And so my long wait at Brisbane airport started. My flight wasn’t due to leave until 00:50 this morning but the last bus to the airport arrived at 9:30pm yesterday. Not that I minded because it meant arriving at Heathrow at a reasonable hour.
I feel like I know Brisbane airport quite well these days, having spent half a lifetime there, waiting for planes. Of course, it would have been ideal had I been bumped up to Business Class because I could have spent the waiting time in the lounge. But I wasn’t. So I didn’t. I had a latte and read a lot instead. Oh, and I managed to catch up with the Archers, having downloaded two Omnibus editions from Mum’s.
The plane was not full, by any stretch of the imagination. In Premium Economy we all had rows to ourselves. My couple of forays into cattle class showed a lot more passengers lowing and bleating in the back while Business wasn’t even half full. This was repeated when we changed planes at Hong Kong but even more so. It meant a very comfortable trip on both legs, on both my legs.
It seems the right time to say how much I enjoyed the flights with Cathay Pacific. The food, the service, the plane…one of my best journeys. I can fully recommend them for travel care and courtesy. In fact, the only real hiccough of the whole trip home was at Hong Kong.
I had only a short walk to my gate (this does not happen very often) for my final flight with 90 minutes break. Just enough time to go across to Gate 40 for a Starbucks (it’s a bit indicative that I actually know where Starbucks is at Hong Kong airport) then settle down at gate 60 to wait and read.
The announcements at Hong Kong leave a lot to be desired and, clearly realising this, the various airline staff tend to make up novel ways of telling passengers what’s going on. So, it was no surprise that a staff member suddenly appeared, walking around the waiting passengers with a handwritten sign declaring that the gate had been changed. We all moved. It was no big hassle because the new gate was just across the way.
Resettled, I returned to my book for a bit. Then, as if mocking us, another airline representative suddenly appeared, all smiles and walking around with another handwritten sign telling us that the gate had been changed again. As before, this wasn’t very far, though some of my fellow passengers were far from happy with this new move.
As I sat down in my new seat, I noticed that the departure time had changed. For reasons never explained to us, the flight had been delayed by half an hour.
As dramas go, this wasn’t one. The moves weren’t a hassle and the delay wasn’t very big. Even so, a few passengers were quite irate and there were raised voices at the newest gate. I just shrugged but then I didn’t have a connecting flight.
I managed to catch a few hours sleep on the final leg and, finally (12 hours is a long time on a plane) landed in London a mere half hour late.
Back at Mum’s, I’d texted Carole (our taxi driver) asking if she could meet my plane and take me home. Usually I get the coach and train but I wasn’t sure how my foot would feel about that so I took the soft option. And there was my driver (not Carole this time), happily waiting for me. While there was a bit of traffic on the M25, we made pretty good time and I was soon home. It felt very good. Particularly the heated tiles in the extension, given I’d been wearing thongs since Brisbane.
After a shower and a change of clothes, I was feeling a bit more human. Then Mirinda came home and, in greeting, told me I looked like shit. Suddenly the premise fell away from my face and I collapsed into bed. It was, after all, a very long day by anyone’s reckoning.