I have flown long haul quite a few times, but never as far as Australia so I was a little bit concerned about the flight.
Luckily for me I travelled with my sister who has been to Australia before and we knew where we want to fly from in the UK and where we wanted to land in Australia, so we could narrow down headlines.
We found good flights with KLM and Etihad, unfortunately due to some delays in the annual leave being approved at work (three weeks over christmas isn’t the easiest time to book off!) we lost the original price so they were now a little out of our range.
We did manage to find new flights- still with KLM and Etihad- but we just had an extra stop over in Amsterdam. On the way over this wasn’t too bad, but it was pretty miserable on the way home!
As we were flying to Amsterdam we flew from Manchester Terminal 3 to begin with. Check in was REALLY SLOW for this, we were waiting a good hour or so. We were tired and hungry too so it seemed much worse that it was, we did have time to get breakfast in the end but we had to rush it through as we only had 30 minutes before we needed to board by the time we were checked in and through security.
We flew on a smaller KLM plane to Amsterdam- expected flight time was 2 hours but it only turned out to be an hour and 20 minutes. We slept the whole flight so don’t have much to say, but we were comfortable enough.
We had a short layover in Amsterdam, just long enough to grab some water and to wander over to our gate. Amsterdam Airport is easy enough to navigate, well sign posted and there were small luggage trolleys to help you along with your hand luggage.
We had been warned in Manchester that we were sitting next to each other for our next flight, it turns out that a lot of people had been sat apart. They think there had been some sort of check in error on their website. They couldn’t move our seats before the flight unfortunately but said we were welcome to ask the people next to us if they would switch, which we decided not to do in the end.
The expected flight time was 8 hours, but this turned out to be 6 hours and 10 minutes. Again we both slept most of the flight. This was a KLM plane and it was bigger for this flight and comfortable enough again. Something I did notice is that the stewards do not try to wake you for food and drinks services or leave you water. This isn’t a huge issue but I suggest taking a bottle of water for when you wake up or maybe asking a neighbour to wake you if you want to eat.
We had another short layover in Abu Dhabi, this airport is really manic. The walkways are quite narrow, especially if you have the little trolleys. We had to go through a mini security desk where they checked our bags for liquids etc.
Our next flight was on an Etihad plane, the expected flight time was 15 hour, but it was only 13 hours and 15 minutes. This plane was the most comfortable, but the flight was probably the most uncomfortable. The seats on the planes recline quite far back which is great if you’re laying back but not great for the person behind you! I personally don’t like to recline if there is somebody sat behind me so I had quite limited space for this flight. Service on the flight was quite good, one thing I did notice was that the seatbelt signs were switched on for the slightest amount of turbulence and the cabin crew would take their seats. Obviously you trust your crew when it comes to safety on board but it did mean that service was interrupted quite a lot, so I wished I had a bottle of water with me. Again Etihad crew don’t wake you for food so maybe ask whoever you’re travelling with to wake you. I was awake for one of the food services on this flight, there was a choice of three dishes (2 meat, 1 veggie) if you are a picky eater maybe ask for more details on what the meal actually is as the chicken meal was chicken curry which might not be to everybody’s taste. One thing I didn’t like about the service was that my meal was passed to me before my tray table was down and the stewards didn’t ask the passenger infront to sit his seat up for food, so I had to lean onto my neighbour to ask him to move forward before I could put my food down to start eating. I just found it a little odd as I’ve never flown with an airline that doesn’t ask passengers to sit up for food service. It was only a small issue, so didn’t affect the flight too much just unusual. Entertainment was great on the Etihad flight, it does shut off about half an hour before landing and there are a lot of announcements just before so don’t start watching anything around that time because you won’t have time to finish it!
Our flights from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on the way home were Etihad flights. We were both so tired from our trip that we slept most of the flights (11/13 hours and 3/6 hours), we also had nobody behind us so we could recline which was great.
The only issue we had was with check in, even though we booked all of the flights together through the KLM site we could only check in for the KLM flights. Which meant we couldn’t check in for any of the flights on the way back. Luckily the airlines seated us together for 5/6 flights.
These flights were my first with both KLM and Etihad, I would definitely fly with KLM again. If I had a choice I would maybe choose Emirates over Etihad, but I would not rule out flying Etihad again.