QANTAS Economy

I have been reunited with Arabella and we’re having a fabulous and very special time together but first I have to tell you how about the journey from Sydney to New York traveling with QANTAS at the wrong end of the plane.

After the long day of packing and organising and stocking the freezer with home-cooked meals, I had a short sleep and then at 6.30am we arrived on the doorstep of a friend who had offered to look after Alfie for the day.  Jenny came of the door in her dressing gown looking all bleary-eyed but full of smiles wishing me a great trip.  Thank you gift must be purchased for Jenny!

Bye, bye Sydney

Bye, bye Sydney

After check-in Carl and I had time for breakfast at the airport only I didn’t eat anything because airport food is horrid and overpriced.

And then it was time for the farewell and I thanked Carl for letting me go and he promised me he would take very good care of my girls who had been on high alert ever since they saw the suitcase emerge from the cupboard.

As I was stepping onto the 747 I handed my boarding pass to a steward and he looked up at me and said, ‘You don’t look like you belong all the way back there’.  And I said, ‘I know, there’s been a terrible mix-up’.  And he said, ‘Glass of champagne coming down to 65K’.

So I headed down to my seat going past business class, economy plus class and then carried on to the very end of steerage where I found my window seat.  There was a chap sitting on the aisle who due to the lack of space had to get out of his chair to let me through to my seat but the mercy was that the middle seat was spare.  When traveling in economy, don’t you love it when not every seat is occupied!

The confines of economy

The confines of economy

I had just finished sorting myself into the tight confines when along came the steward holding a tray with a single glass of champagne which he handed to me.  I thought he’d been joking!  I was instantly all smiles.  He gave me a wink and took the long journey back to first class.   And the champagne was in a glass, not served in plastic!

I thought the chap beside me might be a tad jealous of my special treatment but he was unaware due to already being asleep.  He slept for most of the 12 hours it took to get to LA.  What a gift!

What a gift - we hadn't even taken off

What a gift – we hadn’t even taken off

And then we took off and I read my new Bridget Jones book.  Hard to believe Bridget is now 51.

A good book with a champagne

A good book with a champagne

Lunch was served at 11.30am.  There were three choices, Chicken Salad, Shepherd’s Pie or Penne Pasta.  I went for the penne that was vegetarian and served with a green pea sauce with charred red capsicum and parmesan.  It was piping hot which was lovely but a little bland however, these days in economy you have to be grateful for anything more than a dry biscuit.

After lunch I kept reading my book and then along came Jerry, the steward, with a toiletry bag for me.  He said, ‘I think you might need this’.  I took it all excited and beamed at him, ‘You’ve made me feel very special.  Thanks so much’.  And he said, ‘Is there anything else I can get you?  How about another champagne?’  And I said, ‘Absolutely’.



And if the chap beside me hadn’t been asleep he could have said, ‘Could you make that two?’ but he missed the moment.  In the toiletry bag that’s given to business class passengers, there were socks, eye shades, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and Malin & Goetz apothecary products including a hand and body lotion, a lip gel and a face moisturiser.  While I was still admiring my gifts, Jerry reappeared with my champagne.  I enjoyed it while watching a quirky movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Business class goodies

Business class goodies

Dinner was skipped as day quickly became night.  Lights were switched off and we were supposed to go to sleep but it was only about 3pm in Sydney so unlike the chap beside me, my body-clock wasn’t ready for sleep so I watched 127 hours.  Just as he was hacking his arm off Jerry reappeared and asked me if I’d like to stretch my legs in the first class galley for a while.  I shot up out of my seat and walked through curtain after curtain after curtain, making my way to the front of the plane.  Jerry offered me a drink and I was able to chat to the stewards and move around a bit which was greatly appreciated.  I couldn’t help but glance into first class where the fortunate were stretched out in their beds wearing complimentary pyjamas and pressing buzzers asking for cheese platters and, ‘Do you have any more of those yummy tarts?’  And the food emerging from the galley certainly did look appetising.

I’d seen enough and it was back to watching an arm being hacked off with a blunt knife.  Two hours before we landed in LA, breakfast was served.  There was a choice of continental or the hot breakfast and it is a matter of working out what would be the lesser of two evils.  I went for the hot breakfast and was served a frittata that was rather rubbery.



LA isn’t a nice airport.  It’s unfriendly and austere and the queues at immigration are just ridiculously long and slow-moving.  Security levels seem to be raised every week and now on top of asking you why you’ve come to the US they now scan all your fingers and thumbs and take your photo.

The customs queue stretched for about 100mtrs but it moved reasonably quickly.  I sent my baggage on for the next stage of the journey then had to go through security again where I had to remove my jacket and my shoes, then have a body scan and a frisk by a woman who kept pushing on my stomach so I said, ‘It’s just fat’.

