Saturday, August 01, 2009

Plane Journey: Part one.

We got off to an early start this morning. We joke with Byron that he likes to check in hours ahead of the suggested time but he compromised on a 4am start leaving us plenty of time to do the 2 hour drive to Sydney airport. The last time we flew Gareth was not quite 3 years old and we had a baby buggy and all the extra bits and pieces that travelling with a toddler entailed. This time seemed so much easier with three kids who don't run away while you are trying to find your boarding pass. The thing that had changed was the airport security. Understandably, since the terrorist events of recent years, the level of checks were hugely increased. We were bombarded with messages warning us about no liquids over 100mls in our hand luggage. We warned the kids to be on best behaviour as we passed through the different customs checkpoints. They were really well behaved and pulled their little mini suitcases on wheels behind them as we snaked our way though the queues.

When we got to the x-ray machines we had to put Sian and Rhiannon's small pot of eczema cream into a zip loc bag. When Sian heard us talking about it she suddenly remembered that she had the monster sized tub in her wheelie suitcase. The staff confiscated the big tub and asked us for a prescription or Dr's letter for the little pot. We didn't have one but because Rhiannon's eczema on her face had flared up red and angry that morning they let it through. As all this was being discussed Byron's mobile phone started ringing. He held it tight against his ear to try to hear who it was and didn't hear the customs staff telling him to turn his phone off straight away. By the time he was warned for the third time in no uncertain terms to terminate the call NOW and still wasn't listening I had to shake his to tell him he was close to having security haul him away. We still have no idea who was calling to say hi but they nearly ended our holiday before it began!

We were feeling a little flustered by now and put all our bags on the x-ray conveyor belt. Byron set the alarms off because he forgot to empty his coins from his pockets and by now the customs staff were looking less than happy with our whole family. It wasn't a surprise then when Sian's bag flagged up a security alert. They went through it item by item and found a shower gel in it which she had packed herself. They threw it in the bin next to her and re x-rayed her bag. By the time we reclaimed all our bags and got the go ahead to proceed to the next point it was too much for Sian who got very upset at the whole thing. I think it was very overwhelming for the kids seeing how serious the whole process of customs checks are even though we appreciate that they are necessary. It was a relief to get to the boarding gate and hear our flight called over the loudspeakers.

The kids have found it so exciting boarding the plane and gripping each others hands as the plane built up speed down the runway. We have spent the last couple of hours snacking on remarkably good airline food and will be landing in Auckland soon. Ooops! There goes the flight announcement to put away all laptops, iPods etc. Perfect timing, New Zealand here we come!

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