Ignoring the very long wait at Brisbane airport, the journey wasn’t that bad. In fact, it consisted of three seven hour stretches (Brisbane to Singapore, Singapore to Dubai, Dubai to London) which broke it up quite nicely. This is clearly the way to travel long haul. Actually, Mirinda claims she’d add a 24 hour stopover at each airport as well.
The main benefit of the three airport trip is the break each seven hours. These breaks give you a chance to wander round, stretch your legs, have a fag if so inclined and generally breathe different recycled air.
The Singapore stop over was for 30 minutes, which stretched to 60 because of the delay (yes, that makes no sense to me either) and an unexpected delight. The second break, at Dubai, was supposed to be an hour and a half but, because of the delay in Brisbane, meant we had 30 minutes to change planes. This was going to be difficult.
On the plane a single page of text was occasionally displayed letting us know that we had to make sure we were present at departure gates 15 minutes before a plane is scheduled to depart because that’s when the gate closes.
While we waited to get off the plane at Dubai, I looked at my watch with increasing anxiety as the minute hand crept inexorably towards the quarter hour mark. I was not alone. The woman standing in front of me was off to Delhi; a guy next to me, Manchester. Everyone was a bit fidgety.
As we left the plane and entered the terminal, a group of very short air hostesses were standing directing transfers to various groups. I joined the Heathrow group. Eventually we all set off for our departure gate. Across the floor, down an escalator, through security for the umpteenth time, up an escalator, across a floor (dodging crazy tourists with all the time in the world to wander round the shops which were just a blur to me), through a gate, down a flight of stairs and into a plane held at the gate right next to the one we had just left. We could see the plane we just left.
We had, effectively, walked about a mile to get about 200 yards. The only reason I can see why we did this was in order to go through security. We had already been through security in Brisbane and Singapore. The only opportunity to ‘arm’ ourselves with anything would have been on the plane or in the terminal at Dubai, which we could have avoided by going the 200 yards to the next plane. All a bit odd but typical these days.
Not that I’m complaining! Had we not had to go on this wonderful detour, we’d have had a very short break and stretch. This cross country hike was just what the doctor ordered.
And so, in three hops, the journey was complete and we landed in London. I was walking and chatting to an English guy who lives and works in Australia and he wandered why all the people at the baggage hall stand so close to the conveyor belt when they could easily stand back and step forward when they spotted their luggage.
I was about to agree with him when I spotted my bag and he, his. We pushed into the crowd, elbowing the idiots out of the way, and retrieved our bags which, I reckon, were first off the plane.
I walked straight outside and stood in the street, breathing in the four degrees, enjoying the comfort. It felt so good being home.
Here’s what the check-in desks look like, late at night at Brisbane airport. Note the fact that they are deserted.