After a very enjoyable few days in Brisbane it was back to the skies. When I arrived in Brisbane I mistakenly assumed the fastest and least expensive route to the CBD Hilton would be an Uber. That USD$45 mistake was replaced with a AUS$16 (or about USD$12) train ride from downtown back to the airport. The train runs at least every 30 minutes and is about a 25 minute ride. The CBD train station is 1 block from the Hilton.
The walk from the Airtrain Station to the terminal doesn't even qualify as daily exercise.
Qantas is very advanced with an automated check in and bag drop process. Don't even think of getting a bag past the weight limit. Put your bag on the scale, get a baggage tag and load it on the conveyor.
While Qantas had a lounge, and they usually have excellent lounges, I had something I hoped would be better up my sleeve, Priority Pass. Priority Pass has two lounges in the Brisbane domestic terminal which aren't lounges, they are restaurants.
The Priority Pass program allows, in lieu of a lounge visit, a one-time charge of AUD$36 per registered person for food or drink at these locations. So if your Priority Pass card allows a single person lounge access you get a one-time charge of AUD$36. If you have guest privileges on your card you get AUD$72 on a one-time charge. So don't order a drink, then decide to order something else after you've paid. If you order more than the maximum allowed you will be charged the excess separately and you can't add tips on to the Priority Pass "gift card" amount.
Bar Roma was the first I came across. Brisbane domestic has two wings, one for Qantas and one for Virgin Australia. Bar Roma is located after you enter airside on the connecting walkway between the two wings. There is seating in the back or you can order and go.
Not awed I figured I'd check out option two before deciding. The second lounge is Graze Grill and it's located at the end of the Qantas wing, where Retro-Roo was parked.
Graze's menu looked a little better to me.
As did their grab and go items.
So I order from the menu. The Priority Pass offer had been in place for a number of months but the cashier had no idea how to ring it up. Nonetheless after a few minutes, and a couple customers behind me getting impatient, she figured it out. I signed the bill and took a seat. In a few minutes lunch was served.
Not your typical lounge food meal ehh?
Nor a domestic lounge food presentation, ha!
The above burger and coffee was about AUD$30, so I hadn't reached my limit, but as I mentioned it's a one time shot. Unless of course you have TWO Priority Pass cards.
What an awesome deal!
Time to board Qantas 737 for the short hop down to Sydney. I was somewhat surprised.
These are nice seats.
Qantas likes to block business class seats. Row 3 was all that was available for pre-assignment, not that any are different. 3A was mine.
Very good legroom.
Seems the aisle seat has the A/V box out of the way as well.
Subtle reminders of how filthy airplanes are.
Speaking of IFE. The true in-flight entertainment was out the window on this flight!
On time we go.
In the photo below is the flight attendant for the front cabin. There was a meal service on this short flight which was soup and a sandwich. Except I was never asked if I wanted anything! He had offered a beverage upon boarding but never asked if I wanted lunch. I know it was soup and sandwich because the guy next to me had it. Maybe the FA knew I was a Priority Pass member!
It didn't matter, the view was too good.
Some lucky folks live down there.
Just another winter day in Australia.
The approach took us over the airport to the south.
I remember visiting Sydney many years ago and I thought it reminded me of San Francisco. Guess the airport does too!
The international portion of this trip was on American first class SYD-LAX, a cool 110,000 AA points. That got me a connection in Australia on Oneworld partner Qantas from Brisbane to Sydney but no Los Angeles - Chicago American flight, because American doesn't release domestic space, like United on saver award tickets. Then it hit me, forget AA, go with Etihad. So I got the SYD-LAX using Etihad points (more on that at another time) now I need to get to Sydney.
Qantas and Virgin America typically charge about $500 for a business class fare on this route. Enter British Airways Avios.
Total fare, 9,000 Avios points and $15.00. Deal of the day.
Date: August 2017
Route: Brisbane - Sydney
Flight #: QF 537
Aircraft: Airbus Boeing 737-800 #VH-VCL
Configuration: J12 / Y156
On Time: Yes
Reward Flying Rating: 4.2 out of 10 ✈
✔︎For a domestic first/business class seat these stack up against the best. Across the Tasman? Inferior.
Cabin/Seats Rating: 6 out of 10 ✈
✔︎None on this short flight
✔︎They forgot to include me!
Amenity/Food rating: 1 out of 10 ✈
✔︎The IFE was a great view of Australia!
IFE rating: 5 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Not sure what happened, but forgetting to ask if a passenger wants service doesn't get many brownie points.
Flight Attendant rating: 1 out of 10 ✈
✔︎B737-800 After flying around in A380's and 787's it was noticeable how noisy these narrow bodies are flying through the air.
Aircraft rating: 6 out of 10 ✈