The Journey Home

Having spent most of the morning packing, lunched and bad fond farewells to our hosts in Stanley, we began heading for Melbourne airport a little before 15:00. Happily, Francine’s Telstra eSIM was still working, this being its last day, so we had satnav. This would turn out to be our last piece of great timing.

It’s about a 3-hour drive to Melbourne down the Hume [as in Human Hovel] Highway and we were handing the car back just before 18:00. Whereas arriving 5-hours ahead of the flight at Heathrow T4 on our outbound journey had worked well – we could check in and get access to the posh lounge – the same was sadly not true at Melbourne. Malaysia check-in didn’t open until 20:00 so we had to kill two hours in the noisy, bustling concourse. To cap it all we had to pay for drinks, too. Bother!

PXL_20240221_213552599-02Our 1st flight to Kuala Lumpur left on time at half past midnight. About eight hours later we arrived at a sleepy KL airport where the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge offered a civilized 4-hour wait, including a reviving shower.

The 2nd leg to Heathrow looked to be on time until we sat on the plane … and continued to sit. Someone had not made the flight and their luggage had to be offloaded. Finding it took forever (I can’t imagine how they even go about it) and we finally left an hour late. What a shame I’d had spoken too soon and sent a message to our taxi company from the airport lounge saying we appeared to be on time.

We made up no time on the flight and Oppenheimer occupied only three hours of the 14. I know an aeroplane isn’t the best of environments to watch a movie but I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about.

After what seemed like an eternity we were approaching Heathrow with strong, gusting winds accompanied by, of course, the traditional rain. We managed to touch down. I say “managed” because, as we were taxiing to the terminal, our captain informed us that the plane in front of us had been hit by a gust of wind on its approach and had decided to abort and go round again. Ditto, the plane behind us. It seems we’d been lucky.

We weren’t so lucky at the gate; the air bridge was apparently stuck and refused to move towards our aircraft. We picked up another 15 minute delay while someone was found with a big enough hammer to encourage it back to life. Finally we disembarked.

Our bags arrived and we exited to find a lack of cab driver with an idiot board bearing our name. I phoned. Quite soon our taxi driver called me back and told us where to go to get picked up. He didn’t stop talking all the way home.

Welcome back – NOT.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia