For most travellers the trip to Australia is always guaranteed to be a long journey and when your departure airport is in Glasgow, Scotland that is doubly true. Here’s how I got on with my 34 hour trip travelling from Glasgow to Sydney (via Dubai and Bangkok!). Spoilers, I didn’t have the best luck!
From Glasgow to Sydney is a very long flight which unfortunately for me felt even longer due to my company on the plane. As luck would have it the first leg (Glasgow – Dubai), I had a rude and shall we say woman of larger stature beside me and a screaming baby in front of me for the whole 8 hour journey. Obviously, the child in front was clearly having a miserable time too as were the rather harrased parents but that, complete with my arm rest hogging neighbour, certainly put a stop to any planned sleep on the plane. Despite these few issues, the flight wasn’t too bad. Flying with Emirates, rather than some of the more budget friendly airlines, I got to enjoy an awesome in-flight entertainment system; a touch screen TV, movies and a games set, keeping me thoroughly amused.
And a little added bonus, I also got to share my flight with one of the Scottish Delhi Commonwealth Games teams who I can only assume were making connections via Dubai. You never know, I might have been sitting just a few rows from a World Champion in something, although with such a mixed team I’m not really sure what sport they were actually competing in.
With my connection schedule I qualified for a free hotel stay in Dubai since it was a ‘long stopover’ – I disagree with that description. I had 6 hours between flights, it took me an hour to get through passport control before I then had to wait for the shuttle bus to my hotel. In 35 degree heat at one in the morning might I add. With airport and flight rules stipulating I had to be back at the airport 2 hours before my flight that left me a total of 3 hours which really isn’t much time to do anything but a little nap and have a quick wash at my hotel. Said hotel was also one of the biggest places I have ever stayed in with the longest corridors I have ever seen. These are definitely a little confusing when you’re sleepy and just want to find your room.
After the briefest of stopovers my next leg going Dubai to Sydney actually turned out to be via Bangkok which was unexpected and seemed to have quite rough security as I went through 5 security and passport checks within an hour before getting back on the same plane to Sydney. If your headed on a similar route do check the small print as this is quite a common practice to help break up airline staff shifts.
From Bangkok we had a new flight crew including a new American pilot who thought it was appropriate to shout “Here we go!” over the tannoy on take off. This actually put me more on edge than reassuring me – I prefer it to sound like my pilot isn’t trying this flying thing for the first time. Continuing my rotten luck I soon found out that everyone in my row and the one behind had been upgraded to First Class except me so I wasn’t in the best of moods and the constant air turbulence for the remaining 9 hours didn’t help. But, finally, after two full days of travel, I arrived in the sunny land down under…. where it was raining.
My arrival in Sydney was fairly smooth other than my backpack changing category somewhere along the route from oversized when it was checked in back in Glasgow, to standard by the time it reached Sydney meaning I was waiting at the wrong bag collection point for ages. With an airport pick up awaiting me, I was soon dropped off at my first Aussie hostel and after a quick hunt for food I was then unconscious for the remainder of the day having had no sleep in the 3 days previous.
I opted for my first few nights in Sydney Central YHA and, so as not to throw myself into the backpacking deep end straight off, I stayed in a 4 person dorm rather than the many 16 and up bed options common around Sydney. My hostel was also one of the largest and had everything on site including a cinema and a swimming pool on the roof! Certainly a little comfort was needed after such a long journey!
Have you travelled from a Scottish Airport to Australia? Feel free to share any flight horror stories in the comments below!