As we returned the hire car, the young lady asked my friend Bert:
“Are you returning the car with a full tank of petrol?”
“Yes” said Bert.
“And has there been any damage?” she asked.
“Only to our livers” I replied.
We were flying home to Sydney after a weekend in Hobart and after checking in our bags, including the precious cargo of Barilla Bay Oysters we were hankering for a hair of the dog and thus couldn’t wait to get on board.
With no aerobridges at Hobart Airport and the aircraft on standoff, it was a short walk across the wintery tarmac to our waiting plane, an 8.5 year old Boeing 717-200 operated by Cobham Aviation on behalf of QANTASLINK. Regular readers will know I had flown on one of these new additions to the QANTASLINK fleet some months ago on a short sector from Canberra to Sydney but was excited to see how the service compared on this slightly longer sector in Business Class which is still a relatively new product for the regional airline.
This particular aircraft, registered VH-YQV, joined Cobham on behalf of QANTASLINK in March 2014 and is one of 18 operated by the airline. Originally taking to the skies with US carrier Midwest Airlines before being returned to lessor Boeing Capital when they merged with Frontier Airlines. The aircraft then flew with Click Mexicana Airlines for a few months before they ceased operations in late 2010.
After boarding via the forward stairs, we found our seats located in the last left hand row of the 12 seat Business Class cabin. The recliner style dark grey leather seats with red stitching in a 2-2 configuration were comfortable enough for a 2 hour flight with 37″ / 93.98cms of pitch.
A quick departure from Hobart on this nimble little jet and we were in the air heading north over the picturesque Tasmanian countryside, meant that drink we were looking forward to wasn’t far away.
While waiting for the service to start, we pulled out the QANTAS iPad with QStreaming, loaded with movies, TV shows and games and waited for them to start up. Unfortunately, mine wouldn’t start up, so I used Bert’s and after flicking through the beginning of a few shows this iPad then got stuck on a documentary on Paul Keating. We tried unsuccessfully several times to power it down or switch it off but the Paul Keating doco kept playing, so I eventually put it back in the seat pocket wondering if the next person would like to watch it.
Although it took a little time with only one flight attendant working in the Business Class cabin, soon enough the drinks service trolley reached our row and it was time for a round of drinks. A gin and tonic for Bert, a white wine for me.
Firstly, a nut mix bag was offered, this time roasted cashews and pretzels which I much prefer over the standard rice crackers or almonds, these were delicious.
The Gin was a Gordons Gin with and nicely presented with a slice of lemon. The wine was a S.C Pannell 2012 Sauvignon Blanc which hails from the Adelaide Hills a flavoursome drop to enjoy before lunch was served.
Again it did take a little while for the lunch service to reach our row, but the fellow serving the forward cabin was a little run off his feet. When the trolley did eventually get to our row, the flight attendant advised the whole row that there were two choices for todays lunch, Barramundi or braised beef, but only one serve of the Barramundi was available. Preferring seafood over beef, I would have loved the Barramundi, but Bert and I let the people in seats 3A & 3B have first choice and one of them chose the fish, however I wasn’t left unhappy with the braised beef dish. The beef, cut into thin strips, was in a stroganoff type sauce, quite moist and tender but the real winner of the hot dish was the creamy polenta, light and creamy with a buttery flavour.
While I washed my meal down with another Sauvignon Blanc, Bert enjoyed a red, a Haselgrove SWITCH 2012 GSM from the McLaren Vale – a nice drop said Bert. Haselgrove now also provide their COL CROSS Shriaz for Korean Airlines First Class passengers travelling between Korea and Australia.
Another glass of the white and we were almost ready for decent into Sydney flying in from the west which on this clear day afforded spectacular views as far south as Wollongong and making out Lake Illawarra.
We landed slightly ahead of schedule and made our way to the baggage carousel where our cargo of oysters were already on the conveyor belt. The flight was good, albeit the service was a little relaxed than usual, it was friendly. The QStreaming needs a little fix but the cabin was comfortable and the food and wine sufficient for this short hop back to Sydney. Although I am a fan of a widebody aircraft, I do quite like these proficient little jets.
FreakyFlier and Bert paid for their flights independently.