Sunday, 12 August 2007

The flight over

Our flight from Melbourne to Manchester was long. No doubt about that. We flew Emirates, and I have not a single complaint about their service or facilities - it was great.

Baggage check-in at Melbourne was easy, in part because we took advantage of Emirates' online precheckin service - they had all our details and our preferred seats, so it was simply a matter of weighing our baggage and shooting it off to Customs, and printing out our boarding passes. We then made our way in to the inner areas of the airport to kill time, and to find fellow GaSbags. Customs was kinda fascinating. Traal, my laptop (on whom I'm typing up this post) went through the full scan, and what came up on their display was... an almost perfect view of the mainboard. Nothing else. Apparently titanium doesn't come out, which would be odd if it were x-ray based (maybe I'm wrong).

The first leg was Melbourne-Singapore-Dubai, with about an hour's stop in Singapore. In spite of the online checkin showing practically every seat taken, the plane was almost completely empty.... we found out why after Singapore. But for the first hop, we had roomy accommodation. Michael had his backpack on the seat behind him - it got a seatbelt of its own. I wish now Traal had been with me, instead of in the overhead locker, just so he could score a seatbelt like the rest of us.

Singapore. Changi Airport is... an airport. The one thing that most struck me was how similar it was to Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. We arrived there in the wee small hours of the morning, but it was quite warm - and quite busy, too. People everywhere. There were notices up saying that they had wifi hotspots, so of course Traal came out; unfortunately they charge, so as soon as you try to do anything, they redirect you to a page that asks for a credit card. No posting from Singapore.

Next hop - Singapore-Dubai. We had the same seats on the same plane as we'd had from Melbourne, but now there were a LOT more people on board. I don't know if there were many who were travelling only as far as Singapore - it was an option, but by the look of the cabin there weren't many people missing. Heaps of Singapore-Dubai travellers though. No spare seats at all.

Dubai. What is this, an airport or a shopping center? We came in off the plane, went through a VERY abbreviated check (really just a glance at our passports), and then entered a huge multi-level shopping center. Imagine a place like Chadstone... it's something that's pretty modular, bits and pieces can be chopped and changed around without it disrupting anything much. Well, this was just the same, only it looked as if someone had been copying and pasting, and had forgotten to let go of Shift-Insert. It was HUGE.

The final leg of our journey was Dubai-Manchester, no stops. We had separate seat allocation for this. Again, though, we were in a 777, with seating 3-4-3; and again we'd picked a window seat and the seat adjacent to it.

It was a fun trip. I'm accustomed to resting on buses and trains (Michael isn't), so I did fairly well - rested in the airline seat. Unlike some people's idea of sleep, my rest can be taken in very brief snatches - in between being nudged to have something or other pointed out to you :) Consequently, when we arrived, I was... well, tired, but not too tired to go to a show that night. Which brings me to the next post...

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