For my birthday this year, I planned a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, and since Delta had no award availability in coach, I decided to splurge and spend 62,500 Alaska miles to fly business class (since re-branded Delta One) for the first time ever.
My leg was from Atlanta (ATL) to Dublin (DUB) on flight DL176, which was operated by a Boeing 767-300ER. I have been watching, for years, others flying in a premium product and I was jealous. When I was a poor graduate student, I couldn’t really justify the expense in miles or money, but now it seemed like it would be worthwhile.
I was so excited that I planned my trip far in advance and I was looking forward to this flight for nine months. But when the time came, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed, as it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
An Air Canada 767-300ER waiting to depart Buenos Aires – Photo: Colin Cook
I recently had the opportunity to travel with a group of friends to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In part one of this story, I reviewed my flight to Buenos Aires. This second part will cover the return leg to North America, where I flew in Air Canada Business Class.
The flight down to Buenos Aires was quite the adventure (nearly missed connections, language barriers, difficult boarding process, etc). After a wonderful five days in Argentina and Uruguay, it was time to come home. Given the opportunity, I absolutely recommend that you visit both of these countries. I had heard wonderful things about Buenos Aires and it definitely lived up to its billing as the “Paris of South America.” The city was incredibly vibrant and we truly immersed ourselves in the culture. I found the art of the country to be particularly interesting!
Qantas’ Boeing 767-338ER, a common sight in Australian skies over the past 30 years – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The 27th of December marked the end of an era in Australian aviation. Qantas retired the Boeing 767 fleet from passenger service.
Let’s take a brief look at the history of this true workhorse and Australian icon that has been part of the Qantas fleet for almost 30 years. Qantas took delivery of its first 767, a -200 series extended range aircraft, in 1985. The type was first introduced on the carrier’s services to southeast Asia as well as on trans-Tasman and Pacific routes.
In 1987, the carrier placed an order for the larger -300ER series. The -300ER not only had a larger capacity but also an increased range and more powerful General Electric CF6-80 engines. The 767-300ER was delivered to Qantas in a two-class configuration. There were two variants of this configuration, one for international service which had 25 business class and 204 economy class seats, and the domestic configuration, which had 30 business class seats and 224 economy class seats.
A unique configuration, 1-2-2 on the international version of the Qantas Boeing 767-338ER – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The internationally-configured 767s were unique in that business class was configured in a 1-2-2 layout, and the 767s were the first Australian aircraft to offer in-seat IFE in business class. The economy cabin was also unique in that there was a “pod” at the front of the cabin for crew rest, as well as two rows of seats at the rear portioned off for additional crew rest.
Following the deregulation of the Australian domestic market in 1990, Qantas was permitted to once again operate domestic flight routes. With the introduction of the 767 into the fleet, and the domestic deregulation which allowed for increased passenger demand, Qantas used the 767 on domestic Australian flights. The domestic market is where the aircraft really became a true Australian icon. It was deployed on pretty much every major domestic route within the country; the most popular routes were the transcontinentals to Perth, as well as the main east coast triangle routes connecting Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
If you are a fan of the Boeing 767, this video might make you a bit sad.
Qantas Airways is in the process of retiring their final 767-300ERs and the TV show 60 Minutes produced a story following VH-OGG from Australia over to Victorville Airport (VCV), home of probably the most famous airliner graveyard. Many times the main-stream media drops the ball when it comes to stories like this, but I have to admit that they did a pretty darn good job!
VH-OGG first flew at Paine Field on November 27, 1990. It was delivered to Qantas on December 12th of the same year and served with the airline for its entire life — up until now. The aircraft even sported a special Planes livery from Disney on the fuselage for a while.