Well, I finally talked to the guy I’d been sitting next to for the past twelve hours. Turns out he was from Valencia, and had been on the same flight as me from Madrid.
I tried to sleep some more on the flight – I was quite tired – but wasn’t able to, due in no small part to the pair of middle-aged Sydneysiders in the row behind me. They were very loud, and by the end of the flight, also rather drunk. Sleep simply can’t happen when you’ve got a pair of somewhat intoxicated individuals requesting another bottle of wine (or something) every half hour in their frustrating syllables and gratingly nasal voices. (Okay, so I’m not the biggest fan of the Sydney accent, but this couple were some of the strongest I’ve heard.) Not to mention that Mr. Sydneysider felt that the (rather sensitive, actually) touchscreen wouldn’t work unless he pounded the living daylights out of it. At least, that’s what it felt like to me, given that the screen was behind my head.
I eventually gave up and drank coffee. And I don’t really like coffee, either.
I also found out from the guy to my other side that the same flight (technically London-Sydney), which only goes once a day, had been cancelled the day before (Friday) – that’s the one he was meant to be on. Apparently, they’d sat on the tarmac for about four hours before being told that they weren’t flying. I’ve since heard stories of fires, which may well have been that flight. Anyway, he’d ended up catching a Fin-Air flight to Singapore and joined us there.
Thanks, British Airways. I didn’t like you to start with, but I won’t be flying with you again.
Surprisingly, we made excellent time to Sydney and arrived at about 6:50. However, we arrived at the same time as several other large inter-continental flights – one from Japan and one from LA, although I believe there was another as well. So customs was crowded. Baggage claim was crowded. Quarantine was crowded. Transfers was crowded.
Actually, baggage claim was the worst of it. Customs I got through in about fifteen minutes – both the A/NZ nationals queue and the foreign nationals queue were ridiculously long – actually, both were spilling out of the customs area and almost out of the duty-free shopping area – but since I am both over fifteen and in possession of an e-passport smart chip thing, I just stuck my passport in a machine, got a ticket, stood in a queue with a bunch of cabin crew, stared at a machine, and got through remarkably quickly (which was good, since last time I tried to use the e-passport, it rejected me).
But baggage claim… There were three flights assigned to our carousel. I waited for about forty-five minutes, before they announced that our flight number was being shifted to another carousel. I waited another fifteen minutes for the bags to actually start coming out. Then there was a queue which circled three-quarters of the way around the baggage claim area just to get through to the actual queuing section for quarantine. I declared that I’d been on a farm in the past thirty days, so once I actually got to the front of the queue, that was pretty quick.
They were very good about putting me on the next available flight, though, but that’s a story for another post.