Air Niugini Economy Class POM-CNS

Belated trip report (part 5)!

Bored. Bored. Bored.

7 hours stuck in any airport is boring. 7 hours stuck at Port Moresby airport is excruciating.

The international terminal had finally finished its upgrades since my last visit, which was awesome. But the thing is, my flight didn’t open for check in until 4-5 hours before departure. Which meant several hours sitting around the check-in area doing nothing. Boredom.

Eventually check-in opened and everything was quick. Immigration and security was also quick. Thankfully. With the new renovations, airside now had a number of duty free and souvenir shops, as well as half a dozen cafes. Huzzah! I even managed to find something to eat. I’d hoped to get something more substantial, but all I could find was a salad. And more caffeine. Always more caffeine.

The flight was thankfully on time and shortly after take-off we got an early dinner. Some rice salad thing (which had feta in it, so no go), salad, crackers, and juice.

20160307_172819Supposedly a VGML, but the rice salad thing had cheese in it. I ate the side salad.

We landed on time back in Cairns, and I made my way through immigration quickly. Had some stuff to declare at customs, but that too went relatively fast. Due to flight schedules, I had to spend the night in Cairns before flying home in the morning. I had planned to get a proper dinner in town, but it turns out that my favourite restaurant (the Turkish place on the Esplanade) had closed down. I wanted to cry. So I went to the Woolworths down the road and bought some random stuff, went back to my hotel, and ate dinner in front of the tv. Yes, I’m so adventurous sometimes.

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Air Niugini Economy Class GUR-POM

Belated trip report (part 4)!

On mah way home!

Diving was awesome!

Got to the airport a little early after the transfer from my resort in Milne Bay back to Alotau. There’s a little cafe/shop at the airport which sells soda and candy etc. I just got some water and sat around outside the terminal. It’s pretty small, and you don’t really want to clear security until your flight is called. Checking in was quick and easy. Security pulled me up on my camera gear for some reason. I don’t know, took about 20 minutes to clear security anyway.

Flight left 40 minutes early. Seriously. I already had a 6 hour layover in Port Moresby, and now it’d be closer to 7. #FML

Got the same juice tub and cookies I got on the flight over. Didn’t bother with either. Wasn’t hungry, and I already had my bottle of water from the airport.

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Again…

Landed early. Was then stuck with my bags for 7 hours waiting for the flight back to Cairns. Boredom ensued.

Air Niugini Economy Class POM-GUR

Belated trip report (part 3)!

So the domestic terminal at Port Moresby didn’t get the upgrade like the international terminal did. Not surprised. But due to the late arrival of the flight from Cairns, my transit time in Moresby wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Made my way to domestic pretty quickly and checked in easily. Security screening was its usual chaotic mess.

The little cafe that they have airside sells water and snacks. I bought a couple of bottles of water, figuring that I’d get dinner at the resort later that evening. Spent the next hour trying to find a wi-fi connection that worked. I failed.

Flight was on time. Shortly after take-off, the standard Air Niugini snack for domestic flights came out: juice tub and cookies. Gave both to my neighbour.

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I drank the water that I’d bought at the airport that you can see in the seat pocket.

Flight actually landed early into Alotau. Then things got messy. My resort transfer didn’t arrive. There were some arguments at the airport over what I was meant to do. It all worked out in the end and isn’t really relevant to this story…But ugh. Sometimes travel is a pain in the arse. I didn’t end up getting dinner until about 9pm, put it that way.

Air Niugini Economy Class CNS-POM

Belated trip report (part 2)!

Because my flight from Townsville landed quite early, I had a bit of a layover in Cairns (4 hours) before the flight to Port Moresby left. Air Niugini check-in doesn’t open until 2.5 hours before departure, so I was stuck hanging around Cairns international for 90 minutes before check-in opened…*yawn* Landside in Cairns international is dead. I was bored very, very quickly. Eventually check-in opened and everything was straight forward.

Fun times ensued…The fire alarm in the terminal building went off when I was in line for security screening. Everything in the terminal came to a screeching halt for about 30-40 minutes while they found the culprit. We didn’t have to evacuate, but we were basically standing around doing nothing while they found the source of the alarm. It took ages for them to eventually start screening again. So boring, and you get no phone signal in that part of the airport, so I couldn’t even Facebook. Doom!

Once through security, there’s not much going on airside. A few duty free shops and a cafe and a pizza shop. The cafe had coffee, but not much in the way of vegan or gluten free food. The newsagents sells paleo bars, so I bought a couple of those which were edible, and sat around waiting for the plane. Which was 45 minutes late. Shocker, I know…

After departing a bit late, we were on our way to Port Moresby. Made up a bit of time along the way. Shortly after take-off we got brunch.20160226_123538No VGML: pasta salad with mayo, ham, a bread roll, and an ice cream…lol

I would survive. This was predictable. My plan was to just wait it out until I got to the resort in Milne Bay for dinner.

