This may be a bit blurry now as crossing the hemisphere means time travel and brain screwing and it doesn’t help when you do it twice in a fortnight.
It all started fine in Wellington – had checked in online, it’s all marvellously easy to do these days, even bag checks, you can do most of it without speaking to a soul – and through customs we went. No problems there and we got to our gate nice and early.
When it came to boarding time and there were no staff present, we did think there might be a slight delay. I wasn’t too worried, we had a LONG wait in Melbourne so it would shorten that, my only concern was that we didn’t end up sitting next to the chap I could smell from five feet away. And it wasn’t cologne.
Eventually, staff appeared and after some informal chats with each other, told us that our flight was late coming in and was now being cleaned, boarding should be in 10 minutes.
We weren’t that bothered, we had that Melbourne wait and we knew we had aisle seats the whole way back.
When we got on the ‘plane all was fine, it was a bit old and noisy but still did the business. I was HUGELY grateful that after a very ear painful trip from the UK, they were happy to just block and unblock without the accompanying ache.
However, the ‘plane was bloody hot – even with the air whatsits on full – so we were really relieved to get to Melbourne and get off into some air conditioned wonder.
Except we couldn’t – there was a power outage at the international terminal and they couldn’t open their doors, ie, they were stuck inside their building, we were stuck on the runway.
The captain was great and gave us updates as he got them – mainly from watching from the cockpit and calls from the terminal – “ah ladies and gentlemen, it’s the captain again, they’ve got through the first door and I can see them in the air lock now but… yes… they need an access code so once they have that, things should improve.”
“ladies and gentlemen, captain again, they have the code!”
“hello ladies and gentlemen, it’s the captain, the code doesn’t appear to be working. There are two people in the airport who can bypass the code so they’re off to find them. But you know, even if they get through there, they still need power to get the tunnel over to the ‘plane so…”
(before you start asking why they didn’t just go back to manual things, like the old days, with humans pushing wheeled stairs and stuff, they had to get out of the building first and I think with each step they got more hopeful that the power would come back on.)
Anyway, after nearly an hour we got out of there and luckily, were the first ‘plane to land since the power went out. There were lots of people connecting to Adelaide and Sydney I think it was, they were ALL going to miss their flights but international customs gave them the option of leaving their bags on our ‘plane and going to their domestic connections, which they all took up. They all left the ‘plane first and their flights were waiting for them, which I was impressed by.
For us though, it was just as long a wait as before because the power outage was affecting everyone. Our original flight to dubai was meant to be 11.55pm and had been shunted to 1.20am. KD had downloaded season 2 of ‘outlander’ and when we’d been comfortably in Oldest Sister’s living room, watching that during this break seemed like a great idea but now that it was 9pm NZ time, nothing was open at the airport because of the power outage and we were hot and tired, not so much.
Still, you’d be amazed how time can pass when you find a socket and have wifi!
The only other really annoying thing that happened there was that this bloke, who was wandering around having facetime with someone, loudly, being a dick, decided to come and sit beside us. I was so tired I couldn’t even be professionally civil so when he missed a call and thought it was our flight and was asking me if it was, etc, I just stared at him. Well, glared really. In fact, it might’ve been out and out DeathStare. Which he couldn’t understand because he was pissed and loud and sometimes irish and sometimes not. And calling one woman after another to tell them that no one knew he was coming home but he was and not to tell everyone (tell everyone) and there was going to be a party that he didn’t want anyone to go to (you better be there!) – by the time he got to the fourth woman and was demanding kisses I nearly grabbed his mobile and said YOU’RE FOURTH IN LINE!! But I didn’t. I just channelled my fury and hate towards him (and KD reassured him it wasn’t our flight).
I also saw Man of Stench so now there were two opportunities for awful fellow passengers.
Melbourne also lied to us about boarding and more severely than NZ but we EVENTUALLY got onto our flight and lo and behold, not only aisle seats BUT THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ ROW OF FOUR!! 😀 We held our breath as IrishNotIrish walked down the aisle but went right past us and I didn’t even see Man of Stench but we couldn’t believe our luck. The ‘plane had looked really busy when we were checking in so it probably meant some people were stuck on a ‘plane somewhere else, which sucked for them…
That flight was comparatively blissful. We took turns lying down and because I got some proper sleep I can’t really remember much. Also, being a much larger ‘plane it was more comfortable anyway, the air whatsits worked, life was good, etc.
Got to dubai after 13 something hours and went to the loos to freshen up a bit – it’s AMAZING the difference brushing your teeth, putting on some deodorant and slathering yourself in moisturiser can do. I also solved a disagreement I’d had with someone – maybe at work – about the toilets – they said the toilets in the airport were floor squats, I said they were normal – they’re both, side by side – I couldn’t face trying to balance after over 13 hours on a flight so took the normal option.
Went through security and KD set the alarm off – I could see a man being summoned to frisk her as they didn’t realise she was a woman but a woman was then called and she was taken into a booth off the side. I wasn’t that bothered, she’d set them off in Sydney as well but when I was repacking my luggage, I looked at the booth and she was no longer there – it was only a few seconds before I realised she was in my sight but for those few seconds I was panicky. I know this sounds ridiculous but remember, long flight, etc.
She told me later that she was sure one of the men was making obscene comments to the woman about her as she was taken into the room and it might be that I caught a look or feeling, I don’t know.
Anyway, when we went to the gate, it was my turn! First I was called aside and asked to confirm who I was then when we got to the next bit I was taken into my own wee cubicle. I was expecting a frisk, like KD, but no, I had to take my ipad and iphone out of the bag and everything, including me, was swabbed for explosives.
I AM BADASS!
I asked what was wrong but she wouldn’t speak to me, just kept giving me this unsettling smile.
Now, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but I have to tell you, since fucking brexit and tories and trump and dubai anyway, I really did NOT like it. I felt it was homophobic at the least, it certainly didn’t seem like a random call. A few days later, I wondered if it was because I had my keyring confiscated at dubai two years ago and maybe they keep passport numbers on record?
Whatever, we were really glad to get out of there and onto the ‘plane, where, lo and behold again, not only did we have another row to ourselves, there were LOADS of spare seats, because the problem at Melbourne was still impacting on flights coming in. so on that journey, we had a row each to sleep in – as in – we got to stretch our legs out and I fell asleep immediately I did that – so, bloody, blissful!
But, before we got to that point, the ‘flight was delayed. Because we were waiting for someone. Guess who?
Yep, IrishNotIrish, who sauntered on grinning like a fucking loon – I don’t know whether he found a drink somewhere (dubai? Not so likely) or a smoking area but you could feel the passengers glaring at him as he smirked his way down the aisle.
After 13 hours, this last jaunt felt like it would be easy – and it was – till we got to the uk. Everyone was standing up, ready to get off the ‘plane, I was feeling giddy with the thought of no more flying – then an announcement came on, could we please all take our seats as we were being met by the police.
I said it was probably someone smoking in the toilets, KD said she had smelled smoke on the flight to dubai and we laughed and said it was probably IrishNotIrish.
AND IT WAS!
As he was being led off the ‘plane, he was looking at the passengers on either side with a little boy lost look. KD has now decided that as his accent changed depending on who he spoke to, he probably had a warrant out for his arrest already and he HAD to leave Melbourne but I’m sticking with the smoking theory.
Got through electronic passport control no bother (and I hope KD is proud about that as she managed to cock it up at least twice in other places), got our luggage, got the tube and GOT HOME. Where there was red wine, beer and gluten free lasagne waiting 😀
You know, reading this back I know I’ve forgotten stuff because it doesn’t seem like that big a deal but… 39 hours. Never again.