At the gate lounge, they walked into the arms of Alison’s parents Brenda and Paul Heseltine, 69 and 71, who they hadn’t seen in 18 months.
The Heseltines rose in the early hours and drove in heavy rain for two hours from Point Lonsdale to green their daughter and grandchildren at the airport.
Ms Songsaeng said it cost her $15,000 to come home for good from Koh Samui, Thailand, where she was working as a teacher.
They had to quarantine for two weeks in a Sydney hotel, which had been difficult, with the kids being bored and not able to run around.
Mrs Heseltine said she had phoned or video called her grandchildren every day when they were in Thailand, but nothing beat hugging them in real life.
Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi said it was a great day for the airport, with many employees reporting to work for the first time in months.
He was confident the airport will return to full capacity of 100,000 passengers per day as travel restrictions ease. The number fell to a low of less than 1000 during the pandemic.
John Phelan, 57, and wife Deborah, 58, of Birrong, in Sydney’s west, flew from Sydney on QF 415 to see their eight week old grandson Albin – their first grandchild – for the first time.
They have not seem their son, Connor, 28, who lives in Altona, in Melbourne’s west, and his wife Emanuelle since Christmas.
“I’m excited. I can hardly wait,” Mrs Phelan said. The first thing both Mr and Mrs Phelan said they wanted to do was “to hold the baby”.