Boo hiss, boo hiss, boo hiss to Sydney airport. What an unhelpful place. Avoid Sydney Airport if at all possible!!
Yes there were delays for the lightning strikes and atrocious weather over the city and yes that created airport chaos but our China Eastern flight was only delayed leaving Shanghai by 30 minutes. That meant we reached Sydney airport with an hour to go before our connecting Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. We went to the transfer desk (hidden away – not helpful) and were told the gate closes an hour before boarding so we had to rebook a later flight. Our bags were on board the Air NZ flight and had to be taken off. Jerks!
I asked and asked and was told that our bags would be fine. Yeah right.
A Qantas plane was blocking the Air NZ plane at its scheduled gate and we were told that it would take an hour plus to solve the problem and refuel our plane. We went for coffees and had the pleasure of being served by a rude Australian girl. She didn’t appreciate SWMBO taking some time to consider the food on display and walked away from us. Unhelpful.
Meanwhile, some bright spark had the genius idea of changing our gate rather than remove the offending Qantas plane so we all (some refugees from the China Eastern plane and a whole swag of kiwis) moved to a new gate and…waited.
Then the lightning arrived and the fun really started. The danger of lightning is not to the planes but to the workers. They are not allowed to work on the tarmac while the lightning beacon (a blue strobe light) kicks in, so our Air NZ flight was further delayed.
Did I mention that I’m a nervous flyer? And that I’ve been showing air crash investigation videos to my aviation English students? Oh? I have?
Lightning, planes, poor communications, aussies. The odds weren’t looking too good.
We knew the latest ferry to Waiheke was at 11.45pm. We thought, back in Wuxi, that it would be a smooth journey but we hadn’t counted on Sydney’s idiots.
We finally got into Auckland at 9.45pm only to find that Sydney airport’s crack staff had left one of our bags off the plane. Unhelpful!
Air NZ, btw, were TERRIFIC. Fantastic service on the plane, great communication from the captain and the head of the cabin attendants, and extremely helpful when we reported the missing bag at Auckland airport. The NZ customs men were good natured and friendly (in direct contrast to the aussie bully boys at Sydney) and considerate.
We got a shuttle to the downtown ferry building and made the 11.45 with two minutes to spare.
In all it had been a journey of three days, spread over two months; a taxi, a train, a bus ride, a plane, a plane, a shuttle, a ferry, a car and we were on Waiheke.
Today has been sunny and hot – sunhats and slight pinkness, a trumpet iced cream and a walk along the beach. Surreal dude!
Oh and Air NZ have just rung – they have our bag and will get it to us on the island tomorrow. YEH – Air NZ!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love and peace (but really reluctantly to the boffins at Sydney Airport) – Wozza