Posts Tagged ‘Qantas’


It’s 430 pm on Friday afternoon and I have been awake for seventeen billion hours. I have passed tiredness and am now happily psychotic from sleep deprivation so this blog should be jolly, at the very least.

I left for the UK yesterday from Adelaide at 130 pm. Arrived in Melbourne at 1540 which by my calculation should have only been an hour, allowing for a half hour time difference, and so not sure where the other half hour went.  I elected not to buy duty-free at this time as, again by my calculations, I had a two-hour layover in Singapore.  The take off from Melbourne was delayed for 45 minutes as currently Melbourne only had one runway.  Subsequently I had a lovely view of taxiing airplanes arriving and departing. Because of this delay I only managed to get fifty minutes  of time in Singapore.

I have been to Singapore a few times and each time I have arrived at the further most point of the airport from the shops and Qantas club. This has a knock on effect. It means I have to run from the gate to the Qantas club. Then run back. The shower at the Qantas club is remarkably refreshing after a long flight however there is no ventilation in the cubicle and so getting dressed everyone gets reallllllllllllly hot and sweaty.  After I grapple with putting on the anti  embolic stockings any benefit I get from the shower has been null and voided. By the time I ran back to the gate I was sodden in sweat.

I travelled in Premium Economy on the first leg of the trip. The nice thing about Premium Economy is there is somewhat more leg room which is vital in the long journey. The seats aren’t particularly comfortable and have a modest seat pitch. Still when compared to Economy it is positively spacious. Also no one sat next to me on this leg so there was more room again. unfortunately Premium economy has a fixed divider between passengers so there was no opportunity to spread out.

Food is served on crockery, you are given real cutlery made of metal and have wines in proper glasses. The problem was the food was only just warm. I didnt expect boiling hot foodbut it quickly became cold.  The food is much better than economy though still pre-prepared.

Despite not having time buy any duty-free, I get to Singapore Gates and was given another upgrade to business class.  No idea why this time but I wasnt questioning it. The only unfrinatunte thing about business class was the guy next to me had a cold which he happily gave to me. (I don’t care what you say, Nicola. he gave me it. I woke up with my throat on fire. I am dying, dying i tell you.)

Business is remarkably similar to Premium Economy except that the food is better prepared. Still some pre preparation however salads are made at the time as was breakfast.There is  choices for dinner and the opportunity to have dinner given to you alter in the flight, allowing you to sleep straight away. No one did this however.  Breakfast was also prepared at the time. Clearly both were prepared a while before they were delivered as, again, it was positively cold.

I’m not sure what the story was with the heat on the food. Maybe there was a problem with the thermostat. Food offered was impressive though.

Oh this isn’t funny at all.  My cousin has just walked past and said “did you know your eyes are completely bloodshot cos youre so tired?” So lets pretend this was funnier than it was and normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

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I’ve booked a ticket to the UK finally. Much like Christmas I like to have these things sorted well in advance. This, to me, is cutting it fine plus I miss out on airline specials. Ah well.

After I wrote this Qantas did an airline special where I could have saved 1.5 thousand by waiting! The Buggers. I had to cancel my previous ticket at the cost of $300 however still saved $1200 so win for me. Cheers for that.

I have six weeks prep time to get as much overtime as possible to pay for these sojourns and also make arrangements for when I am there. In the meantime, my drive shaft has died and the air conditioner saga rolls on and on and on, so basically looks like  it’s back to prostitution for me.  Last time this cost me money as I had to pay the clientelle but this time I’ve lost a little weight so, you know, I live in hope….

On a completely unrelated note, I have the worst rash on my back. It is Driving. Me. Mental. I just want to itch the crap out of it. As part of the cool down after a work out, my personal trainer gives me a back massage. Yesterday, as he deep tissue massaged my fricking annoying itchy skin, he told me I was “freaking him out” by all the orgasm noises I was making. Wuss. But damn it was wonderful. I am not sure why I have the rash. It is evidently a heat rash caused by sweating and lying on the rubber mats. I am also not convinced the  chlorine in the pool doesn’t have anything to do with it. I am not sure.

