As expected, Iceland Air couldn’t print boarding passes for the two Qatar legs of the journey, although they could check our luggage all the way through. That’ll be why we couldn’t do the online check-in, either. Not much of a “partnership” really, IMO. We had a bit more time in Stockholm Arlanda to manage that, and it was our second go at the process, so it wasn’t quite as fraught as the first time, but still a very sub-par user experience, as they say.
The actual flying wasn’t that bad though. Iceland Air had to sub out one of its grounded 737-MAX planes for a rental 767, which meant that our carefully-selected aisle seats (17 D and E) had become the pair in the very middle of a 3-4-3 row, so yuck, but because the 767 had lots more seats than the 737-MAX people rapidly spread out, so it was OK once underway. The leg from Stockholm to Doha was also far from full, and after initial jostling we both managed to find ourselves on full-banks of seats on our own, so we were able to lie curled but flat and get some sleep. The leg from Doha to Sydney was packed of course, but the plane was modern and the seats didn’t seem too bad, and it wasn’t that hard to just pretend to be asleep. Turns out that pretending to be asleep for 15 hours is almost as restful as actually being asleep for a couple. At least we weren’t sitting near the toilets as we were on the outbound trip. Weirdly, at wake-up time (4AM for a 6AM landing) they served “dinner”, which seemed totally inappropriate. I tried to make mine into a “breakfast” by opting for the vego pasta dish and focussing on the fruit-salad, desert yoghurt and juice. As we approached the blue mountains though, the flight crew announced that Sydney control tower had punted us from our landing slot and we would have to “park” in the air for another 50 minutes, to land at about 7AM instead of just after six as expected. Yuck.
Of course that meant that SYD was chockers with flights arriving, and immigration and customs was packed, with long queues, but surprisingly still getting people through in pretty brisk time. It didn’t seem to take any longer than usual to me, but I also bypassed the automatic biometric check as usual, because my passport just doesn’t seem to work properly in the machines. The shortness of the passport assistance queue suggests that the automatics do work most of the time.
The rest of that day was spent fighting jet-lag with good coffee and walks, and the occasional nap, while nursing Lightroom through the ordeal of importing all of the photos. That exercise still isn’t quite finished, but the bulk has been done.
On to the usual stuff of un-packing and sorting ouselves out for a normal work week tomorrow.
Until the next time. Which is now surprisingly soon. January. I need to figure out a faster remote photo management scheme by then. The nice little WD My Passport Pro drive has all of the necessary functionality, but it’s too slow and the software too fiddly and flakey. Market opportunity for someone, perhaps.
Oh, yeah. Actual posts about the Greenland trip will follow soon, I promise! Now that the photos are somewhere convenient…