I’m writing this on a plane somewhere over Iran on our way to London (but uploading it after we arrive at Heathrow).
We were due to leave Melbourne for London at midnight on Monday night but were delayed by over two hours because of a technical fault with our plane. Apparently, one of the 28 fuel pumps had become unserviceable, and after that was fixed, the computerised fuel information system stopped working. I’m sure that the Captain wanted to be able to know how much fuel he had been using over our 12 hour flight from Melbourne to Dubai, so we were delayed a little longer so that could be fixed.
It seems that the most effective way to solve this type of problem was to ‘reboot’ the plane. i know about rebooting computers and phones, but rebooting a giant Airbus A380 is in a whole different sphere. Well, the lights went out and everything was silent for a few minutes as the plane was completely powered down. We sat quietly, without anyone saying anything. I’ve never heard a plane be so quiet before. Eventually, the plane was powered back up – the lights came back on, the air conditioning restarted and there were all sorts of other plane noises. Finally, the captain announced that the problem was fixed but it still took an extra half hour for him to do all his paperwork before we pushed back from the gate.
It was 2.30 am before we eventually left. The Qantas lounge at Melbourne airport has a very nice dining area and we ate there before boarding with the idea that we could then go straight to sleep on the plane and not have to wait another hour after take-off before supper was served. I slept very well and Jill dozed on and off a bit during the flight but by the time we landed for a stopover in Dubai we were in reasonable shape. I like flying on the big Airbus A380. It is very quiet and comfortable. We even had our preferred seats (12A and 12B) on the upper deck.
We only had a short stay in Dubai before continuing to London. In one way, this was helpful as we will now arrive in London only 15 minutes behind schedule, even though we were over two hours late in departing Melbourne, In another way, it was a bit of a pity as the airline lounge in Dubai is amazingly palacious. The Emkrates lounge there is on the second floor of the terminal building and extends along its complete length. It offers private access to each of the gate lounges on the departure level below. The staff are incredibly service oriented. If you stop to look around for just a second or so, a staff member will be at your side asking if they can help or get you something.
We once went on a day tour into China where the tour guide rated each happy house (toilet) by the number of stars they would have rated. Some of the four star ones were very happy and some of the one star toilets were very sad. By comparison, the toilets at the Emirates lounge in Dubai easily exceed six stars. They are extremely happy! This is the type of airport facility in which one could spend a whole day, rather than just a half hour.
When we get to London, we will pick up a rental car and drive around the south-west of England over the next four weeks. As much as I enjoy the fine red wines that Qantas serve, I’m being very careful not to drink too much. Lunch was good, so now its just a case of sitting back and relaxing until we arrive in London, find a local sim card for my phone and pick top our rental car.