In a  rare moment, my GP and Wesley agreed with diagnoses. Amusingly my GP got VERY snitty with me when I suggested I wanted a further opinion on the ?BCC/? Meibomian Cyst on my eyelid as my friend in the US was convinced it was a BCC. Very snitty!!!! ha! I laughed. Anyway, I have a further appointment to get it assessed but was told by my GP that “if the specialist doesn’t believe it is a BCC, your friend must trust in his opinion.” To which I thought, you do not know my friend, my friend is not gonna be happy till it is removed and under a microscope but I kept schtumm.  The GP then wrote an amusingly veiled annoyance referral letter to the dermatologist.

Anyway time will tell. I hope Wesley is wrong cos then I can forget about it. I suspect though…

My father is 70 this year, in addition to his 50th Anniversary (god love him he was married when he was 20, a baby) and for his birthday present (again, God love him) wants a week in Disneyland Paris. I am currently looking for specials. He is such a big kid. Anyone still holding out hope that I am ever gonna grow up need stop wondering.

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Nobody’s Business

If you have been following my posts then you know that, in a first for me, yesterday’s blog ended on cliff hanger and I had been upgraded to Business Class on a Qantas flight from LAX to Sydney. This trip is 14 and half hours long and one of the longest non stop flights you can take. Thus, in terms of time spent in business class, it doesn’t get better (or longer) than this.

In terms of my flying history, the best I have flown is Premium Economy when I flew to the UK earlier in the year. I have no idea if I was upgraded as compensation for the botched job USAirways had done with processing my bags and charging me unnecessarily however I am sure that wasn’t a coincidence. Either way, nice job, Qantas. Cheered me up no end.

So thoughts on Business Class.

Essentially you sit in a chair not unlike a cocoon. This chair has the capacity to recline completely so that you can lie horizontally and, very cleverly, your feet lie under the hollow of the chair in front of you. What I did find annoying was that noone explained how to use the chair (or an instruction manual) and it was hit and miss for me as I mashed the buttons on the console, eventually reclining the chair  and expecting at any moment to hit the ejector button.

My singular complaint ( and, in a case of beggars cannot be choosers, I am not complaining at all) was that I was sat in the middle of the cabin, between two people I did not know. I prefer to sit on the aisle if at all possible as you then do not have to wake people if you need to get up etc. As such, when the people are in sleep mode you either wake them up to get over them or do acrobatics. A minor complaint. Another annoyance was the person I was sat next to whom, as far as I could tell, was a New York skank but perhaps had some type of celebrity about her as the stewards were all falling over themselves to attend to her. I honestly could not work out why unless she is some renowned fag hag. As far as I could tell, her uniqueness lay in the fact she wore a neckerchief, had a New Yawk Accent (that grated as she went on and on and on about herself to her friend across the aisle – things I discovered: Doesn’t like to go on blind dates as people are boring to her; her friends “just don’t know her well enough”; she flies often and finds people boring; most people don’t “get her” and they are boring – I was desperately trying to find where you plug-in the headset so I could not get her either) and was quite self obsessed. Bless her.

In Business you have the option of when you want to be fed. Had I chose so, I could have gone to sleep immediately on the plane and have them wake me during the night with my meal. Equally you fill in a card for breakfast, indicating what you want (there were six options for a hot meal and, had you wanted, could have had all six. I also suspect the food is cooked at the time of serving (breakfast for example had scrambled eggs that appeared freshly made) however I’m not sure. In terms of the food, for dinner I had a salad (which was lack lustre), a fillet of beef, potato escalopes and broccolini which was pleasant and a chocolate marscapone cheesecake (also nice). The quantity of food was slightly more than premium economy and served on better crockery. For breakfast I had the BEST muesli in the world (and this is from someone who doesn’t care particularly for muesli – I think it was this.) There was a hot meal of scrambled eggs, tomato casserole (not its name but they take the card away from you so I am guessing) , potato mash (again had a fancier name) and sausages (got the name right there). I suspect some of it may have been freshly prepared; if not, it was reheated very well.

