Excellent service. I had a couple of problems with my return flight and it was so reassuring to be able to phone someone, have the phone answered almost instantly and my problem sorted quickly and efficiently. Well done Ash and your colleagues!
We were very impressed with the excellent service and many thanks to Ash for all his help.
I will only ever use DialAFlight as they have never let me down through the many years that I have used them. Gordon arranges my fabulous holidays every time
Sally and her team were amazing. They were all very helpful. Very pleased with the service.
Marcus was great. Knowledgeable and helpful. Unfailingly pleasant.
As always, everything ran like clockwork. Many thanks to Orlando and the team.
Everything went according to your schedule. Wish you’d been in charge of the weather!
Very smooth trip assisted by Oliver, who kept in contact throughout and was always quick to answer queries and give reassurance. I would recommend DialAFlight and will definitely come back for my next trip.
Great service, would use again for next trip
100% reliable, helpful and customers are at the forefront of their business model.
Very helpful on the phone
Excellent service as always. Used DialAFlight five times now.
Top travel consultant, definitely use again
Top travel consultant. Will use again.
Flawless service as usual.
As I have found on previous journeys, the booking process was painless and straightforward. All staff have been helpful and friendly.
Lufthansa are a bit rubbish but I won't hold that against you!
Robert and his team were exultant throughout from the very beginning to the end. I will be contacting them to book another holiday
We had a fantastic time. All ran smoothly. If we were to do a similar trip again, we would do more research on the accommodation.
I’ve been booking holidays through Michelle for almost 20 years - prior to Covid this was often two long-haul trips, sometimes more per annum. Every time Michelle has provided excellent service which can’t be faulted - this trip was no exception. I have no hesitation in recommending Michelle to any of my friends. Roll on my next trip which is already booked!
We preferred the non stop flight and Premium economy was worth the money. Will have to start saving for next year.
Great customer service
A good experience using DialAFlight. Taylor and Anthony were very helpful, patiently answering my questions. Well done!
Scoot ended up just as bad as you said!
Russell is always very helpful, many thanks.
Journey to Perth via Doha. Second time booking with DialAFlight and nothing was too much trouble. Great flight times too which was a bonus. I will always book through DialAFlight
Luke is always most helpful, thank you
Always used you guys regularly but in recent years have booked independently. Following my recent positive experience I’m back on board!
Very polite and professional
Jamie is a great travel consultant. Would definitely book with him again as very knowledgeable and friendly. Good work Jamie
It's a sun-drenched morning at the East Perth Terminal and the Indian Pacific train gleams brightly beyond the cool shadows of the station. Two dozen stainless-steel carriages stretch along the boomerang-shaped platform.
Our coaches, dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s, were built in New South Wales by Commonwealth Engineering, which received a licence for the sleek, bullet-like design from Budd, a metal-fabricating company in Philadelphia.
I know this because John Brinkley, one of three train managers on the 1,860ft-long Indian Pacific (it travels from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean), is on hand to answer any questions. He also points guests towards their carriage for our 2,700-mile journey.
We are departing Perth on a Sunday at 11.55am, and are due to arrive in Sydney on Wednesday at 11.07am.
I'm travelling in gold class for two nights (sleeper cabins and a lounge with free drinks, plus free meals in a smart dining carriage) followed by a night in red (reclining seats and a cafe where you have to pay). There's also platinum class - comfortable cabins with double beds, a swanky dining carriage, and a free cocktail bar.
Brinkley tells me the train hit a camel on the way from Sydney to Perth a couple of days ago. 'There was damage to the loco - we had to repair an air pipe. We blow animal whistles and the horn, but it still happens. Kangaroos keep out of the way generally. Kangaroos are pretty smart.'
We roll out of Perth and into the parched countryside with gum trees, shrubs and orange-tinged soil. After dumping my bag in my cabin, I go to the gold-class lounge to meet my fellow travellers. Many are sitting in burgundy leather armchairs and banquettes drinking Crown lager and glasses of Australian wine, while conversations range from Chinese investment in Hunter Valley coal mines to the quality of the train's gin (deemed top-notch).
It's a jolly train. Meals are substantial: three courses, served in booths separated by frosted-glass partitions.
We stop at Kalgoorlie (population: 31,000) at 10.45pm. Coaches take us past darkened sights including a vast working mine; gold was discovered here in 1893. The town has a frontier feel. A guide points out a Woolworths that has the biggest takings in Australia (gold miners have plenty of cash to spend).
I sleep well, to the rhythm of the tracks, and wake to see copper-gold light illuminating wispy clouds above gum trees and dried-out river beds.By mid-morning, the Indian Pacific draws to a halt at Cook (population: four) and I spot a sign saying: 'If you're crook, come to Cook, Queen City of the Nullarbor.' Crook, of course, is slang for 'ill' in Australia, while the Nullarbor Plain is a region that boasts a wild and rugged landscape. A 297-mile section of track running through it is the world's longest straight stretch. Cook is an outpost of rundown buildings. However, it's a good place to stretch our legs.
Early next morning we pull into Adelaide, and passengers join coach tours of the South Australian city. We are taken to Mount Lofty, though it's shrouded in cloud. We see the Adelaide Oval, where there's a statue of cricket legend Sir Don Bradman.
Back at Adelaide Parklands Terminal I buy a battery-powered beer-bottle cooler that makes train sounds when lifted.
Now I have to switch to red class, towards the front of the train. It comprises 48 seats that look as though they belong in a plane's business-class, but filled with backpackers and retirees.
Our duty manager recommends the breakfasts that he personally cooks. 'I've had phone calls from Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver saying, "I've heard about your breakfasts". I reply, "No, I can't come to work for you. I want the twenty bucks an hour Great Southern Rail is paying me".' Not far out of Adelaide, I glimpse my first and only kangaroos, far in the distance. I also spot an eagle high above.
That evening we reach Broken Hill, a lead and zinc mining town, and I make my way to the Palace Hotel. The venue featured in the 1994 film The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, about the unlikely subject of drag queens in the Outback.
I discover a reception area with bright murals, stuffed birds and cabinets displaying leopard-print high heels. On the wall is an advert for the Broken Heel Festival. Its motto? 'Life in the Outback is never a drag.' Back on the train, we clatter through the night and wake to see cows munching grass in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. I eat our carriage manager's Gordon Ramsay-quality breakfast and sit back as we snake into Sydney's Grand Central station. We're a mere 13 minutes late - not bad when you've just covered 2,700 miles.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - September 2016
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