Flights from Roturua to Heathrow

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[Only just written. Still needs to be proof-read.]

Tuesday 9th January (Rotorua, Auckland, Brisbane, and Singapore)

Wondering what delights Air Kiwi had instore for me, I was surprised to find that there were 4 check-in desks open, and no queue. I walked up to the free desk, and said that I was flying to Auckland. The check-in guvna said that the flight was delayed, and was currently expected to leave at 14:50. I asked what time it would arrive at Auckland. He replied, "Assuming it leaves at 14:50, then it should arrive at half-past three". I didn't like the doubt in what he said, so I told him that any further delay wouldn't be acceptable, because I had an international flight to catch, which left at 18:00, and luggage to collect from Left Luggage. He suddenly looked worried, and said he'd speak to his manager. He came back after a minute or two, and said that if the 13:35 was delayed any more, it didn't matter, because the next flight to Auckland was at 15:00 anyway. He said he'd come to find me if there was any change, and gave me a $6 food voucher.

I went to the food counter, and got a meat pie, and a sausage roll. The woman behind the counter said, "Oh, so you're on a delayed flight". I told her that I was, and the Air New Zealand would pay if I missed my international flight. She said that she didn't think that Air New Zealand worked in that way. Well, Air New Zealand has obviously never dealt with me before! After that, I went to pay my departure tax (those sneaky Kiwis and Aussies - that's the third tax I've had to pay so far). I then realised that my seat 30F might be a window seat, so I went to the check-in desk to check. He told me that it was a window seat, so I asked to be moved to an aisle seat. He told me that it was an aisle seat as well. Oh dear, this sounded like a tiny aircraft. I then started to consider my other options - flying to another airport wasn't possible, because my dive kit was in Auckland, and there were no other flights to Auckland. Oh well, no other options! I didn't have my insurance documents with me, so I didn't know what my insurance policy said about flights being delayed, but I checked the Air New Zealand Ts and Cs, and found out that I might get compensation.

After all that gimmering, I went in search of a power socket. My camera's battery had died during our visit to the zoo, and I wanted to recharge it. I found some sockets next to a seat, so I sat down and waited for my camera to charge. About an hour later, I heard an announcement asking all passengers on my flight to go to Desk 1. As I packed my charger and camera into my bag, the check-in guvna came over, and told me that I'd been moved to the 15:00 flight, and that I should go to collect my ticket. There was nobody else queuing, so I got my new boarding pass straight away with my new luggage sticker (he'd already assured me that my luggage would make it onto the correct flight).

At about 14:45 the smallest plane in the world arrived, and about 15 minutes later, we started boarding onto it. My small bag was taken off me, because there were no overhead luggage containers. My new seat was right at the front of the aircraft, and I could see right into the pilots' cockpit. When all 19 passengers were on the plane (with 2 empty seats), the bloke who's been checking our tickets got on the plane, and sat down in the cockpit! Reading the safety instructions, they made a big deal about making sure that the people sitting near the emergency exits were able, and willing to open them. The pilots had their own exit, which I decided that I would be using if there was a problem. There was also a sign saying that tables should be stowed during take-off and landing. There weren't any tables to stow!

We eventually took off (using an out-of-date GPS receiver for navigation), and flew to Auckland. Not only was I delayed, not only was it a tiny plane, but I wasn't getting any air miles for the flight either. Fortunately, as the woman who sold me the ticket told me, Auckland didn't have separate domestic and international terminals. The plane eventually arrived at about 4PM. It was going to be a rush, but I would probably make it.

When we got off the plane, there was totty waiting on the ground. Unfortunately, she was there to meet a bloke with special needs, and not me! I had intended to collect my dive kit from Left Luggage, but discovered that the domestic terminal is separate from the international terminal, so it didn't seem like a good idea. Eventually my luggage arrived, and I started walking the 10-minute walk to the international terminal (I didn't trust the bus to run, since it might have something to do with Air Kiwi).

