Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thai Airways TG466 Melbourne to Bangkok Business Class : Boeing 777-200

I have reviewed this flight many times before but here we go again. This is the way I usually leave Australia, on this Thai Airways flight which leaves every day from Melbourne in the mid afternoon. The equipment has been a Boeing 777 of some sort for quite a few years and we have seen the -300, -200ER and the -200 versions being used. Currently Thai is flying the B777-200 refurbished configuration to Melbourne. This aircraft has had an update in economy class to include Audio Video On Demand (AVOD) in every seat. The business class seats which are angled lie flats have not changed. They are much the same as other seats on the B777 Thai fleet (with the exception of the -300ER).  The main noticeable difference in business class compared to the  -300 is the 2x2x2 configuration (compared to 2x3x2). This is a much  roomier cabin than the B777-300,  but the TV screens are slightly smaller. 

So, onto my flight which I flew in early  December 2012. The aircraft operating this service is HS-TJB which is named 'Uthaithani' which is the name of a province of Thailand to the north west of Bangkok. The aircraft at the time of this flight was 16.5 years old, having been delivered new to Thai back in June of 1996. She has no doubt traveled far and wide during this time! But here today she will take me to Bangkok from Melbourne.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Upcoming Travels

I  will be leaving for Korea and S.E Asia next week. I have flights scheduled on Thai, Asiana, Singapore, Jetstar Asia, Air Asia and Air Asia X. Expect to hear from me in the next few weeks with more reviews. I am flying a  mix of business and economy on these flights. Plus with my new camera I hope to have much improved photos!!

A New Hobby - Aviation Photography

Hi All,

Well as part of my love of all things airlines I  have bought a new Nikon DSLR camera and I'm experimenting with taking some photos of aircraft. I had my first session yesterday at Melbourne Tullamarine and managed a few shots. I have uploaded 50 photos to flickr and you can see them here: Melbourne Airport - November 28

I  will show you a few of my pics...

VH-EBV - Brand new Qantas A330 in oneworld scheme

Sunday, October 28, 2012

BA Cityflyer ERJ170 London City to Amsterdam

Following on from my previous easyJet post, after exploring Paris I took the train back to London for the Diamond Jubilee. Once the Jubilee was all over I decided to head to Amsterdam and I took British Airways from London City. I have always wanted to land at London City but on this occasion I would only be experiencing a takeoff, I still found it all quite exciting. For those who don't know London City airport has a very short runway and very steep approach, one of the more interesting airports on earth.

To get to the airport from my docklands hotel, I took the light rail.

Awaiting the light rail to London City airport

On board the light rail

A few  bizjets can be seen from the train as  we approach
 London City airport is very small and it's just a few steps from the curb to check in and then onto the departure gates. For this reason if you have no luggage you may check in at just 20 or 25 minutes before scheduled departure times.  This is ideal for business travellers. On the downside the airport is so small it has no airline lounge and very few shops and restaurants.

Boarding Pass
Check-in was completed quickly at  the counter and my bags checked. I had pre selected seat 6D on the Embraer 170 and this was the seat I was allocated. Once I was checked in I passed through security and went plane spotting. Typical aircraft seen here are Avro RJ's, Q400's, Embraer's, Fokker 50's and ATR's.

2 Q400's, one belonging to Lufthansa Regional and another for Luxair
A CityJet Fokker 50

a CityJet Avroliner

Another Avroliner, belonging to Swiss

Here is my Embraer getting ready
There was a delay to my flight of approximately 30  minutes. I had nothing to do other than sit and watch the aircraft movements, which I was happy  to do. Eventually boarding was called and I made my way to the aircraft.

Finally I was on board BA8497 to Amsterdam. This was my third flight on an Embraer 170, having flown on two previously with Virgin Australia. I  find them quite comfortable with their 2 x 2 seating configuration and high ceiling, certainly much roomier than the competing CRJ700 and CRJ900.

