The day started off with an uneventful drive to Perth, though there was more traffic congestion near the Roe Hwy off ramp, Tonkin Hwy intersection with Roe, and the Tonkin Hwy intersection with Leach Hwy and Gt Eastern Hwy than I expected for the day of the week and time of the day. So, a drive that normally takes just a tad over 1.5 hours took 2 hours. Being one of those people who’d rather be two hours early to something than 1 minute late, that wasn’t a problem as I’d allowed plenty of contingency time
On the drive up to Perth, I got a text message from Qantas — my Frequent Flyer points upgrade request for the long flight across the Pacific had come through! So I will experience my first (and likely only) taste of flying FIRST class on an A380. How good is that?!
The Qantas Lounge at Perth Domestic Airport was packed — as usual. They’ve extended it a couple of times in the past 5 years, but nothing they do seems able to cater for the sheer (increasing) volume of passengers passing through the airport. The wireless connection on my phone in the lounge reported as ‘good’, but I couldn’t get emails, Tweets etc. so I turned it off and went back to Telstra’s 3G and was able to get my stuff then. I suspect they designed the lounge and communications upgrade a few years ago long before anyone thought that wireless connections would be as ubiquitous as they are on phones. I doubt the system could handle it. Absolutely everyone I saw in the lounge was looking at their phones, tablets, etc.
The flight to Melbourne left about 25 minutes late but arrived pretty much on time. I was in Business class and we were fed dinner during the flight — roasted tomato soup with sourdough bread (or wholemeal roll), Spanish chicken with chorizo, polenta, and wilted spinach and a delicious tomato-based sauce, followed by a decadent Maggie Beer passionfruit icecream with almond tuilles. Oh, and all washed down with a couple of glasses of a 2010 Heathcote Shiraz, and a delicious sticky dessert wine (a noble rot wine of some sort). Real china crockery, real glass glasses, and real metal cutlery. Love you, Qantas!
I started to watch ‘Lincoln’ but gave up after about 25 mins — US politics of the 1860s just didn’t interest me and I found it hard to get into. So I watched some mindless drivel instead — as you do It was a Kevin James movie (Here comes the boom’?) about a teacher who takes up mixed martial arts fighting to save the school’s music program. Light and fluffy. Perfect for a flight of about 3.5 hours.
As I mentioned earlier, we arrived on time into Melbourne. There were NO other baggage carousels with people waiting for bags. I mention this because it took nearly an HOUR for our bags to get offloaded from the plane! I went to the baggage claim area and the people there told me it was because of delayed flights from Sydney as a result of storms there and that’s why our bags were delayed. But there were NO people at any other baggage carousel. Ours was the ONLY flight waiting for bags. So I think the Sydney excuse was a fob off for some other reason our bags took so long to come off the plane. The other thing about baggage claim is that the bags just came out willy-nilly. It used to be that they offloaded the Business class bags first… guess that doesn’t happen anymore, or else the baggage handlers were just beetling to get the bags off, no matter the order.
As a result, I didn’t get to the hotel until nearly 9 pm Melbourne time, after arriving at 7:30. The hotel is right at the airport, about 100 m from the terminals, so there was no travel distance to deal with.
My wake-up call is booked for 6 am tomorrow (3 am Perth time!), for the next part of the journey — the long haul to Seattle via Los Angeles. By tomorrow night, I will be sleeping in Seattle (hopefully not sleepless in Seattle )