On a recent business trip ‘down under’ accompanied by my wife Paula, we had a 10pm late evening flight booked from Perth to Brisbane. Having arrived in good time at Perth airport and a little tired from the day’s effort so far, we thought perhaps a coffee was a good idea to keep us alert and see us through to boarding the plane. The boarding call brought us to lining up as usual with other passengers, taking note that they were predominantly middle-aged Aussie guys on a two-week FIFO (Fly-in, Fly-out), simply doing the local 5-hour commute! Feeling a little out of place not wearing thongs (don’t worry – their word for the English flip-flop!), sports vest and shorts, we eventually settled into a fully booked flight.

As soon as the plane reached cruising height, like military fashion, the commuter beers were delivered, thongs were flipped off, personal head- sets were on and everything seemed to promise a stress-free flight. My wife and I still found ourselves somewhat buzzing on the coffee and decided to read through the on-board magazine to help wind down.

However, it wasn’t long before snoring was resonating throughout the cabin together with a warm uncomfortable presence of bare feet and beer breath! The coffee and the company were that good we didn’t sleep a wink.
It was the worst flight of the whole trip, but we have to admit we didn’t do our homework well enough on this occasion; as our Aussie friends would say, “Coffee you nah! Grab a few ‘stubbies’ you and it will be alright mate”….. pretty good advice! I’m chuffed to report though, Australia is now our biggest export client – well worth it all in the end and fondly remembered too.

Phil Gaffey – Gaffey Technical Services Ltd

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