Landed a bit late, but I had enough time up my sleeve to make the connection to Alotau, so not a problem. Immigration was really slow, even for PNG. And customs officers seemed more interested in standing around having a chat than in clearing the 3 plane loads of passengers that had just arrived. Not a surprise. PNG runs on island time…

Air Niugini Economy Class POM-CNS

O. M. G.

I actually got a decent vegan and gluten free meal in PNG! Albeit I got it on the flight home…

I’d resigned myself to not getting the VGML on the flight from Port Moresby to Cairns, since I didn’t get one on the Cairns-Port Moresby flight on the way over. I figured that if catering in Cairns couldn’t get it right, then Port Moresby had no chance.

Lo and behold, as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, one of the cabin crew came and checked with me that I’d ordered the vegetarian. Yes, it was actually on board! One up on the Cairns to Port Moresby flight.

Then when it was actually served, and it was actually vegan and gluten free, I wanted to cry tears of joy. I’d had so many issues with the food in PNG that I was honestly genuinely happy to get a meal that I could eat.

It was a simple vegetable curry with rice, very mild, but it was edible and tasty, and at that point, that was all that mattered to me. Washed it down with the little tub of apple juice that it was served with (that I usually avoid like the plague), and a can of Coke Zero.

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My VGML between Port Moresby and Cairns! Miracles happen?

I was still definitely going to need to go out for dinner when I arrived in Cairns for my overnight layover (the flight landed too late for me to get through immigration and customs in order to make the last connection home), but I was grateful for the food regardless. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy when it comes to food, I’m not that picky.

That aside, the flight wasn’t terrible. The two guys in the row in front of me were playing games on their tablets and phones – without headphones on. Which would have been fine if they’d had the sound muted…I asked the cabin crew to ask them to turn the sound off or put headphones in, but by the time they got around to speaking to them about it, we were already an hour into the 90 minute flight. Frustrating, but at least it wasn’t a longer flight I guess. Also, after the meal service, the area around where I was sitting smelled like urine. There were no babies near me, so I don’t know if someone had bladder problems, or spilled something, but it reeked. Not a great flight, but I suppose I’ve had worse.

Landed on time in Cairns and got through immigration quickly, before being hauled up at quarantine for some wooden items and shells that I’d picked up in PNG, but even that didn’t take too long. Then made my way into town to my hotel and to The Esplanade for dinner! That Turkish restaurant beckoned…

Airlines of PNG Economy Class TFI-POM

Long day.

Left for Tufi airport quite early to get the flight back to Port Moresby. Simple enough. But then a really long 7 hour layover in Port Moresby before my connecting flight back to Cairns. Crappy flight schedules, but it is what it is.

The flight from Tufi left on time, but we flew to Port Moresby via Poppondetta, which added a little time to the trip. Nice flight though.

On board, we were served a little tub of apple juice on the Tufi to Poppondetta sector, and then a tub of orange juice and scotch finger cookies on the Poppondetta to Port Moresby sector. Honestly, after the lack of food at Tufi, I actually drank the juice out of desperation. Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, I had a bottle of water on board that I bought at the resort, but I did want the sugar hit at that point. I gave the cookies to someone else on the flight to eat.

IMG_5700_smlThe two “refreshments” served on the two sectors between Tufi and Port Moresby.

Landed on time and ventured off for my 7 hour layover in Port Moresby. Ugh. Can not reiterate how much that airport sucks.

Airlines of PNG Economy Class POM-TFI

Bahahaha. I’m shocked! I had a 90 minute international-domestic connection in Port Moresby. Did I make it? Ha! Course I did.

After clearing immigration and customs, I headed for the Airlines of PNG domestic transfer desk. They tried to hit me up for excess baggage, which I was prepared to cop, as it was only 20 kina ($10 Australian for 4kg over). But when I went to the customer service desk to pay for it, there was nobody there. When I went back to tell the check-in agent, she just let it go. PNG’s infamous lack of customer service works in my favour!

Anyway, the domestic departures lounge is pretty bare. There’s a tiny shop selling drinks (water, coke, etc.). I got some water.

Walked out to the plane, and took off on time. Once in the air for our 35 minute flight to Tufi, we were offered refreshments. Which was a small tub of orange juice and a packet of scotch finger biscuits. I hate long life juice, and the biscuits were off the table for gluten, dairy, and egg. Such is life.

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I could have drunk the orange juice, but I didn’t.

The landing into Tufi is absolutely spectacular by the way!

IMG_5373It’s a hard life…