Sat 3 Dec 2011
Left home at 3:30 am for our 6 am flight to Melbourne. There was a bit of a fuss when we checked in because Michael, Matthew and I were in exit rows and Chris wasn’t because under 15s aren’t allowed. Apparently parents can’t sit in exit rows either if their underage children are on board. (In an emergency, they want you to open the hatch, not look for your child). They eventually registered Chris as a Y.P. (Young Person?) not as part of the family.
Our 2 hours in Melbourne was barely enough time due to a long taxi on landing, long check in queue and long immigration queue and by the time we got through, the plane was boarding. I almost had a spare seat next to me but at the last minute, someone came along. There were only 3 spare seats on the plane. We were served lunch, with a second lunch near the end of the flight.
After 9 hours we landed in China at 6 pm – not overly cold as we were bussed from the plane to the terminal -interesting to see rolls of barbed wire on the tops of walls inside the terminal. Guangzhou was a pretty boring airport. Had club sandwiches/pork and rice at a cafe. No idea what we paid as I didn’t check the exchange rates.
Our plane was late leaving – 12:30 pm. The boys and I tried to sleep on the floor in the terminal – Chris was out to it for about 3 hours. The second leg of the journey was 12 hours, 40 min and this time the plane had personal in-flight entertainment. Unfortunately we were now too tired to make the most of it and tried to sleep most of the time. The previous flight alternated between Chinese and English shows/movies. I watched Mr Poppers Penguins – very cute.
We were served dinner (which Chris and I didn’t eat) and were told that breakfast would be 3 hours prior to landing. I actually managed to sleep for about 4 hours – I was exhausted – and felt much better when I woke up except that I was pretty hungry. Breakfast was not served 3 hours before landing and eventually we all shared some biscuits I had brought, with breakfast being served with just enough time to be cleared before landing. (This was at 11:30 am Brisbane time, so we were pretty hungry). Once again there was a really long taxi at the airport, followed by a long bus ride to the terminal. Our plane was 30 min late and immigration was slow, but our taxi driver was waiting with my name on a card. I had prebooked and prepaid all our taxi airport pickups and drop offs – with 4 passengers, it was often cheaper than trains or buses and a lot simpler.