The Year of Travel

Over the past twelve months I have done a lot of travel, enough to get me to gold frequent flier status.

Being a numbers and lists geek, I have broken all the travel down into the following summary:

  • Air NZ's 777-200
    Air NZ’s 777-200
    10 trips taken: 4 domestic, 3 to New Zealand and 3 long haul.
  • 26 flights flown: 7 for work, 4 for free on airpoints.
  • 6 airlines travelled on: Virgin Australia (7x), Air New Zealand (6x), Delta (6x), Air Canada (1x), Etihad (4x), Scoot (2x).
  • 11 plane models flown on: 737, 767-300, 777 (-200 and -300), 787-9, A320, A330, A340, ATR-72, CRJ-200, ERJ-145.
  • 16 airports transited through: Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Canberra, Auckland, LAX, Orlando, Boston, Montreal, Quebec, JFK, Abu Dhabi, Munich, Amsterdam, Singapore.
  • 8 countries visited: Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Singapore.
  • Delta's ERJ-145
    Delta’s ERJ-145
    27 cities visited*: Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Auckland, Wanganui, Ohakune, Orlando, Boston, Montreal, Quebec City, Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Würzburg, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Leipzig, Berlin, Potsdam, Osnabrück, Wuppertal, Bonn, Cologne, Aachen, Maastricht, The Hague, Singapore.
    (* I define visited as having deliberately gone to that city for work or leisure. Transiting through a city is not counted.)
  • 16 train journeys taken between cities in four countries (Canada, Germany, Austria, Netherlands).
  • Experienced jet-lag in 7 time zones: AEST, AEDT, NZST, EDT, CET, SGT.
  • Virgin Australia's 737
    Virgin Australia’s 737
    15 hotels slept in for a total of 36 nights and 14 nights spent staying on friend’s couches, floors and spare rooms.

Finally, some good and bad highlights from the year:

  • Missed connections: 1 due to late inbound flight.
  • Best Airport: Gold Coast – due to Virgin Australia’s fantastic ground staff
  • Worst Airport Terminals: Abu Dhabi terminal 1 and Boston terminal B.
  • Best food: Etihad Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi (dinner) and Eithad Abu Dhabi to Sydney (breakfast).
  • Scoot's 787-9
    Scoot’s 787-9
    Best flights: Etihad Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi and Scoot Singapore to Sydney (both red-eyes!)
  • Worst flight: Air Canada Boston to Montreal – grumpy cabin crew.
  • Best planes: Etihad’s A340 and Scoot’s 787-9.
  • Worst plane: Air New Zealand’s 767-300.
  • Best ground staff: Virgin Australia at Gold Coast.
  • Worst ground staff: Delta at JFK.

I have now caught the travel bug, nine years ago I had never been on a plane, six years ago I’d never been outside of New Zealand, less than three years ago I had never been outside of Australia or New Zealand.

I’m unlikely to repeat this much travel in the coming year, or years. But I’m scheming plans for more amazing places I now want to visit. Returning to Europe remains high in first place in those plans.

Two and a Half Days in Melbourne

Ha ha ha and ho ho ho and a merry old land of OZ.

Saturday:

  • Got up at 2am to head to airport to check in for flight.
  • Arrived at Auckland Airport at 3.30am, checked in.
  • Departed Auckland at 6.10am
  • Flight was extremely bumpy, for the first time ever got Motion Sickness two and a half hours into the flight… so did lots of other people on the plane including an air hostess.
  • Landed 20 minutes early at 7.50am
  • Got on bus into Melbourne Central, arrived at Southern Cross Station.
  • Walked to hotel, stopped at Mc Donalds for breakfast, checked into hotel.
  • Went for a walk to look at town, found Federation Square, watched street perfomer, met up with friend.
  • Went on tramp ride around the city
  • Went on river cruise down the Yarra
  • Went back to hotel at 4pm, fell asleep while mum went shopping
  • Got woken by mum at 7pm, went out for dinner
  • Got back to hotel, watched Sky News
  • Went zzz

Sunday:

  • Mum set alarm for 7am, she woke to me cursing at it.
  • Had breakfast at Hotel, was really busy, lots of hungry hungry hippos.. people.
  • Caught tram to Vibration Training place.
  • Caught train to Dandenong
  • Visited friends house
  • Got driven to Sunnyvale
  • Checked out these awesome Asian supermarkets… Think St Lukes but all Asian, had a sugar cane drink
  • Got driven back to Caulfield
  • Caught train back to city, got off at Parliament Underground Station not 100% sure where we were.
  • Went shopping
  • Caught tram to St Kilda beach
  • Had dinner at St Kilda beach
  • Caught tram back to town, which went on train tracks as well as roads… so cool.
  • Watched Sky News and the 20/20 Cricket
  • Went zzz

Monday:

  • Woke at 5am
  • Caught 5.45am tram to Southern Cross Station
  • Caught 6.15am bus to Airport
  • Checked in went shopping!!!
  • Flew back to Auckland at 9.25am
  • Landed in Auckland at 2.45pm
  • Mum went shopping again.
  • Got through customs just before 4pm.

Engine Failure!

Okay I am getting sick of having to explain what happened to just about everyone I see. So now I can just tell them to read my blog.

When I flew to Wellington last Sunday we had an engine failure. Well actually a complete APU failure. Luckly we were on Taxi and not in the air.

This is how it went down:
We were push backed from the terminal like normal. While the engines were being started they were doing the safety demonstrations. It was pretty obvious from the start that something was wrong with the engines because they were not making the normal engine starting noise. Halfway through the safety video all the power died in the aircraft. I mean the video stopped, the air con stopped, all the lights cut out, the engines stopped we came to a complete halt with no power or engines.

We sat for 20 mins parked sideways on the taxi way in front of the domestic terminal before we got pulled back to the terminal. All other aircraft had to detour around us by using the B runway. Thank god for that second runway at Auckland! Once we were pulled back they decided to jump start us off a ground power unit that they had to call over from the International Terminal on a truck!

We had no power, lights or anything for more then 40 minutes. Did I say we had no aircon. Also this was an Airbus A320 a medium range aircraft normally used on international routes. It has 170 seats and I can only assume that it was being used as a domestic aircraft because it was a long weekend and school holidays. We had about 40 kids on board which was fine for all of 5 mins and then the crying began! Once started again we made it safely and without incident to Wellington 50 minutes late. Fun!