Sunday, 3 May 2015

Travel Chaos

Anyone who lives in our state of Queensland would have heard about the weather event in SE Queensland last Friday, 1st May...the day I was scheduled to fly to Mt.Isa to visit my daughter and her family. As the day dawned and the skies looked ominous I was praying that I would be able to get to Brisbane and then to the airport before the really bad weather that had been forecast set in. It costs a small fortune to fly to Mt.Isa and I didn't want to have to pay for another fare if I couldn't get to the airport on time and missed my flight.

My sister picked me up early to drive down to the Greyhound terminal and she was panicking a little as the roads near her place were already looking like they might get cut by flash flooding so we got there safely and she headed off for home to stay put for the day. The trip to Brisbane was wet but there was no flooding at that stage so I was fairly confident that we would take off on time. Little did I know.

I should have realised that something was different for this trip when I received an email from QANTAS weeks ago to say that my seat allocation had been changed. I wasn't able to book in online as I normally can and then when I arrived at the airport and tried to check in on their computers I got a message that I had to see a QANTAS worker about my flight. After much ringing of other departments I was finally issued a ticket with the only explanation given that my e-ticket hadn't been updated by them and I went on my merry way through the metal detectors and into my usual routine of having lunch and a casual walk through the terminal to get some exercise. Eventually I sauntered down to the section the plane always takes off from and thankfully asked at the counter if the flights were on time...which they weren't by that stage.

The QANTAS worker looked at my ticket and said I was at the wrong gate and it took me ages to walk to the other end of the terminal to find the right gate so I was glad the flight was delayed. I was really curious about the change of gate etc. after leaving from the same gate for years but still didn't twig about what had happened. Then the storms started with thunder and lightning and the airport was closed and flights that had landed at the gate where I was just had to sit on the tarmac for a couple of hours until a break in the weather before the passengers could get off. When they did they had to walk across the tarmac in the pouring rain and were absolutely soaked by the time they got inside.

I was feeling a little smug and thought to myself that they should have flown with QANTAS as there was NO walking across the tarmac with them. Eventually the terminal became very crowded with planes not being able to leave or land as the airport shut down, reopened again and so on for the next couple of hours. All power points in the terminal were being used by passengers charging their mobile phones and devices and fairly soon most of the floor space was used up by hundreds of people sitting anywhere they could find a space. The line to the cafeteria was a mile long and I grudgingly had to resort to paying $4 for a bottle of water from a vending machine.

Suddenly there was an announcement that a delayed flight to Melbourne would be boarding soon and there was a very loud shout of jubilation from the passengers booked on that flight much to the amusement of everybody else. Then it was our turn to be happy as our boarding time was announced. Thankfully we went through the gates and down the corridor to get onto the plane when suddenly we came to the end of the corridor and there was the plane across the tarmac. I couldn't believe it...we had to walk to it in the pouring rain!!! Well, no use walking so I ran and hoped I didn't slip on the stairs and fall down, finally boarded a very damp plane entrance and then realised I was a sopping mess.

On finding my seat I asked the attendant if she had a towel as my hair was dripping wet and she said the only thing she had was a blanket which I dried my hair with and then wrapped it around myself for the duration of the trip as I was freezing. I then noticed how small the plane was and looked at my very damp boarding pass and realised that I was flying that was why we had the tarmac walk. My daughter has since found out that QANTAS-Link are now flying a couple of days to Mt.Isa so I won't be flying on those days in the future.

Once on board the plane the weather deteriorated once more so the plane taxied for 15 minutes or longer (no joke) then sat for an hour being buffeted by wind while planes landed and took off as there was a backlog understandably. At last we took off and without a few minutes the pilot announced that we were flying over Kilcoy and the forecast was for clear skies ahead and that we would land around 9.40pm which was three hours late but thankfully we arrived safely.

My son-in-law and my night-owl granddaughter met me at the airport and we headed off to home after all the drama. When we took my suitcase out of the car I realised that it was wet and when I opened it my clothes were sopping wet as well as my electrical chargers. Obviously the baggage handlers in Brisbane don't cover the luggage when it is raining so it was a rather soggy start to the week for me. I am thankful to be safe though as I believe there was loss of life in the severe weather event.

