Thursday 27 September 2012
Highlights: Business Class lounges, British Airways relaxing business class flight, lightning display on arrival to Singapore.
My 139 day world trip adventure finally begins today with a 9.30 am flight to start from Melbourne to Sydney which means an easy morning, no OMG getting up at 4 am or anything crazy like that.
Baggage checkin was very easy, walking right pass everyone trying to figure out the self serve options and the counters were basically empty of customers, QANTAS must be very happy (about needing less staff not less customers!). My bag was checked through to my final destination in Singapore and I was told how to find the Melbourne Domestic QANTAS lounge, believe me I knew it’s location after 100s of local flights.
This time however I had access to the business lounge so I had to pass though two entry checking points. They called me back at the last lounge check point probably thinking I shouldn’t be in with the ‘better’ people.
Scramble eggs and toast was on the agenda but a staff member offered to also make me an omelette, highlighting the much better service in the QANTAS Domestic Business Lounge then the standard Qantas Club Lounge. I took the opportunity to check my bank account and luckily my employer had paid me a couple of months in advance so I quickly paid off the credit card debts, transferred some money to my travel credit cards while leaving money for loan repayments. After this I was broke again but ready for 139 day adventure ahead 🙂
The flight was delayed by close to an hour. This is the major reason why I keep allow long transit times, just in case the first flight is delayed. The business class seat was very cool but I struggled with all the adjustment options. The seat had video on demand so I watched Modern Family and enjoyed some lovely French toast and some orange juice.
On arrival into Sydney the flight attendants made lots of updates for passengers with connecting flights, basically telling some to run and others to walk since their flight had left (but they would get another domestic flight later).
In Sydney you need to transfer between domestic and international terminals by either taxi, bus or train, you can’t walk. As a Oneworld passenger I got a free bus transfer across the tarmac giving me the opportunity to see these massive planes up close. While I have done this once before it was after a long international flight into Sydney transferring to domestic and since it was dark I didn’t notice all the activity and people.
Entering the international terminal I was subject to additional screening which included a pat down, a first for me outside the USA, I guess I must look dodgy.
Arriving at the QANTAS Sydney International Business Lounge I was blown away. Much better than the Melbourne International Business lounge, they even had free gelato :).
I took the opportunity to call the Singapore tour company to confirm my activities and my first hotel – all looks in order thank goodness. There is nothing worse than starting such a long trip with a problem.
Boarding started early on British Airways flight 16 (BA016) which is a 8 hour flight to Singapore. Entering the plane I was directed to the top deck and my business seat which instead of facing the front of the plane faces the back. They have one seat forward one back to make conversations really easy, however for the single traveller you get a privacy screen if you want (my neighbour put the screen up ASAP – wonder if that says something about me?).
During the flight they served the following;
– Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Nelson New Zealand).
– Entree: Seared scallops with rocket and celeriac aioli
– Main: Penne pasta with spinach, Auvergne, olives and tomato sauce
– Desert: A selection of cheese served with crackers
– Refreshments: Heineken
Before arriving into Singapore I helped myself to a self-serve kitchen for a drink and chips. About 2 hours before arrive British Airways served some sandwiches and a plum tart which was great. The seat was very good once I figured out the setting. I did put it in sleep / flat mode and caught about 50 minutes semi sleep. If it had been a night flight I believe I would have slept easily. The entertainment system had a good selection of movies and TV shows to watch.
Landing at Changi Singapore Airport was just amazing with lightning and thunder. I cleared Customs and Immigration with my bag in only 18 minutes after arrival!! The transfer pickup went fine and before I knew it I was at the hotel and writing this first blog entry of this trip of a life time.