For the first time in my life we were caught up in a big airport delay on our return to Sydney a couple of weeks ago. We arrived at the airport at the required time but realised when we walked in that the line was very long, maybe 80 metres! We couldn’t work out where the end of the line was at first and after asking around realised that every flight had been delayed due to the storms caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald going down the coast. As it went, it caused flooding once again in Queensland and later in New South Wales.

Every flight for that day was in the line so there was nothing more to do than line up and shuffle our way to the front. The girls were very good, we only had one minor scuffle over the use of the ipad but apart from that they waited patiently along with us. I think they thought it was a big adventure (it was in a way).

Thankfully my parents stayed with us (as it was just the girls and myself, Michael had returned a week earlier).

It took two and a half hours to get from the back of the line to the booking desk. Due to the floods, Telstra’s optic cable and apparently its backup cable had been damaged and telecommunications were out throughout Queensland. This included internet, phone, some eftpos machines and at the airport, their check-in systems. Since I was on another network I still had full use of my phone including internet service. Once we did get to the front of the line, this is what we recieved as our boarding passes:

Can you work out what this check-in desk was dealing with?

After getting our boarding passes we went through security and sat in the waiting area for another hour. At one point they announced flights were cancelled (not ours) and then they announced that ‘Cairns airport is closed due to harsh weather’. Everyone in the waiting area (probably 1000 people) laughed at that point. Within 15 mins however they started boarding flights and it turned out that the harsh weather was a lightening storm over the bay.

Our flight was finally called and we said goodbye to my parents and headed for our seats. Once on board we were sitting there for an hour while they manually sorted out people’s seats. Again, the girls were very well behaved. The flight from Cairns to Sydney is around 3 hours but as we got close to Sydney the announcement from the Captain again caused people to both laugh and sigh, ‘Due to ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald hitting Sydney, there is only one runway open and we are in a queue. We are in a holding pattern and our landing time has been given as 9.10pm’. That meant that we would be in a holding pattern for over an hour and a half. We actually landed at 8.45pm and everyone half cheered as we landed.

The adventure wasn’t over yet as the big storm hit Sydney at 9pm Sydney time, right when we were driving home! In all it took us 9 hours to get from Cairns to Sydney (we left home at 10.30am). Usually, including driving to the airport and back it shouldn’t take any more than four hours.

I should think, that we will never forget that particular trip home!

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