It was 01:00 hrs and exactly on time that we landed at Perth International Airport to complete our Flight to Australia.
After calling in the duty free shop to purchase some spirits for our hosts, we collected the bags and negotiated the very strict and thorough immigration control and customs. Stepping out into the arrivals hall we then saw R'bill waiting to greet us. Following the hugs, how are you's etcetera, etcetera, we stepped out into the rain. WHAT !! - yes we did - we took a flight half way around the world to Australia, to find the rain.
Our journey it seemed, had started so long ago and in real time that was indeed over 32 hours. It began on the Sunday afternoon when our dear son-in-law arrived at our house in plenty of time to drive us - myself and Mrs Pecker - to Manchester Airport. We were all prepared and waiting with cases packed, hand luggage ready, passports to hand and anxious to be on our way.
I quickly dashed upstairs to fetch my new zip-up top that was still in my wardrobe but imagine my surprise to find that also hanging there were all of my shirts that should be packed in the case. The case was quickly re-packed and we were on our way with hardly any time lost but we were allowing ourselves plenty of time anyway. This was to us such an important journey and if there should be any delays or hold ups on the way to the airport we would hopefully still be able to arrive with enough time to catch the flight.
I also felt a certain amount of apprehension since booking this Flight to Australia due to everything relating to it being done on-line. I purchased the flight tickets from Ebookers, obtained Evisas from the Australian High Commission website, resulting in no tickets, no physical visa, in fact nothing physical relating to the flight being issued at all.
I imagined arriving at the airport check-in desk to be humiliated and flightless, the staff rolling around on the floor,
"What did you say - You've not got any tickets" accompanied by uncontrolled roars of laughter.
"Sorry Mr pecker, there's no record of a visa here." Ha,Ha, "You say you did it all on line."
"We can not let you board a plane without the proper documents sir."
I could not stop thinking of what might be. So I printed off a copy of every receipt, every email, every flight itinerary confirmation that I could find. I had a complete folder filled with a whole tree's worth of paper just to be sure I would have anything they may ask to see.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and bade farewell to W with thanks for conveying us there, we had three and a half hours to spare before the plane was due to depart. Get through check-in and then I would be able to relax. The staff were already in attendance and gestured for us to make our way forward, there was no queue whatsoever, a situation I had never experienced before. I walked forward as I began to extract my huge bundle of papers from my shoulder bag.
"Have you got your passports please sir?" said the friendly young gentleman behind the desk.
"Yes, there you are" I replied, handing over the passports with one hand as I continued to free the sheets from out of the plastic sleeve.
"It's Mr and Mrs W.. travelling to Perth via Dubai" he said pleasantly "Is that correct?"
" Yes that's correct" I now had some of the papers free and started to point them in his direction.
"How many bags are you checking in today sir?"
"Two" I replied, but what (I thought to myself) about asking for some of these papers that are now falling to the ground and spreading themselves all over your bright shiny floor, so you know I have bought the tickets and got visas for both of us.
"Have you packed these bags yourself. Have the..... etcetera, etcetera...." he continued.
Yes, it was all that simple. From entering the numbers of our passports, the system confirms that we have booked and paid for tickets on that Flight to Australia via Dubai, the seat numbers allocated to us, and the fact that we have been granted entry into Australia as tourists.
I guess there was no need to worry at all.