It wasn't long before we were underway and backtracking at high speed along the runway before a high power and very fast takeoff. We seemed to get up in no time and were climbing away nice and steeply into the clouds.

There was 2 crew serving on board , both quite polite and I can't really fault the service. We even received a boxed breakfast containing a ham and cheese croissant and an orange juice. Perfectly reasonably for a flight of just 45 minutes, although the croissant was a little  dry.

Descent to Amterdam
The flight progressed very quickly and we were soon on descent into a very cloudy and wet Amsterdam. In fact we only saw the ground at about 500 feet. Thank the Instrument Landing System for getting us down in one piece.

Flight was all but over but I took some time to stare at the sea of blue painted KLM aircraft. In particular I looked at the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. KLM being one of the very last operators of the passenger variant. I would like to fly on one but really have no need to go where they fly!


 More flight reports coming soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Part 4 - An easyJet experience Luton to Paris

After finishing my day sightseeing at Sandringham, Norfolk, I drove the rental car down to London Luton and dropped it off. It was time to head to Paris and easyJet would be taking me there on one of their Airbus A319's. It would be my first ever trip on easyJet.

After arriving at  the airport I saw this cute sign at the Pret a Manger sign, Keep It Clean For The Queen. I thought that was really cute and it's just freat to see so much national pride for their Queen. Her face or references to her were simply everywhere you went around England which I really love.

Departures Display at Luton - easyJet dominates

Spotted a Monarch A321
At easyJet dominated Luton there is very very  little to do if you have time to waste before your flight. Unfortunately I had arrived quite early so I was faced with about 2 hours of sitting in a seat sipping on a Starbucks coffee and having dinner at Pret a Manger. It only takes a few minutes to do the lap around the small shopping area and once that's done there is nothing else to do. The passengers are all held in the main shopping zone until your flight is called and then you head to the gate holding area. My flight EZY2441 was eventually called and off I went to Gate 15, to be greeted by a huge queue.

The queue was right up the stairs and it took ages before my boarding pass was eventually scanned, only to find I was then in another holding pen full of people. I was beginning to feel like I was in a herd of sheep, it was over crowded and we were called to the gate area well before the aircraft had even landed, so it meant a long time of standing.
Boarding pass scan , holding area 1

Once boarding passes were scanned we were lead into this holding pen with no seating
After standing in the holding pen for about 20 minutes, which eventually filled to capacity I was beginning to regret flying low cost. This was NOT a pleasant experience. Eventually our Airbus A319 arrived:

FLIGHT: easyJet 2441
ROUTE: London Luton to Paris Charles de Gaulle
CLASS: Economy
LOAD: 156 (100%)

AIRCRAFT: Airbus A319 G-EZDR (3.5 years old at time of flight)



ACTUAL FLIGHT TIME: 1 hour 14 minutes

 There was not a spare seat left by the time boarding was complete. We got under way about 12 minutes late.

The seats are extremely basic and leg room is almost non existent but that' exactly what I expected to I was not disappointed. I actually didn't really take anymore photos so the rest of the trip was very routine. The sun set soon after we departed so there was nothing to see outside. The flight attendants did offer a snack service but I chose not to purchase anything.

Service was adequate and it was nice to be able to fly into the major hub of Charles de Gaulle with easy train connection to the centre of Paris. Overall, at a price of about AUD60 for this flight including baggage I was quite satisfied. I would fly easyJet again if I had to, but it's a shame there isn't more to do and see at Luton airport considering the number of flights departing from  there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Part 3 - Sightseeing

Here's a post simply showing some of the sight seeing I did whilst on this trip, I love visiting castles and country homes especially. I have left the pics in medium size, you can click on them and view them in full size if you wish.
Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace





Dover Castle

Dover Castle

White cliffs of Dover
And the absolute highlight, was a visit to Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. It is here that The Queen's father and grandfather passed away. So much history and a beautiful estate, I just loved it there.

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate
Next up is my easyJet journey to Paris