2 weeks prior.
ME: "So should I just book directly with the airline or check Expedia, Webjet and Zuji?"
CUSHION: "Of course you check everything! There are always special deals. John just flew to Brisbane for 40-something dollars."
A few hours later.
"Are you sure, Cushion? I can't seem to find anything under $59."
"59's not bad!"
"And only carry-on baggage with a 10kg limit."
"What's the hurry? You can do better."
2 days later.
"I have to book something, Cushion. I think the prices change every few
"So book it."
An hour later.
"You know, I don't think I can make the 10kg carryon limit. I just weighed the bag. It's almost 4 kilos. The Spanish dictionary alone is almost a kilo. And don't tell me to stuff the dictionary and iPad into my backpack. The 10kg limit is a combined weight. Besides, if I only have carryon baggage, I won't be able to bring my little eyebrow scissors."
"Don't be silly. It's a domestic flight."
"But I just checked the regulations! Maybe I should just buy a 15kg check-in luggage allowance? It'll be cheaper to buy it now when I'm booking than at the airport."
"Oh, and should I reserve my seat you think? It's $5 each way for a standard."
"Goodness, should I buy carbon credit?"
"Crap. I think I should get flight insurance. What if something happens and I need to go up early?"
"Listen. Don't worry about taking the 6 o'clock flight. You're only saving $20 and we'll have to get up at 3.30. That's just ridiculous. I don't want to get up at 3.30. Just book a later flight. And go for the 15kg check-in baggage. You're wasting too much time on this."
"Seats 1 to 15, keep left. 16 to 30 (or was it 32?) go straight." The Departure Lounge Lady announced. I was in seat 15. Obediently, everyone got up to queue. The best time to go to the ladies, I thought. So off I went.
By the time I got back, there were only 5 people ahead and in no time at all, I was front of the line. Clever me, I congratulated myself. Just as I got to the counter, Departure Lounge Lady bellowed out, "Mobile phone check-ins to the left."
Click. Whrrr. What? I was
"Straight ahead!" Departure Lounge Lady called out impatiently, pointing behind herself. "You have to go straight through the door." Next to me, in his mobile phone check-in line to my left, I heard Man In Suit snigger.
What are you sniggering at, you rude sod! I wanted to tell him. I'll have you know I am a well travelled woman! And just because I'm not familiar with web check-ins, express self check-in machines, bag drop counters, mobile phone check-ins, SMS itineraries/notifications at 0.99 cents a pop, carbon tax options and how much cream, gel or water I'm allowed to carry on board this particular domestic flight doesn't make me stupid. (Right, Cushion?) Anyway, look at you, Mr Man In Suit. You're so low on the totem pole, you have to take the cheapest flight out to Brisbane on the cheapest carrier, mingling with sandalled backpackers and frugal menopausal housewives. BWAH haha, I say. BWAH haha.
So I followed Departure Lounge Lady's strict instructions and of course, ended up at the line going up the back of the plane. "Sorree!" I said to Tarmac Lady, pointing at the chute overhead, going to the front of the plane. "I think I'm supposed to be up there." "No worries," she beamed back at me, unnaturally jovial at 5.45 am. "You're seat 15. That's right in the middle."
We sat on the tarmac for a good 15 minutes. Someone announced that the plane was being refuelled. The InFlight Ladies walked up and down chastising people who were trying to kill their fellow passengers by not turning off their electronic devices, who hadn't buckled up, who already had their seats down, who put their bags in the overhead compartment wrongly. "Wheels in first!" they called out. It might be a cheap flight but The Ladies were ruthlessly efficient. The plane started to taxi. It taxied for so long, I fell sleep. A loud unhappy grumbling woke me up. 2 thoughts collided in my head. "Finally! We're off! And "Oh god! Does the plane sound sick?"
No sooner were we up in the air, when the InFlight Ladies came round with their trollies. "Coffee? Tea?" Lady, do you honestly think I would waste $3 on a small plastic cup of blackish hot water with not even a dry bikkie to go with it, after waking up at 3.40am to save $20?
No thanks, I replied politely, pulling the crushed cold pumpkin, spinach and feta muffin that Cushion had bought me the day before, from the bottom of my backpack. A bit of water to wash the crumbs down would have been good, but I hadn't brought any because I wasn't sure if a bottle would be allowed through. (Note to self for future reference - possibly yes because the mother and daughter across the aisle were drinking brazenly from a 1 litre bottle.)
5 minutes later, InFlight Ladies came round to pick up the empty cups. And before you could say "Whatever happened to the romance of flying?" the pilot (or whoever does these things) was announcing our descent into Brisbane.