It was now midnight in Sydney but 7am in LA.  We took off at around 2am Sydney time.  My saviour, Jerry, was no longer on board as we had a fresh crew who didn’t think the passenger in 65K needed any special attention.  But the absolute bonus was that the aisle-sleeper had disembarked and now I was in a row with no other passengers.  I was able to lift up the armrests and lie down and try to sleep.  I managed about two hours then lunch was served – at 4am Sydney time, 11am LA time or 2pm if you’d already moved your watch onto New York time.



There were only two choices, fish or an Israeli couscous chicken salad.  I had the salad which had cos lettuce, celery, couscous and grilled chicken.  But no dressing.  It definitely needed some dressing.  The sourdough roll though was a highlight.  However the smell of the boiled or steamed fish permeated the cabin with a horrible smell that lingered for a couple of hours.

I slept for another hour then we landed in Terminal 7 at JFK.  Miss Arabella had told me she was arriving in Terminal 4 so I caught the air-train to her terminal but couldn’t find her.  She finally worked out she was at Terminal 2 so there was another trip on the air-train before we finally met up beside ourselves with excitement.

And then it was into a taxi and off to Fifth Avenue.

Hello New York

Hello New York

I’m having such a great time I don’t want to think about going home just yet but when I do board the plane, I’d love to welcomed aboard by Jerry.

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  1. What a fantastic, story! The reason why the food is bland is because our taste buds, don’t taste anything at that altitude or dehydration level… except seaweed… go figure! I learnt that while watching a Heston Blumenthal show where he was trying to make airline food better… very interesting and worth a watch! Can’t wait for more exciting adventures! Liz x

  2. Apothecary goodies? I AM jealous. What a difference a little space and thoughtfulness can make, especially on such a long flight. I hope you have a grand time–and that you give us a thorough report of the trip. And I seriously think you need to join me in Morocco on one of these trips!

  3. What an absolute legend Jerry is. I am so pleased to hear you were treated so well, it really is those little touches that make the ‘rougher’ experiences great. I know who to travel with now… You! 🙂 Hmmm… That food doesn’t look all that appetising, although, I usually really enjoy plane food, breaks the trip up, something to look forward to maybe.
    Wishing you a super fun trip. Already can’t wait for the next post. Take care. xoxox

  4. Have you puzzled out why Jerry treated you so royally? That’s fantastic. Sounds like you’re already enjoying your visit to the U.S., despite the LA airport.

  5. I agree that LAX is an awful airport. And flying economy for a long trip like that? Ugh. What a nice steward. Love the picture of the Flatiron building — I used to work several blocks south of there.

  6. Laughing at your scan experience! Isn’t that aweful? You are so funny, “it’s just fat!” The thinnest fat she has poked at!! Have a fabulous time. I hope Jerry is around for your return flight!

  7. Welcome to the US! Jerry sounds like a dream and maybe also like he found you to be quite dreamy as well. 🙂 Sorry you had to contend with TSA. They are awful and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone from the US or elsewhere who don’t think they’re ridiculous and annoying at best.

    If we were still on the east coast I would drive the 4 hours to NY just to meet you! However now, I’m about 2,000 miles away. Enjoy your trip! I can’t wait to hear all about it!
    ~ April

  8. When you’re as upbeat and sociable as you are, you make friends everywhere you go. The steward sounds like he was smitten. 🙂

  9. Nice Charlie. You must have looked like royalty

  10. How fabulous to get that extra bit of special treatment. It’s a long flight so I’m glad you’re having a good time – according to twitter. Hope you both have lots of fun. GG

  11. Have fun! I’ll be keeping an eye on your trip, and making notes for mine in a few weeks time!

  12. Yay for Jerry! What a nice chap indeed, and what an accommodating seat mate too 🙂 Airline food has a unique set of challenges, that’s for sure, but at least the champagne helped take the edge off 🙂 xox

  13. I’ve only had a ‘Jerry’ one time but it was ages ago and at the other end of the plane. I was flying alone and he took it upon himself to make sure that I wasn’t lonely. Before the end of the flight he’d given me every expensive thing in the galley, his business card with his wife’s jewelry business clearly marked upon it and when I got home, there was a full bottle of Moet in my carry-on. I loved it! I hope you get on his flight going home. Enjoy every single second of your time together.

  14. Wow, wow, wow! Enjoy Charlie xox

  15. I wonder what spurred the special treatment! How delightful anyway and lucky that your seat mate was asleep. It could have been awkward otherwise (imagine if it were the other way around!). Hope you’re having a great time in NY!

