Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

July 23, 2010 at 9:26 am Leave a comment

23 July 2010

After about eight months of planning, Mr L finally found find ourselves on the big jet airplane on our way to London. This is the first blog post about our trip. And well, it’s a good time to tell you that Mr L and I are celebrating the fact that it’s eight years since we first got together. So it’s been a tremendously exciting few days for us! I’ve written this post over a couple of days in various timezones, so please excuse me if any of it sounds weird!

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Mr L and me, sitting on the A380 – excited to be heading off on our big trip!

Sydney to Singapore – written on the plane

A380 heaven

I’m sitting on an Airbus A380 feeling decidedly stoked. Everywhere I turn technology impresses me. From his seat (next to mine) in the exit row, Mr L is watching a movie on his personal high-tech, touch screen tv/entertainment unit that cleverly unfolds from a small compartment between our seats. I’m listening to Michael Jackson right now, but have spent the last hour looking through the impressive breadth of albums that Qantas have preloaded onto the system and making a playlist (if you don’t mind!) so I am well and truly wired for sound.

We made the decision to upgrade to the exit row seats so that we could stretch out when we wanted to. I spend so much time on planes that I’m used to being cramped. When I do happen upon an exit row seat on domestic flights, I tend to enjoy the small amount of extra leg room that it affords, but I tellsya, that spot on a 747 is nothing like what we’ve got on this A380. We couldn’t even stretch our legs out long enough to reach the part of the plane closest to our feet. We’re not tall, but reckon even our tall bfs and taller bro and SIL would have be hard pressed to get frustrated by this space. We paid to secure these seats (I think it was about $80 per person per flight), but on a long haul flight like this, would strongly recommend it. See pic below of our outstretched feet, just to prove the point!

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Stretching our legs – because we could!

I just have to tell you also (in the spirit of marvelling at all things around me) that as I type from this pleb seat, I’ve got my mac plugged into a powerpoint – because all the seats in economy have access to power. Also, there are USB sockets in the arm of my seat and all sorts of other fancy contraptions that I’m yet to properly uncover. I love the fact that I can pay an economy price and get access to power. (Yes, I know – geek on stingeo, but it’s pretty cool don’t you think?)

Food and booze at every turn

Just as I started typing this post, a trolley wheeled my way for the fourth time since boarding three hours ago. This time it was to offer me peppermint tea or hot chocolate. The other have been to provide us water; lay a cracking version of an economy class dinner on us with our choice of booze of course, and to offer us tea or coffee. Oh – and someone cruised past with frosty fruits to top it all off. Brilliant! Evidence outlined below.

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All sorts of goodness: Mr L’s lamb with rissoni and peas

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My dinner: teriyaki fish with rice and greens

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Frosty Fruits – one of Mr L’s favourite fruits!

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For MXG – the Wiggles on the big plane!

Shortly after we boarded, a chap came by to drop off menus. We had options to choose from braised lamb or asian inspired fish for dinner. My L chose the lamb and I the fish. Both dishes were enjoyable. Accompanying them were a green salad, a bread roll and butter, cheese and crackers and a tiny toblerone. We washed dinner down with a tasty little sauv blanc. More evidence below.

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Wirra Wirra 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – don’t mind if I do

Also – there are snacks and drinks available for one to indulge in as desired. Help yourself people. I’m full – no need, but I am looking forward to receiving the duty free hand cream I’ve just ordered. Ahhhh.. the high life! (Get it?)

The Qantas Club phenomenon

Prior to climbing aboard we had a prolonged visit to the Qantas Club lounge at Sydney airport as our flight was delayed by an hour. That was lucky for me as I really wanted to get something out to a client before hopping on the plane and the extra time helped me get it done and dusted so I could fly with a less guilty conscience. Of course, the culinary and quenching options in the Qantas Club were appreciated also and Mr L and I had a glass of celebratory “Yay, we’re on holiday and have loved each other for eight years vino” and a few nibbles.

You probably already know this… (I’ve said it before – I can be a bit slow sometimes.) If you travel a lot, being a member of Qantas Club is a good idea. There, I said it out loud.

