I was up early this morning for the first of two departures to come. My brother, his partner and their new baby, who has quite honestly stolen the show completely from under Santa’s feet this year, were to board a plane back to Sydney mid morning.
On the airline they were using, it was apparently not possible to pre-book a bassinet so the plan was to get to the terminal nice and early to ensure they could get one.
The terminal is a brand new one and shiny and smart – smart as in new, not smart as in clever because as customer service design went, in my humble opinion, it sucked. I have seen programs about design – and design in airports, and when it works, customers instinctively know where they need to do, because the design tells them. Whoever did this job either had not seen this program, or had a tiny budget, or both.
You entered a cavernous and glimmering area which basically looked like a larger version of the supermarket self-check out area, expect this was for checking in. There were a row of self-drop bag areas for after you had checked yourself in and random pods with staff and no queuing system for anyone who did not fit the mould of wanting to drop their bags and hit the bar.
After trying to ask one woman about the age of his baby for assistance, who frowned and sent my brother to a queue infront of a desk for international connections, I spotted a slightly more mature lady in uniform and after observing her for a minute or two, decided that she looked like she knew what she was doing. It turned out she did and was able to advise in seconds that there were no bassinets available on board the flight, they had all been booked – how I am not sure as we were very early, it made me wonder if there was a secret online booking system that my brother had not been able to find. If this was the case, I would not blame him. It could be the booking form was as difficult to find as your way around this new terminal.
‘The flight is very full,’ she advised, but was able to find them two seats together, at least. I am not sure what they were expected to do with the baby the whole time – hold it I suppose, or put him on the floor? Or perhaps buy a tote bag before boarding and put hi in that? Either way, it was going to make it a slightly less comfortable flight for mum and dad.
I was allowed to carry the baby up to the security area so I could have one last cuddled, and then handed him over back to his parents as they went through screening. The next time I see him, he could be talking or walking – or both and I can’t wait.