Photos speak a thousand words. Grinning faces during our epic journey’s first leg, from Gladstone to Brisbane, told a happy tale as we waved goodbye to Happy rock. The laughs began even before we boarded the plane. Usually a Qantas club member can bring one friend into the lounge with them. We asked the Qantas club attendant if we could bring a couple of friends into the lounge since our flight had been delayed. The attendant agreed but probably wasn’t expecting thirteen of us to bombard the club lounge that Friday night, drinking wine and consuming soft drinks and chips. In a selfie saturated age, the ladies posted a Facebook picture which was captioned perfectly by gleefully exclaiming that we were “Delayed but we won’t WINE”. I could post a picture of the three of us clinking our glasses at this point but the photo taken was a bit blurry. Perhaps that is an accurate reflection of the start of our trip – slightly fuzzy around the edges but fun!
QantasLink flight from Gladstone to Brisbane. Photo taken by a flight attendant.
After a smooth one hour flight from Gladstone, the transfer shuttle that took us from the domestic terminal to the international terminal, at Brisbane airport, was a lesson in group travel. Our group of thirteen people took up half the bus! It was loud, hectic and fun.
Thank goodness, we are in an age where all the kids were kitted out with electronic devices. This meant the long waiting period at Brisbane International was borne with a lot less whingeing than otherwise may have been the case. The kids were all enjoying each other’s company too, which was great to see and was mostly the case throughout the whole trip. A few of us, grown-ups included, grabbed a snooze at the gate lounge.
We all finally boarded the Emirates 777-300ER at just after 2am and we found our seats at the bulk-head. These seats would soon prove very handy during the long-haul flight. Our family of four had tons of leg room and we were tantalisingly close to the business class seats. Only a curtain separated us from the promise of a luxuriously appointed, spacious seat with all the business class trimmings. Not to worry. We managed quite admirably in our economy class spot and used our allocated space quite creatively during the long flight from Singapore to Dubai.
State-of-the art in-flight entertainment systems were enough to keep the kids (and us!) occupied, along with the quality food offerings that regularly came our way. It was a seven-and-a-half-hour flight, meaning that after our 2.30am departure from Brisbane, we arrived at Changi Airport, Singapore, at around 7.30 am (Singapore time).
Changi Airport, Singapore. Emirates Boeing 777-300ER. Photos by Esther Colavecchio.
Our little (then 11-year-old) aviation enthusiast befriended one of the lovely Emirates hostesses. He had sneakily crept through the dividing curtains and into the business class seating area for a quick peek and a little ‘road’ test of a business class seat. The hostess was kind enough to offer to take his photo sitting there and asked if the boys would like to go into the cockpit for a look once the plane had landed in Singapore. This was an awesome treat for both the boys, especially since they got to sit up in the cockpit and try on the Captain’s hat!
We couldn’t have spoken highly enough of the lovely Emirates crew on this flight and on the continuing flight from Singapore to Dubai. After a quick stretch and a fuel stop we were back up and away bound for Dubai.
Things became a little bit more interesting during the 7-hour flight to Dubai as we found a way to squeeze six, sometimes seven, girls into four economy class seats… The lo-oooooong haul part of the flight was starting to set in so the girls decided to spice things up a little bit by creating our own entertainment. The men had decided to partake in a few quiet drinks and were seated back further. They recall seeing the hostess heading up the aisle in our direction and wondering if the tray of drinks she carried was destined for us. She was. It was.
The kids were occupied on screens and ‘us girls’ had a wow of a time demonstrating that you can indeed squeeze several people into only a few seats. We giggled, chattered and enjoyed some harmless fun which also just happened to pass the time beautifully. Our lovely Emirates hostess even turned a blind eye to the fact that the floor was being used as a place to sit to lean up against the bulk head.
It was a memorable way to embark upon our four weeks away. Next stop – Dubai!
Written by Esther Colavecchio