ F lounge had been closed

I got to sample both MEL and SYD new QF F lounges in the first few days they were open ^

I visited the new BKK QF F lounge not long after it too opened.

I visited the new MEL NZ lounge soon after it opened.

I visited the refurbished CHC NZ domestic lounge the first day it reopened ^ and missed out on a NZ lounge half a dozen times in the short couple of weeks that the lounge was closed for that refurbishment

I visited NH F lounge in NRT not long after it opened - a vast improvement on the small crowded SQ lounge.

Perusing FT lately I notice that I missed by a couple of months on trying the new ZRH LX F lounge

There are two more lounges en route this trip that I will be visiting in their dying days before closure. Thus I miss a couple of new lounges by a few days each. A fourth lounge I will be visiting soon is currently being redone (in part) as I write this and so I will get to try out the new experience not long after it reopens. Two further lounges are almost brand new, having opened within the past few weeks.

There may be other lounge oddities that I haven't yet come across (or fail to recall from past trips), but it seems amazing to me the sheer breadth of circumstances that line up this way. Given my frequent travel it wouldn't be unusual to have one or two cases where visit a lounge in the first few days or the last few days, in the course of a year. But so many in such a short time period seems, well, odd.

Observant FTers may get some clues from this about where I am visiting over the next 4 weeks.

Back to the tales of travel far and wide.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Oct 5, 07 at 1:44 am
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Old Oct 6, 07, 1:29 pm
  #14  
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Prologue
Auckland to Wellington (AKL-WLG) on QF 737-400 with business seats

I head to the airport early for the first domestic flight of the day, feeling somewhat disconnected or is it the tiredness after a busy week and only an hour or two of sleep?

On my way to check in I see the departure board for which gate we are using and look on the apron as to the aircraft rego. This is to see my chances of getting a business class seat, which today are good. It isn't a foolproof system as sometimes the a/c get switched or the departure screen has the wrong gate listed.

Check in is open earlier than normal today for some unknown reason and there is a queue of mostly connecting passengers from the early morning arrivals from Los Angeles (LAX) and Santiago (SCL). I stand in the elite line and wait my turn. Before I reach the front the agent in the other line recognises me and motions me forward. The passenger in the queue is grumpy so I of course defer to let him through first.

I am quickly checked in and head up to security. I notice the building work underway for Pacific Blue's check in - for they start domestic flights in New Zealand in a little over a month and share the Qantas part of the terminal in Auckland and Christchurch.

... to be continued ...
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Old Oct 6, 07, 5:31 pm
  #15  
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While one passenger is fluffing around figuring out what they need to take out of their pockets I, in a familiar fluid move, dump my bag for the xray and walk through the WTMD and grab my bag out the other side, already 2 steps from the lounge before the other passenger has even finished emptying their pockets.

After a quick chat with the lounge agent I grab a coffee and check my emails and FT too of course while I wait for the flight. The flight is called and, as is my custom in most parts of the world, I board last secure in the knowledge I don't have to fight to find space for my small carry on. In any event the 737-400 has a small cut-out on the right hand bulkhead which is just big enough for a purse or my carry on. (The 737-300s have a larger cut out on both bulkheads which is big enough for laptop bags and the smallest sized rollaboards, but on 737-400 these have to be placed in the overhead bin or the closet.)

We leave on time, helped by a low load. There are even plenty of empty business seats. For those unfamiliar with domestic flights in New Zealand, neither Qantas nor Air NZ (and soon nor Pacific Blue) sells business class on domestic flights, however a small number of aircraft are used on both domestic and international routes and thus have some (old style) business class seats - think USA domestic first and you get the idea. On Qantas there is no self seat select and their allocation puts these preferentially to status passengers, but as some flights have very few elites some people also just get lucky. All 737-400 and 2 of 5 737-300 aircraft have these seats. On Air NZ there is self seat selection so look out for A320 flights (these used to be flights numbered 700-999 but now seem to be numbered 1500-1599) - or look for seat map with 2-2 in the first 2 rows. If you self select and don't have status expect to be booted out for a status pax, who can get allocated by the airline any seat not self selected (by status pax).

The flight is the same old routine. A pastry danish, tea, coffee and water for free or pay for soft drink, fruit juices or anything else. A tv show is on the screens - there are about 3 different ones played at various times of day and routes (music videos on the shorter flights) as well as several audio channels.

The skies are clear giving fantastic views first of the city then endless countryside out one side and the sea out the other. No sign of any plume above Ruapehu today (there was a recent eruption which closed the skifields for a few days and they have since reopened). Past the volcanic cone of Taranaki and down the length of Cook Strait before turning and approaching Wellington from the South.

As is often the case the 2nd Qantas aircraft parked at Wellington for a later departure is parked up at a gate on the Air NZ pier - the renovations to the Qantas pier and the gate stands in front seems to be taking forever. When you get a flight from Air NZ pier they never seem to call the flight early enough in the Qantas Club and often there is a Air NZ flight leaving from the same gate lounge (separate gate) at the same time meaning a long wait in security.
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