He was originally booked into the 3:10pm flight, meaning that he had to be checked in by 2:40pm. He was told that he was on the 3:10pm flight at about 1:30pm. As a result he had one hour and ten minutes to pack the car, drive from Oakleigh to me (Brunswick East) to pick me up and then to the airport, and then to be checked in.
He missed it by about a minute.
So, we wander over to the sales desk and change his ticket to the next flight, which isn't until 7:40 this evening. Oh well, some time on his hands.
Once that was done, we get back into the check in line (for his second time) and proceed to check in. Now, Stephen has a hell of a lot of stuff he's taking with him, most of it geekery. Occupational Health and Safety regulations state that no bag may be heavier than 32kg (about 70lbs). He has two big bags, one of which he thinks will be fine, the other may be too heavy.
The first bag, the one that should be fine, is put on the scales. It comes in at 32.1kg. Young lady behind the counter says that's less than 32kg, so it's ok. The second one however...
43kg is a bit much, so Stephen needs to do a repack. Oh dear. She asks whether he has another bag, and he answers in the kind-of affirmative (should be able to reorganise everything into one of the two other bags he's carrying). She gives him a free bag anyway (one of those stripy plastic bags you see at discount shops a lot).
So, we wander away from the check in desk to a quiet corner so Stephen can do the repack. He moves a lot of stuff from the heavy bag, into the new one or into his carry on bag, and one thing from the lighter bag (that way it actually was under 32kg) into the new one as well.
So then we get in line again (third time for him) and end up getting the same young lady again (Megan I think her name was). He ends up with 5 checked in items. The bag that was 32.1kg ends up being 31.5kg, the other one drops from 43kg to 31.8kg (just...), plus a LCD monitor still in it's original packing, another shoulder bag that had more stuff in it, and the extra bag that he was given. Qantas allows 2 bags per person, and he had 5, so she was going to have to charge him for the excess baggage. Now, 5 minus 2 equals 3, so she charged him for 2 extra bags. She said she gave him a discount because he already had to do a repack.
Then it was back to the sales desk to pay for the excess baggage ($22 per item, not too bad). He now finally had everything checked in, and had his boarding pass, so he was set. We then went in search of a supervisor. We asked around, and got pointed to one. Stephen went up the gentleman that was pointed out to us and said that he had just been served by Megan at check-in desk #24...
At this point the look on the supervisor's face was easy to read. To me it said "Oh no, not another meaningless complaint from a brainless whiner that I'm going to have to accept with a smile." Stephen then said that he wanted to compliment her, and the look on the supervisor's face quickly dissolved into confusion. It's not often that they get compliments, so they tend to be surprised by them.
He recorded the compliment against Stephen's flight details, and with a warm smile said he'd be happy to pass it on.
We then wandered down to the shops and had a late lunch at Nando's. Stephen and I both perved on various wildlife and chatted about a number of things.
One thing that came as a bit of a shock to both of us once we realised it was that at no point doing that check-in was Stephen asked for ID of any sort. A quick think back and we realised that no one we had seen checking in had been asked for ID at any point while we were there (and he was there three times, I wasn't there the first time because I was parking his car). Considering the so called "heightened security" that the airline industry is constantly talking about, we both found that very surprising.
Eventually I decided I needed to get back to work, so I said good bye and left him there, and I took his car with me.
The place that is hiring him needs him kind of quick-smart, so he was being flown over today to start tomorrow. Once he's settled in properly and they feel they can afford to be without him for a little while, then he's going to be flying back here, packing up more stuff into his car and driving back to Perth (ugh!). In the mean time, someone needs to look after his car, and I get to be the lucky person. It's a beautiful little beast, and it handles like a dream.
He's probably going to be back in about 3 weeks or so, and I'll be on holidays from next Wednesday for 2 weeks, so I'm probably not going to see him again when he picks it up. Oh well.
Good luck Stephen, and we'll see you when next you're on this half of the continent.