The spring holiday plans almost got unstuck last week, when it became apparent that having left it until only a few weeks before departure without booking the tickets was a pretty stupid idea. Fact is, any school holidays you’d care to mention, some flights get booked solid. And when I waltzed into Flight Centre in Elsternwick on Thursday, it turned out that there weren’t seats available on the flights that I had so carefully chosen from the Qantas web site.
I’ve discovered that I like flying Qantas. It’s not just that I know their service is great. It’s not just their unrivalled safety record (we all remember Rain Man, right?). It’s not just that they’re paying me huge amounts of money to give them good publicity. (If only. Hey, John Laws I ain’t.)
Last year in Europe I discovered that the great thing about travelling Qantas is getting to the airport at the tail end of a great holiday on a far away continent, knowing you’ve had a terrific time immersing yourself in the local culture, but that you’ll be glad to get home. You look through the departure gate triple-glazing and see that big white kangaroo on the red tail, and it’s as if somehow they’ve brought a little bit of home out to meet you.
So, what to do? We pondered about flying with other airlines, and eventually decided on Saturday afternoon to ring and book onto the alternative suggested: Cathay Pacific. That wouldn’t be bad, and I’d still earn frequent flyer points. But I decided to ask for Qantas anyway initially, just in case some seats had magically made themselves available. The girl on the phone was determined to wangle something, and after some fiddling with dates, actually got us onto almost all Qantas flights to and from Europe (with just one sector on BA instead). Cool.
So, in about five weeks, we’ll jet off for about a week in Rome, followed by a fortnight in England (or wherever in the UK we decide to go). Goody gum drops.
And if anybody’s got any messages for us to give to the Pope or the Queen, just drop me an e-mail.