Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Quick Trip to Queensland: the Jungle Jet

We made it to our new gate without incident - well, with only one incident. Midga had completely forgotten that he had his mini screwdriver set in my case, a throwback to the days when my hard drive was playing up. Customs in Terminal 4 had examined them closely but not said anything. In Terminal 3 they said screwdrivers are prohibited on flights and took them off us. Ah well, we'll get another set some time, and they'll be brand new instead of slightly damaged ones.

So as I was saying, we got to our new gate. It was right at the end of the terminal so we weren't sure which plane was ours, but there was a Jungle Jet (Embraer E190) out the window and we were hopeful.

As we arrived the staff were in the middle of an announcement about people who might have trouble boarding - and said we'd be using airstairs instead of an aerobridge! What fun! Asha said she'd appreciate help with the stairs (her knees are still giving her a bit of grief) so she got to get on board first. Midga and I followed, and since we were from a bumped flight we were right down the back in the cheap seats - which was great because we could get in and settled before everyone else started crowding onto the plane.

We've never been on one of these before, but wanted to ever since Australian Aviation ran an article about them. It said they'd done a lot of second-mouse improvements over the 737 and A320 ("The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese" - ie if you wait til someone else has gone in and done something, you can learn from their mistakes). The windows are nearly twice as wide as on a 737, and line up with the seats fairly accurately. The fuselage is wide enough for 2+2 seats with a very comfortable amount of width and an aisle that people can pass each other in. And the way Virgin have done them there's enough leg room even for Midga to stretch out without kicking the person in front. I very much suspect we're in better comfort here than in Emirates' 777s!

There was a bit of condensation coming out of the air conditioning as we were waiting for takeoff - the same as on the Aldi Airlines DC-9 we flew when we were in the USA. Maybe it's a back-of-the-plane thing.

Now here's something for the tech heads. Midga and I can't work it out with our combined expertise so let's open it to the world. As part of the In-Flight Entertainment there's free wifi on board this plane (told you the Jungle Jets were good), but to access it we need Virgin's app and - here's the weird bit - we need to be in flight mode. Doesn't flight mode turn off wifi? Or does Virgin's app have special permission to use wifi even with flight mode on? Anyway, we can't seem to make it work, and besides, we don't have any headphones so the only option is to pay for them. That kinda takes away the value of free wifi. Shame about the movies though.

Fairly soon after we reached altitude the snacks came around. Being a much smaller cabin than on a 777 they arrived at our seats pretty quickly, even with only one trolley doing the whole plane. Midga put his tray down to hold his cup of tea, and I could fit on the remaining section of the tray. It's good being a slightly smaller laptop sometimes.

1 comment:

Stephen Angelico said...

I found, quite by accident, that wifi can be turned on while in flight mode. At least, this is the case on HTC phones. YMMV.