At 4:30 AM the unrelenting iPhone alarm went off. To be safe, I checked email when turning the alarm off and found an email from the Australian Dept of Home Affairs about my DPD (Digital Passenger Declaration), that I had patiently completed, was not acceptable and unless I corrected some mistakes, I would not be allowed to board Qantas QF12 to Sydney. So…I quickly showered, ran to the computer and tried again. I had completed and submitted this form on 2 previous occasions, but third time was the charm. I think this is the Australian governments method of weeding out mentally challenged tourists from entering their country…I almost didn’t make it…maybe I’m only slightly challenged.
I’ve just read that Australia has removed the DPD requirement as of July 6 2022. The Stray Nomad Travel News has said: “Australian authorities have finally acknowledged travelers’ frustration with the DPD, which has only elicited negative comments and reviews since its introduction.” I agree with that decision!
Made it to the airport with very little time to spare before my United 737-800 boarded for my flight to Denver. It was pretty choppy on takeoff, but once we reached altitude it settled down to a very smooth flight. Into Denver International Airport on time and I had 7 hours to while away before my next flight to LAX departed at 3:59 PM…as we used to say in the 60s…bummer dude.
Oh-my…received an email warning from United Airlines of later afternoon thunderstorms in Denver and the possibility of our flight being delayed. My flight is supposed to arrive LAX at 6:55pm, but the flight to Sydney doesn’t depart until 10:55pm. The huge Airbus A380 will probably board an hour earlier as it will take a while to seat everyone. So, there is a bit of cushion. But I have to pick up my bag from United and recheck it with Qantas for the 15-hour flight. This could turn into an adventure.
Adventure averted, but the flight out of Denver was CRAZY rough! I’ve been on rough flights before but don’t remember anything like this. I could almost picture oxygen masks dropping, people screaming and carry-on bags falling into the isles. OK…I have a vivid imagination…but it was rough. As I write this portion, I am sitting in the Tom Bradley International Terminal patiently waiting for the jumbo A380 to board an hour or so before departure. Our plane showed up early and we boarded the flight precisely on time. Fortunately, I had a window seat with no one beside me. The seating configuration is xx-xxx-xs (my window seat is the s). There were a few empty seats in premium economy, and I was one of the lucky ones. I stayed awake for the initial supper meal…about 90 minutes after takeoff…and selected the Irish lamb stew…very, very tasty…wish I could get the recipe. I’ve flown Qantas many times and have always enjoyed the food and coffee.
Another plus this trip…the seats in Premium Economy had been upgraded to new and more plush seats with a larger display for watching the many movies available. I read that Qantas was doing this upgrade while the big planes were in storage in the desert during 2020-2021 when Australia closed their borders due to covid and wasn’t flying trans-pacific. The Qantas A380 seats 485 passengers on the trans-pacific run from LAX to SYD QF11 and the return from SYD to LAX QF12. Many of the A380’s have already been retired and are being replaced with smaller Boeing 777s and Boeing 787’s. But I much prefer the the big 4 engine A380 with it’s extra roomy interior and the extra engines for peace of mind.
I was disappointed that passengers were no longer able to watch the position of the flight, in relation to the earth as the trip unfolds. Or maybe I just wasn’t able to find this selection on the new entertainment system menu. The plane was very cold, perhaps because I was on the second deck and in the rear of the plane, and I was thankful for the heavier blanket that was provided. It seemed like I was able to get about 5-6 hours of sleep in the new more comfortable seats. In the remaining 9 hours I watched movies, took a few walks about the cabin, raided the rear snack bar and read. 15 hours can seem like an eternity on any plane…even a big one. There were several breakfast selections available, and I ordered a tasty egg and sausage meal with grilled tomato, a small muffin and yogurt which was served about 2 hours before the plane landed. As soon as breakfast was over, I quickly made it to one of the rear toilets to perform my morning ablutions. I’ve found the toilet rush on the jumbo A380 begins about 1 hour before landing…so it’s best to begin walking that direction early. I would give the breakfast meal 5 stars!