Western Australia – Day 1 – Outbound
One normally associates budget airlines with all sorts of things that have to give – whether it is inflight service, baggage handling and costs, and general comfort level. What we weren’t expecting though is that of all the flights to Perth we checked out several months ago, Jetstar actually had some of the best arrival and departure timings to the city, if maximizing the amount of time in a trip is important to you. Our Jetstar flight took off from Changi at 3:30AM and landed in Perth 5 hours later. If there was a price to pay – it was largely centered on the fact both of us parents became desperately tired by the time Day 1 was over – and in Ling’s case, she’d been up for almost 30 hrs straight!
Perth International Airport certainly looks new. The basic structure is as I remember it from 11 years ago, but the interiors have clearly gone through quite a bit of refurbishment. Immigration clearance was quick, and the officer checking if we had stuff to declare even jokingly (?) asked if we were carrying bak kwa and McDonalds’ haha.
The Optus counter was also right in-front of the exit row, and we picked up three data SIM cards for our two iPads and also for a backup mobile phone. Total damage was AUD85. Again, it’s weird that the data plans for tablets are quite different from smartphones (i.e. more expensive). Oh well. We just can’t live without the Internet!
What was less pleasing was the car collection process. We’d already confirmed our booking with Europcar a month ago, but there was no service officer attending their check-in counter. We had to walk to the opposite end of the terminal – a 10 minute walk with our luggage – to the car depot itself. And at the depot booth, waited for another 30 minutes before it came to our turn to be served. And if that wasn’t the end of the little fiasco: apparently, our car was waiting at the airport check-in counter, just that the duty officer was not present as he was at a meeting. Fortunately, service recovery was much better: Europcar upgraded our car from a 1.6 Hyundai Elantra we’d been originally assigned to a 2.0 Hyundai Sonata, and waived off the fees for Peter’s childseat and also for the second driver (Ling) – saving us a nett of about AUD100 or so I reckon.
The Sonata handles real smoothly too, and has most of the usual trimmings we’ve experienced in our two most recent cars at home: it has the footbrake of the Nissan Latio, and the rear-camera large LCD display and multi-media functionality of the Mazda 3. All that was lacking against the latter are the heads-up display and auto-retracting side-mirrors haha.
More in the next post!