Sorry to bore you with the details but I know some of my friends want to know how I fared and I can write my Blogsy posts offline so am not using up my limited internet allowance from my phone while I am away up north. The baby has grown since I saw him last at 10 days old and the girls are also growing up quickly. It is lovely to see them again and to catch up with what is going on in their lives.

Have a great week everyone.



  1. What a sweet picture - bet it melt your heart. :)

    Glad you got through all that with only a wet bag! I thought you were going to say something really bad happened, like the plane lost altitude/got turbulence or what have you. They were pretty bad storms on the coast. It pretty much just rained here for two days, non stop, but without the storms or wind.

  2. That is terrible Nanna Chel.. soaked baggage and people walking across the tarmac getting soaked. Really you would hardly believe it. Its pretty poor isnt it. Im glad you are at least safe and there with the beautiful baby and children (and daughter). Yours is the second terrible flight Ive heard of in the last few days. I hope you have a better time on the way home! Have a wonderful time while there! xxx

  3. We are just glad you are safe n sound.

  4. So cute. Baby boy and you. Have a wonderful time.

  5. Oh, dear, what a saga, I was thinking about you all day and wondering if you even got to the airport. I was keeping up with road conditions as another friend from here was flying out to Britain that day too.

  6. Oh Chel! I was thinking of you on Friday, knowing you were travelling and hoping you got away before the worst came in. I was on Brisbane northside and it was horrendous. I was due to drive back to the farm but didn't know what to expect on the roads so I stayed put. I think we had in the range of 300mm that day and of course those slightly to the north of us endured even worse. I'm so glad you did arrive safely, and sorry that things were in such a state when you did. Let's hope the return trip is uneventful. What a lovely welcome you received from your little darling.

  7. A journey to remember that's for sure!!! The upside was your visit with the family ... and at least you could dry your clothes etc in the family home ... it could have been worse, but!!

  8. Nanna Chel, it sure was hair raising stuff on Friday night! My daughter was at a school musical rehearsal. The school is normally a ten minute trip, stretching to 15 minutes in peak hour traffic. Well it took my husband 1 3/4 hours to make that trip at 6pm on Friday. The rain was torrential, wasn't it...just a constant really heavy, drenching downpour for hours on end. The roads were all cut. The main arterial roads were at an absolute standstill, and the school was all but isolated. The teachers were dragging out food from the canteen and putting a movie on, and trying to work out how to sleep everyone in the auditorium! Well eventually parents were able to get through, and the trip home was less eventful as the rain had finally eased, and everyone got home. But many properties and businesses were flooded, and my husband saw several abandoned vehicles in or near normally benign little creeks, that had swelled with the ongoing deluge. Of course five people died, and so tragically, given that emergency services personnel tried to stop them from entering the flooded areas, but they were ignored. You would think that the well worn slogan here of 'If it's flooded, forget it' would see people exercising caution, but as always, we think that we're immortal, or that 'it won't happen to us'. Just heartbreaking. I hope your trip was otherwise uneventful. Your grand-bubba looks gorgeous! Mimi xxx

  9. Enjoyed the tale, so glad you arrived safe and sound.

  10. Well that was a doozy of a flight. Goodness, one to tell the grandkids. A new story for them about how their nanny endured all these troublesome situations to get to them and how they were certainly worth the effort. What a smile. Makes you want to squeeze him.

  11. Glad you arrived ok and just a little 'worse for the wear'! Have a lovely time with that adorable little boy!

  12. I had been wondering how you got on Chel, I thought you might not have got away at all with the weather being that bad. It is good to know you arrived safe.

  13. Glad you made it safely even though you were a little damp. :) Love the pic of your grandson, very happy baby by the looks of him. :)

  14. Wowza. An event for sure, but look at that priceless adorable cutie!!!!!!

  15. Thanks for all your comments. I didn't realise that five lives were lost in the storms as I didn't see the news over the weekend. I had heard of a couple which is bad enough. It is 34C today so it seems a world away from life in the SE of the state. So my suitcase and clothes have well and truly dried out. I will be giving QANTAS some feed back though and suggest they cover luggage during bad weather. Do you think they will listen? :-)

    1. I was hoping you would report this Nanna Chel and all the passengers too. The way they "looked after" you and your suitcase was like we live in a third world country. actually they would have probably done better. I would let them know exactly what you told us. It is absolutely amazing! Was telling my Mum your story. She said ooh I hope she posts it on social media that will get them going! xxx


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