Saturday, November 12, 2016

Singapore Airlines A380 - Business Class SQ217 Singapore to Melbourne

Here is a trip report on a recent flight I had with Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Melbourne in business class.

ROUTE: Singapore to Melbourne
CLASS: Business Class
AIRCRAFT: A380-800 9V-SKQ (5 years old)

After a visit to the T3 Silverkris lounge I headed to gate B5  for the departure. I arrived at 10am with boarding not yet started and found 9V-SKQ at the gate. This was one of the newer A380's, only 5 years old. It has the upper deck configured exclusively with business class, 86 flat beds in total!

Those that have flown the 2006 SQ business class seat know that the bulkheads are generally preferable as they have more leg space since there is no seat in front. I had chosen the centre bulkhead in the rear cabin, seat 91F. When boarding was called I noticed very few other passengers joining me on the upper deck jetway.

9V-SKQ at the gate

Monday, August 29, 2016

Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300ER : Brisbane to Los Angeles Business Class VA7

Virgin Australia VA7
Boeing 777-300ER VH-VOZ (7 years old)
Brisbane to Los Angeles
Business Class seat 4A
13 hours 05 minutes

So, this review is already out of date because the seats have been replaced but here is a quick look at a flight I took in April this year with Virgin Australia from Brisbane to Los Angeles. 

Virgin Australia operate a small fleet of 5 B777-300ER's, serving Los Angeles from both Brisbane and Sydney, along with the Sydney to Abu Dhabi route. This is flight VA7, the daily flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles. Virgin compete with Qantas on this route who fly a daily B747-400.

Brisbane International Checkin

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Virgin Australia Short Haul Business Class : Melbourne to Brisbane B737-800

Virgin have had short haul business class on domestic for a few years now. I have read mixed reviews on the product with some experiencing great service and others being almost ignored. Here is my experience on a recent trip.

FLIGHT: Virgin Australia VA309
ROUTE: Melbourne to Brisbane
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 737-800 VH-VUJ (almost 10 years old)
DURATION: 2 hrs 10 min

My flight this morning was operated by VH-VUJ. This aircraft is almost 10 years old, delivered to Virgin Blue in 2006 and later repainted to the current Virgin Australia livery. The aircraft, like all the other VA 737-800's, has 8 business seats and 168 economy. I was in seat 1A for this sector.

Upon arrival at the terminal I headed to the Virgin Australia lounge and snapped a pic of my aircraft which was parked right nearby:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Qantas A330 Suites Experience : Perth to Melbourne

With the suites upgrade on Qantas A330s almost complete, flights across the country are going to finally have a consistent business class product. Here we have my experience about 6 months ago on a dinnertime flight, Perth to Melbourne.

Terminal Entry

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Qantaslink (Network Aviation) Fokker 100 : Geraldton to Perth

Just before Christmas I flew over to WA to fly on the Fokker 50 before they were retired from Virgin Australia's fleet. I happened to find myself in Geraldton, an interesting town with some interesting characters. Having flown 3 sectors on the F50 it was time to go back to Melbourne and I redeemed some Qantas points to do it. The routing was Geraldton-Perth-Melbourne and the first leg was on the Fokker 100. This would be a first flight for me on this aircraft type which has become the standard type in use in the WA mining market. It's an aircraft that is long out of production and most airlines have retired it (or are in the process of doing so) but it's somehow found a niche here in Australia and in particular, Western Australia.

Flight: QF1619 (Qantaslink operated by Network Aviation)
Route: Geraldton to Perth
Aircraft: Fokker 100 VH-NHJ
Departure: 08.40 AM
Arrival: 09.45 AM
Flight Duration: 1 hour 05 minutes

Qantaslink recently stopped flying the Q400 in WA and to replace it they are now using Network Aviation Fokker 100's. Network is a subsidiary of Qantas Group and they operate as Qantaslink flights.

I arrived at the airport in my rental car and had a look at the small but modern terminal:

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Farewell to the Skywest (Virgin Australia) Fokker 50 : Part 2 Albany to Perth

This post follows on from Part 1. This second report was for my return to Perth from Albany, on the Virgin Australia (Skywest) Fokker 50.

FLIGHT 2: VA2526 ~ PERTH to ALBANY ~ 1525/1640  ~ Fokker 50 VH-FNH  ~ SEAT 9G

I arrived at the airport a bit over an hour before departure and checked in for my flight to Perth, I was continuing on to Geraldton so I got the boarding pass for both sectors. Then it was through security where I was amazed to see that it took 3 security staff to process this small flight. It must be a costly process, and is something REX manages to avoid with it's smaller Saab 340 aircraft since they took over the route earlier this year.

Albany Airport Terminal

Monday, April 25, 2016

St Maarten Plane Spotting

I recently got to go to St Maarten and I absolutely loved it! It's a plane spotters paradise. I recommend everyone visit at least once if you are an aviation geek at all. Even if you are not you will truly enjoy sitting by the beach sipping on some Carib beers and watching the planes come in.

