Now Qantas has always been my airline of choice and when Number 2 son generously paid for me to come and stay in New Zealand, I went online to the Manage My Booking site to reserve seat numbers for the four flights (Dubbo/Sydney, Sydney/Auckland and returns). Warning: verbal diarrhoea follows.
The site was straightforward enough but the ticket numbers refused to save and after quite a few failed attempts I contacted Qantas who eventually admitted that there was a problem with their new system (not words you want to hear from an airline company) and advised that it was impossible for me, my son or even Qantas to book the seat numbers. My comment, “I hope you don’t fly planes like you do seat reservations” may have been unkind but clearly, a warning such as, “you can try all you like but seat reservations are broken at the moment” should have been stated on the site.
The trip started at 9am with a 3 hour drive to Dubbo and ended the next morning at Auckland airport standing around waiting for every bag to be offloaded to the carousel before I could confirm that my suitcase was the only one missing. A laboured conversation with one very tired baggage employee ensued, where contact details and bag description were uploaded to a website and more than an hour later, it was a relief to see my son still waiting patiently to begin the next leg to Hamilton.
A hasty trip to Kmart for clothes, shoes and toiletries the next morning was followed by two and a half days of checking the web site (“we’re still tracing”) and misinformation about who was responsible but on the 3rd day the bag eventually turned up. Surprisingly (or not) we discovered that the bar code they attach to the bag handle can’t actually be traced so no one had any idea where it was – apparently sipping Sake in an airport lounge somewhere in Japan!
After 3 days of endless phone calls, the bag was back and a fun trip to the Hot pools in Tauranga was planned. However, unfortunately the fun trip to the fun pools was not so funny when my legs turned bright red and painfully itchy in what I assume was a very strong allergic reaction to the chlorine levels and, remembering a similar incident in hospital, the visit was cut short in favour of a fun trip to the pharmacy and then back home.
Now call me crazy but surely one of the criteria for an Airport Shuttle driver’s job is to know how to get to the airport. However, 10 minutes into the trip and the driver commented that his satellite navigator seemed wrong and he promptly turned back. Having changed the pick up time from 1am to 2.45pm and then turned up at the wrong house (thank goodness he had our phone number) it was obvious that we were never going to make the ‘3 hours before flight’ deadline (I made it to boarding with 5 minutes to spare).
The last ‘leg’ of the trip (3 hours’ drive to Cobar) was no less stressful and I arrived in town with 4 kilometres to spare on the dashboard ‘range’ (Note to self: next time stop for petrol at Nyngan) and then discovered that the petrol cap wouldn’t open. A quick phone call to Nigel who was luckily only 25 kms out of town and, even better, worked out how to fix the cap and I no longer needed to leave the car and walk home.
When I finally did get home, I was greeted by a very excited puppy, who was so glad to see me that he spewed all over the floor and my “feet up with a bottle of wine” fantasy became more of a “mop up with a bucket of water” scenario.
It seems that our old “if it can go wrong it will” mantra is defying my 2019 “glass half full” resolution!
So is Qantas still my airline of choice? I’ll leave that to anyone still awake to decide.