Last week I flew to Brisbane on Qantas, and then drove to Noosa to review some restaurants. It was a long journey.
Travel is not what it used to be and if internal travel within Australia is any indication, international travel out of Australia (whenever we are finally given permission by the government) is not going to be the way we remember it.
This was my experience on the way up flying Qantas from Sydney to Brisbane.
Airports are empty -especially when it comes to staff; we all understand why, but it doesn’t make it a positive experience when there is no-one at all in the airports. The feeling was eerie.
You have to apply online for a boarder pass so you can cross the border of your own country; Yep, this is what Australia has become. It is not a major hassle, but it feels insulting. And you must have it in your phone to show upon arrival.
Qantas lounges are open; but scant. Food is available, but it is served to patrons by waiters, as is alcohol.
Everyone receives a care pack; It contains a face mask, hygenic wipes, and tissues. Whilst it is not compulsory to wear a mask, it is recommended.
No alcohol; There’s no booze on board; each passenger receives a bottle of water and a dry snack in a pack. On my flight it was a boxed chicken sandwich.
Numbers are up; The flight I was on was packed; no social distancing exists on board. Not sure how that makes sense but who am I to question anything?
Line up; When you land, prepare to que and to que. The passengers on my flight lined up for at least 30 minutes and there were security and fireman everywhere. It felt a bit like lining up for a nightclub, but not in a good way.
More questions; Once we got through the first line up, there was another, with yet another line up to finally reach a person (who looked exhausted) at a desk asking the exact same questions we had all already answered on our border entry form (eg: had we been overseas, in Melbourne, had Covid etc).
Interestingly they did not take my name but merely marked me off as a number. Who knows what that means.
Wet Bags; The luggage on the Qantas flight took ages to come off and was all soaking wet (as it was raining in Brisbane).
Zero Ground Staff; My luggage didn’t come off and there was not one member of Qantas staff in the airport to help at 8pm. I ended up waiting over an hour. And I had to find a member of the federal police to help as a Qantas baggage staff had all left, and a baggage handler had put my suitcase behind a security door for no apparent reason, and no-one could reach it.
No Taxis; When I finally left the airport there were no taxis anywhere or Uber’s. Another 30 minutes later, an uber turned up.
So it took some two hours from the aeroplane to the taxi. It was a real drag, and my Platinum status with Qantas didn’t help. It’s nobodies fault, I think Alan Joyce has done an incredibly admirable job under super challenging circumstances. Maybe I flew off the Sydney handle too soon, and perhaps things will improve in time.