Well, talk about a close call, no sooner am I through security, topped up my mobile (still very odd feeling, buying credit) then all passengers for the flight are called to the gate immediately. They announce to us that Sydney airport has a curfew, no planes can touch down after 11pm. Our plane is due to depart at 8.25pm, 1.5hour flight, and with an hour time difference due to daylight saving, this means we are due to land at 10.55pm……aka we have 5mins manoverage. We are then very strictly instructed by the rather concerned airport staff, that if we miss our takeoff slot we will not be going anywhere, if we make take off but lose the 5mins in the air, we will not be permitted to land at Sydeny and will have to return to Brisbane. The next 30mins went something like this: People with two pieces of hand luggage are taken to one side, talked to and then return, we make two queues – one for rows 0-17 and one for 18+, each queue behind a member of staff. We are instructed to remove what we want out for the flight from our bag and hold it, and be ready to stow our bag immediately once at our seat. We have a pause of 15mins or so in our queues whilst we are constantly reminded how we have to make our take off slot, and it is a real possibility we could return to Brisbane this evening. The gate doors open and people stream out who have just departed from the plane we are heading out in. As they are streaming out we are instructed that the first queue (rows 0-17) will turn right off the walkway to the plane, the second queue (me) are to continue straight when we are given the signal. As soon as the last person literally steps over the threshold we were told to go, with four people scanning the ticket barcodes. We all walk rather hurriedly down 200m or so to the plane to back drops of, ‘rows 0-17 turn RIGHT’.
First hurdle complete, we make off our take off slot, even with a few minutes to spare….or maybe they were still loading the bags. Even after take-off the vibe from the crew is of a hurried and slightly worried nature. I dare say the crew’s worriedness is more for facing the wrath of the passengers if we don’t make it in time than actually not making it. But after my last flight, Singapore to Brisbane, it this feels like we have barely taken off before we make our descent.
RESULT! Touchdown at 10.54pm so 6minutes to spare, and the captain sounded rather relived when he made the introduction to Sydney. Though I am pretty sure we landed on the furthest runway so we made it in time as we then had a 10min taxi to the airport building! As we collected our bags all the airport staff were leaving work as well, it was like a mass exit of the airport. I joined the queue for a taxi, as the transfer I had booked was not there. I had an inkling this would be the case when I rang to inform them my plane was delayed - as the airport closes at 11pm everything stops from there, transfers, buses and trains…..they leave it to the taxis to mop up the delays!
I arrive at the hostel around midnight, a little apprehensive about my time here as the drive past including going through some rather salubrious places, but I make it safe and sound. The manager of the hostel is very friendly and after the hostel spiel, highlighting bits on the map of where to go etc shows me my dorm. It appears however that every bed has somebodies things on, and with only 2 girls in the dorm out of 6 the manager struggles to decipher which bed should be mine. After much backwards and forwards’ing, and discussion between the manager and the girls they finally decided on the spare one, and I am brought clean linen for it and finally can get some sleep. Ooo if only! Its warm and there no aircon, the light stays on until the last girl comes in at 4am, and then she talks with a girl in the bunk above her for what seems like hours…….well I am so looking forward to the next 5 days!
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