Qantas Economy Class SYD-BNE

Flight 11/12: Sydney to Brisbane

Ah, home sweet lounge access! Priorities – I have them.

After the ugly mess over at the international terminal, I was glad to make my way over to Sydney domestic, and hide out in the Qantas lounge for 3.5 hours to wait for the flight to Brisbane. I finished up some photo editing from the dive trip.

We boarded a little late, and to be honest, although I know they were desperate for an on time departure, the cabin crew were pretty rude about the whole thing. Usually expect better from Qantas. It’s their fault the flight was late to board, not ours.

After departing a little late, we got our snack shortly after take-off. Lo and behold, I actually got a snack that was both vegan and gluten free! A toastie filled with spinach, pumpkin, and cannellini beans. Tasted good 🙂

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My VGML snack…

The flight went quite quickly, because not long after they cleared up the meal, we started to descend into Brisbane. We landed a little late, and the rudeness continued. We hadn’t even started exiting the plane before the cleaning crew were pushing through the cabin trying to clean up. People were everywhere, half the plane weren’t even out of their seats, people were getting shoved out of the way by ground crew while trying to pull their bags out of the overhead lockers. It was bullshit. Qantas – I expect better. I know it was a rush to get the plane turned around for its next flight, but the attitude and behaviour from the cabin crew and ground staff was unacceptable.

I got off the plane as quickly as possible and made my way to the Qantas lounge in Brisbane.

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Garuda Indonesia Economy Class DPS-SYD

Flight 10/12: Denpasar to Sydney

Almost home. Almost. Bali airport is just as…classy…as I remember it being. Despite the cosmetic facelift, nothing changes the hoards of loudmouthed drunken Australian Bintang bogans.

I had almost 7 hours to kill in Bali before my flight back to Sydney. As we were coming in to land, I saw the airport surf break and was almost tempted to head in to town, hire a board, and go surf for a few hours before going back to the airport. I didn’t. I did the boring thing and went straight to the international terminal and went through security. I was bored.

Because I already had my boarding pass, I went straight through security and immigration. Security cracked it over my underwater camera gear and made me pull everything out – lenses, housing, strobes, lights, trays, handles, the lot…Because of course nobody in Bali has ever seen underwater camera gear on the x-ray before? lol

Anyway, I spent most of the layover sitting around a coffee shop drinking more…Coffee! Although this time it wasn’t Starbucks – but only because there is no Starbucks post-security at Bali airport, they’re apparently too classy for that. I also tried to find a book I wanted to buy, and a couple of gifts to take home for someone, but I was stunned at the lack of tacky gifts in the airport. I miss the old international terminal! The one that had a mix of the high end stores and the trashy souvenirs. I needed the trashy souvenirs for a change, and there’s nowhere to buy them! What is this? Bali, stop pretending.

I also bought some apple chips to snack on, because there was surprisingly little vegetarian food available, let alone vegan or gluten free.

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My snack food…

My boredom returned. The wifi is crap. How is it that just about every other airport in Indonesia has better wifi than Bali?

We ended up boarding about 45 minutes late. I was not even remotely surprised. There were so many drunk and obnoxious passengers, it made me cringe. Just as I sat down in my usual window seat, the woman in the seat next to me (a middle seat) started complaining about being uncomfortable, and was basically demanding that I swap seats with her. In no universe ever would I willingly swap a window seat for a middle seat. I pretty much told her as much, and that if her comfort was such a big deal, then perhaps in the future she should be more organised with checking in early. She had a go at me, I retaliated. I wasn’t very nice, and I hate to say “well, she started it…” but well, she did. I won’t put up with that kind of DYKWIA attitude from people at the best of times – I’d been travelling the entire day and was tired, so it was not the best of times.

Shortly after take-off we got a midnight snack. Mine was a small fruit tub, washed down with some Coke Zero. I don’t like dragonfruit much, so I left that alone.

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The midnight VGML…

I attempted (unsuccessfully) to sleep after that. Screaming babies – enough said. Got some rest though. About 90 minutes before landing they brought around breakfast. I was given the menu card, but they did confirm I had the VGML. I attach a photo of the menu just for interests sake.

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The breakfast VGML: fried vegetables, some sliced fruit, a pastry, and a bread roll with butter and jam. I ate the vegetables and fruit.

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The regular breakfast menu…

We made up a bit of time during the flight and only landed a little late. Then the chaos in Sydney ensued. Baggage shenanigans. Quarantine shenanigans. Inter-terminal transfer shenanigans. I eventually made it over to domestic.

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class SYD-CGK

Flight 3/12: Sydney to Jakarta

And, we outta here! Seriously, it never feels like I’m on holiday until I’ve left the country. Some weird psychological thing.

