So now we had our boarding cards for the Flight to Australia, finally we could relax, we had arrived safely and successfully booked ourselves onto the flight. If you missed the first part of this series of posts relating to the recent holiday to Australia, then you can read it here > Flight to Australia.
Security is now very tight and rightly so, notices everywhere inform as to what items or substances are banned and detail the maximum size for hand luggage and the restrictions currently in force. This terminal 1 of Manchester airport seems to have changed beyond all recognition since I last flew out of here. But actually the last time I did fly from here was probably the last time we both flew to Australia and that is seven years ago.
With plenty of time on our hands, we ate a sandwich, I bought a small bottle of Coke for £1.50 (no the airport is not taking advantage of the fact that you can not bring liquids past security) sauntered through the shops, buying nothing, then found the designated departure lounge for our flight. Here we sat and watched the people of the world go by.
The prize for the woman with the worst dress sense went to the lady of mature years with the thigh high leather boots. I have nothing at all against older women dressing in modern or fashionable clothes as long as they look right and look good. She looked awful. I got the impression that the Manchester Women's Institute old aged pensioners society pantomime group were doing a version of Dick Whittington. She had definitely got the part of Dick.
I tried also to award a prize for the person with the most and largest hand luggage. What about those signs I saw earlier, advising us of the restrictions on the size and amount of hand luggage you could take on board. One piece of hand luggage it said. There were people with pull along bags bigger than my suitcase, plus handbags or laptops, plus bags overflowing with all manner of duty free. I am afraid I could not select a winner for this award, there were just too many to choose from.
I kept looking at my watch, the staff had been at the boarding desks for a while now and we were getting close to the planned time of departure.
"Bing Bong" sounded the tannoy. This was followed by a message stating that due to a technical problem we were going to be delayed by approximately 30 minutes. Oh well, that's no great problem we have a stop over of three hours at Dubai. A technical fault can of course be anything, not necessarily anything wrong with the plane.
"Bing Bong" the tannoy sounded again some while later. This next message now informed us that the delay would continue for another hour while the engineers worked on the plane to rectify the fault. As murmurs, mutterings and exclamations of f*** and s**t went around the crowd, Mrs Pecker and I looked at each other with feelings of dread. Not due to the fact that the problem was with the actual plane, it was more the feeling of deja vu.
This situation we had experienced the last time we travelled to Australia but it happened when we were on our way back home. From Perth we had flown to Kuala Lumpur then onto a small island named Langkawi to spend an idyllic few days. As we then waited at Langkawi airport for the short hop of a flight back to Kuala Lumpur we heard similar messages to those we had just heard. It was also a similar time of night and we had a connecting flight from KL to Manchester to catch.
That situation turned into a nightmare with the engineers and flight crew deciding that the plane would not fly that night. The airport had closed while we were waiting and at the news of the cancellation pandemonium ensued. The crowd, many of them locals were close to rioting, the heat was tremendous and there were no facilities open to buy drinks or food. Eventually some of the staff appeared with a quantity of bottled water but unfortunately much of this was simply plundered by a mob of youths who had no regard or respect for fellow passengers.
At some time around midnight we were ferried to a local hotel where we were given rooms and informed that planes would be laid on the next morning to fly us to Kuala Lumpur. They did their best in what must have been a very difficult situation to deal with.
On reaching Kuala Lumpur our troubles were far from over, we now had to be assigned a flight back to the UK. There were no flights to Manchester so we were booked onto a flight to Heathrow with an onward flight from Heathrow to Manchester and a very short time between the two. Unfortunately it was now still early morning and the Heathrow flight did not take-off until sometime that night. They did however put us into the Kuala Lumpur Airport Hotel which is absolutely fabulous. We had meal vouchers for lunch and for dinner and could eat whatever we wanted. I have never in my life seen so much food as there was at the lunch buffet. Food from every continent, to suit every possible taste, there were tables and tables full of it, and if you like sweets and puddings, you would think you had died and gone to heaven. This is where the rich and famous stay, we of course were dressed in the flight clothes that we had worn since the previous day, we had no access to the luggage. We spent the afternoon in the shower, in the bath, and lazing around in the big fluffy white dressing gowns.
The flight was late leaving Kuala Lumpur which then caused us to miss the flight from Heathrow to Manchester. That meant another delay, another ticket desk, another wait for a flight. Can you understand why it was we did not fly for another six years.
But back to the Flight to Australia that I was telling you about.
"Bing bong" that tannoy again, this time informing us that the fault had been corrected, all that remained was for the engineers to run the engines and we now had a revised departure time of 22:30 hrs.
And true to their word, at 22:30 - or as near to it as makes no difference - we were trundling down the runway picking up speed and rising slowly but steadily up into the air on our Flight to Australia.