Monday. I rejoin the 2011 Melbourne Comedy Festival Road Show by flying from Melbourne to Perth and then catch a connecting flight to Broome. Most people don’t enjoy a long flight and this one begins with the shaky announcement from the pilot, “We’ve over fueled for the flight so we’re burning some of the extra fuel off before we make our departure.”
Now a couple of things: Qantas is mad for telling us constantly that due to rising fuel prices our airfares have to increase. Doesn’t it seem a little off that we’re just burning this excess fuel that everyone on the plane has paid for? Haven't they heard of the old trick of siphoning? I'd feel a lot better about it if I looked down to see a man in a Qantas uniform with some tubing in the gas tanks sucking away like Aceveda in The Shield. Or at the very least shouldn’t we get some compensation for this? A free glass of wine? An edible meal? A handy from a stewardess? Scratch that, we’re not on Virgin Airlines; we can let that last suggestion go.
Anyway, knowing we’re already sitting on a massive petrol bomb with wings (credit: this description comes from funny man Michael Chamberlin. Little known fact: rub his tummy and gold coins come out of his mouth. Truesies) the idea of burning fuel does nothing to excite me. At least if you’re going to burn off some fuel hang some doughnuts on the tarmac before we take off so we get something out of it. I’m pretty certain Tiger Airways does that even when they have the correct amount of fuel onboard? Pick up your game Qantas!
Part two: how often does this happen? How did they know? Is there a possibility with everyone stuffing so much into his or her bags that we could have been one heavy landing away from exploding in a ball of flame? Between having to deal with John Travolta extolling the virtues of Qantas being the best pilots in the world and now having too much fuel, I have as much confidence in this flight as I do in John’s ability to pick a movie to star in where he isn’t a complete knob jockey.
Four hours later I’ve read two thirds of Huckleberry Finn and my entire Doctor Who magazine where Steven Moffat has essentially inspired me in one interview to fuck off to England and beg for work on his show. I’d do anything. Be an extra. Make the coffee by using a Dalek as a plunger. Make the noises for the sonic screwdriver. I would do anything, especially after watching Neil Gaiman’s episode, which was everything I could have wanted from a Neil Gaiman episode of Doctor Who. How did I see it before it was aired in Australia on the ABC? Um…whatever, quick, look below, the blog continues!
Landing in Perth has me pretty excited that I have achieved something for the day (I feel this way whenever I read a big chunk of a book or eat a massive slice of cake) but after our missing luggage escapades in Mount Isa our intrepid leader and all round good gal Bridget checks that our luggage will make it to the connecting flight. We are told in rather droll terms that yes, everything will make it, we are experts and we are Qantas don’t you know? Well we did know that and most of us ended up wearing Qantas t-shirts onstage in Mount Isa so we thought we’d check anyway.
The flight to Broome is uneventful except for the fact I am sitting next to one of my oldest friends David Williams and I have such affection for him I feel mildly drunk when we land. That and I have washed back two wines to celebrate sitting next to David Williams on the flight. We have no show in Broome as we’re just staying the night before we head to Kununurra, a place that obviously spelled their name with their remaining tiles amidst a particularly brutal game of Scrabble.
We land in Broome and wait for our luggage. One by one everyone’s bags turn up.
I go to the desk and ask where it is. Oh, it was left in Perth by accident but hey, we’re Qantas, we know what we’re doing, we’re the best in the world; we’ll send it up on the next available flight. Tomorrow. It will land half an hour before you catch your next flight to Kununurra. Here, please take out Qantas pack? Have you used one before? Yes? Only two week ago. Then you know you will get a comb that you won’t use, a toothbrush with bristles that will make your gums bleed and a razor but no shaving cream. And a Qantas t-shirt and shorts, so how good is that?
That night I go to my room and decide I am not going to hang with anyone but instead eat snacks and go to sleep. I open the fridge and find that there are no snacks. I brush my teeth, spit the blood from my torn gums into the sink and go to bed.
The next day I check in early at the airport. Is my bag on the way? Yes it is! Brilliant. Except due to fog in Perth it will land an hour after I’ve taken off for my next destination. After much gnashing of teeth and internalisation I set off for Kununurra with the stifled giggles of David Williams ringing in my ears.
Next up: performing in a Qantas t-shirt…again!
16th of May, 2011