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  • Day166


    March 25, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Wednesday 25. No flights, poor communication, what to do? Trying to get the news and research alternate flights was proving impossible on 3G. Even sitting outside the information centre to use their public WiFi was not helping. Time for a move.

    We decided to ask Kerry &John if we could go back to Macedon to get things together.

    On the way we dropped off at Carole’s, Bun’s sister, to have some lunch and to say goodbye. We walked the 4 miles around the lake in Ballarat that was used for the rowing competitions when the olympics were held in Melbourne (1956).

    We then drove on to Macedon to try to get through to the travel agent and find out what’s going on.

    On Wednesday evening were advised by our travel agent to register with the British Consulate for “rescue flights“ as there are now none available.

    Kerry has worked with Quantas all her working life. The network of cabin crew know what’s going on, what’s flying, what’s stopped etc. Kerry found out that Quantas flights were all full up until they stop flying at the end of the month. Qatar airlines are still flying and British Airways are flying from Sydney via Singapore. Malaysian Airlines are still flying but we have had three flights cancelled so far.

    On Thursday we contacted the British High Commission to be told that they wouldn’t be doing anything yet, we could try gong to the airport to get a standby flight, to stay safe and to carry out the advice of the Australian Government. Bun pointed out that the advice was not to go to airports etc. We researched available flights, BA looks the best for us. Some airlines appear to be profiteering with tickets costing many thousand GBP for a one way, economy ticket. We thought that we’d give the travel agent one last chance and phoned them on Friday evening (UK 8am) and told them we felt abandoned, that they weren’t supporting us etc. We were told that they couldn’t do anything if airlines didn’t release seats to them la la la. We booked flights directly with BA for Sat 11 April.

    On Thursday we arranged to move to an AirBnB at Riddles Creek, about 10 miles away, from Friday, despite having received a number of offers to use houses or stay with Kerry and John. However attractive the offers are, we don’t feel we can have anyone move out of their house just so that we can move in. We also feel that Kerry and John have been incredibly kind and accommodating; dropping by “for a cuppa” has actually been 4 stays for a couple of nights or so. We see them as a “fall back” option and it’s no longer fall back if we are staying there. What would we then have for plan B?

    Having done all of this, there are a lot of discussions starting in Australia about another phase of travel restrictions. Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania unilaterally shut their inter-state borders. We were in Victoria and need to get to Sydney in NSW. Travelling to NSW is further complicated by the fact that our rental car has to be returned to Melbourne and we are not allowed to have a drop-off out of state. not allowed to go inter-state.

    What to do?
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    Wayne Bampton

    Obvious question: Could you stay in Australia until this blows over?

    Andy n Bunny Briggs

    Yes, but Australia is shut down as much as UK. We thought that accommodation prices would plummet, but they haven’t. Everyone is being told to stay at home. We have made the decision that we can’t just keep on wandering freely around the country. Consequently, we are paying a lot to stay in one place, adhering to social distancing, parks and beaches shut etc. Really we may as well be at home, I can at least cut the lawn. I also have 6m of drumming to catch up on.

    Wayne Bampton

    You do make a fair point, I guess you’ve got to bite the bullet and wait it out until you get a flight... stay safe 👍

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