Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles
It was time for our flight back to the US. As I mentioned in the intro to this trip report, this was the leg I booked first, simply because we found 3 business class tickets on the same flight. And I got to give the birthday girl the present of a business class flight when she usually chooses to fly economy.
Qantas 15 BNE-LAX
Seat: 7A (Business Class, Window)
Scheduled Departure: 1010 (Actual: 1019)
Scheduled Arrival: 0545 (Actual: 0535)
Scheduled Duration: 12h 50m
Lucky (?) for her the birthday girl got selected for secondary screening but it meant she was one of the first people on the plane. The rest of us boarded via door 2L and turned left into the business class cabin. We had one window seat and two seats in the center section on the same row.
The seats on this flight were more modern than those on the 747 I’d flown from San Francisco to Sydney and appeared to be identical to those on the flight from Sydney to Auckland. As such I won’t go into great detail describing it. However, when you book seats on this plane be sure to notice which side of your seat has the large armrest. If you’re in a window seat it’s nice to have the armrest on the aisle side as your seat feels more private that way. The photos below illustrate the difference.
Waiting at the seat was a pillow, the duvet and the mattress pad along with the menu, breakfast card, a bottle of water and the amenity kit. Once again, kudos to whoever added “shoulders” to the mattress pad so it would stay on the seat even in the upright position! Though I didn’t take advantage of it, this seat also had a massage feature.
Pajamas were brought around. Naturally these were the same design as the ones on the flight down. I love these and am still using them at home.
Headphones were distributed. I’m not a connoisseur but these worked fine for me.
While I got a different amenity kit cover this time around, the contents were the same as on our flight down, except that the eye mask was exchanged for one to match the bag!
I also was pleased to see air vents over my seat, even though I didn’t get hot and didn’t need to adjust them.
We pushed back on time and I started watching a movie. I did find it annoying that before every movie there was a two-minute commercial and that there was a 1-minute commercial before each TV show. I’m not huge on plane-spotting but I do enjoy looking for airlines I wouldn’t normally see. Air Niugini is based in Papua, New Guinea.
About an hour after push-back we got a beverage (I had water) and a snack mix.
About an hour after that lunch was served. The menu was as follows:
I had the salad as my starter. The Italian dressing was already on the salad and there was a bit too much of it for my taste.
For the main I had the beef fillet. I prefer medium rare and this was a little more on the medium side but it was fine. The potatoes and peas were good.
I had the ice cream sandwich for dessert and it was pretty good. Fortunately it wasn’t frozen solid.
The rest of the flight was spent napping and watching the IFE – pretty uneventful, which is good. The crew was solid and checked on us enough without being intrusive. I’m generally a pretty low-maintenance person on flights and this one was no exception.
When we boarded we’d selected our own breakfast from the menu card. I knew I wouldn’t be super-hungry and generally prefer a cold breakfast anyway so I didn’t order a lot.
I had OJ to start along with the granola, toast with berry jam and hot tea.
Our flight landed 10 minutes early at LAX. What I didn’t know was that LAX doesn’t allow passengers to deplane until 6 AM so we sat on the plane for about 25 minutes before disembarking.
Thanks to Global Entry it was a quick trek through Customs. Although I wasn’t sure it would work this way I was glad that in the luggage re-check area I could go ahead and check my bag with United for my LAX-ORD-MEM flight and didn’t have to carry it around to the United desk as it was a bit of a walk from the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
We said farewell to the birthday girl who lives in SoCal and my Chicago-based friend and I made our way to the United club before our next flight. We were in Chicago by mid-afternoon and then I caught my 12th flight of this trip, a CRJ-700 back to Memphis. Both flights were as expected, which was good.
In the end
We had a great time Down Under! There’s still more of Australia we want to see and we hope the bushfires can be brought under control soon so that things can return to normal down there.