Fortunately, my dive kit was ready and waiting at the Left Luggage place, so I chucked it on the trolley, and went back to the Emirates check-in. The queue was about as long as the Air Kiwi queue in Sydney, but Emirates is far more efficient than Air Kiwi, so I was checked in with enough time to spare. After putting my dive kit in the oversized baggage room because it was fragile, I went to find my departure gate. The first thing I saw were Express Departure Tax machines. Gimmeration - the second departure tax of the day. I tried using the machines, but neither worked, so I had to queue up to pay it. Still, there was some totty in the queue. Most were with boyfriends/husbands, but there was one very sexy woman who seemed to be travelling on her own.

I got through the security by about 17:25, and slowly walked to my departure gate. When I realised that there was a bar almost next to the departure gate, I suddenly sped up. I got confused, and I had to ask the barman what country we were in. He told me that we were in Brisbane, Australia, so I got out some Aussie dollars. "Only joking", he said, "We're in New Zealand". Fortunately, I still had some Kiwi dollars. Just as I started sipping my pint, there was an announcement that my flight (due at 18:00) was about to leave. I didn't believe a word of it, but didn't want to risk it, so downed my pint, and went to the gate. On my way there, I looked at my boarding pass, and realised that I'd been given a window seat. Almost everybody had already boarded, so it took me a while to find somewhere to put my bag. I then had to shift the two Germans in the seats next to me, and I then fell asleep, without seeing the very sexy woman.

The food was good (except them running out of the lamb), and I watched The Queen. It was mostly about the Royal Family's reaction to Diana's death. Yet again, newspaper editors were accused of having blood on their hands, and references were made to a nation in grief. What a load of nonsense. It's not just the newspaper editors that have blood on their hands, it's anybody who's ever bought a copy of a newspaper, just to see a picture of Diana. It wasn't a nation in grief, it was a nation in guilt. After watching the film, I started flicking through the channels, and found the end of an episode of Click being shown. It was a fairly old episode, but the chance of perving at Kate Russell was appreciated.

I had planned to spend the flight between Auckland and Brisbane trying to persuade the person next to me to take the lid of Becky's tupaware container through customs for me, but the Germans were going to Dubai as well. With only 90 minutes between arriving and departing, I didn't have much chance of getting through customs twice, and meeting Becky for a quickie. Oh well, I'll have to post it from England. As we were coming into land, I realised that the bloke next to me had his bag right in front of his seat. I asked him to move it, so that it wasn't in my way.

Brisbane security picked up the bottle opener on my key ring. This is the first time that this has caused a problem, but once they'd seen it, everything was OK. I wish they'd be consistent - last week they complained about my deodorant, this week about my key ring. Still, at least they are checking things.

I checked my boarding pass for Dubai - Heathrow, and found that it was for a window seat as well. I found the Emirates Customer Services desk, but there was a sign saying to speak to the people on the departure gate. I went there, and was surprised to find that they were able to change my seat without any problems at all. I didn't bother asking them about the Brisbane to Dubai leg of my journey, because it used the same boarding card as Auckland - Brisbane.

As we were taking off from Brisbane (still with no totty on my part of the plane), the gimmer next to me had put his bag in the way again. [Written in present tense, because I've caught up to date with the trip report] I'm going to have to ask to get another seat when I get to Singapore. Not only because of the gimmer next to me, but the stupid tart in front of me has just slammed her seat back as fast as she can, with no consideration for what was on my table. Second thoughts, some nice breasts have just walked towards the back of the plane - it's a pity I haven't got the heart to wake up the two Germans to get past them. I wonder whether they're the ones from the camper van. To be continued. We're about half-an-hour away from Darwin, so I ought to get some sleep (once I've finished the Budweiser that took about 10 minutes to arrived). [End of present tense]. I managed to get a few hours' sleep before we arrived in Singapore.

Wednesday 10th January (Singapore, Dubai, Heathrow, and Langley)

Although still being a pain with his two bags (why don't airlines enfource the one 7kg bag rule), I have to say that the two Germans next to me are never in a rush to get off the plane, although they do insist on turning on their phones as soon as we've landed. Bird would love flying with Emirates - almost as soon as we've landed, we're told that we can turn on our mobile phones. Talking about safety briefs, the Emirates security brief has changed in the last two weeks. It now talks about "the active runway", and also tells members of the ground staff that they should get off the aircraft. I wonder whether a plane has had to return to the departure gate to drop off a member of ground staff!

