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The Ultimate Qantas Flight

The Ultimate Qantas Flight

Old Jun 11, 09, 12:01 am
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The Ultimate Qantas Flight

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 3:47 pm
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Old Jun 11, 09, 12:50 am
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What is the ultimate Qantas flight?

The thread title is perhaps a bit misleading. This is not a report on the very best of Qantas. Currently that would be First class in A380 - which I will be reporting on again separately (watch this space). Rather it is a short report on the final or ultimate flight of a network.

I've flown about a dozen inaugural flights for a route or network. I've flown flights in the first or last week of service. But never have I (AFAIK) flown the very last flight on a route or network. Never, that is, until this week.

This will be a fairly short trip report. Those who like my lengthy rambles about crazy itineraries will need to wait a bit longer for my next report (it is in the pipeline - I just haven't had time to write it up yet). Normally I don't write about one-off flights unless something interesting happened or it is an unusual service. I think the last flight of a network qualifies, and given the sadness I and other Qantas frequent flyers have for the end of the network and the effect on all the staff, a trip report is in order to mark the occasion.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 10:32 pm
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Pre-flight checks

I thought there was only a small chance I could make the last flights on the date, thus the "Goodbye Jetconnect Do" was organised for a convenient weekend a few weeks prior.

A few weeks ago I decided to risk making a booking for the final Auckland to Wellington and Wellington to Auckland (which also doubled as the final flight of the network) flights during the near perpetual final sales. I figured I wasn't losing too much if I couldn't make it. At 24 hours prior to departure of the final Auckland to Wellington flight I was not sure I could make it but checked in online to nab reasonable seats. I like how we can check in for both flights at the same time even if the later flight is more than 24 hours away.

I was shocked to be preallocated bulkhead window seats. My profile has forward aisle preference and in hundreds of Jetconnect domestic flights I almost always get bulkhead aisle seat preallocated. Worse, it appeared that one of the two all economy seat aircraft would be used - which is not surprising because otherwise they'd need to have a repositioning flight to Wellington or Christchurch for a 2-class aircraft to operate a Trans-Tasman route early the next day. There weren't too many palatable options for Auckland to Wellington, so I moved back a few rows to nab an aisle. The return flight had more options so I kept in the first 2 rows in case of a miracle aircraft swap.
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Old Jun 12, 09, 12:48 am
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Ultimate AUCKLAND to WELLINGTON (AKL-WLG) flight
on Qantas 737-300 in economy class


Even a few hours before departure I was still unsure if I could make the flight.

Fortunately I managed to finish up and head to the airport. In the check-in area I noticed the Qantas quick-check machines were already gone replaced by (fewer ) Jetstar quick-check machines, the queue rope was now orange (Jetstar colours) and Jetstar flights were showing on the arrival and departure screens for the next morning.

I may not have mentioned in recent trip reports, but the Auckland domestic terminal has a few free internet computers near Pacific Blue check in and also near Air NZ jet baggage claim.

Security was quick and I entered the domestic Qantas lounge at Auckland for probably the last time. After a brief chat with the agent I grabbed a beer - the food offering was pathetic already (presumably to save wastage). I then met up with the other FTers who were also doing this ultimate flight - BlackCloud, Wijomas, Thai-Kiwi, and WLG Base. The lounge filled up while we talked. Boarding was called slightly early for "the last domestic Qantas flight".

Unlike the goodbye flights where we managed to arrange our seats together this time we were scattered around the cabin, but all in the first several rows. I'd noted earlier in the day that some plonker had selected the middle seat beside me despite plenty of fairly forward aisle and window seats being available. He was also quite big and ended up moving as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off. Our chariot tonight was ZK-JNC. I suppose I can stop remembering the mnemonics of which aircraft regos have business seats and which do not. ZK-JTx are 737-400 and all have business seats, Nice D (ZK-JND) and remember remember november november (ZK-JNN) are 737-400 with business seats. Johannesburg, No C and NO c (ZK-JNB, ZK-JNC, ZK-JNO) were all economy seats.

