This week's flight home turned into a mini adventure. The first part of the adventure happen early in the week when I realised that I had selected any seat at all. Luckily I was able to get into a aisle seat in row 8, on the Qantas 737. It was completely shocking that a flight booked in May 2016 did not have a seat selected. These situations always create the droll joke about not knowing the plane went back that far. The seat didn't matter as I had an external meeting to attend before the flight. The agenda was short enough to give confidence the meeting would end early.
Friday arrived with the day getting off to a good start. The morning meeting was quick and efficient. The afternoon meeting was on time and the lunch was pretty good as well. The first hint of trouble was when the Chair opted for an early start as there were storms due for Sydney. Storms and Sydney are danger words for anyone getting on a plane. The sky was looking ominous through the window. We powered through the agenda to get out of the meeting in enough time to make the walk to the central station just before the rain started.
Sydney airport had actually closed by the time I made it to the Qantas Business Lounge to check in. The front desk person dropped a couple of hints along the lines of "If you want to get home tonight, I can move you to an early flight". I wasn't going to argue with that logic. Not least because even with a free hotel for the night courtesy of Qantas, I had no clean clothes left! They moved me to QF765 but in window seat in row 11. I don't like window seats that much, especially over the wing.
The new flight was due to leave in about 30 minutes, but with the airport closed it was a matter of settling in for a drink, snack and an easy view of the flight info boards. Then this happened:
Delayed until almost my original flight time. I quick trip to the front desk of the lounge saw me moving to the 18:15 departure, QF763. The good news there was an aisle seat, in Row 28. 😆 Take the good with the bad I guess. This was the time to settle in to wait for the flight. The timing meant it was pointless to switch further, even if this third flight was bound to be delayed.
As is my way, I got on early to secure overhead space. I settled in to watch proceedings. A comfortable flight was on the cards when a young kid turned up to sit in the middle; his parents in the row behind. After about 80% were onboard the situation got messy. A young lady turned up, made a fuss about offering the young kid the window seat. Then she asked if I'd might swapping with her partner in 18C so they can sit together. This is a challenging and confusing moment.
Pros: Excellent seat swap etiquette, never ask anyone to move back in the plane. Cons: Overhead locker space? Movie already back to previous spot. Seat buddy in 18B?
In the end I rewarded the good seat swap etiquette. Thus I stood up, lost my overhead space and played musical dances with other passengers while explaining that I'd kindly offered to swap (so they need to get out of the way). I was literally the last passenger standing when I got to 18C to find a "rather large gentleman" in the middle seat. Ok, he was massive, his arms took one-third of my seat.
We're an hour late, they want all passengers to sit down so they can shut the door - and I'm like No way in hell am I going to suffer that for 2 hours. I done it before, that larger passenger (mostly muscle by the looks) needs to buy himself 2 seats. Fortunately, I had been watching the seat map on Expertflyer. I knew 4D was available, I could see it was available. I just followed the crew member who had helped me move to the front of the plane. Explained that I'm not sitting in 18C and they told me to just sit there (4D). In fact, I was told - "Just sit down, sir!" I was more than happy to get off and wait for another flight.
Luckily they let me self upgrade to a seat where my back wasn't going to be crunched.