Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The ash-cloud beat-up

An email just received from someone just back in Brisbane from New Zealand

That night there was an incredible RED sunset and the news talked about a Volcanic Ash Cloud heading over New Zealand. Air flights could get disrupted ?? Gosh, I had a baby-shower to go to! We will see what happens I guess??

The media was updating us on the ash cloud. Air New Zealand was not cancelling a single flight. The civil air aviation authority has given full permission for all airlines to fly – just fly lower or around the ash cloud. No problems. This would of course cost more money in fuel but at least all passengers would reach their destinations.

Simon had hooked up his new satellite dish to receive some Australian TV. We got Channel 7 Sunrise and was shocked to see the difference in news reporting! Suddenly this corporate QANTAS spokesperson came on TV stating all QANTAS and JETSTAR flights were being cancelled! She stated the reason as being one of SAFETY ???WHAT THE ?? This reason stated by QANTAS was patently false! There was no mention on Australian TV of the fact Air New Zealand was flying business as usual, following the guidelines of the civil air safety authority!

For a laugh we checked the Courier Mail website and --- OH MY GOD!!!!! The headline was enough to make them a complete laughing stock let alone the sensationalist tripe which followed! How on EARTH do mainstream Australia get accurate information when faced with this nonsense?? What’s worse is the general public gain sympathy for what is inaccurately emphasised by the media. The blind leading the blind.

I had booked with Jetstar going over to Queenstown and Air New Zealand coming back home so looks like there was no problem for me!! Sure enough Virgin was jumping on the bandwagon in Australia and the whole country seemed to be gripped in some sort of pandemonium media beat up over this ash cloud!

The media coverage was NOTHING like this in New Zealand! In fact it felt very much like Australia and their airlines were an absolute laughing stock after this gross over-reaction!

So we spent the rest of the time walking around, enjoying the surroundings and I headed off to Queenstown completely on schedule to fly back out to Auckland then across the Tasman to Brisbane. Simon’s Parents were flying out the same day but they were flying Air New Zealand to Christchurch – no problems there but had to face the prospect of cancelled JETSAR flights to cross back to Australia.

My flight home was great – we flew a bit lower so I could see some excellent views all the way up to Auckland! I have some photos taken and video of the event! I even saw the ash cloud higher in the sky – it just looked like ash but was interesting all the same! I noticed after crossing into the NORTH Island, an absolute BLANKET cloud cover. It seems the north islanders must love the rain.. ;)

Auckland airport was nice and freshly renovated but the flight home from Auckland had a drama with turbulence which scared the crap out of me (it didn’t help I was sitting right at the back of the plane)! We re-routed over Norfolk Island to be safe and dodge it all but the plane got such a huge jolt and knocked my tea all over me! It felt like the plane wanted to rip itself apart so it was a little but scary for a time. The flight home took 4 hours instead of 3 but Susan was there to greet me when I exited the gate.

Anyway, there was much more stuff and interesting things which happened but I’m too busy to write it all down, hope you enjoyed the update but more importantly have a better perspective on this whole ASH Cloud media beat up over here!

When I was home and watching the news reports – nobody seemed to mention Air New Zealand was flying as per normal and didn’t miss a single flight!!! ????

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