The Wellington based cabin crew were especially bubbly and running around taking pictures of their last time in Auckland (at least working for Jetconnect) and also got their pictures taken with & by lots of passengers and also the ground crew. This was quite a contrast to my other recent Jetconnect flights where the cabin crew have been (understandably) fairly sombre.

Doors closed and push back was late. As well as the usual announcements there was mention of it being the final flight. The load was moderate - about three quarters full.

The IFE had a special "remembering 8 years of Qantas" intro video - the selected content of which was baffling and mundane. Unfortunately this is not quite accurate as they only started in NZ mid 2002. Then an old episode of Enough Rope featuring Dawn French. Most passengers ignored the IFE and talked about the end of Qantas within NZ and the coming pitfalls of Jetstar.

Food was a choice of mini quiche or an apple. The beverage service was Lindauer sparkling wine by default, or water tea or coffee if you insisted. No other alcoholic (nor soft drinks) were loaded. A second round of Lindauer was offered near top of descent.

We landed from the south almost on time. Another announcement about it being the final flight in case anyone had missed it, and lots of clapping from the passengers before we disembarked.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Jun 12, 09 at 12:53 am
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Old Jun 12, 09, 1:06 am
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Ultimate WELLINGTON to AUCKLAND (WLG-AKL) flight
on Qantas 737-300 in economy class


After saying some goodbyes we headed to the Wellington domestic Qantas Club, probably for the last time for me at least. There were a few FTers doing this flight too, including Itsalongwaydown, Sue Oz, Wijomas, and saabflyer.

Boarding was called slightly late ... if the flight was on time. I suspected it would not be so was in no hurry to get to the gate, but our Australian friends wanted to board in plenty of time to secure overhead bin space. At security it was clear boarding had not yet started and was not imminent. We waited in the gate area for about 20 minutes before the call was made. Finally onboard there was a further delay due to a passenger who'd gone missing. He was found and did the walk of shame to his seat.

Once again we were scattered around the cabin, but all in the first several rows. This time I had an empty middle seat. Not surprising given the load was only 50% (approx).

The crew were quieter than those we'd flown down with. We left about 30 minutes late. Wijomas wondered if we were getting a water salute as a fire truck was spied nearby, but no we had a lame natural one in the rain.

More announcements of it being the final flight, and the same IFE as the flight down (normally on turnarounds the tv show differs each way, not tonight). Still IFE wasn't really needed as everyone was chatting about the exit of Qantas and the arrival of Jetstar on domestic flights. I think Air NZ missed an opportunity here - if they'd met the flight on arrival with a flyer about transferring club membership or status across there would have been plenty of takers. Admittedly they have been status and club matching for the past couple of months via website and newspaper advertising.

Food was a choice of mini mince pie or cheese and crackers. The beverage service was Lindauer sparkling wine by default, or water tea or coffee if you insisted. No other alcoholic (nor soft drinks) were loaded. No second round this time, and indeed all the rubbish was collected rather early before we reached some turbulence over Waikato.

We lost more time inflight and landed rather late. This is fitting in my view, as Qantas domestic in NZ have had a terrible ontime performance. Another announcement about it being the final flight in case anyone had missed it, no clapping this time though.

It felt like a lame anticlimactic end to an era (and the end for this particular aircraft too).
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Old Jun 12, 09, 1:21 am
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I too was rather disappointed with the anti-climax of the "final flight" - but oh well. The end of an era.

FYI - They did have soft drinks on board for both segments. It's the caffeine from my coke that allowed me to walk home from Britomart in the rain!
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Old Jun 12, 09, 1:41 am
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I too thought it was rather dull - I really had expected a water cannon and not to mention many Jetconnect staffers on-board but no...there ended up being more NZ people!!!

