18 April 2011 Technology has a way of making things easier but also creating novel ways of increasing our stress levels at the same time. Take international, multiple flight air travel…Melbourne airport’s departure board seemed to be stuck halfway through the flights leaving at 1045…all the VAustralia MEL-LAX pax stood around for the best part of three quarters of an hour, complaining in a general manner, and betting on how long it would take them to open for booking…And where were they anyway??? Finally, the sudden movement towards the west of a small flock of pax caught my attention and a quick circuit of the check-in desks showed a bank of bored VAustralia employees at the check-in desks wondering why this particular Saturday morning was so quiet….we checked in, chose our seats, and then told them that the rest of the passengers for this flight were standing in front of the departures board at the other end of the hall…and with that, we bolted off in the direction of Customs..to be entertained by a brightly dressed cheerful Pommy spruiker in the Customs Hall – an innovation that I found quite entertaining..and as the line of hundreds snaked backwards and forwards across the hall in our elastic taped lanes, Clyve & I ‘baa-aed’ our sheepway ever closer to the gate and into GST-free territory (suspended above the ground above Melbourne airport).
Back to technology…while waiting in line to order coffee and ‘purple’ Danish pastries, I decided to check-in our United airlines flight (on the iPhone) from LAX to DEN which was due to leave in 3 hours after we were to set foot on US turf…and was that a saga!!! Optus and Melbourne airport obviously don’t have a particularly good relationship if the signal strength was anything to go by…it took a good 15 minutes of wandering in small circles while juggling coffee and Danish to get us at least confirmed for the next flight, although I couldn’t pay by credit card because apparently Victoria isn’t a state of Australia !!!??!.
That finally done. I raised my head from the technology to observe the familiar goings on of Melbourne airport…and experienced the familiar childhood excitement at the beginning of a great adventure…and with that we boarded the 777-300ER and began our journey…And as Clyve so rightly put it after a particularly entertaining bout of plane turbulence at 35,500′ “we’ve been bounced from one side of the lake to the other” and we still have 4 and a half hours to go!!