  16. Love at first sight for passenger 65K? What a fab story that I am sure turning a whole lot of people, including me, Ivy green with envy, hahaha! I hope you at least gave him a hug besides a whole lot of that beautiful smile. Lovely write up Charlie, I always wonder how you manage to come up with everything at such a short time. I seem to spend an eternity just sorting out pictures!! Have a great trip. Waiting to hear more on this…..

  17. What a savior that Jerry was! That is unheard. What luck. And the guy sleeping next to you totally reminds me of Mike. He’s always asleep before the plane takes off. I don’t know how he does it. Have a wonderful time with Arabella in NYC! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

  18. Looking at how you present in the early morning hours . . . . no wonder there were a few benefits en route! Mother and daughter reunited . . . and now we can peacefully wait for the next days . . .

  19. what a lovely chap Jerry sounds like!

  20. Oh Charlie I laughed my head off at the ‘it’s just fat’ comment. Those full body scanners are scary. The first time I’d been in one I was very very newly pregnant and really scared it was bad!
    How lucky to have Jerry take a shining to you. I thought you were going to say he let you move up to Business but that’s the next best thing.
    So glad you’re having a good time! x

  21. Jerry the saviour actually! What a lovely way to be treated 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. All power to Jerry, what a nice guy. He must have taken a shine to you. I’m loving following you on FB for this trip too. Look forward to more of your adventures.

  23. G’day! Sounds like Qantas knew there was a VIP on board, true!
    Glad you enjoyed the champagne and have HEAPS of fun in New York and look forward to reading and seeing all you do!
    Cheers! Joanne

  24. I am awed and impressed by your friendship with Jerry! You must have a real first class air about you (definitely a good thing to have!) and what a lovely person for going above and beyond to improve your journey. You certainly need those helping hands on long distance economy travel – and dare I say it (Jerry aside) on Qantas in particular! I am sure their economy seats give at least an inch less leg room than other planes.

  25. What a score, I wonder why Jerry chose you? We always dress up for flights but only once have we been bumped to business class and sadly it was for a very short flight home from DC! I’m so jealous you’re in Manhatten, I adore that city. We’re planning a trip back next May for our anniversary.
    I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel, quirky describes it well. I still need to see 127 but fear it would be too disturbing.
    Glad you’re having a blast in the big apple.

  26. What an experience Charlie … too funny! Have a wonderful time, NYC is the most incredible city (as you’re now finding out)!

  27. A good steward like Jerry can really make your trip something to remember. Imagine what it would have been like without him. You two are going to have a wonderful time in New York, Charlie. There really is no lace like it. Enjoy!

  28. wow you were so lucky that is amazing. i wonder if perhaps he or other stewards take it upon themselves to do this lovely treat for someone on each flight. that would be a marvellous idea. clearly i haven’t been overseas for quite some time cos they always used to give out these little parcels with socks, toiletries etc in economy. this happened on cathay and singapore and BA when we flew. what a shame if it no longer happens.

  29. I’d love to be introduced to your friend Jerry for my next trip – he sounds like a wee treasure. (Even more I would love to sleep for 12 hours like your neighbour – anywhere!) I hope a good plane trip bodes well for your time in New York.

  30. What a wonderful plane ride, I have never been that fortunate. Good for you!

  31. Well, you certainly made a friend in Jerry, and what a difference that must have made. Have a ball in New York. You deserve a good break.

  32. Jerry, what a lifesaver you are. Wonder what the chances are if you could have him on your flight back home.
    Have a wonderful time!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  33. How wonderful to have had Jerry to look after you! You obviously made quite an impression on him. The food didn’t look too good, but the adventure is spectacular! I just know you’re having a marvelous time!

  34. What a lucky lady to have such a kind chap looking after you! We are off to Europe in 3 weeks and those plane meals looked far from appetizing. Not sure what I will be able to eat but starving is good for weight loss, I guess, I am so glad you and Arabella are having such a fabulous time. Sometimes I wish I had a daughter.

  35. I’ve never flown before but if I ever do, I want to have Jerry as my steward! He sounds like he knows what he’s doing! So glad you finally made it to New York! Hope you are enjoying yourself. Take care and have fun!

  36. How wonderful that you had Jerry – so nice to get some special attention. On my last flight back from LAX, the selfish person in front of me, who already had extra leg room, leaned right back in his seat, pinning me in. I have a bad back, so as a result of his actions, I arrived wirh scoliosis and required numerous trips to the physio to put it right.

  37. Maybe Jerry reads your Blog!

  38. Ahahaha! There are always people who fall asleep even before the plane takes off. It’s true, what a gift (especially almost 12 hours!)! I wish I could fall asleep that easily. 🙂 Glad to hear you had a good and safe flight to NY (and I agree about LAX…).

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