But yes it was an end of an era and fittingly late. Unusually there were 3 special assistances required which didn't help the delay. So many memories of JNC...
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Old Jun 12, 09, 2:48 am
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Great Report Kiwiflyer

I will wright a report up of my JQ taster to WLG when i do it in August, not sure if i should look froward to it lol but hey $19 each way for a day trip is great.

Add to that my NZ AKL-CHC-AKL($28 Return) the week before my JQ taster.

Last edited by cavemanzk; Jun 12, 09 at 6:48 pm
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Old Jun 12, 09, 5:16 am
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Nice report, too bad about the anticlimactic final curtain.
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Old Jun 12, 09, 5:23 am
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Thanks for the TR, Kiwi Flyer,
And I see QF is offering SC's on all JQ flights until the end of the year to you NZ residents to tempt you to the delights of the Orange Star.......
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Old Jun 12, 09, 5:26 am
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I don't think any amount of SC's would tempt KF to the ways of the Orange.

It's not like he needs them...
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Old Jun 21, 09, 11:23 pm
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A Sad Farewell

It was a sad time indeed, well at least sombre.
I spent some time after work in June, my new membership year, banking cheap SCs and I noticed there was a difference in attitudes between the crews.
One crew in particular seem to be leaving Jetconnect as they announced it was their final flight for Qantas, not domestic as there were a few more days to go.
On the last day it was good to see some FTers, Kiwi Flyer did you miss seeing sixties chick saying "farewell"? and WLG based Jetconnect crew who seemed to be gathered for the final flight.
Also QP staff have been made redundant and I will miss my angels on the front desk.
I will miss the inflight refreshment but most of all the IFE as I used my fligths to catch up with Andrew Denton, the Mythbusters gang and Top Gear....ah the memories. If only NZ started to show some programming on their 737s....
Has anyone taken a JQNZ flight or visited a QPNZ since the change over?
On my last trip the catering staff did mention that there would be changes to the catering options.
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Old Jun 22, 09, 1:41 am
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Originally Posted by Blackcloud View Post
I will miss the inflight refreshment but most of all the IFE as I used my fligths to catch up with Andrew Denton, the Mythbusters gang and Top Gear....ah the memories. If only NZ started to show some programming on their 737s....
I thought NZ only plays a Quiz Show show on Domestic. Also i didn't think that all of the 733's had drop down screens. Or have they fitted the old 320s systems into the ones with out IFE? after all they would have 12 spare systems.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by cavemanzk View Post
I thought NZ only plays a Quiz Show show on Domestic. Also i didn't think that all of the 733's had drop down screens. Or have they fitted the old 320s systems into the ones with out IFE? after all they would have 12 spare systems.
Two leased ex-Air Malta 733 do not have the drop down screens. FA need to do the saftey demo manually rather than just stand there. Note as these two birds do not have the small cabinet housing the IFE system in front of row 2 you have heaps of legroom!
The other problem with NZ 737 is that most of them do not have the sound system in the armrests so having the quiz played on the screens is the only thing they can do.
I believe the few 733 equipped for international flights have an operating sound system but I do not know how many or the rego numbers.

Last edited by Blackcloud; Jun 23, 09 at 11:23 pm
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Old Jun 23, 09, 11:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Blackcloud View Post
The oterh problem with NZ 737 is that most of them do not have the sound system in the armrests so having the quiz played on the screens is the only thing they can do.
I believe the few 733 equipped for international flights have an operating sound system but I do not know how many or the rego numbers.
They do have a hole to put them into on the arm rest though, surely the old 320 sound systems should be able to be fitted to the 733s. Im thinking they are Rockwell systems that used to be on the 320s / what is on the 733s. So more of less it probably just requires the wiring and the work to be done.

I guess that the 733 replacements will have ether SatTV or AVOD. I have hered rumors that its going to be 320 that replace the 733s. So surely that will config all the 320s the same!

Anyone got the regos of the 733's that have had the overhead lockers faceplate's replaced? like in the nothing to hide ad.
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