SAReunion 01 – Departure

This morning I had to be at the airport at 7am to check-in for a10am flight. This necessitated being packed last night. I mean fully packed, not “mostly packed with a couple of things to throw in.” So it was during this “great packing process” when it began to dawn on me that things have changed. Or rather, I’ve changed.

I’ve always prided myself in being the consummate traveller. After all, I’ve done it so much, and ventured so far. Always able to find the balance between “Being Prepared (for every eventuality)” and “travelling lightly.” I glibly put out a single hold-all for my check-in luggage, and my trusty TechEd07 Speaker BackPack for carry-on.

By the time I’d packed my clothes I realised I was going to need another bag for the limited scuba gear I wanted to bring, as well as “The Beast” my 6kg 17” laptop (for video editing), not to mention the DSLR, camcorder, various accessories for charging and connecting said technology, and obligatory Aussie gifts. Nevertheless, I managed to get it all in to the two moderately sized check-in bags,with a very light carry-on.

We whisked to the airport this morning, Lu decided to drop me off, rather than “see” me off, waving at me from the truck as they roared off. I was just 2nd person in the Premium/Silver FF queue. Things were looking up. Then disaster struck.

It turns out that although my luggage all fitted in, the bags weighed some 33kg. Here’s were Qantas fantastic systems irony comes into play. Y’see, although I’m a Qantas FF, travelling on a Qantas aeroplane, I’m holding a SAA ticket. If I was holding a Qantas ticket, my Silver FF status gives me a 30kg limit. Simple enough to find 3kgs and transfer it to my carry-on. But because of a code in the system, I now had to redistribute 10kgs!! Because Lucy wasn’t waiting to see me off, there was no-one to give my gear to.

I will say that the check-in attendant and her supervisor were both fantastically helpful. Rather than just charge me excess baggage, and treat me with contempt (as happened when Lu & I returned from Vanuatu) They did everything in their power to help me get my bags to the limit. Then tried to waive the excess when I got the bags down to 26kgs. But they couldn’t. So rather than paying $150 for 3kg I ended up with “The Beast”, its power pack, my fins, DSLR and camcorder on the counter and my carry-on.

Here’s where we move from the sublime to the ridiculous. I wandered over to Strandbag and bought a cheap hold-all. Because of the fins it had to be bigger than regulation carry-on size. Then I put all of the items I’d removed from my luggage and lugged this 10kgs with me. Through security (2 laptops to scan), through duty-free, onto the plane. So, I still have all the luggage on the same plane. But instead of being securely stowed in just 2 bags in the hold; I now have an extra, technically overweight bag, and have become one of those people that I despised so much as a traveller. Y’know, the ones who clearly can’t read the signs about regulation size for carry-on, and have no respect for others. *sigh* All because in a computer application, my ticket has a SAA code against it, rather than a Qantas one.

Still, I can’t overstate how friendly and helpful the staff were. They even put me in an exit row, next to an empty seat.