- OzFest 2012 (Canberra) - Introduction
- Lufthansa First Class, Denver to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa's First Class Terminal and LH901, Frankfurt to London
- Hilton Paddington Station
- London to Sydney, the Long Way, in United Business
- Sydney's Qantas Club & The Q400 to Canberra
- The Park Hyatt Canberra
- Touring Canberra
- Canberra's Qantas Club & The Beginning of a 13,000 Mile Journey
Less than thirty minutes after we stepped off the 747 from San Francisco, our small contingent of OzFest attendees picked up our Qantas boarding passes, and boarded a bus that would transport us to the domestic terminal.
The Sydney airport has a train that connects the domestic and international terminals, although you must pay to ride the train. For Qantas passengers that check-in at the domestic area, in the international terminal, the shuttle bus is free of charge, and delivers you directly to the terminal. Unfortunately, this bus is only for Qantas passengers with valid boarding passes (they were scanned as we boarded), though it is a great way to save some money if you are connecting to a Qantas flight.
Although the bus ride was a bit cramped, we got to drive around several widebody aircraft, including a 747 and A380!
The ride took about twenty minutes, mostly due to all of the air traffic that was arriving from points across Australia and some of the 747 and A380 flights from the United States. After pulling into the shuttle area at the domestic terminal, we took an escalator up to the main level, and walked along in search of the Qantas club.
photo courtesy; australia business traveller
Thanks to our oneworld emerald status, we were all given complimentary access to the lounge. With a two hour layover until the flight to Canberra, this gave all of us the opportunity to shower, and change after a fourteen hour flight. Having been close to thirty hours since I left London, a hot shower and fresh clothes was something that I had been looking forward to for several hours.
Once we got settled, I opened up my laptop to reconnect with the world. Although I had checked my email, and posted on Facebook to say that I had landed in Sydney, it was nice to get online to see what had been happening since our wheels left the ground in San Francisco.
The lounge had several options available for breakfast, including a nice line-up of cereal, a couple hot items (eggs, sausage, & toast), and then a nice selection of fruit.
There was a large bar inside the lounge, although a sign at the counter said that drink service would not begin until 12:00pm, two hours after our departure to Sydney.
decent selection of drinks in the coolers
Of course, the lounge also featured an Australian staple.. Vegemite!
Although I ate a small breakfast before landing in Sydney, I felt like I was starving, so I walked over to the waffle machine to make a couple stacks. Similar to a Holiday Inn, there were little containers of batter next to the machine, and within a few minutes I had fresh waffles. Various condiments were also available. Once I had finished the waffles, a few roving staff members came over to clear my plates, and also offer me a small snack.
I was told that this was part of their "Island Dining" menu, and was more than happy to try it out. Consisting of some cheese, tomato, and egg, the dish was delicious, and was just what I needed to quench my hunger. Along with the waffles and fruit, I was pleased with the breakfast I had gotten in the lounge.
Several aircraft taxied past the windows of the lounge before we packed up, including the A380. I have never flown on the A380, though I was given the opportunity to tour one of the Qantas A380s in January, as part of the oneworld MegaDO. A few minutes later, we packed up our laptops, and walked over the gate for Canberra.
I was excited to be flying a Qantas flight for the first time, although I was a bit disappointed that the first time had to be on a Q400. While I do not mind the aircraft overall, the seats are pretty narrow in this all-economy configuration, and the cabin rattles so much from the propellers. At least the return flight to Sydney would be on a 737!
I managed to grab a few photos of the Q400 before one of the rampers rudely told me to put my camera away. I had what I needed, so I did not protest.
On-board the plane, the flight attendant once again checked our boarding passes, and then directed each of us to our seats. I thought this was a bit much, especially when the boarding passes had just been checked and scanned less than a minute before we boarded.
While I had received an exit row seat, thanks to my oneworld emerald status, the seat next to me was occupied. I did notice that the exit row across from me had remained open throughout the boarding process, so I asked the flight attendant if it was okay for me to move. She said that she had to ask the Captain for approval?, though a few minutes later she came back with his approval for the swap.
The boarding door closed within a few minutes of my seat swap, and our attractive flight attendants began the safety demo. Just like the regional airlines of the United States, I would have guessed that both FAs were under 25. Too bad they don't come to the US more often ;-)
If you have flown a Q400 in the past, you may remeber how noisy the cabin can get. This was especially true since I was sitting in the first row of the aircraft, though it seemed to quiet down after take-off.
While we were taxiing to the departure runway, I noticed out of the corner of my eye one of Boeing's demo 787s. Had I not been sitting across from the flight attendant, I would have taken out my camera to grab some photos.
although blurry, you can just make-out the Opera House in the distance
About fifteen minutes after departure, the flight attendants started the drink service. Unlike a US carrier that would only offer a drink service, all of the passengers on the Q400 were given the passionfruit biscuits, along with a green apple. Pretty healthy snacks, unlike traditional airline snacks/meals!
I spent the majority of the flight reading through the Qantas inflight magazine, mostly due to the rain clouds that were blocking the view of the ground. As we began our approach to Canberra, the clouds lifted, and I began to see the view of my home for the next three days.
Ten minutes from landing, the flight attendants came through the cabin to collect our trash. The green tablemat that I was given with my snack and drink doubled as a trash bag, allowing for a more efficient collection of refuse. Whoever thought up that product likely won over the flight attendants that put on blue gloves to pick up the trash.
When we landed in Canberra, there were a few sprinkles of rain in the air, though it wasn't anything to be concerned about. I had packed my gore-tex rain jacket in my rollerboard, and was prepared for whatever weather we might face. I had also brought a winter coat, as Australia was preparing to enter their Winter season!
snuck a few photos while the ground crew weren't looking!
The Canberra Airport is fairly new, and a large part of it is undergoing renovation. Once we retrieved our checked bags, the walk to the taxi queue was a lot longer than it usually is, due to the contruction. Next stop was the Park Hyatt Canberra!