A traveller’s tale of Air Pacific
Reporting time was over and the check-in was completed two hours before the 6.30 p.m. take-off at Nadi airport. The traveller went into the waiting area inside with his very small piece of hand luggage. At 5 p.m. an announcement came over the speaker: ‘The plane will not leave for Australia until 9 p.m. Everyone can have a $20 voucher to buy food and drink.’ Well, this traveller bought a large heavy book to read and a snack. This is in the international area remember, not in the check-in area.
A few hours later another announcement came over the speaker. ‘The Air Pacific flight will not be going tonight but at 3 a.m. Those who would like to go to a nearby hotel for four hours may do so, complimentary.’ And another $20 each was distributed for more food and drinks. The traveller in the story, a young man who’s been at Nadi airport numerous times, did not want to go to a hotel. He found a comfortable nook with lounges and several other passengers were there, also intent upon some kind of sleep. Well, the plane eventually took off with tourists, business people, and the usual Fiji families going abroad. The plane arrived in Melbourne 20 minutes ahead of schedule at 6 a.m.Australian time. The waiting relatives had got up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport by 6.20 the (new) scheduled time.
At arrivals a scattering of people were there to meet the passengers – and there were arrivals from Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia etc. etc. I wonder how many Australian people did not phone Qantas early last night to check on arrival time and went out to the airport to discover the plane would be eight hours late! This delay meant driving in peak hour city traffic, and a one hour drive on the freeway to a foggy provincial city.
The traveller did not complain, but I am sure many other passengers on that flight would have been put out with people waiting for them, or their connections messed up. Why the delay? There was no announcement as to what had happened. Was it engine trouble? Not enough flight attendants and having to wait for someone to sleep eight hours first? Bag handlers on strike? No-one seemed to know.
Smarten up, Air Pacific as there are too many stories like this, especially of late departures and arrivals.
I wonder if that string band group that sings 'Isa Lei' to departing tourists sang for eight hours in the departure lounge on that night!