Qantas 3-class B747 SYD-LAX-JFK, BusinessBack to Forum
Anonymous17 Apr 2014
Prior to departure I could select my lunch option for this QF107 flight. The options were pretty much the onboard menu with an extra choice only available online. Also I could make use of the complimentary chauffeur service to the airport. Frustratingly this service is very limited and inconsistent. I could get it on departure but not on arrival at JFK. Had I stopped at LAX I would have had the arrival service too!
I had a 6.50am pick-up for the 9.50am departure. As it is school holidays there was little traffic and I was at the airport in 15mins. Check-in was a breeze though I should have had alarm bells ringing when I was given a different seat number to the one I had selected but the lady assured me it was still the upper deck exit row window (though I would have to switch sides for the second leg).
I went to the lovely Qantas first class lounge and ordered breakfast. The lounge wasn’t full. There are complimentary spa treatments and I was able to secure a booking for my first ever facial!
I had friends on a Qantas flight to Santiago leaving at 11.25am who joined me in the lounge. Their flight wasn’t eligible for the chauffeur service. They also had upper deck exit rows but a different seat number to me. I had a sinking feeling and made a beeline for the lounge desk and yes my aircraft had been downgraded to a non-refurbished 747. I was hoping to try out the new seats that were the same as on the A380 and with superior IFE. I had so far resisted having a glass of bubbles but ordered a Bollinger to drown my sorrows.
This JFK flight is notoriously delayed and today was no exception. What started as a one hour technical delay eventually became 3hrs and we only found out the reason after boarding. My aircraft today had come in from Tokyo (that route always has Qantas’ worst aircraft). I am surprised JFK doesn’t take precedence over other routes if there is to be an aircraft swap. I guess having an A380 also to LAX later each day compensates.
As my boarding pass was scanned at the gate there was a beep. Usually that is good news but this was a three cabin aircraft with no first so it couldn’t be an upgrade. I already had my favourite seat so this could only be bad news. I was directed to the side where there was a mass of new boarding passes and I was handed a new one for a seat on the lower deck!
The whole upper deck had been closed off as the reason for the delay was a fault with the intercom system up there which meant cabin crew couldn’t seat at their positions and so no passengers could seat upstairs! They had to downgrade some passengers, bump some off and put them on alternate flights. I guess I should count myself lucky. For those remaining on the flight we didn’t know our “fate” till boarding and one passenger who only found out he had been downgraded to premium economy asked to get off so we had a further delay as they removed his luggage.
We finally got underway at 1.30pm. Menus were on the seats and we had to fill in breakfast cards. Lunch was served. In addition to starter and main there’s a choice of desserts. Two each of red and white wines and Billecart-Salmon champagne. I watched a movie. There were good tailwinds so the flight time at just under 12hrs was one hour less than normal. We were assured that our JFK arrival would still be at the original time despite the delay (which probably means no time to shower at LAX)
About 3hrs in some passengers’ IFEs weren’t working so the whole system had to be reset. Following that mine stopped working! They couldn’t get it back on for the rest of the flight even though my neighbour’s was working fine. Thankfully I had a book. I missed having the flight path visible.
The crew were delightful throughout with apologies from the flight deck for the delay and CSM for the IFE issues. I was offered a voucher for duty free to compensate for my IFE but I declined as I really wasn’t too bothered. They gave me two bottles of wine anyway which was very nice gesture.
I was in an aisle bulkhead seat in the centre block of three in the second cabin which only has two rows. Every seat naturally was taken. These older seats are the angled flat variety. Given I’m almost 2m tall and at the bulkhead my feet rested against that to stop me sliding. Qantas now offers a thin mattress in business which helps. I managed three hours of uninterrupted sleep. The new “turn down” service however means being asked soon after take-off to get up and the mattress is slipped over the seat and you have that on for the rest of the flight. Pyjamas and an amenity kit are offered too.
Breakfast was served 2hrs prior to landing.
We landed at LAX at 9am local time. Passengers with connections were given express connection passes. LAX airport however was blissfully deserted. Immigration and customs were a breeze. We collected our bags and rechecked them and then made our way straight away to the boarding gate where the aircraft was already boarded so no time for a quick pop to the lounge. We had an aircraft swap which seems normal for tag flights where the same airline has feeder flights (United does the same for its SYD-MEL tag swapping with the SFO aircraft on the return). This new aircraft had come in from Brisbane. I was hoping for a refurbished 747 but alas it was not to be. They must also have been disappointed as it usually has the refurbished aircraft on that route. Must have a few out on maintenance. At least I got my upper deck seat.
Flight on to JFK was 4hrs 20mins. Lunch was served. Same wines as before. Had a short nap and finished the rest of the movie I was watching from Sydney.
All in we landed 2hrs late into JFK from the scheduled arrival time of QF107 from SYD. Landing in the domestic terminal meant a quick exit.
New York freezing for mid April. Best last minute decision to bring a coat!17 Apr 2014