Brisbane trip 4: What price a shower?

9 07 2007

When I arrived in Sydney at 7:00pm, I discovered that my 8:30pm flight was delayed until 10:00pm (or later). Damn! After comfirming the new flight time and asking about internet access, the VirginBlue counter staff person told me I could get into the Lounge for $30 for a single visit. And that there was food, wine, free internet, showers, etc. Well, I needed no more convincing! What price a decent shower??? And I figured that if I bought dinner and a wine or two in the terminal, plus paid for internet access, I’d be close to spending $30 anyway. So that’s what I did. Bought a single access pass to the Velocity Lounge. Very similar to the Qantas Club lounges, though smaller and lots less people.

First stop – a shower! Then food (nibbles) and wine (3 glasses of Devil’s Lair Fifth leg Shiraz) + nougat and paneforte… Easily $30 worth!! Oh, and free wireless internet access, though it was a bit flakey. Actually, it was really flakey. It worked once for about 2 minutes, then died, and I couldn’t reconnect except via dial-up.

So here I am in Sydney Airport waiting for a late night flight to Brisbane… I doubt I’ll get to the hotel before midnight, and I have my first meeting tomorrow morning at 8:00am.

Brisbane trip 3: Hanging around airports

9 07 2007

I had a bite to eat at the Dome coffee shop inside the VirginBlue terminal (Yes, TFP, I had Dome’s Caesar Salad – and it was GOOD, though the bowl was quite small. Lots of hot chicken, bacon, and shaved parmesan. Yummy!). Then I hung around until the flight.

Uneventful flight to Sydney; listened to more podcasts on the drive up and on the flight. Nothing to get excited about – just techie/geekie stuff! And read half of a book, and listened to a couple of albums while I read, plus did some work. Everything on VirginBlue costs – $10 for Foxtel programming, and you pay for food and drinks. I’d eaten at Dome and had paid an exhorbitant $3.60 for a Diet Coke at the cafe in the departure area before boarding the plane, so I didn’t buy anything on board.

Brisbane trip 2: Perth Airport parking

9 07 2007

I’d checked the info on the internet about long term parking at Perth Airport, and it clearly said no bookings were required. When I got there, the first sign for Long Term parking indicated that only 24 bays were available. So I dutifully followed the signs, only to go by three Long term parking lots all of which had the FULL signs out! So it was back to the Overflow parking lot way in the back of beyond to find parking. The good thing: It was only $25 for unlimited parking, compared to the $55 I was expecting for the time I needed to be there. And it was secure – well, there was a fence around the lot… A shuttle took me and another guy to the airport at no cost (that would’ve been rich!) but via a very circuitous route – first the driver stopped at his car to get his water bottle, then at one of the full parking lots he stopped to undo the chain and padlock to let a guy out, then finally we got to the terminals. Lucky the other guy and I weren’t in a hurry… Such a hick town approach, compared to airport shuttles in the US.

The parking situation at Perth Domestic Airport is atrocious and getting worse by the day. With so many fly in/fly out workers, there’s just no space for Long Term parkers. While many catch a cab to the airport or get a lift from their partners, not all of us can do that (especially when we live some 3.5 hours drive from the Airport!). I don’t know why Perth Airport has this ‘thing’ about wide-open spaces – it can be the only reason they’ve never put in a multi-storey carpark, which is sorely needed.

Brisbane trip 1: Getting there

9 07 2007

I left home at 7:40am. It was pretty foggy at the house, but was a pea souper in town. However, the fog lifted just out of town and it remained clear the entire trip to Perth.

I had a good run through to the Kwinana Freeway, but roadworks starting at Thomas Rd meant that I got out of that traffic jam and on to Thomas Rd. I had plenty of time to get to the airport, but waiting an hour or so of it in a traffic jam would mean that it would be tight. A better option was to get off the freeway and head to Nicholson Rd and then the Roe and Tonkin Highways.

Despite lots of roadworks and heavy truck traffic on Thomas and Nicholson Rds, this proved a wise move. I made the airport by 11:30, some 3.5 hours after leaving home. And then the fun began…

Long commute to work

9 07 2007

I’m off to spend a week in the new client’s offices – in Brisbane! Let’s see… That’ll be:

  • 3 to 4 hours drive to Perth. It’s very foggy here this morning, so the trip may be even longer; time spent in Perth getting to the airport will depend on traffic.
  • 1 to 2 hours airport ‘hang time’ waiting for the VirginBlue flight to leave. They still say 30 minutes on the ticketing info, but the reality these days is to arrive at least an hour before your flight time to get through the security checks. That’s domestic. With international, you have to allow 3 hours.
  • 3 to 4 hour flight to Sydney
  • 1.5 hours ‘hang time’ at Sydney airport
  • 1.5 to 2 hours flight to Brisbane
  • 30 minute wait for luggage
  • 30 minute taxi drive to hotel

By my reckoning, I’ll leave here around 7am and not get to the hotel until close to 11pm tonight. That’s about 16 hours of travel and ‘hang around time’. Oops, make that 14 hours. 11pm Queensland time is 9pm Perth time…

The next four days are in Brisbane with the rest of the Perth crew who took the same flights yesterday (Sunday). We have a packed work agenda every day and every night except Wednesday. On Friday, we’ll work all day, then catch the 7:30pm Qantas flight back to Perth. At least that’s a direct flight! I think the flight is about 5 hours. I know we get in to Perth around 11pm Perth time. I’ll then be staying overnight at a city hotel, and driving back on Saturday.

There’s no way I’ll drive back Friday night – 8 hour work day + 5 hour flight + couple of hours ‘hang time’ between work and flight departure = 15 hours. Add to that a 3 to 4 hour drive home – in the dark, possibly in fog, with kangaroos around on the latter sections of the trip. Nope. No way.

So I’m out of here in about an hour. If I’m quiet all week, you’ll know why!