Monica was great. She understood what we were trying to do. We gave her an itinerary and she made it happen. She actually saved us some cash too getting better flight and car deals that I could find. So I was happy with her efforts. Just need to see how her work delivers.
We checked in on line of course. We still needed to visit a check in counter but it was fast getting through everything. Border protection and security were a breeze. Smart passports and glance into the camera makes leaving the country so so easy. Before we knew it we were on Emirates’ 777-300ER and cruising towards Tapleys Hill Road ready for take off on Runway 05.
This was a pretty new aircraft, only 12 months old. The entertainment features were extensive and all worked so well. The screens in economy class keep getting bigger.
I am sure you all know ADL - DXB is a long flight. Not the longest at all… not even in the top 10 longest flights. But 12½ hours is a long time for anyone. Being an evening flight seems a great idea cos you can have a full day then sleep on the flight. The reality for us; this was a full day of being ready by about 1130 and just killing time till departure. Then sleep just will not happen.
There was a time I could sleep anywhere and whenever I chose. But getting old is no fun. Sleep was elusive. I had an aisle seat, we both did, for this leg which is my favourite on the plane. But I could not get comfortable enough to sleep no matter what I did.
Now I need to say it is a bit of my own fault. You see I will not recline my seat in economy class. Not because I don't wanna lie back. But because there is no one who wants the seat in front crushing their nose. So I won’t do it. A decision I made ohhh maybe 30 years ago. I have this ‘pay it forward’ belief that if I don't do it, then I wont have to experience it. It did work this time. On neither flight did I have to live with another travellers hair up my nose. Thank you!!!
But still no sleep. I wont blame Emirates. They do have a good product. I have slept better in the past. I am just getting old and it was not fun.
I was not looking forward to the transfer in DXB. It is a massive airport. In my experience, the Adelaide flight does not land at a terminal gate. I have always been remote parked and bussed to the terminal. I was having a good run this time and we pulled up to gate B27 15 minutes early. Of course there is still 2km of walking from the gate to security. Then on to the gate for our next flight. Even though this next flight leaves from B22, just across the hall. Still I cant complain. There was no hold up at all. Just walk the distances and all goes fine. Before we know it we are sitting on our next aircraft waiting to leave.
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
20 Minutes of sitting before the pilot says hello. He lets us know we are waiting for a group of 25 passengers to arrive. They are part of a package tour travelling together. Their inbound flight is running late from India. So we wait.
It is a complex decision airlines make. Waiting for theses delayed people costs the them money whatever they do. Waiting means a late departure from DXB so extra fees from the airport. There are extra fees at the arrival airport (GLA) too. We could just fly faster to GLA and make up the time. This costs in fuel. If the pilot leaves them behind then it is 25 people who need to make the next flight. DXB - GLA is already running almost full, all the time. They need accomodation in DXB for 24 hours. This pilot chose to wait.
If I were the one the whole plane was waiting for, I think I would hurry to my seat and sit - no further delay. Well not this group. They spent ages arguing with each other about who sits near whom. Ohhh so frustrating. I am becoming a grumpy old man. But there were lots of grumpier, younger people there too.
Then we are away. A whole hour later than planned but in the sky at last. This is a much older 777-300ER than the ADL flight. The entertainment choices were only half the size of our last flight. The touch sensitive screen is way smaller. Touch sensitive is a myth also. My screen was more 'thump sensitive…' If you managed to hit it just off to the lower right of each button. Still this is a quick dash. Only 7½ hours… we will cope.
Yes we did cope but I am becoming more a grumpy old man. I did keep my grumpy buried deep. The flight crew was great and did seem to care. The food was good airline food. I won’t complain. But sleep evaded me again for 7 hours.
I wanna say the seats are too narrow, but maybe it is just the width of my hips.
I wanna say the seats are too close together, but I could have put my bag in the overhead locker and had more room.
So much of what I wanna complain about is just me. And I shouldn't complain. I did get a good value for money trip across the world. Emirates did well. The security at all airports was as good as I have ever experienced.
The romance of world travel has dwindled somewhat. The time taken to travel has not diminished much if anything since the 60s. The price to fly is the same as it was in the 1930s. Well it is in numbers. The Sydney to London fare back then was about £350. Return today can still be had for about $1500 often. Of course back then it was many months of labour at the average wage. Today it is much less.
I need to examine the value proposition of the whole trip. So truth be told - I have no reason at all to complain.
Tell that to my aching bones.