Airline: QantasLink (National Jet Systems)
Aircraft: Boeing B 717
Cabin: Economy Class
To: Alice Springs
Date: 18. August 2013
Getting to the Airport
I leave the Longitude at 09:00. Today we are travelling by multipurpose Bush vehicle to the airport. The journey takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Uluru airport is a fairly small building on one level. As you enter there are arrivals to the right and the check-in counters to the left. There are separate counters for QantasLink, Virgin and for Jetstar. The concierge at the hotel checked me in the evening before.
Well, there very simply is none. The departures area is relatively small. But then again the facility only has two gates anyway. In the departures area there is a bar and a souvenir shop selling Uluru memorabilia. But the views are good!
Boarding starts on time. I exit the building and head towards our aircraft, looking forward to the opportunity to take some photos of my aircraft before I get on board. But alas, some gentleman doing I’m not quite sure what job takes it upon himself to inform me of just how bad a safety hazard I am to the aircraft by my intention to take pictures…Fair enough, I’ll take pictures in Alice, where I’m sure they probably won’t be quite so anal.
By the way, it turns out that the gate agent scanning the boarding passes as we board is also one of the cabin crew on the flight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!
The cabin on this bird is in fairly good shape, although it’s quite apparent that it is well used. There are stains on the seat (Do I want to know of what?) but other than that everything seems in working order.
The engines start up and we backtrack to the end of runway 13. It’s really quite amazing just how quiet the B717 is when you’re sitting on row two. Even when the aircraft accelerates for take-off the engines are barely audible.
The meal service on this flight is probably the biggest surprise, especially considering that the flight has an expected block time of only 40 minutes. Every passenger receives a packet with two soft biscuits – dark chocolate and white chocolate with nuts – a cup of water, crackers and a slice of cheese which tastes mostly like a cheddar.
I’m just swallowing the last of the crackers and cheese when the throttles are pushed back and our aircraft dips its nose for the descent into Alice Springs. And shortly thereafter we land.
Like in Uluru, we have to backtrack to reach the entrance to the apron. I disembark and take a few pictures of my aircraft. As expected, nobody really seems to mind. Next stop: Adelaide.