Stuck in a Quagmire of Travel Hell

December 27, 2012

in Odds & Ends Stories

  • Departed Sydney, Australia for Helsinki, Finland via Singapore on 4/10/12.
  • Plane diverted to Darwin because of smoke in the cabin. Spent 1.5 hours waiting in a departure hall, 1.5 hours standing in a line waiting to be processed through immigration, and about 2.5 hours in a queue waiting to be given accommodation for the evening.
  • Priority was being given to couples who could occupy the double/queen sized beds. A lady I had been talking to in the queue suggested to me that we share a bed. I pretended I didn’t hear her.
  • Found out at 2am there were no more beds, so I slept on the floor of the Qantas club lounge from roughly 3am to 5am when I was woken up by business travellers and miners. I appreciated the towel Qantas gave me to use as a pillow.
  • I ate some great bircher muesli and drank a quality coffee in the lounge.
    Hung around in the foyer of the airport hotel until 10am (right knee bouncing vigorously) when I was given a room to have a shower and a rest before my flight which was due to take off at 7pm.
  • Had been asleep for about 2 hours when Qantas called me to remind me to be at the airport by 4pm. Gave up on sleep and went to lunch. Qantas paid for the meal – I chose barramundi and mashed pumpkin.
  • Waited for 1.5 hours in a line to be checked in for my flight to Singapore and concluded that the Q in Qantas stands for queue.
  • Spoke to a man in his 70’s who also slept on the floor. He said “I’m just too old for this.”
  • After my bag was processed I had another coffee in the departure lounge and looked through the window for about another hour waiting for the remaining people to be processed.
  • The takeoff was delayed because they “had trouble checking people in.” Really? I never would have known.
  • We sat on the tarmac for about an hour after everyone boarded because there was a problem with what the computer was saying about the weight of the plane, although we were assured that “everything was safe” and the fan which burnt out and caused electrical smoke, resulting in our diversion to Darwin the previous day, had been thoroughly investigated.
  • As we were landing in Singapore, we were told that those who were getting on connecting flights to other locations (including mine to Helsinki) would need to go to the transfer desk. Those continuing on to Frankfurt needed to disembark for 1 hour. I ran straight to the departure gate for the Finnair flight instead and was told by a Finnish passenger “big trouble, no flight, plane has fuel leak (sic).” I went back to the transfer desk and waited in a queue for 1.75 hours to receive accommodation in Singapore. I was told I would be on the next Finnair flight leaving in 24 hours. Current time 3am Sydney time. Others going to Helsinki were told they were on a flight to London leaving in 5 hours time which would connect with a flight to Finland. I thought what I was given was much better.
  • While in this queue a lady working on the transfer desk announced that the flight I had just got off and was going on to Frankfurt wasn’t going anywhere because the captain was ill. Several people roared laughing, with a tone of “Can this get any more ridiculous?” I later found out that he collapsed in front of passengers, complaining of chest pain.
  • Went to pick up my bag. No bag on any conveyor belt I could find. Reported bag as missing. After 45 minutes, a man said “it OK (sic), bag is coming soon.” It then popped out on the conveyor I had been standing at for some time.
  • The shuttle bus Qantas had supplied to take people to the hotel left without me. A Qantas ground staff employee said that Qantas wouldn’t pay for a taxi because I wasn’t a business class passenger. I put down my size 15 foot and was allowed to take a taxi to the hotel with a couple who needed to be back at the airport in 3 hours for the flight to London.
  • Was sleeping soundly until Qantas called me after about 4.5 hours of sleep to say that a bus was arriving to take me to the airport for my flight to Germany. “No,” I said sleepily, “I am flying to Helsinki tonight.” “OK, I will call you back” was the reply. I waited for 40 minutes and no one returned my call. I then rang Qantas and got through to a helpful guy in Australia. He confirmed I was definitely on the evening flight.
  • Had a decent breakfast and a great coffee. I asked for one sugar, but gave me an extra shot instead. Perceptive?
  • Had some sleep, bought 2 tailored shirts for no apparent reason and even more bizarrely had a foot massage.
  • Finnair flight from Singapore to Helsinki was delayed for 1 hour – we sat on the plane in stinking heat and no water was offered.
  • Finnair should be renamed Squashy Air. I couldn’t get my knees behind the seat for 13 hours – they were either side of the seat in front.
  • About 4 hours before landing in Helsinki I tried to get out of the seat to go to the toilet and knocked a full cup of water straight into my lap. I went to the toilet, wrung out my undies and then spent 4 hours sitting (if you could call it that) soaking wet.
  • I arrived in Helsinki 72 hours after I left Sydney.

– Brett

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

James December 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

Having to eat mashed pumpkin… That was definitely a flight from hell.


Aaron January 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

True Hell!


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