To sleep, everyone was given a pair of pyjamas with 90 Qantas written on them. Lots of people took advantage of this. There was a travel bag as well that I collected intending to keep however think I left it on the plane. Evidently it has the usual suspects of eye masks and ear plugs plus some skin care products and toothpaste. Don’t know cos I have no idea where it is. I am sure it is lovely.

So, thus far, the chairs are superb (albeit need a bit more padding – why are they so skimpy on the padding?), how were the toilets, I hear you ask? I am sure I was the only one but I wanted to get into the toilets early on so as to take a picture of its sparkling Business Class loveliness before it became less sparkling. Well, sad to say, it was a MASSIVE disappointment. That may be my fault, not it’s, as I had visions of fountains and wash basins of gold and a vast expanse between the fountain and the toilet. Sadly no. It was another why-are-you-so-small closet. Absolutely no difference between that and economy. Small, cramped and nasty. (An aside: how the HELL do people join the mile high club???? I guessed the only way they could do it was that Business and First Class had superb toilets that allowed two people to be in the same room. Business certainly doesn’t and I’ve yet to try First Class (hint, Qantas, hint). Unless someone perches on the toilet I can not see how they could all fit in there let alone have sex. I am happy to be shown but I insist you buy me a drink first. End, aside.)

So all in all it was a very pleasant journey. I did actually sleep a substantial portion (maybe 6 hours) and was awake for more. Interestingly the entertainment options in business class were less than in Economy and Premium Economy (perhaps they feel they don’t need to have as much as people are more able to sleep?) As such, I watched the first episode of the eleventh Doctor three times (man, Amy annoys me.) They only had one episode of Glee. (shame!)

Good fun. Great experience. Even better cos it was received at the end of a really crappy day. Cheers for that, Qantas.

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And Then…

Prepare for a rant. You HAVE been warned.

I have left  the country however it has not been without its drama, both self-inflicted and imparted.

To put you in the picture: Wesley, very kindly, suggested that I could utilise USAirways to tag my bags from Charlotte to Adelaide, rather than have to retrieve them at LAX and take them to the international departure terminal. This sounded a good idea. My bags were heavy and the thought of dragging them around LAX did not appeal. If only I had known. He had also arranged with his friend that I could stay in the US Airways lounge when I finished check in. Another excellent idea….

And Then I put it into practice.

I approached the Very Kind Lady (VKL) who was to assist me at the USAirways desk and suggested to her the idea of tagging the bags all the way to Adelaide.  Qantas is not a Star Alliance affiliate like US Airways so this caused the VKL some confusion. Quite a lot of confusion, in fact. 80 minutes worth of confusion, to be precise.  I suggested, seeing how this was rapidly turning into a nightmare that she should just tag the bags to LAX and I would sort it out there but VKL was on a mission.

As predicted, the bags were overweight however by my calculations not so. I was allowed three bags of 23 kg each. I had one bag that was 28, one bag that was 20, and no other bags. By my calculations I was 21 kg in the black but  not according to VKL. She weighted the bags together…

And Then put the lighter bag on the trundle to the baggage area.  VKL insisted I pay for the overweight bag unless I could transfer some of the weight into my carry-on suitcase. There was no way this could happen as the carry-on was full and the laptop bag had two laptops in them already. I argued that I possibly could have put the weight into the smaller bag, now disappeared into the ether, but VKL could not retrieve these bags once there on the trundle (or some such… who knows. I was losing the will to live….)

And Then she charged me fifty bucks for the overweight luggage…..

And Then she said she had to ring Qantas to see what their baggage allowance was. This turned out to be 97 dollars then I was told I had to take the receipt to Qantas when I got to LAX  (which completely negated the point of the entire exercise) so they could see I had paid for the fricking overweight luggage. By the time this was over I was literally five minutes from boarding though I had arrived so early so I could go to the lounge (no chance of that. Thanks anyway, Brian.)

I did manage to get the wi-fi working and was texting Wesley of developments. I then tried to call him cos he made a VERY SENSIBLE suggestion and I wanted to know if he was serious. I rang on the public phones in the airport (which mystify me as much as the toilets) after changing a dollar from a bemused tourist (I had given away all my change earlier in the day as I knew I wouldn’t need it any more. ) I finally worked out how the phones worked and I got through to Wesley on the public phone….

