Athlete reveals haunting airport experience
As Aussies rush home to be sent into hotel lockdown for a fortnight before being released to sit out the coronavirus crisis in their own homes, one former athlete has flown out of the country.
Retired Olympian Benn Harradine from Newcastle has done things in reverse, jumping through various hoops to be able to leave Sydney for his current home in Sweden.
The former Athletics Australia discus star chronicled his battle to leave the country on the weekend and the eerie scenes at Sydney airport as he was leaving the country with around 80 others on his flight.
With face mask at the ready, the bearded former athlete strolled through Sydney International airport, stunned at how empty it was and the lack of amenities that were open and places available to sit.
Working to reach 10,000 steps before he boarded to the plane to Europe - he hit 7169 - Harradine, who competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, London games in 2012 and his final Olympics in Rio in 2016, gave an insight into the hurdles he faced trying to leave the country in his videos.
While an Australian are banned from flying out, he is also a permanent resident of Sweden which meant he could leave,
But he had to pull out his computer to show border officials paperwork proving communication with work colleagues.
"That was enough to give me approval over the border, Harradine said.
"And yeah so that was stage one."
Next step was check in.
"I thought they'd be a little bit more lenient with a couple of kilos but nope, that was gonna cost me 500 bucks in overweight, the three kilos, or something," he said.
"Nevertheless, I got through and then to the next border control."
Here Harradine had to again produce special permissions so that he could proceed further at the airport with a boarding pass.
Harradine showed video of the empty airport terminal, noting things like duty free shops and food stores were all closed.
"I'm glad I'm not hungry because there is bugger all open," he said before realising there was one sandwich shop with its doors open to the public."
Harradine then made it into the plane for the first leg of this trip from Sydney to Doha.
"So on the flight there appears to be a few sunburnt Swedes which is a good thing" said Harradine, who also noted there were English passengers aboard his flight to Qatar as well, but not many.
"Everyone is sunburnt except me, how good."
Originally published as Athlete's haunting airport experience