Danielonfriendly skies

Canberra's Qantas Club & The Beginning of a 13,000 Mile Journey - OzFest 2012


Despite the problems I faced when I checked in at the Park Hyatt, I did enjoy my stay. The agents working in the Ambassador Lounge were top-notch, my room was very comfortable, and the location of the hotel couldn't be beat. However, the one thing that was disappointing was when it came time to check-out. At check-in, the agent tried to explain to me that the internet was not free for Diamond guests, which is obviously not true, so I figured that it would be taken care of automatically. Unfortunately, that was not the case..

My flight to Canberra was scheduled to depart at 9:55am, so I planned to leave the Park Hyatt at 8:45am. A new friend of mine offered to drive me to the airport, so we planned to have a light breakfast in the lounge before heading out.

As had been the case for the past few days, the service in the lounge was excellent, and the agents even wished me a safe trip back to England. One of the agents and I had talked about England when I first arrived, and it was nice to see that she had remembered our chat.

Once breakfast was done, I went back to my room to grab my luggage, at which point I noticed that an envelope had been slipped under my door. I was a bit surprised to see this, as I was using Gold Passport points, and there should not have been any charges. Upon opening the envelope, I discovered that I was charged the internet access fee for all three of the devices I had used, and for each day of my stay. I was not angry, although it was disappointing to see the charges. Internet access is complimentary for Diamond members, which the Park Hyatt does not seem to understand. Nevertheless, I took the bill to the front-desk to straighten out.

After ten minutes of back and forth, the agent did not seem like they were going to budge. It took my saying "But I'm a Diamond Guest" (seriously) for them to see that they were wrong, and I was right. The charges were removed, and I got in the car for the short drive to the airport.

The Canberra airport is very easy to navigate, and within minutes, I made it from check-in to the Qantas Club. A kiosk printed out the baggage tag for my rollerboard, as well as my boarding pass, and then directed me to security.

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Security took less than thirty seconds to clear, and I was able to leave my jacket, belt, and shoes on. There was nobody to check boarding passes, so my friend came through with me for a drink in the Qantas Club. I was glad to see that Canberra was only using metal detectors, as most of Australia's international airports are scheduled to receive full-body scanners.

Inside the club, I only had ten minutes before my flight boarded, so I did not take advantage of the buffet being offered. I did, however, take plenty of photos!

Just a few minutes after I arrived, it was time to head down to gate 13.

Just before I boarded, I got a glimpse of the charter that the Thai Prime Minister used for her visit Canberra.

When I arrived at the gate, there were only a handful of passengers waiting in line to board. With eleven minutes remaining until departure, the agents were already making the final boarding announcements.

As I scanned my boarding passes, a small podium offered a selection of newspapers for the flight, as well as free headphones.

Thanks to my Executive Platinum status with American (and emerald status with oneworld), I was able to pre-reserve an exit row seat for the short flight to Sydney. When I first went to book, the Qantas website only showed seats available in the last four rows, despite the plane barely being booked.

The seats on this 737 were extremely comfortable, unlike the park benches on the ex-Continental 737s.

Once we were in the air, the flight attendants came through the aisle with a light snack service. Green and red apples were offered, along with a small bottle of water, and a cookie. For a thirty~ minute flight, the offerings were greater than I have received when flying in first class on United Express.

As we began our descent into Sydney, I got a very nice glimpse of the Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour bridge. Unfortunately, I was sitting on the wrong side of the plane, so I did not get a chance to take any photos.

Inside the terminal, I claimed my rollerboard from the baggage carousel, and then made my way to the Airport Link station. To my knowledge, Sydney does not offer free transit between the domestic and international terminals, so I had to cough up five dollars to ride the train.

Upon arriving to the international terminal, I proceeded to the United counter to begin my 13,000 mile journey back to England.

Comments

My old colleague's family owns the CBR airport. They went from millionaires to billionaires over the past decade.

There used to be a QF Club and a more deluxe J lounge in CBR. Do they still have both?

@Tom: Besides the QF Club, DJ also operates a lounge in Canberra.

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