I’m finally here in Norway – some 40 hours after leaving my home in New Zealand. While the trip has been long, Air New Zealand were gracious hosts for the majority of the travel (three Air New Zealand flights, followed by SAS to Olso), and I had a great seat with lots of leg room on the International flights from New Zealand to London. That made a big difference. I’ll be asking for 23D by name next time I travel the Air New Zealand Boeing 777 between London and New Zealand.
The first leg terminated at Hong Kong International Airport at 5.45am – pretty early for the airport as it turned out. None of the shops were open at that time, so it felt a bit like a ghost town. I had access to the Lounge, and was first in the queue for a shower. I’ve discovered that a shower half-way through this journey makes all the difference – and it did again this time. The airport slowly came to life from 7am, and before long there were throngs of people milling around. I took a bit of a walk from our gate (35) down the long hallway – to gate 20 or so, and saw a large gathering of people. I thought they were lined up for boarding their plane, but on coming back saw it was more basic than that – they were at Starbucks awaiting an early fix.
A couple of passengers failed to board the 777 in Hong Kong, and Air New Zealand removed their baggage and left them behind. The two ladies had been sitting in Row 23 as well – two seats away from me – so it felt rather close-to-home than them just being two unknown names from somewhere on the plane. I had seen them walking through the airport at 6.45am, so I knew they were in the airport. What a rude shock to your travel plans to be stranded in Hong Kong – without prior intent. A couple of us wondered to each other what would become of them (“Will Air New Zealand charge them another full fare?” – “I’m sure there will be some financial payment, although I doubt it will be a full fare – regardless of how much the airline would like to do so!”), and then we gave way to the usual banter about “have you ever missed a flight?”
Heathrow was not teeming with visitors when I arrived, and after a smooth transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 via the Flight Connections bus, I was through inbound security in about 7 minutes. Then I had 3 hours to wait until my connecting flight to Oslo was scheduled, so I caught up on correspondence, did a bit of reading, and walked around a lot to try and stay awake! I met a young couple who had been at Christchurch airport on Friday night and had flown to Heathrow via Los Angeles. They said they’d arrived at 9am Saturday morning, and had an 8-hour layover until their final flight to Madrid. She said “We are sleeping with our eyes closed!” They had been in New Zealand for three weeks – for their honeymoon no less – and were now heading back home, and back to work on Monday. As a 22-year old, I honeymooned in New Zealand too, but as a final year university student, didn’t have a choice!
Now for a day of rest in Norway, where the snow is falling gently. It’s quite a change from shorts, singlets and 20 degree plus weather in Christchurch a mere 40 hours ago! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, sow seeds of kindness in the lives of the people you meet.
Categories: Michael's Happenings