Browsing Tag: My Review

Photo by Andrew Vane.

People picking up their bags. Photo by Andrew Vane.

This Story was Written by Andrew Vane for

Although not filled with the glory of a wide-body international flight typically experienced by others, any opportunity to fly commercially always brings a smile to my face. Getting to fly, no matter the distance or aircraft, is what being an #AvGeek is all about! To quote a childrens book titled ’œRailroad Toad’ by Susan Schade and John Buller (that I used to read to my children): ’œGive me a ticket to anywhere, the farther the better I don’t care!’

Well, that opportunity rolled around again for me. This time, I got to fly for business from my home city of Charlotte, North Carolina to the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Up one afternoon and back the next is all I had time for with this trip.

To give you some background on Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), in 2012 it was the eighth-busiest airport in the US and had more domestic flights than New York’s LaGuardia and Kennedy combined. As a major hub to US Airways (soon to become American Airlines), the airport has grown from three small crisscrossing runways in the 1960’s to four long runways capable of handling an A340-600 or Boeing 777. CLT officials are also planning to give the longest runway a 2,000 foot extension at some point in the future. Hmmmm. My last fortune cookie said ’œI see big things in your future’ so perhaps someday an A380 will grace CLT.

A Virgin Australia 737 at Melbourne Airport - Photo: Mal Muir |

A Virgin Australia 737 at Melbourne Airport – Photo: Mal Muir |

As an Australian expat, I will often have an opportunity to commute back to Australia for special events.  This trip was one of those times.  I got to head to Australia to attend a friend’s wedding (congrats Stuart & Michelle!) and thankfully it meant that I could combine a number of things together: a trip home to see friends and family, the wedding (obviously) and a mini mileage run with Virgin Australia to re-qualify for my gold status.

Though I had already re-qualified on points, I still had four segments required on Virgin Australia operated aircraft. As an AvGeek, I always look forward to these types of adventures.

The All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner Arrives back to San Jose Airport, ready to turn around for it's flight back to Tokyo Narita - Photo: Mal Muir |

The All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner Arrives back to San Jose Airport, ready to turn around for it’s flight back to Tokyo Narita – Photo: Mal Muir |

This is the first in a multi-part series covering my trip from Seattle to San Jose to Narita to Hong Kong and back home as a ANA Ambassador. Note that my flight was provided by ANA, but all opinions are my own. 

Departing from San Jose’s Norman Y Mineta Airport (SJC) could not have been more of a breeze.  The weather was perfect, the check in area was quiet and security lines were nonexistent.  It was a great way to start off my flight to Tokyo.

I was about to embark on All Nippon Airway’s (ANA), first 787 service out of the US since the infamous grounding .  With boarding passes in hand, I was escorted to the gate by a member of the airport staff  where we could photograph the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner.

After being joined by other media, we grabbed the arrival photos from the sterile corridor and then headed up to the lounge.  The ’œClub at SJC’ is the new lounge that opened the day prior to the first service that ANA operated out of San Jose back in January.  Unless you’re a business class guest (or Star Alliance Gold member) flying the one and only ANA flight out of SJC, the lounge will cost you an entry fee.

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The tiny Pacific island of Fiji has a national airline just as tiny. Air Pacific, however, dreams big and their dream just came true. In just a few short days, the Air Pacific name will be retired, ushering in the era of Fiji Airways, and more importantly, a new fleet.

After a time of financial difficulty, Air Pacific has rebounded to profitability, and decided it was time to replace their aging 747-400 long-haul fleet. Initially ordering and later cancelling a fleet of eight Boeing 787s, Air Pacific ordered three Airbus A330-200s in late 2011, the second of which was delivered last week. These airplanes represent everything that is new about the tiny airline, inside and out.

My Ride to LAX - A Qantas A380 named after Sir Reginald Duigan - Photo: Mal Muir -

My Ride to LAX – A Qantas A380 named after Sir Reginald Duigan – Photo: Mal Muir –


After leaving the Qantas Lounge, I headed back downstairs into the terminal in Melbourne and boarded directly through the lower airbridge to the Airbus A380 heading to Los Angeles. It was hard for me to realize that this was really happening.  2.5 years of waiting and the moment was here; flying in first class on a Qantas A380.

I was greeted at door 2L and then turned left.  Left into happiness, left into exclusivity, left into REAL First Class.  Qantas has its First Class Suites on the lower deck of the A380 unlike Emirates, Lufthansa or Thai Airways which all have them on the upper deck.