A Day at the Airport

The best laid plans of all travellers occasionally go awry. When I booked my return flights from Adelaide to Hobart I expected to have about a two hour layover in Melbourne as there are no direct flights to Hobart. However, the airline had other ideas, cancelling my flight and forcing me to catch one later in the afternoon.

So what do you do during a five hour airport layover? Eat, drink coffee, read, catch up with emails and, if you are a blogger, take photographs. Here is my day at Tullamarine airport.

Fear of Flying

image jet at airport
Waiting to board by V Jensen

Hubby and I don’t fly very often. I have mixed feelings about it, he doesn’t. He just loathes it.

The first time we did a long flight together was when we flew from Melbourne to Hong Kong to begin our overseas trip. I have mentioned in a previous post that we chose to travel across China, Russia and Europe by train because we love train travel. What I didn’t mention was that it was also because Hubby hated the thought of the long flight to England.  As we took off I noticed that his hands were  tightly clutching his book. It was “Final Flight” by Stephen Coonts. Not a particularly appropriate choice I felt.

Cover of "Final Flight"
Cover of Final Flight

I have a fear of falling myself. I can’t climb more than two steps up a ladder or I get the shakes but flying doesn’t worry me too much as long as I concentrate on looking at the view and not thinking about being in a metal cylinder thousands of metres above the earth. The trouble is that a lot of the time there is not a lot to see except clouds. I really wish that Hubby didn’t like watching “Air Crash Investigation” so much. I never worried about that before he started watching that show.

image clouds
Clouds by V Jensen

Of course flying is not the most comfortable way to travel. Well not in my experience anyway. I am sure that if you can afford to fly first or business class and have more leg room and maybe even a bed it is much better but if you are one of the majority who just look for the cheapest convenient flight it is even more cramped and uncomfortable than the bus you catch to work. I am short so getting my luggage into the overhead storage bin is difficult for me too. People seem to have so much carry on luggage, especially now that checked baggage is an extra. I consider myself lucky if the storage space directly above me is free.

Then there are the seats. Hubby only has one request when we fly, that we fly Virgin domestically. He thinks the seats on the planes they use are more roomy and comfortable for him.  As I’ve mentioned he is a big man and he needs to use a seat belt extender. As it is he takes up one and a bit seats. Friends who travel more often than we do say that they usually book an aisle and a window seat and leave one between them. If the flight is not full they often end up with extra space that way. I suggested doing this but Hubby didn’t want to. I always like a window seat, Hubby prefers an aisle seat. I like to pick the seats online, he prefers to wait till check in and ask a real person. Last time we flew together we did it his way and I ended up being wedged between Hubby and another passenger. I could hardly move my arms for the hour-long flight. I swore that was the last time that I would let him have his way about seat allocation. In fact if we really can’t avoid flying together I think I will book us into two separate rows.

I have never solved the mystery of how to use your tray if the person in front of you decides to go to sleep. Really with all the technology available there ought to be a way  to fit a warning light so you know when the seat is about to be pushed back. How hard could it be?

Hobart Airport
Hobart Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me anything related to making a journey is interesting and even though I would much rather be starting my trip from a railway station or a seaport I can find things of interest at the airport. Hobart airport is not a large one although it has been refurbished and expanded since we first moved to Tasmania. The first few times we used the airport we were amused to find that we had to pick up our luggage from trolleys in the baggage area. It now boasts a carousel. There is not a lot to see at Hobart airport in terms of different airlines or types of planes though so flying in and out of Melbourne, Sydney or even Adelaide provides the novelty of seeing jumbo jets from international airlines as well a the domestic carriers. As we usually have to change planes in Melbourne or Sydney to go to Adelaide I like to fill in the waiting time taking pictures of any planes with interesting colour schemes.

image jet
This one was advertising the band Powderfinger – by V Jensen

My photography is often of the record keeping variety so if we go on a trip I want a photo of the plane/train/ferry we used, the hotel we stayed at etc. Now that I have a digital camera and don’t have to worry about running out of film I can take pictures of what ever catches my eye.

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We usually fly Virgin for domestic flights above and below by V Jensen

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This Travelator caught my eye in Sydney airport. I understand what it is there for but really, it’s so tiny. What is the point of it?

image travelator

How much time is this going to save you really? – by V Jensen

Then there are the X Ray machines. Even in the pre 911 world these things were pretty accurate I thought. At Gatwick airport in England Hubby was detained because the machine detected something metallic on his person. Eventually a manual search revealed a scrunched up packet that had held peanuts which had been in his pocket .

I wonder about airport shops. The Sydney domestic terminal has the most shops of any that I have been in. When I first saw it I thought it was like a shopping mall with an airport attached but after spending some hours there I realised that there are not such a lot of shops after all but what is there is expensive. I decided to take my laptop and enjoy the free wi-fi instead. That’s one thing about airports that has definitely improved.