Sydney to London
QF1 Delays and Dramas
Flying to London from Sydney on QF1, all booked, all packed, having decided to fly on Qantas again hoping things were getting better as Vanessa Hudson, the new CEO, had promised!! And, I have enough Qantas points to apply for an upgrade……so having applied for a Business Class upgrade using these points, I waited, not patiently, for the 24 hours prior to flight departure notification to come through. 3pm came and went with Qantas maintaining radio silence.
I finally received a text message from Qantas to let me know they were giving me an upgrade, to Premium Economy, it’s not Business, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers!!
The next morning I cleaned out all the perishables from the fridge and took out the garbage, then received another text message from Qantas. My first thought was, ‘Business Class here I come!’ But sadly not, the flight had been delayed by 5 hours!! Come on Vanessa, I was expecting big things from you!!! But, at least, I found out about the delay before leaving home. Nothing could be worse than finding out once you are at the airport.
My next thought was, ‘I have just put all my food in the bin……..bugger!!!’ I called the friends who were about to drive me to the airport, thankfully they were still able to drive me, but it would have to be in 3 hours time not 5, that was OK, I had a Qantas Business Class Lounge Pass courtesy of my credit card perks, and I would need to eat.
I arrived at the airport, bought the obligatory bottle of perfume, and headed up to the lounge. I mentioned to the Qantas staff member at the counter that my flight was not on the departure board. (The first ominous sign of what was to come….) She smiled and assured me that it was still early so it will be there soon, but I pointed out that flights due to leave later, were there. There was no comment, just a smile and, “Enjoy your visit to our lounge”.
I ate food that was meant to be hot, but served cold, and drank wine that was meant to be served cold, at room temperature. The lounge chairs are seriously in needed re-upholstering and extremely uncomfortable. Unless you are very tall, I can’t imagine how those sagging seats could be comfortable for anyone, and being very tall, or even a little bit tall, is a skill I am yet to acquire.
Come on Qantas – we all want to love you, but do you have to make it so hard???!
Eventually a couple left from what looked like more comfortable chairs, I quickly headed over there to stake my claim, I was soon joined by another lady travelling on my flight – she also expressed concern that our flight was not on the departures board……then suddenly it appeared boarding at 7.30pm………
I was so over the waiting, waiting at home, waiting in the lounge, waiting to board, waiting, waiting, waiting….I mentioned to my new friend that if we were boarding in 30 minutes, surely there should be a plane at the gate…….just a thought!
Hmmm, we figured that maybe we were not looking out at the area we thought we were above?
They gave the boarding call and we headed off to the gate, no staff at the gate and sign said delayed, much confusion ensued. We went back up to the lounge with other new and equally confused friends. The poor Qantas staff member there was frantically making calls to find out what was happening, then we were advised to go back to the gate. Once there we found that yes, it was true, there was no plane at the gate…….and it would not be flying until the next day………….
All passengers who lived in Sydney were asked to go to one end of the gate lounge, all who didn’t live in Sydney were asked to go to the other, as if it was some sort of weird competition and we were going to charge at each other.
They then announced that the plane had an engineering issue that they were unable to rectify – at which point some clown shouted out that he was an engineer and wanted to know what the problem was. The Qantas staff member politely explained that as he wasn’t an engineer he wouldn’t be explaining that, but for safety reasons the plane was not passed to fly. I would have been tempted to say, “This is not an, ‘is there a doctor in the house’ situation, we don’t just let anyone have a go at fixing it. If that was the case an announcement would have been made saying, “We’ve got a thing with engine 2, anyone here think they can sort it out and get this baby in the air??? Anyone????”
Apart from that guy, I think the passengers behaved very well, in fairly trying circumstances and the poor Qantas staff who had to deal with us did a good job. Those of us who live in Sydney were all sent home in taxis, after collecting our luggage – that meant – sent back to the home with no food. I was starving as I purposely didn’t eat any more in the lounge, knowing I would soon be on the plane being fed a meal.
There was bread in the freezer – so Vegemite toast was a late night snack by the time I got home, same again for breakfast with a cup of black tea.
Fortunately, the friends who drove me to the airport were able to take me again the next day, and I caught up with my new would-be travel buddies in the Qantas lounge again hopeful that we would become airborne in a few hours. It was great to see so many women, in the older age group, out travelling on their own. We ate more food that was meant to be hot, but served cold, the coffee was good though. We heard tales from the passengers who didn’t live in Sydney who had to spend the night in the airport terminal – it was a big weekend in Sydney with several major sports events on.
This made sure there was no accommodation available…….so they slept on chairs, lounges, floors, wherever they could.
We finally boarded what was now known as QF1D, as that days QF1 was scheduled to leave just after us. We lost a few passengers in Singapore, they were probably waiting in the boarding lounge for QF1, instead of QF1D, they couldn’t be found so we were late leaving Singapore while their luggage was unloaded, but we all took delays in our stride after what we had been through.
My Premium Economy seat was good, but the Premium Economy cabin was very crowded as they upgraded all the people who slept in the terminal, so ultimately Economy would have been the place to be, in Economy you can just put the arm rest up if you are lucky enough to have an empty seat next to you, and stretch yourself out across the seats, but that is not possible in Premium Economy. The arm rest is a big wide thing with tray tables stored in it. I did have an empty seat next to me for the Sydney to Singapore leg, but on the long leg from Singapore to London, the plane was full.
The flight was good, the meals were very nice, at least on the plane they can serve food and wine at the correct temperature, the flight attendants were all lovely, we had a few good chats as I was doing my stand up, stretch, walk on the spot thing down near the galley/bathroom/flight attendant area – but I was glad to see the back of the whole performance and head off into London.
Still holding out for a Business Class upgrade, maybe by the next time I fly I’ll have enough points to just book Business Class and be done with it – bring it on!
Meanwhile, to read more of my stories about previous Trips Over to London click here