Since moving to Tasmania in 2007, I’ve left the state just once. I travelled to Bendigo in Victoria to support the state’s Bruce Cup tennis team back in 2010. Just the once; until now that is. During the recent school holidays, our family travelled interstate. So I thought I’d give you my impressions of the flight to Melbourne and back again.
Take Flight: Essential Island Services
The State Government is currently seeking applicants for a new position: a specialist aviation adviser to maximise air and sea access capacity to and from Tasmania. Scott Bacon, the Minister for Tourism, announced the new job (Director Aviation and Access Development) and has been quoted saying “air and sea access is an integral part of our island lifestyle, and it’s essential to tourism and the broader economy”. We couldn’t agree more!
Having chosen a flight with Jetstar for our departure, we’re happy to report the experience was all positive. Budget airlines often get a bad rap in the press, but we have only good things to say. We left our trusty guard-dog at home (in the very capable hands of a lovely house-sitter) and ventured to the airport, courtesy of a ride with our friendly neighbour.
Upon our timely arrival, we went straight to the counter (no queues in Tasmania!) and checked our baggage. Because we’d booked tickets for the family in separate batches, we were faced with a scattering of seats. No biggie really, but Jetstar offered to re-organise the seating allocation and had us all lined up together. We were very impressed with the service.
Timing is Everything
Our flight left right on time. Good luck more than good management possibly, because a Virgin flight scheduled for a similar time was delayed for an hour. We may have been forced to wait; but we didn’t have a connecting flight or a meeting scheduled. We were on holidays, so another coffee and a flick of the morning’s paper would’ve passed the time away.
Similarly our flight on the return journey left Melbourne for Hobart right on time. The same day, Jen Holdsworth and daughter Josie were forced to wait at Tullamarine for their trip home. Ironically, they were flying with Jetstar. We switched things up, and chose Tiger Airways for the second leg… just to research a variety of options for Think Tasmania. Obviously, we were lucky with our choices on both occasions.
We were partial to taking a flight with Tiger, so we could read Tiger Tales, the in-flight magazine. Think Tasmania contributes the snippets about Hobart for their destination pages. We’ve seen the articles online obviously, but never in print. I was tempted to souvenir my copy, but managed to resist. Honest!
Have a Good Flight
I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of everything from start to finish. I’m not overly fond of travelling by air or sea; bizarre for a person who lives on an island, I know! Watching Air Crash Investigation on TV the night prior to flying is probably inadvisable (note to self: remember that next time). At any rate, each flight was without turbulence or drama of any kind. A couple of Kwells did the trick to calm the jitters. The staff were all great and I would book a ticket again (if I could be convinced there was a good reason to leave Tasmania).
The flight crew announced the plane was almost at full capacity on the return journey to Hobart. That’s good… lots of people coming to visit during the school holidays, despite the conditions posed by a Tasmanian winter.
The IT guy was lucky (again!) to commandeer a row of spare seats and even had a little snooze. One hour, and it’s all over bar disembarking and baggage claim, and even that happened so quickly. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do this! Maybe I’m just in my comfort zone here in Tassie?
There’s only one puzzle following our flight to Melbourne and back. We didn’t buy Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at the airport. I have no idea why they’re so popular. Do you? We were already through security (where we were tested for bomb residue!) before we noticed all the shopping bags.