US trip 2010: Perth to Melbourne

17 03 2010

I flew out from Perth yesterday afternoon, arriving in Melbourne at 9PM. I had used some of my half million Qantas Frequent Flyer points to upgrade to Business Class, so that was nice.

The meal was a choice of smoked lamb cutlets, Thai-style duck curry, or salad with ham. Except by the time they got to me, all the lamb had gone and by the time they got to the guy behind me, all the duck curry had gone! Not good planning on Qantas’ part.

However, the steward offered me a bottle of red wine seeing as though they’d run out of the lamb (my preference). I told him I couldn’t take it as I was going on to LA, but he said to put it in my hand luggage. Which I did. But the repercussions of that was that it was confiscated from me this morning at Melbourne Airport security check! As soon as you pass security and immigration, you can buy bottles of wine, spirits etc. and put them in your hand luggage, but you can’t take them through that check point. Crazy. And even crazier for the Qantas steward to suggest I put it in my hand luggage. And stupid me for forgetting that I wouldn’t be able to take that bottle through.

Back to the meal. The Thai duck curry was delicious. But it was accompanied by one of those silly little salads that Qantas do, where the ‘greens’ are nothing more than glorified bitter weeds! What’s the matter with lettuce? Iceberg, or cos/romaine, or even buttercrunch? Those spiky, bitter leaves they put in the salad are just inedible.

After the meal, they offered us a choice of a rich choclate icecream or cheese. I took the icecream! With a glass of Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon 2006 — a very nice dessert wine!

I stayed overnight at the Melbourne Airport Hilton, which is literally a walk over the road from the terminals. Very convenient.

Oh, and I got lucky! At both Perth and Melbourne airports, I was randomly singled out for an explosives check, which involced a quick swab/swipe of my hand luggage and body and a brief frisking of my body for liquids. Both checks were done by a female and the process was painless and not at all humiliating. But after all these years of travel, I’ve never been singled out for that sort of check before, let alone two in two flights.

Actually, I got really lucky. I got my points upgrade to Business Class for the LONG flight to LA! Woohoo! I had paid for Premium Economy, so I won’t get to sample that on today’s flight. And at the time of check-in, I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me, which means I might be able to use the spare seat to stow my laptop etc. when meals come around. Here’s hoping…


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