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9th April - Going home

So here I am nearly 12k's above Germany as we fly from Brussels to Abu Dhabi and then onto Perth.

Many thanks to Viviane and Roger for looking after us whilst we stayed in Belgium. Viviane certainly more than paid us back for having her at our house many years ago.

We got to the airport in plenty of time. Bit of a hassle with the car rental people who wanted to charge us around $40 for an 8th of a tank of diesel when we filled the car to the brim at the airport. The fuel gusge never read full, always just below when it had just been filled. Had to see the man in the office who finally relented and took off the payment. They were happy to give it to us when it showed 7/8ths of a tank but not to take it back when it showed 7/8ths of a tank. Further, even if it was 7/8ths full how does that equate to $40 - that would make it $320 to fill when we only put $60 into it when the fuel light was on.

Checked in, immigration and security was as good as it can be. Boarding was early, that's good - no 20 minute dash to get us all on board. We were all on board 15 minutes before departure time but didn't back out till 3 minutes late.

The flight was fine and we landed at Abu Dhabi at 7:51pm (11:51 Perth time), it was already dark. There was a very ong taxi and gate at 20:05, they really should have put the airport closer to the runways. Then we needed to board a bus to the terminal, I thought this was the 21st century! Off bus at 20:26. Went through security, where the person monitoring the scanner very disinterested. I observed 3 bags go through the scanner without being monitored. Rayls went through the metal detector and was told she needed to be searched by the female guard, we couldn't find anyone so she walked on unchallenged. The departure gate is at end of corridor and you are searched before you go into departure gate area. No drinks allowed past the search area and no drinks available past the search area. So if you buy a drink past the original security checkpoint you can't take it to the gate. I am certainly not a fan of Abu Dhabi airport.

Everybody was on board 10 minutes before our 10:25pm departure time but the captain advised that he could not get a departure slot for another hour due to air traffic control issues. We finally backed out at 11:29pm and eventually took off at 11:54pm. The flight was fine. There was a young Italian male sitting on the opposite side of the aisle to us who appeared very stressed during the take off. Rayls spoke to him and found that he had a recently diagnosed heart issue which, along with the stress and tiredness of flying, had caused his problem. Eventually the flight staff took good care of him but as he had to get to Fremantle by public transport we took him with us and eventually Ryan drove him to Fremantle.

Landed at 2:30pm and formalities were a breeze. Out at 2:54pm.

Thanks to Geoff and Sue for picking us up, nice to be home.