Made Coogee safely

August 28, 2017 - Coogee, Australia

I seem to remember saying this at some stage on the last trip but ... 'The best laid plans of mice and men ...' and this time they have gone quite aglay.

We stirred from our bed at some ridiculous hour this morning to cross the road from Rydges Hotel to the International Terminal. Thankfully we didn't have to come from further afield. The check-in was open when we got there at 3.30 am (yes AM) and even those who had checked in online and with boarding passes in hand still had to stand in a queue for about 3/4 of an hour.

From there to immigration and security which was a breeze - only five minutes at each stop. We wandered on toward the departure lounge (so named because there is no lounge, I presume, but it makes you feel more relaxed). By this time we were feeling in need of a caffeine fix but everything but Mickey Dee's was closed. On reaching the departure lounge and realising that the Golden Arches was the only choice for coffee we made a half-hearted attempt to back track but eventually gave up on that by convincing ourselves we would get some as soon as we were in the air.

At 5.15am a call for passengers on our flight to make their way to departure lounge 57. That was where we were sitting so it must be getting near time. So why were they also apologising. Five minutes later we had an announcement that the flight was cancelled.

So follow the instructions. Pass through the departure gate and return to collect your luggage from Carousel number 4 then proceed to Check-in B for your new scheduled information.

Sounds easy doesn't it. I bet they thought that as well. So down the jetway, around to the Arrival corridors and into immigration. Only a short wait this time, in the order of minutes, just to receive an arrivals card, then on to the baggage carousel where we stood for half an hour waiting for our bags to arrive. Finally they turned up and we could proceed through customs where we only had to hand in the arrivals card we had been given. I guess that makes certain that it is only those entitled can pass this way (again?). So now we spill out into the Arrivals Hall at the ground floor and make our way back up to departures where we stumbled to the end of an enormous queue of people in single file. I think we were at about check-in G when we joined and then we slowly, oh so slowly, shuffled forward toward the 5 or 6 Check-in desks staffed to deal with an A380's worth of tired, irritable and some extremely angry and vociferous people.

Some people in the line were busy ringing travel agents and/or re-arranging travel and connections. There were all sorts of tales about the new arrangements. Some were saying they were issuing taxi vouchers and sending people home, but others were already saying that there was now a newly scheduled flight at 10am tomorrow. We would have to wait and see. Or perhaps faint from hunger.

When we were closer to the counter some buzz-cut and suited official split the line into three or four, and finally into six. All to go to 5 check-in desks. Ah but at least he could say he had cleared the line from the corridor we had been blocking. Overlooking the fact that he had now turned the orderly queue into a middle eastern free-for-all. Just the thing to stir tempers even further.

Our turn was taken ...in a somewhat blinkered and less than gentlemanly manner and we arrived at the desk. So we should check online for the new arrangements and meanwhile we would be put-up overnight at Crown Plaza, Coogee. WHERE? Last night we stayed at Rydges across the road and now we can start from somewhere nearly as far away as home. We couldn't get anywhere  with that and we were told there would be a shuttle bus to take us out there departing from Stop 1 or 2. So, off we went like good little sheep ... BAAA.

Of course there was no Stop 1 or 2 and the chap we asked knew nothing about a shuttle to Coogee. Naaa, they don't come here.

We walked back to the beginning of the coach stops around 9 or 10 but no-one knew anything. Perhaps up there they said pointing vaguely up the end of the road, so off we trudged. There we found a more helpful driver from the Domestic Shuttle who at least found his boss to talk to us. We then went back to Stop 9 where we found a driver who at least acknowledged that he was going to Crown Plaza with the Emirates refugees. We lodged our baggage in the locker and climbed aboard to find a seat. We were among the first to find the bus so we had a pretty good choice. The time was now 8.30 am so we had spent most of the last 5 hours stood in a queue and shuffling up to one official or another.

After waiting on board for a further hour, and for the final half hour without any new passengers, the driver finally got the OK from Emirates to leave. While we were waiting we had an unexpected call from Nicole at Flight Centre, Miranda, who had seen that our flight details had been changed and was then dealing with our hotel booking for Dubai, our transfers for Dubai and would also check to see if she could re-arrange our tour that was booked for tomorrow. Very efficient and she is not even our contact, but she knew Kimberley was away and had realised there was a problem. Love your work Nicole!

The drive to Coogee took about half an hour so we were now checking in about 10am. Sorry, here is your room number and you are allowed $20/person/meal for food. Breakfast is just finished. Really they were nice about it but we were feeling very put upon by now. Our room at the hotel is spacious and has a view of the beach and pool but it is way too windy to think about spending any more time outdoors than necessary. We talked to the Concierge about shuttles for the morning and he seemed very sceptical that the airline would arrange anything so we booked a spot on the 6.15am airport shuttle.

At least we had WiFi in the room so we checked online and found we had been put on a new flight scheduled for 10am tomorrow and we managed to go into the Emirates website and choose new seat allocations. So far so good.

While we were doing seat allocations we had another call from Nicole to say tonight's hotel in Dubai is now canclled and we will get a refund for that, the flight details are as we had established and we would have to wait until 9am Dubai time today (4pm Sydney time) to try to re-schedule our tour that is booked for tomorrow.

After digesting all that we went down to see what we could digest for $20/person/meal. Not much was the answer! so we decided that $20/meal for breakfast today through to breakfast tomorrow probably makes $80 total so we splurged on a coffee and hamburger, and save the rest for tonight.

Back in the room we checked again and the flight has now been delayed a further hour and a half or thereabouts. Who knows what is happening. We certainly don't. But at least we now have a note from the hotel to say that Emirates has arranged a shuttle bus for 7.30am so some information is filtering through. Once I went online so I could check my emails, copy boarding passes and write the rest of this guff, I discovered several emails from Emirates. They began at 6.06am with the sorry tales, about 45 minutes after we had the message in person, and ended with the last one now saying the flight would be at 11.30am but that check-in would close at 9.30am. We now have notice from the hotel that Emirates has arranged a shuttle bus to depart at 7.30am.

So far, so good ... and it is $10 grills tonight downstairs so perhaps we can even get dessert and breakfast!


Pictures

Not Travelling by air
This does not look like Dubai
A smaller pool than we were expecting.
 
 

3 Comments

Judy Crewe:
August 28, 2017
Oh, you poor things. I feel for you. Better luck tomorrow. Love, Judy
Sue bonjer:
August 28, 2017
Oh no what a disaster, you poor things, I had just logged on to send you an email hoping you had arrived safely. I do hope all goes better tomorrow and the coach turns up and there is an A380 to take you to Dubia. It was lovely seeing you both last night, safe travels, once you start to travel!
Lynda:
August 29, 2017
Oh what a pain!!! Knowing you two I'm sure you both have a good book at least? Better luck today x
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