And Then the phone went dead. By this time I was so emotionally overwrought I was a basket case. I had never been charged excess before and was already distressed over leaving, in any case. I ran down to where the plane was boarding ( and got sweaty and hot five minutes into the 29 hour journey) and rang Wesley again. This time we got through. He made the bestest suggestion which he has no idea how close I came to accepting. And I was emotionally overwrought by the VKL and leaving and missing the lounge and being hot and sweaty already..

And Then I had a meltdown. A complete and utter one. I had never been charged excess baggage before and knew this to be  a sign.  I was certain I was going to die on the plane. (I have a slight fear of flying but this was epic, even for me. This mindset made complete sense to me at the time, sad to say.) I was absolutely certain. I told him, while blubbering, that I loved him and to tell my family I loved them and he was responsible for letting them know this as I was being paged to board the plane of death. He was very good and reassuring but I entered the plane knowing I was going to my doom. I am nothing if not dramatic. (and bear in mind this is the start of the journey and I am a wreck.)

I board the plane and spend the take off quietly blubbing in my seat, trying not to disturb my fellow passengers and awaiting the explosion. (Oh lord. I am writing this in Sydney airport and I am alternately cringing at my hysteria and hoping I am not tempting fate before I head on the plane to Adelaide). We take off on the long, boring, boring, boring trip to LAX. It is 5 and a half hours long and, unlike Australian airlines, they offer no entertainment at all. I am calming down and getting myself together….

And Then I see the angel in the plane. Not an angel at all, obviously, however there was a man on the plane and his head was PERFECTLY framed by the window. Through it the sun was setting. His entire head had a halo of light, ala Touched By An Angel but much, much better. I knew then I was going to die….

And Then I see the smoke coming out of the front of the airplane. Seriously, how I didn’t cack myself (americans look it up) I do not know. I had enough sense to watch the smoke closely and realise it was coming from the kitchen as they were steaming the first class customers dinner. (Cargo class pays for snacks). I spend the rest of the long, long boring trip giggling at my stupidity. I  do not die (obviously) though have a couple of close calls at heart attacks.

I arrive in LAX and have three hours before the flight is to leave. I go to the Qantas check in and give them my receipt. They sympathise with me that I got shafted. We discuss by how much…

And Then they tell me I should have only been charged $35 for the overweight bag, not 97….

And Then they tell me they can’t get my money back as US Airways charged the credit. Sigh. I do get three people involved in my case which appeals to my sense of drama. I plan to head to the Qantas Club (seriously, people, think this through. Money well spent) and head to security to get through to the club.

And Then I see the TSA have the new, improved x-ray machines…..

And then I knew, knew, knew that I was gonna be a random sample and, unless I agreed to be xrayed **,  I was going to have my goolies played with, and not in a good way.

** (Just a minor rant here: these are x-ray machines???? In the public domain????? Where they zap random people???? Where are the precautions???? Every time I have had an xray the technician has run from the room when the actual procedure takes place  and always wore a leather apron to protect their nads. They certainly weren’t out in the open and not wearing any protection. Surely the TSA are gonna get really sick soon from radiation???? Or do they expect the TSA uniform to protect them???? Or is it a different type of xray????? Like my specs.)

After the TSA party time (he wasn’t even cute) I head to the club lounge, determined to make up for 67 dollars worth of product I didn’t have to pay for. So I eat the stale sandwiches like a man possessed. I manage three full sandwiches and a couple of liqueurs before I realise my stomach, surprisingly, is not a willing participant and I am still going to be out-of-pocket. I head towards the gate to board the plane, stomach full of Bailey sandwiches and I give my pass to the check in man…..

And Then he starts doing weird things on the computer. By this time I am spent, not being allowed on board and there is something wrong with my boarding pass. I am ready to go postal armed with my new jacket and hand luggage full of Hallmark Ornaments (which, in this instance, postal means putting up the Christmas tree while dressed stylishly)…..

And Then he upgrades me to business class……

And Then things get better. Much, much better. And I get  a blog post for tomorrow.

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