Qantas Economy Class BNE-TSV

And home again after a fairly hectic 48 hours in Brisbane. Not much time to get out and do anything, but did manage to get in an hour of shopping in town after the meeting finished one night 🙂

Again, only travelling with carry-on and checked in online on my phone, so straight to the Qantas lounge when I got to the airport in Brisbane. Friday night rush too, so very busy. At least until the evening flight to Sydney departed. Lounge was pretty quiet after that. Got something to eat in the lounge – just rice cakes and some hommus. And caffeine. Always more caffeine.

Flight departed on time and as this was a night flight, they had special catering. I got my VGML! Some vegetable curry and rice. Was nice, if not a bit bland. Won’t complain though.

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My VGML on the flight home – vege curry and rice…

Landed on time and was straight out the door to go home. So tired, amazed I didn’t crash my car in hindsight.

Qantas Economy Class TSV-BNE

Short work trip to Brisbane for a meeting. Carry-on only, and checked in online on my phone, so straight to the Qantas lounge when I got to the airport in Townsville. Afternoon flight, so lounge was overcrowded and loud. I quickly gave up and went to wait at the gate. It was actually quieter outside.

Flight departed on time and shortly after take-off we got served a snack. Inedible for me – cheese and crackers. I knew they didn’t do special catering on this flight, and had plans to go out for dinner when I got to Brisbane anyway, so not a big deal.

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VGML? Not so much…lol

Landed a bit late because we got put into a holding loop over Brisbane. Ruined initial dinner plans, but came up with an alternative. Vegan food is so much easier to find in Brisbane than it is in Townsville 🙂

Qantas Economy Class BNE-TSV

Flight 12/12: Brisbane to Townsville

One last flight!

I had a couple of hours to blow in Brisbane, so I holed up in the Qantas lounge and tried to start getting on top of some emails. The chaos that appears to have occurred at work in my absence is mindblowing. Tomorrow isn’t going to be fun.

Anyway, the flight boarded on time, and there was a bit of an incident at the gate. There was an American couple asking the ground crew a question about a connecting flight they had to make in Townsville, and some guy in the economy line dressed in head to toe NQ Cowboys supporters gear started making disparaging comments about Americans, and saying “go back to where you came from,” etc. North Queensland – keeping it classy. I had to make a real effort not to have a go at him for it, I was kind of itching for a fight. I was tired and in a bad mood, and wasn’t prepared to put up with crap from anyone.

The meal was served not long after take-off, and OMG, why don’t Qantas do this all the time? I got a package that contained carrot and celery sticks with some hommus. I like this stuff! Give it to me all the time! I wouldn’t complain! I hope this is a new thing that stays, but I will not be holding my breath.

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Dear Qantas catering: Gimme more of this!

Spent most of the flight playing games on my phone. Yes, I was bored. And tired. I lost a lot of lives. We landed on time in Townsville, my bag made it, and I was rapidly in a taxi home. Only to realise how much laundry I had to do and how much I didn’t want to go grocery shopping. Sleep now, domesticity tomorrow!

So, 12 flights in 2 weeks later, I return. Never again. As fun as the diving may have been, Raja Ampat was just too much hassle for a somewhat mediocre dive experience. To be brutally honest (as always), I prefer the diving in PNG. After having now dived both the north and south of Raja Ampat on different trips, all I have to say is “I’d rather go to Milne Bay“. Sorry, not sorry.

Qantas Economy Class SYD-BNE

Flight 11/12: Sydney to Brisbane

Ah, home sweet lounge access! Priorities – I have them.

After the ugly mess over at the international terminal, I was glad to make my way over to Sydney domestic, and hide out in the Qantas lounge for 3.5 hours to wait for the flight to Brisbane. I finished up some photo editing from the dive trip.

We boarded a little late, and to be honest, although I know they were desperate for an on time departure, the cabin crew were pretty rude about the whole thing. Usually expect better from Qantas. It’s their fault the flight was late to board, not ours.

After departing a little late, we got our snack shortly after take-off. Lo and behold, I actually got a snack that was both vegan and gluten free! A toastie filled with spinach, pumpkin, and cannellini beans. Tasted good 🙂

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My VGML snack…

The flight went quite quickly, because not long after they cleared up the meal, we started to descend into Brisbane. We landed a little late, and the rudeness continued. We hadn’t even started exiting the plane before the cleaning crew were pushing through the cabin trying to clean up. People were everywhere, half the plane weren’t even out of their seats, people were getting shoved out of the way by ground crew while trying to pull their bags out of the overhead lockers. It was bullshit. Qantas – I expect better. I know it was a rush to get the plane turned around for its next flight, but the attitude and behaviour from the cabin crew and ground staff was unacceptable.

I got off the plane as quickly as possible and made my way to the Qantas lounge in Brisbane.

