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True Story by Emmjay

Look, it was a well-motivated decision.  Tough year on the family side – let’s get away so we don’t have to face Christmas here.  And how about somewhere warm and swimmy ?  And well, Australia is booked out, full of sharks and too expensive.  And well, Bali …. How much would you trust the Indonesian security, police and court systems ?  No, me neither.

So on a whim (and with the sound of Radio Birdman’s Aloha Steve and Danno ringing in my ears) we booked a 10 day stay at the Ilikai Hotel at the top end of Waikiki.

This was my first mistake – Christmas is when the school holidays are on…. and the cheap seats are massively booked out.  Now, noise cancelling headphones can  do a pretty fair job of drowning out the engines, but they are powerless to deal with infants who seem unable to cope with decompression at take-off and compression on landing.  My god.  No, let me help you change that nappy.  No it’s no trouble, I was going to throw up anyway.

But wait… there were more mistakes to come….

Our second mistake was a decision that Jetstar cattle class was tolerable – especially since each ticket was $900 cheaper than the QANTAS flight which left five minutes earlier.  Fortunately the good people at Flight Centre had included catering and entertainment options.

For those of us unfamiliar with Jetstar catering or non-catering, let’s just say that DIY snacks would be a major improvement.  Truly awful, stone cold or incandescently hot curry-like things.  And the coffee at dinner time was included, but not at any other time.

Entertainment – was, well, I took an iPad full of watchable stuff but FM chose to tough it out (i.e. try to sleep because the entertainment on offer was appalling).  The flight crew announcements were more compelling.

I’m not saying that the crowding was terrible (because we paid for $25 worth of extra leg room … all the $45 extra leg room seats had been booked out weeks earlier).  But let’s not kid ourselves that it was comfortable.  I might have had sex, or at least exchanged body fluids with one of the other passengers, it was too close to tell.

But hey, it’s only a 9 hour direct flight !!!  True, but Jetstar has managed to insert a useful adjective before the nine hours.  You’ll recognise it immediately.  It starts with Ex and ends with Cruciating.  I think it’s fair to day that their nasty little strategy has killed off economy overseas air travel for us forever.  Unless we fly business class and break the journey at say Singapore for a couple of days on route to Europe, we will not be flying overseas.  They have us over a barrel.  Holidays are supposed to be great, not a will-sapping thrash session that makes you equivocal about whether the plane goes down or not.

Tomorrow – Our Third Mistake…..