I know I go on a lot about lousy service when travelling with Airlines (it's the Aspy in me) but I'd like to balance it today by saying that we just returned from Sydney with Qantas and, overall, it was hassle-free.
We checked in at Melbourne quickly and easily, no messing around with our luggage, hopped on the plane and flew in to Sydney. (Ok, one small problem, as usual the "computer" that allocates the seats had totally ignored our Frequent Flyer seating preferences and seated us in the middle row. It's just one thing Qantas will never get right. However, with the check-in computers we can fix that ourselves from now on).
We took a taxi in to Darling Harbour and checked-in at the Four Points Sheraton. To be honest, the friendly welcome we received from all of the staff (and the "We have a room waiting for you Mr Ellis" email I got a day earlier) really made us feel at home. To sweeten the deal, our room wasn't ready for us, so we were upgraded!
We had an our to kill before sound-check so we headed up the street to take a look at the 'Hey Presto Magic Studio' in it's new location. The store looks amazing, and it was great to catch up with Gary Cohen and a big surprise to see Alan Sullivan too.
After a quick catch up with the Sydney magic scene we whizzed back to Darling Harbour to set up our show and discovered that our audience was comprised of a lot of past clients, some of who were very eager to chat with us and catch up.
Jean Kitson was the MC and, after the awards were handed out to various guests, Sue-Anne and I took to the stage and performed our'Classic Show'. This was immediately followed by me doing close up magic at all the tables. Normally I prefer to do close up as the guests arrive, as an ice-breaker, as it really gets them mingling, but on this occasion doing it after the show worked even better. Those who own 'Ellis in Wonderland' on DVD or as Lecture Notes will appreciate that I did 'Name Deckstress' at every table - with a different name - and eventually I had 20 people following me from table to table waiting to see "that card trick" again. The fact that whatever card anyone chose was the only one with a prediction written on it's back was puzzling enough, but the fact that that card had the chooser's name written on it as well was driving them crazy! The client came up to me and said "I've got to see that card trick I keep hearing about. It must be a set up. Do it on me." I did, and Michael was very impressed! ;)
Eventually we made it back to the hotel just before midnight and took a noon flight back to Melbourne. We got our preferred seats by using the computer check-in, but the flight was delayed 20 minutes (it's just one thing Qantas will never get right...)
Funnily enough, sitting a few seats in front of us were Phil Cass and Philippa! They were heading to Melbourne to do a show while we were coming back from Sydney having done one. We caught up with them again at the baggage carousel while they were waiting for a missing duck, and it sounds like the busy season for magicians is well and truly upon us!