Many years ago, a few months after Jetstar took to the skies as the low cost carrier offshoot of Qantas Airways, I was travelling with a friend, Business Class, on a Qantas Flight between Melbourne a Sydney. After a few glasses of wine we were having a good old time, laughing at the fact we wouldn’t fly Jetstar being all Economy Class and with its user pays model – mind you I have flown Jetstar since, many times and I think they’re great 🙂 When we landed and stood up to disembark, there he was – Mr Alan Joyce – the then CEO of Jetstar Airlines, he’d been sitting directly in front of us. He looked at me, tilted his head and raised his eyebrows while I dropped mine to redundantly stare at the floor.
As you probably know, Alan Joyce went on the be the CEO of the whole Qantas Group and with the recent huge financial loss the company has made, some of the cost saving initiatives are to retrench some 5000 staff and retire older less fuel efficient aircraft. This particular Boeing 767-338ER, VH-OGQ – City of Birdsville, which I flew on in mid February, is one of the first to go.
Check this out:
View my Jetstar posts here!
I was heading to Melbourne for the night and the aircraft that was operating my mid afternoon flight from Sydney, VH-OGQ – ‘Birdsville’, was delivered to Qantas Airways from the Boeing factory in August 1996. Having flown for the airline for over 17 years it was placed into storage in late February 2014, not long after my flight.
Check this out:
Review: Tigerair Melbourne to Sydney
As with most Qantas flights there is a separate lane for Business Class, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers making boarding quick and efficient for the premium passengers.
This particular aircraft held 224 Economy seats and 30 Business Class seats. The recliner style Business Class seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration of 5 rows with each seat having a reasonable 38″ / 96.5 cms of pitch.
In each seat pocket, Qantas has an iPad filled with with around 200 hours of entertainment. The system known as QStreaming is available to both Business and Economy Class passengers free of charge. I sat back and watched an episode of the comedienne Jo Brand, perfect for this short 90 minute flight..
Directly after takeoff the cabin crew closed the curtains and started the service. A drinks trolley came down the aisle with a crew member offering passengers a refreshment. When it reached me I ordered a white wine and as soon as it was poured another crew member came and asked the that standard Qantas question “Will I be joining them for a snack?” followed by, the offerings on the menu which were a pumpkin soup, prawn and glass noodle salad and a cheese platter. I couldn’t decide between the salad or the cheese platter, so the flight attendant said if I finish one she would offer me the other. Yay!
After my tray table was laid with a cloth, I started with the prawn and glass noodle salad which was plated in the galley and brought to my seat. The cold dish was fresh and tasty with three plump king prawns set on top of refreshing cool glass noodles, cherry tomato’s, spring onion and a hint of coriander and chili topped with some crushed peanuts. There was also a bread service with a multu-grain bread being my choice from a few options I finished every bit of this dish very quickly in order to then have the cheese 😉
The flight attendant must have seen me shovel down the salad, cause as soon as I finished my plate was whisked away and the cheese box placed in front of me with some poppy seed crackers. With a refill of wine – perfect accompaniment for cheese – I opened the box to reveal its delightful contents. The box contained 3 cheeses, a blue, a cheddar and a smoked, plus a dried pear and a prune. My favourite was definitely the blue, I’m not fond of pears so that didn’t get touched, but the rest of the box was finished just prior to descent.
I finished off the Jo Brand TV special and before I knew it, it was time for seat backs upright, tray tables stowed and iPads back into the seat pockets. We landed slightly ahead of time at Melbournes Tullamarine airport and I disembarked the aircraft within a few minutes of arriving at the gate. It was a good flight, the crew were polished yet warm and friendly, the food divine and although the aircraft had seen its hey day it was clean and comfortable and the entertainment great. I was sad to learn the aircraft has since been stored as I had quite enjoyed this flight. Apparently we will see all of the 767’s and most 747’s fast tracked to retirement through Mr Joyce’s cost saving plans, I do hope, as much as I like Jetstar, Qantas itself does not become as redundant as some older aircraft and its wonderful staff.