For the most of the past year and a half when I’ve been travelling at least fortnightly and quite often weekly, I’ve been hanging out in the pleb area at the airport. I had told myself I didn’t need a Qantas Club membership – I was only going to be at the airport for a short time on my way through anyway – why would I need to spend the money to join the Club? Surely it was overrated! Sound enough reasoning I thought.

When it came time to get ready for this trip, Mr L and I agreed that joining Qantas Club was a good idea as we could access it for our long haul flights and that would be handy. So we signed up for four years. It cost a lot. We winced. Then I started accessing the Club whenever I travelled. White bus trips to Brissie. A cheeky flight to Adelaide. Countless flights back to Sydney. Before boarding, each time I’ve visited the Club.

Again – a sad confession, but (along with the free food, booze, proper soy caps for early morning visits, comfy chairs, nice toilets, showers, priority check-in and luggage handling) the thing I appreciate most about the Qantas Club is the opportunity to plug my laptop power cord into an outlet and not have to fight some punk kid for it.

On a recent trip to Adelaide (prior to joining the Club), I had paced up and down Adelaide airport with sore feet and heavy bags, on the verge of tears, trying to find a bloody power point to plug my tired computer into so that I could complete an urgent work task. I finally found one (hiding in a stupidly obvious spot) but the memory of that tumultuous, stressful experience has stayed with me. I’ve experienced none of that since joining the Club. My most difficult decisions relate to whether to have a red apple or a green one; or if I should try the curry or make my own antipasto.

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Good times in the Qantas Club – wine, cheese, olives and water

BTW – I should say, I know I’m blowing a lot of hot air in Qantas’ general direction today and no, I’m not sponsored by them or on commission – though if anyone were a good sponsorship fit for Qantas, it would be this all singing, all dancing, all touring blog! Qantas – if you want to make contact, you can reach me via myfavouritefruits@gmail.com!

Where to next?

So after Singapore, we’ll land in London and meet up with friends and family. We’re so looking forward to seeing all those kids! Stay tuned for another update.

Don’t expect to chew in Singapore!

Speaking of… on our descent into Singapore I had a pretty excruciating time trying to get my ears to equalise. I’ve had a head cold for the past week which is contributing to the issue. I didn’t have any chewy with me and the flight crew were kind enough to give me a few Vicks vapour drops. We made it through, but I was really worried about the prospect of my left ear perforating again like it had on a flight last year when I had a similar cold. When we got to ground in Singapore, I was determined to find some chewy so that I could chew furiously on the descent into London if necessary.

We raced around Changi airport looking for somewhere that looked like it would sell gum. Finally, we happened upon a stationer who was selling Mentos. We asked if he had any chewy and he said (of course!) that chewing gum is banned in Singapore! I had heard about the harsh penalties for throwing chewing gum on the street in Singapore, but I was sure that the last time I was there I was chewing! We ended up buying four rolls of Mentos and getting back on the plane.

Singapore to London

On the second leg, we’re feeling really pretty tired. By now it’s 2 am Sydney time and we’ve had little sleep the last few nights, so tiredness is starting to catch up with us. We both manage to get some sleep and are really grateful for the extra leg room so that we can spread out to get the sleep. Throughout the flight, the flight attendants bring around snack packs containing apples, Oreos, water, more toblerone and chewy lollies.

Tired and cold

Throughout the rest of the journey to London, we kip a bit, but are generally awake and tired. It’s really cold on the flight and although we’re wrapped in two blankets, it’s hard to get warm. There are lots of opportunities to sample great snacks – roasted almonds; gluten free cookies; apples, etc.

We land in London just after 7 am and after spending time in the customs queue, find our transfer driver and get on the way to our hotel. Exciting! We’re staying at Rubens at the Palace, directly across the road from Buckingham Palace in London Victoria.

A little note to a few favourites

Thanks to Nanna and Pa for taking us to the airport today and to T for chilling at ours in our absence. Also – thinking of bfs and TB; and Bro and SIL and the wee neph. We’ll check in with you all for progress reports.

London ideas

Big thanks to Natty B for suggesting some stops along our tour and to Jacque for the same! 🙂

Cheers!

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Entry filed under: Flying.

Cheeky North Sydney lunch @ Viet’s Pho Last day in London and lunch at Heston Blumenthal’s pub: the Hinds Head in Bray

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