Wednesday, 14 September 2011

EK 418, Dubai to Christchurch. The flight goes on...

Thursday September 8th.
The hotel wakeup call came at 07;00, and check out was at 08:00. It was time to make our way to the gate for EK418. Our boarding pass and the gate check stated that the fight was to Christchurch it did not identify the multiple legs involved, some passengers who were not going right through to Christchurch were very confused. The first leg was Dubai-Bangkok. Just about 5 ½ hours. This is a Boeing 777-300, and I am sorry Airbus fans but I still prefer the Boeing. I find the crew on the Bowing to be better somehow, more human. The A380 crew I have encountered seem to do a little as possible. So I am now 35,000 feet above Thailand writing this, due to land into BKK in 00:33 minutes. So far it’s been a good flight and the sectors of this journey are getting ticked off! PS, they did call for “medical assistance, doctor or nurse” during the flight....I was asleep?
We had to get off at Bangkok Airport, walk through security into the depature lounge, go through another security check and get back on the plane. This process took just over one hour. There was a change of crew at this point. Back into the same seat for the next leg, Bangkok to Sydney, this is due to take about 8 ½ hours. I had my dinner, a glass of wine, a glass of Port and went to sleep. I slept very well, waking just over Ares Rock; it is now Friday September the 9th.
It was pouring with rain as we approached Sydney, I have never seen Sydney when it is sunny, and that was a pity as I had a good window seat, and got a really good view of the city. We had to fly round Sydney for about 30 minutes whilst the plane received permission to land, so we were late arriving into Sydney.
Once again, we had to get off the plane at Sydney, go through security and go back to the departure gate again. Waiting at the gate was a lovley lady, she had flown from Abu Dhabi on a Ethihad flight, and was getting an Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch. It was parked at the gate next to us in the rain. Despite the fact that it was pouring with rain and only 10 degrees, all the workers out on the tarmac were in shorts! At least it saved me from thinking I was still in Manchester.
There was a slight problem in Sydney with the airport staff demanding to see a return ticket. Something about (students) using New Zealand as a 'back door' into Australia. The problem was that airlines no longer issue tickets, its all e-tickets, it did take a while to sort this out, so be warned, in the ticket less society, print your tickets because the Australians think that we all want to live in that dreadful place. Should have kept it as a prison, but thats another story!
Final leg, Sydney to Christchurch. Back into the same seats and ready for the comparatively short 2 ½ hour flight into Christchurch. The flight was fantastic as it was clear and sunny over New Zealand and I could see the South Island in all its glory.
At Christchurch airport our walking shoes were checked, and deemed not clean, despite the fact that I had cleaned them. The customs official then took the offending boots and cleaned them with some king of solution, now we look like we have new books; my advice, don’t bother with the cleaning, let the officials do it for you.
The Britz Campervan pickup area at the airport was very busy, full of Argentinean and English Rugby fans. Despite it being so busy we had the campervan on the road at 17.00, leaving Christchurch and heading for Dunedin. It was a shame that this drive was undertaken predominantly in the dark, as it looked like we missed some very nice scenery. With a little help from Red Bull, (it does give you wings) we pulled in to the Bella Vista Motel at 21.30, and climbed in to a very cold, but very comfortable bed: on our last day I found out I was sleeping on an electric blanked, unused by myself!