Flight Report
QF 684 Adelaide - Melbourne

3 June 2008

Free Flights Come At A Cost

When I first confirmed my trip to Adelaide, I didn't think about adding a trip to Melbourne again. But then, I get a free stopover when I redeem a flight with mileage, so why not add one? I had to pay an extra 3000 miles to change the itinerary since the ticket had already been issued, but considering I could do a triangular trip of 3 flights at 23,000 points, it didn't seem so expensive after all.

Melbourne was plagued by fog that morning, which caused many flights to divert to other Australian cities, including Adelaide, and many other flights to Melbourne were cancelled or significantly delayed. I was not supposed to fly on this flight originally. I was scheduled on the next flight, but I got to the airport early, and when I saw my flight was delayed by 2+ hours, I tried to get Customer Service to put me on this flight.

QF 684 itself was late to leave by over an hour. When I got to the airport, they were only starting to board when they were supposed to have left had it been on schedule. Luckily it wasn't full so I was put on this flight without any problems. It was my lucky day.

Delayed Departure

I kept myself busy looking at the Adelaide skyline as we waited to push back. Due to increased diversion traffic from Melbourne, aircraft movements kept us at the gate for a while before we could move. I didn't mind so much since we were expected to land at about the same time as if my original flight had left on time.

747 in Adelaide

That 747 was originally bound for Melbourne but diverted to Adelaide due to fog. Now it's ready to continue on to its final destination.


QF 684 was originally scheduled to leave Melbourne at 1240, but departed at 1306. We took off towards the ocean westwards, then turned south, and then a bit east.

Bad News

As I admired the views, we were informed that due to heavy traffic at Melbourne, we would need to circle in the sky for about half an hour. We would do a couple of right-hand 360-degree turns over Ballarat. The 1-hour flight was going to be 50% longer.

More Circles

After our first set of circles over Ballarat, we flew for a bit and then did another few sets of circles.

Fog Approaching

Notice the skies were good all the way until we started descending into Melbourne, and note the clouds and soon to-be-seen fog underneath even though it was well into the afternoon.

Late Arrival

The original arrival time was supposed to be 1425, but we landed an hour late at 1524. I consider that fairly lucky considering the earlier flight from Adelaide to Melbourne arrived an hour after I did, and my original flight would've arrived much later. Melbourne airport is quite close to the city centre. An expensive express bus service connects to the city-centre rail station in about 20 minutes. Without any checked luggage, I was soon on my way into town!

Service Summary

Given the extraordinary weather, I think my late arrival into Melbourne was acceptable. The pilot kept us informed throughout the trip, even pointing out the 747 that departed before we did in Adelaide was also circling around in a holding pattern above us. Unfortunately it was to the left of us and I was sitting on the right side. The jet had not PTVs, so I had to peer up to look at the small monitor. I didn't feel like watching TV anyway, although after a few circles the same views came back and it got a bit boring.

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