Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finally home... no thanks to Qantas

THURSDAY 3rd November

Well, what a drama trying to get home!!  We arrived in Darwin at 5am on Sunday morning to be told that all Qantas lights were grounded and we wouldn't be going home any time soon. They bundled us across the road and put us in a pleasant room at the Darwin Airport Rydges Resort, promising to pay our accommodation and meals. Under normal circumstances it would have been delightful to stay there... we could never afford to stay in such a place...
 but trying to explain on skype to two crying little girls that they weren't going to be meeting Mummy and Grandma at the airport was heart-breaking.

The Qantas guy at the desk told us they would advise us as soon as they had seats available, so we spent the day sleeping and watching the TV commentaries on the crisis, hoping and praying we'd be on our way on Monday. There was no-one at the Qantas service desk at the airport when we went back to check.

Monday came and went with us hanging by the phone, checking emails for word from Qantas... but since they hadn't even bothered to notify us of the grounding we didn't expect much. So on Monday afternoon I went back over to the airport and this time there was a lady who told me they hadn't done anything about getting us on any flight... would I like her to book us on the next one available? Turned out that all flights were fully booked already till Thursday afternoon! Unbelievable!
So we jumped online to check out Virgin and Jetstar and managed to get seats on a 6.40am flight on Wednesday... just as well I have a credit card! at least after 2 days in limbo we finally had concrete plans again, so we could re-make arrangements for Lockie and the girls to drive up to Brisbane to meet us, even if it was another 2 days wasted.

On Tuesday Katie and I went into Darwin for a stroll around the city centre, then had lunch by the resort pool... a swim etc and filled in another day.
Bright and early on Wednesday (5am) we checked out of the resort and lined up to check in for our Jetstar flight only to be told it would be 3 hours late! Katie phoned Lockie to tell him but they were already on their way, so he had to make several stops along the way to fill in time. We finally boarded the plane at 9.30am only to be told that there would be a short wait while passengers from this same plane (which had come from Bali) were processed through customs. That short wait dragged out for over an hour and it was 11am before we left the ground!
It was 3pm Brisbane time when we finally got to cuddle the girls and Lockie...
We stopped off at a cafe to grab some lunch and catch up with Andrew, then hit the road for the long drive home.

When we finally pulled up, (at 11pm) Greg, Gemma and baby Caelyn were waiting, so it was a very joyous (if late!) homecoming.

I finally got to cuddle my newest grand-daughter, and she is such a beautiful baby! Photos and skype don't even come close to the real thing. We unpacked loads of presents for everyone and it was a bit like Christmas... eventually went to bed at about 1am.
This morning Lockie and Katie and the kids were due to leave at 6am to drive to Mudgee for the Lake Windemere Fishing Classic... needess to say it was mid-day before they got away. Thanks to Qantas Katie had to hit the ground running, but we got everything all sorted through the morning. They have a 9 hour drive ahead of them and will be back on Monday afternoon.

So my adventure is over. I'm home again, all unpacked and it's quite surreal... almost as if I'd never been gone except I have the treasures I brought back around me and a heart full of wonderful memories. It will take days to blog the last three weeks with Katie, but I'll get to it, starting tomorrow. That will be another book...Right now I'm going to walk over to Greg and Gemma's and get some Grandma time with Caelyn.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your post. It’s a lot like college – we should absorb everything we can but ultimately you need to take what you’ve learned and apply it.
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