Thursday, 28 April 2011

Airlines PNG - a New Way to Fly!

After last week’s excitement, frustration and rage Phil and Sandra approached the airport with mixed feelings. Tickets for Kiunga had been confirmed and we were flying Airlines PNG not the now notorious (in our eyes) Air Niugini!
Check-in  fine. We blag our way into the “Paradise” lounge (blag because we don’t have our membership letters and we are not flying Air Niugini so technically cannot use the lounge). Flight is delayed 40 minutes by the time we sit down.
All in all not bad we are seated on the plane at 9.00am. The hostess makes an announcement that is met with disbelief by the passengers up front (we can’t hear as we are 7 rows back and the engines have started – 36 seater Dash 8 if anyone is interested!). The message is relayed back that actually we are flying to Wewak, then Tabubil then Kiunga. By our reckoning that means another 2 hours flying time to two places we weren’t even scheduled to go to in the first place. We are travelling with Kini from our office and she was adamant that we should choose a flight that doesn’t land in Tabubil. I think this is because the runway is so short it has a dogleg right at the end of it and it can be quite alarming. Also it is generally shrouded in fog so flights turn back (hopefully to Kiunga in our case). Additionally Sandra is going to Wewak on Thursday anyway so this will be twice in one week.
Phil is surprisingly (and unusually) calm but maintains a high level of sarcasm when he points out that at least they will be able to visit a school rather than arguing at the airport. The fact that the school day will probably be over when they finally get there may be an issue.
Preparations are underway for refreshments. We are intrigued as to what they might be. All we have had so far from Air Niugini is biscuits! Looks like it might be crackers (hope it’s my favourite “Lik Lik Wopa” ) and coffee. We are pleased we had breakfast before leaving!
What else could possibly go wrong?     
Well we eventaully arrived 3 hours late and just caught up with the school.
The following morning the driver was sent to the airport to check us all in so we could be at the school. We are despatched to the airport for a 10.00am departure. Upon arrival we find the plane is somewhere else and won't depart for a further 2 hours. Never mind we are kept mildly entertained by helicopters flying in and out, Missionary Airways landing and taking off and a strange very small highlander man with quite a big stick who appears to be quite mad!
Tired and starving we arrive in Port Moresby. Three hours in the school, 3 hours waiting for the plane and 6 hours on the plane (flight time should have been 1 hour 45 minutes each way!). Maybe Air Niugini is not so bad after all!     

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