Qantas Economy Class BNE-SYD

Flight 2/12: Brisbane to Sydney

And…rest. Due to flight schedules, I have to overnight in Sydney tonight in order to get the Garuda flight to Jakarta in the morning.

I spent the layover in Brisbane holed up in the Qantas Club lounge. For longer than the 40 minutes initially planned. Flight delays – the bane of my existence. Especially when you’ve got the 11pm airport curfew in Sydney – and we were definitely pushing it.

I got some Moroccan roast cauliflower and chickpea salad thing and added a bit of hommus. Was very tasty! I also drank way too much Coke Zero.

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The Moroccan salad I got in the Brisbane Qantas lounge…

Eventually boarded, about an hour late. Everything went smoothly. Got my VGML shortly after takeoff, and the woman next to me decided she wanted the vegetarian too. Didn’t actually order one, just demanded one. Idiot. Anyway, it was some coconut curry with vegetables and noodles. Definitely not gluten free (it said so on the carton). Always the risk with the VGML – they’re not always gluten free. You win some, you lose some. Bit of a shame I couldn’t eat it though, it smelt good. I gave it to the woman next to me when I discovered I couldn’t eat it. Not the end of the world – this was after all why I decided to eat in the Qantas lounge before the flight.

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The yummy smelling VGML that I couldn’t eat because it wasn’t gluten free…

We landed in Sydney just before curfew, and I made my way via the hotel shuttle bus over to the Rydges at the international terminal where I was spending the night. My flight to Jakarta leaves mid-morning and there was no way to get from Townsville to Sydney that early in the morning, so it meant having to overnight. Splits the trip up a bit at any rate!

Qantas Economy Class TSV-BNE

Flight 1/12: Townsville to Brisbane

OMG. Twelve, yes 12, flights for this one dive trip. FML. Better be worth the pain. And the money.

I’m off to Raja Ampat for Christmas, and then Ambon for New Year. The journey begins with making my way to Sydney – via Brisbane, because there’s no direct Qantas flight from Townsville to Sydney. That would just make life easy or something, and obviously we can’t have that.

Check-in in Townsville was quick and easy, surprisingly my bag only weighed in at 25kg. I was expecting worse. Then made my way to the Qantas Club for a quick bite to eat before the flight. Not much was on offer, but I got some olive mix and my obligatory caffeine.

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My snack in the Townsville Qantas Club…

The flight was quick to board and depart. Unsurprisingly there was no VGML for me. I knew this in advance (why does Qantas even let you book one if they know they won’t have it?), and had prepared some dried mango in my dehydrator at home. Good thing too, as the snack offered on board was cheese and crackers, and a bag of butter cookies. Not exactly ideal for one with a dairy allergy!

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What I got given on board vs. what I actually ate…

Anyway, we landed on time in Brisbane, for what I thought was to be a fairly short layover. Little did I know…

Singapore Airlines Economy Class SIN-BNE

After a very boring 6 hour layover in Singapore, during which time I window shopped and drank coffee, we finally got around to boarding. I had bought snacks for the flight from the convenience store inside the terminal, however, much to my frustration, I discovered I’d pretty much eaten it all during the layover and had none left for the flight! Sadly by the time I’d noticed this, I’d already gone through gate security and couldn’t go buy more.

Boarding itself went efficiently and we departed on time. The flight was surprisingly empty (half full at best) – all my other flights on this trip literally hadn’t had a spare seat.

Supper was served shortly after takeoff. The VGML consisted of a spiced chickpea salad, some kind of vegetable curry/stew type thing with rice and zucchini, a bread roll with dairy free spread, and crackers. I ate the salad and the hot meal. Not bad!

IMG_6039VGML supper on the Singapore-Brisbane red-eye flight

Spent a couple of hours watching Blackhat on the inflight entertainment. There’s probably a reason I didn’t see it when it got released. My nitpicking of the technical computing stuff aside (which I know quite a bit about from a previous career), I thought the motive for the whole thing was boring. I would have found political espionage over the South China Sea to be a far more entertaining storyline. Blah.

Tried to rest for a while, but was unsuccessful. Too much chatter. Ended up playing Temple Run on my iPad. I still suck at it.

Breakfast came about 2 hours before landing in Brisbane. While vegan, it certainly wasn’t suitable for the gluten intolerant. Out of the tub of fruit salad, bread roll, sultana bran, soy milk, and apple juice? I ate the fruit salad. Not the end of the world, as getting something to eat once I got to Brisbane would be straight forward.

IMG_6040VGML breakfast on the Singapore-Brisbane red-eye flight

Landed on time and got through immigration and customs very quickly. Miracle! The last time I had to go through customs in Brisbane it was an unequivocal nightmare.

One more flight – after a 4 hour layover. Then home. And sleep. OMG, I want to sleep. I’ve been in a state of perpetual jetlag this entire trip, never having enough time to recover before flying again.