Was up early this morning and went to the hotel cafe and restaurant to see about doing breakfast (after spending an hour on the treadmill in the on-site fitness centre)…No luck. It was all muffins and bacon and eggs, etc. Didn’t see any fresh fruit – and I wasn’t going to pay $20 just for an apple. I had a small bag of dried fruit that I’d intended to keep as a snack to eat on the flight to Jakarta (just in case), but ended up eating that for breakfast instead so that I could take my meds.

Checking in at the Garuda counters at the airport was a mess. There was a flight to Bali and my flight to Jakarta both trying to check in. You’d think they could deal with having multiple flights checking in at the same time, but apparently not. Eventually got my boarding passes through to Sorong. Immigration went relatively quickly, as they now have those Smartgate things for departures as well. Security was a mess. It’s always a mess.

You want to know something funny? And I do know it makes me sound like a total wanker…But this is literally the first time I’ve been in Sydney airport and not had lounge access. Seriously. OMG, I don’t know how people put up with it! It is a horrible, horrible airport if you can’t hide in the lounge! On the upside, these flights will be enough to push me up to a high enough status with Garuda so that I will have Skyteam lounge access in the future. No more slumming it!

Anyway, we boarded about 40 minutes late and took off about an hour late. Pretty much as soon as we boarded, a baby started crying. Apparently the flight was full of babies, because as soon as one started, that set the others off. It was a 7.5 hour flight of nothing but screaming babies. That is not an exaggeration. I tried to sleep, but it wasn’t to be.

Not long after taking off, we got a snack and a drink. The snack was a small packet of nuts, and I had to read the packet carefully, because on the picture on the front of the packet, there was wasabi peas, and wasabi normally contains gluten. The ingredients said no gluten, and there were no wasabi peas in there anyway, it was just salted nuts. They were safe, and as I still don’t feel ill, it’s safe to say they were ok.

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The picture on the front of the packet was misleading, there were no wasabi peas.

The main meal came out about an hour or so later, which turned out to be some kind of eggplant parma, rice, vegetables, and a tomato sauce. The parma had breadcrumbs, and was definitely not gluten free. I ate the rice and vegetables. The meal also came with a dolomade and capsicum dip, neither of which I ate. And some kind of berry compote and museli bar bites for dessert. The compote was ok. The museli bars contained honey – I checked the ingredients list.

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The VGML that wasn’t entirely vegan, and definitely wasn’t gluten free…

So close, Garuda, so close! I could forgive the gluten, as there’s never any guarantee that a VGML will be gluten free…But honey? Meh. Not the end of the world, but disappointing regardless as I hadn’t been able to eat the eggplant thing or the entree.

I watched a couple of episodes of The Flash on the inflight entertainment system, for lack of anything else that interested me. Not a particularly inspiring range of movies on offer to be honest.

Anyway, we landed a bit late in Jakarta, and then I had a panic attack when my luggage didn’t come off the belt. I was about to cry, when I got myself together and went and spoke to the Garuda staff – who told me that it’d been sent straight to Sorong. This is unusual, because you’re normally required to clear it through customs at your first port of call in Indonesia (like you do in Australia). Here’s to hoping it makes it!

Qantas Economy Class BNE-SYD

Flight 2/12: Brisbane to Sydney

And…rest. Due to flight schedules, I have to overnight in Sydney tonight in order to get the Garuda flight to Jakarta in the morning.

I spent the layover in Brisbane holed up in the Qantas Club lounge. For longer than the 40 minutes initially planned. Flight delays – the bane of my existence. Especially when you’ve got the 11pm airport curfew in Sydney – and we were definitely pushing it.

I got some Moroccan roast cauliflower and chickpea salad thing and added a bit of hommus. Was very tasty! I also drank way too much Coke Zero.

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The Moroccan salad I got in the Brisbane Qantas lounge…

Eventually boarded, about an hour late. Everything went smoothly. Got my VGML shortly after takeoff, and the woman next to me decided she wanted the vegetarian too. Didn’t actually order one, just demanded one. Idiot. Anyway, it was some coconut curry with vegetables and noodles. Definitely not gluten free (it said so on the carton). Always the risk with the VGML – they’re not always gluten free. You win some, you lose some. Bit of a shame I couldn’t eat it though, it smelt good. I gave it to the woman next to me when I discovered I couldn’t eat it. Not the end of the world – this was after all why I decided to eat in the Qantas lounge before the flight.

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The yummy smelling VGML that I couldn’t eat because it wasn’t gluten free…

We landed in Sydney just before curfew, and I made my way via the hotel shuttle bus over to the Rydges at the international terminal where I was spending the night. My flight to Jakarta leaves mid-morning and there was no way to get from Townsville to Sydney that early in the morning, so it meant having to overnight. Splits the trip up a bit at any rate!