Anyway, we arrived at Singapore in the middle of the night, so there weren't many shops open. I walked to some toilets that weren't near an arrival gate, and freshened up. While I was freshening up, I got a text message from Gimmer informing me that he had been on Bondai beech all day, perving at totty. I also got a text message from Sarah asking whether I was back from Oz. Singapore airport is very good for the web - it has free 'net access, and laptop work desks. I didn't fancy checking my e-mail, or surfing the web, so just walked around for about 20 minutes, until the check-in queue shortened. Let's face it, I needed the exercise. There were no members of Emirates staff around to help me, so I had to stick with the same seat as before. During the journey to Dubai, I watched "The Last Kiss", because it looked as if there was some totty in it. There was some totty (a lucky bloke in his early 30s pulled a college bird in her late teens), and the story-line was bearable as well. Apart from that, I slept for most of the 8-hour journey.

I was due to fly out of Dubai at 09:50, but there was an earlier flight at 07:45. Last time I went to Oz, I was booked on a mid-afternoon flight, but managed to get myself onto the 07:45 flight at the last minute (without my luggage, which was delivered to my front door later on). I didn't really fancy messing about with my luggage just to get home 2 hours early, so didn't wait around at the 07:45 departure gate. I freshened up, and then had a quick look around the Duty Free shop. There wasn't anything I wanted to buy, but was tempted to buy a ticket for the $1,000,000 raffle, until I found out that it cost about $300 per ticket!

I got bored with sitting around doing nothing, so decided just to walk around perving at totty (there were some very nice breasts sitting down, but, unfortunately, the seat next to them was occupied by some gimmer snoring). Dubai airport gets bigger every time I visit - there are now 46 departure gates, and it takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. While I was there, something was wrong with the departure boards. The first 3 boards showed flights that had already left, and only the 4th board showed anything useful. Eventually, my flight was called, and the announcement said that it was at gate 9. I looked up, and found that I was right next to gate 9. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be much totty in the queue.

Following me down the walkway onto the plane were several blokes, one of whom kept on walking too close to me, so I turned round, glared at him, and turned round again. He didn't come too close again! I heard them discussing their seat numbers - they were all sitting separately, but all sitting near me. As they followed me down the aisle, one of them had to be told how to find his seat, and another asked an air hostess to put his bags in the overhead locker. These guys had obviously never flown before - the journey had the potential to be hard work.

Once we were all sitting down, the pilot told us that departure would be delayed because of problems with the baggage handling at Dubai. This sounded similar to my journey from Melbourne to Auckland, but at least the Aussies had the decency to stop us from boarding the plane. Still, at least this explained the confusing departure boards. We eventually left about an hour late at 10:50. There was totty in the window seat, but, unfortunately, one of the blokes who followed me onto the plane was actually sitting next to me (and not making any effort to chat up the totty).

During the journey, I didn't want to sleep too much, so watched Stormbreaker, and Material Girls. Stormbreaker had some funny parts, and Material Girl was bearable. While the totty by the window went to the toilet, the bloke next to me nicked her seat. When she came back to sit down, she was happy to sit in the middle seat. I started chatting to her, but her Philappino accent was too difficult for me to understand, so I gave up after a while. No Dickson Love Train action for her!

During the flight, I asked for a cup of tea, and the air steward came back with a pen! Later on, I asked for another cuppa, and was given one with sugar! Oh well! On the flight, there was some gimmer with a Nokia 8910i phone switched on. I'll have to check with Dimdin, but I don't think that it's got a flight mode. The plane arrived late, but my rucksack, and my diving kit, both arrived OK. It didn't take to long to get the bus back home, but it was hard work carrying all my stuff from the bus-stop back home.

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Created on: 14 Jan 2007. Modified on: 14 Jan 2007.
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