Monday, October 31, 2011

TRIP REPORT - Whitsunday Coast / Proserpine to Brisbane - Jetstar Airways - Airbus A320

TRIP REPORT – Whitsunday Coast / Proserpine to Brisbane – Sunday 18 September – Jetstar Airways – JQ833 – Airbus A320-200 – VH-VGO.

The Proserpine Airport is undergoing major renovations and only recently had the first stage opened to the public. The carpark is still closed, and passengers are forced to park on the grass leading to the terminal or in bushy areas out in front of the terminal. The carpark works are about half done with asphalt down in most parts and new taxi and bus parking facilities able to be used outside the terminal. There is also a drop off facility available.

Once inside the terminal I was greeted with the new check-in area. This used be the Virgin check-in area with Jetstar at the other end of the building. Now both airlines’ check-in areas are together as shown below.

Bag dropped off and then back outside the terminal - past the construction zone - to the centre area of the terminal where the seemingly new security check-point is located.

Through this to the newly opened sitting area of the revamped terminal. This area is substantially bigger than the last time I travelled through Proserpine. There is plenty of seating, air conditioning and giant ceiling fans (complete with winglets!).

Probably best of all, is that there are large windows which allows the lovely views over the terminal apron to return!

This area is still obviously in need of further work which will hopefully be completed before the year is out.

Another feature is a much larger kiosk as well as a small sitting area with tables and chairs. There presently two gates - one for each carrier - with facilities noted for a third.

Departing passengers pass through the gate out to the tarmac and onto their aircraft.

Jetstar A320 VH-VGO arrived to take us to Brisbane. Disembarking passengers seemingly still exit through the Eastern part of the terminal, with bags following them out about 20 minutes after they touched down. You can read more from my return trip HERE.

My ticket with Jetstar today was a “Saver Plus” ticket which entitled me to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points, as well as experience priority boarding. The call went out for passengers who “paid for priority boarding” to come to the gate, but by the time I had stood up to walk to the gate, the ‘general’ boarding call was made, and I found myself near the back of the queue! Absolutely no ‘priority’!

Anyway, soon on board and I took my seat 12F which was a window in the exit row. Plenty of legroom here!

Just about a full flight and as our departure time came and went, the front door was finally closed, the engines spooled up, and we taxied away from the terminal about 10 minutes late.

Smooth take off from Runway 11, and with a series of right turns then a left turn, we were heading South towards Brisbane.

Seatbelt sign off, and the crew busily set about sending the food and drink cart down the aisle. I chose the Pringles and a lemonade. Nice!

I noted outside that the smoke haze was pretty bad, and this got worse as we headed South. By the time we started our descent we could hardly see the ground!

Rubbish was cleaned and this gave the cabin crew about 15 of standing at the front the plane not doing much!

Descent was long and smoky outside but eventually we made a series of left turns to line up the Runway 01 ILS approach into Brisbane.

Nice views down the ILS over the Southside of Brisbane, then crossing the Brisbane River, and lastly, the Qantas maintenance hangars on the East side of the Airport.

We touched down a little late, and shortly after we pulled into one of the new gates on the new centre finger - interestingly two QantasLink Dash-8’s were preparing for departure from these gates too – a real “Common-user terminal”!!

The centre finger redevelopment at Brisbane Airport is now complete, with the bar at the middle of the terminal area open for business.

Downstairs through the terminal where after a small wait my bag eventually made it out.

In all another nice flight with Jetstar, although I certainly won't be paying the extra $20 or so for priority boarding when passengers receive about 10 seconds of priority!!

POSTSCRIPT... I made a formal complaint about the 'priority boarding' through their website and much to my surprise received a $25 flight credit voucher for a future flight with Jetstar. My faith in Jetstar has now somewhat been restored!

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