Monday, January 27

Domestic journeys

It's fascinating how expectations shift over time.  A decade ago I would have consider a flight to Melbourne a bit of an adventure.  Travelling overseas, even across Tasman, more than once a year was a lofty ambition.  Roll the clock forward and such excursions have become a relatively normal part of life. Since August, I've flown to Melbourne at least ten times for work, crossed the Tasman twice and driven to Tasmania.
 
It's therefore somewhat ironic that the array of flights scheduled in diary for the next few months seems rather mundane. I have six flights already booked with more to come.  This includes:
  • Melbourne - a business trip in early-February.
  • New Zealand - two business trips scheduled, one in mid-February and one at the end of March. The later trip is an annual offsite. There's talk about holding this year's event in Queenstown.
  • Perth - a business trip in late-February.
  • Longreach - Garry and I are off to outback Queensland for a week-long Easter vacation.
  • USA - Garry and I have a two-week road trip through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana booked in September. We're off to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and Salt Lake City.
Sadly, short-haul flights are not enough to maintain my Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer status.  After more than a decade enjoying the various perks of top tier flying status, I found myself downgraded to Gold level this month.  To date, the greatest shock has been the change in lounge access. 

Previously on domestic flights I'd had access to the Domestic Business Class lounge.  My Gold status only gives me access to the Qantas Club lounge.  The difference was subtle, but immediately obvious.  Gone was the hot breakfast option of eggs and bacon, replaced by toasted cheese sandwiches I had to make myself.  Gone were the deep, comfortable leather armchairs, replaced by a somewhat less cosy version.  It's surprising what simple creature comforts you get use to.

No doubt there will be more road trips to come in the weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned for more posts on my domestic (and trans-Tasman) adventures.

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