“Is it time to leave yet Mum,” he’d stage whisper, scaring the crap out of me, and then leaving me restless and mentally going through my last minute lists.
Eventually, I abandoned sleep around 5 am, figuring we may as well be restless at the airport and have one less thing to stress about (missing our flight), then restless at home.
We made it to Brisbane Airport Parking in record time. BAP is my favourite parking choice now, following my run-ins with the inconvenience and expense of onsite airport parking.
BAP check-in and transfer was quick and easy, and we were soon being dropped right at the doors for the Air Pacific Fiji departures at the Brisbane International Airport Terminal.
Of course, check-in seemed to take forever, but there was still plenty of time for breakfast, shopping, and a quick nap thanks to our early arrival.
Nothing like a good healthy breakfast to start the day. Ahem. (Hey, it was early and they needed comfort food, okay?)
Catching up on precious zzzzs. Sure, now Chase sleeps!
Waiting for our flight was an exercise in people watching.
There were groups of families and friends travelling together; couples on honeymoon or romantic breaks; ‘average’ family groups (Mum, Dad, and 1+ kids; as opposed to us - single mum and two excitable kids).
Beside us a babble of bogans sat reading passages from the Sunday Mail and quite loudly, passing critical comment, and wind.
Across from us, an elderly lady unpacked a lunchbox – a real one this time – and proceeded to hand out boiled eggs and sandwiches to her group.
A glowing bride-to-be stood by happily clutching a wedding dress bag while posing for photos with well-wishers.
It was our first time flying with Air Pacific Fiji and I tell you it was like a blast from the past. In a good way.
While the plane seemed a little well-loved – there were no individual entertainment systems for example, and the movie/sound system wasn’t great – the seats seemed more spacious than usual and were comfortable enough.
The service was certainly friendly and efficient. We were greeted with hearty 'Bulas' by the brightly dressed staff, and nothing seemed like too trouble, even way down the back in economy.
The airfare included food, drink and entertainment. And, in a quaint touch from days gone by, drinks were mixed generously from scratch. Wine and spirit glasses were filled to the top – no individual dinky sized bottles or premixes here. Beers came in large-sized cans, much to the appreciation of several of the groups.
A gin and tonic came with ice, lime, a swizzle stick and packed a punch!
The real thing ... AND in economy too!
Lunch was a curious mix of a hot roll, pasta salad, biscuits and juice, which tasted better than it looked.
The roll had what seemed to be processed chicken and a little cheese inside it. It looked extremely unappetising, but the bread was warm and tasty. Especially when I filled it with some of the creamy pasta salad as well. (Mind you, I was starving, not having partaken of the comfort breakfast!)
Even Miss 8 devoured some of the buttery roll and biscuits.
I say it again: Nothing was too much trouble for the Air Pacific flight attendants.
Miss 8 needed a blanket? It was produced immediately, and with a smile.
The bar remained open on request throughout the flight. A few of the blokey groups were hoeing into the Fiji Beer. These were brought, efficiently and nicely. None of those requesting extra drinks were looked at like they had just stepped in something nasty as would happen on some national airlines I could mention.
(Note: Said consumption of drinks did mean the toilets seemed to be extra busy. Those with Mummy bladders or small children should go before they have to really go if you know what I mean!)
Soon enough, the first sights of Fiji came into view: Dots of islands, surrounded by searing blue water and pristine reefs. Lush tropical mountains. The kids oohed and aahed with excitement.
Until poor Harmonie suffered ear pain, and one of the lovely flight attendants brought her some sinus-opening stuff to sniff.
The other hiccup was when it was announced that the plane would be sprayed before landing for unwanted passengers (bugs, insects etc), just as they used to do many years ago in Australia.
Aspie Mr 10 went into a mild panic, scared that he would be gassed too. It took some fast talking on my part and I had to shield him with a blanket before he finally realised it wasn't that bad and he was going to survive after all.
And finally we were on the ground.
We were in Fiji. Our holiday in paradise had begun!