Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

 Brisbane to Hobart by … is it Qantas or not?

I knew there was a reason why we don’t travel anymore.

And now, everyone is letting go of the Covid shackles, and the airports are overwhelmed.

Yesterday, the Qantas baggage system broke down and caused endless delays.  Today, we’re in a queue that’s literally a mile long, just to be screened before we even get into the terminal.

And, we are in a smaller plane operated by Qantas Link, the main airline’s feeder.  Confusingly, it has two names, National Jet Systems, and Qantas Link, the name painted on the aircraft.

Our plane is a Boeing 717, but it is actually an MD 95, made by McDonnell Douglas before Boeing took them over.


And so, it begins…

Boarding time comes and goes, as it always seems to, this time that age-old excuse, the flight attendants are on an incoming flight that is delayed but is on the ground.

That could mean almost anything, but in this case, we’re told, that they are coming from another satellite some distance away.  Well, at least they will get some exercise.

9:56. The attendants arrived.  They just got off the plane from Newcastle, so it can be confusing, going from destination to destination, well, at least for me it would be.  For them, it’s all in a day’s work.

I asked for early boarding because Rosemary cannot walk very well, so it remains to be seen if this happens.

It does, and it’s a slow walk downstairs, and upstairs, but we have to wait because there is a sewerage spill and while waiting to get clearance to board, we’re getting a birds-eye view of the poor man who has to clean it up doesn’t make the wait any easier.

By 10:10, we were on the plane and seated.

We’re organizing a wheelchair and assistance at Hobart, to make things easier.

Minutes later our traveling companions are boarding.

Some confusion reigns, we are sitting in the wrong seats, row 5 instead of row 6.  A bit of seat shuffling and everything is good.

10:30:  The sewerage spill has been cleaned up.  The front door is still open, but they just connected the tow vehicle.

10:33: Doors closed.  10:35:  Push back.  10:40: Heading to the runway.  10:45: Take off, or is that wheels up? It’s not on the new second runway, perhaps because there are so many complaints from the residents nearby.

11:00: Time for a snack.  It’s Tomato Salsa with corn chips, almonds, and pretzels.  60 grams worth, small but reasonably tasty.

Now we’re left to our own devices, as there is no onboard entertainment, and the plane is too small and too old to have onboard Wi-Fi.

Perhaps a siesta, but the seat is too uncomfortable to find a position that will allow it, so I guess a bit of writing is in order.

That and staring out the window and noticing that we have been hugging the coastline almost all the way south, except for when we were crossing Bass Strait, 32,000 feet above the waves.

Bass Strait is not a waterway you want to willingly cross at the best of times, and I have, once, crossed it at the worst of times, and it wasn’t fun.

1:00: Startin that, you would expect from such conditions.

I had expected, given the forecast for rain and heavy winds that we would have a treacherous landing but it was not, the rain had passed and the wind not as bad, and got on the ground without much ado.

It was exactly as the pilot said, 1:30 pm.

We were the last to disembark, with a wheelchair at the end of the disembarkation ramp, there are no air bridges here in Hobart.

My first impression of the airport, it’s like a country town with a tin shed, though the terminal looks a lot different inside than outside. And they do have international flights.

Our bags we out by the time we reached the baggage carousel, then it was off to the car rental counter for an effortless and pain-free pickup.

The worst thing was the distance from the terminal to where the car was parked.

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