Here is a bunch of my favourite photos that I took while at St Maarten recently. These are unedited raw pictures from my Nikon D3200. I am not a good photographer but I think they look pretty awesome.

United Boeing 737-700

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Farewell to the Skywest (Virgin Australia) Fokker 50 : Part 1 Perth to Albany

I have very fond memories as a teenager of flying between Sydney and Wagga Wagga on Ansett Fokker 50's. I believe I did 2 return trips before the Saab 340's took over the run with Kendall Airlines back in the mid 1990s.  A number of the ex-Ansett Fokker's saw themselves transferred to Western Australia in the Skywest fleet which was later taken over by Virgin Australia. Late in 2015 it was announced that the Skywest Fokker 50 fleet was to be retired and routes to Albany, Esperance and Ravensthorpe terminated. Since I had an emotional connection to the aircraft type and it's operation in Australia I decided I had to go over to Perth and fly on them before they went. So, in December 2015, and about 20 years since I had last been in a Fokker aircraft I found myself at Perth Airport in the recently built 'regional' terminal.

My routing on the Fokker 50 was booked Perth-Albany-Perth-Esperance. All 3 sectors were scheduled to be flown by the Fokker 50.

FLIGHT 1: VA2526 ~ PERTH to ALBANY ~ 1745/1855  ~ Fokker 50 VH-FNE  ~ SEAT 1G

After arriving at the main Virgin domestic terminal in Perth I made my way outside to walk to Terminal 2, which is used for regional flights. At the time of my flight there was no internal walkway between the terminals but one was under construction and may have been opened by now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Singapore Airlines SQ323 : Amsterdam to Singapore on the B777-300ER Business Class

First an apology.... this report is well overdue. I completed this flight in November last year. This is Singapore Airlines flight SQ323 from Amsterdam to Singapore. Currently a B777-300ER route but it will soon feature the brand new Airbus A350 instead. When that change is completed then Amsterdam will lose First Class service from SQ.

This flight departs Amsterdam daily at 10.25am, arriving in Singapore at 5.55am the following day. On my flight the aircraft operating the service was 9V-SWA, 9 years old at the time of the flight. I believe it was the first -300ER in the Singapore Airlines fleet. It's still flying in the same interior configuration now as it was when it was delivered. Despite the age of these seats, they are still market leaders in terms of their size!

9V-SWA waiting at the gate at AMS

Blog Updates

Hi All,

Due to a death in the family the blog has not been updated for some time. I am still here and will start publishing updates again over the coming weeks.

I have a trip over to the USA and Caribbean coming up next week which will mean I have lot's more to write about.

Thanks for your understanding.

Aussie Flyer

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Etihad A380 First Class Apartment Experience : EY19 Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow

I had the great privilege to fly on what is probably the world's most luxurious first class product late last year, the Etihad Airbus A380 Apartments. Here is my experience on this wonderful aircraft!

AIRLINE: Etihad Airways
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A380-800 A6-APB
ROUTE: Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow

I arrived at T3 checkin simply by walking across from the Premier Inn hotel which joins the terminal complex. Upon arrival I was met by the porters but I declined their assistance with my bags. I headed to the dedicated first class checkin zone and soon had my boarding pass and was on my way through security and into the terminal.

At the time of this flight and still at the time of writing there is no Etihad first class lounge at Abu Dhabi, instead it is the 'Premium' lounge in T3 which is shared with business class. There is however a small roped off area for first class passengers. The lounge is quite good with a salon and spa available. I partook of a shave in the salon whilst I waited for my flight and it was great!

Soon it was time to head to the gate and onto Airbu A380 A6-APB, delivered new to Etihad in April 2015, making it 6 months old at the time of this flight. I had pre-selected 4K which is a forward facing seat close to the windows. Each apartment is a little different in it's layout, so it is worth having a look at the seat map to decide your preference. My recommendation is 4A or 4K. As I stepped on board the upper deck entry I was immediately escorted to my suite and asked for my choice of drink.

Apartment 4K
Blankets, menu and pillow were placed in the suite prior to my arrival. Soon after being seated I was brought a silver tray with my champagne, wet towel, dates and welcome letter.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Etihad 473 : Singapore to Abu Dhabi First Class on the B787-9 Dreamliner

Singapore is one of the destinations that saw the introduction of Dreamliner service in 2015 with Etihad Airways, previously the Airbus A330 operated on this route. This review is of flight EY473, a 7.20pm departure from Singapore.

Firstly, the lounge. Well it is a massive disappointment. The lounge is the Terminal 2 SATS lounge, which is a generic lounge used by various airlines (including TIGER AIRWAYS...  yes that's right, Etihad First class passengers are using the same lounge as Tiger Airways). There is a very small area reserved for First Class passengers, separated by a few pot plants from the rest of the lounge.

The 'First Class Zone' in the SATS lounge

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class : CX739 Hong Kong to Singapore B777-300

A little under 3 years ago Cathay Pacific debuted their new 'Regional Business Class' product. It's a recliner seat in fixed shells and now features throughout the Cathay fleet on regional configured Boeing 777's and A330's.

Cathay Regional Business Class