My Journey Back or How to Survive 80 Hours of Travel

So I am sure everyone has their own travel horror stories. Here’s mine.

I was scheduled to head back to New Zealand on November 5 to finish out the final 3.5 months of my working holiday visa and I knew that it would involve about 2 days of travel. First, my flight from Dayton on Saturday left at 6:00 AM EST and went to Baltimore, which is in the wrong direction, but whatever. I had a two hour layover in Baltimore, followed by a 5.5 flight to LA. Now you would think that Airtran would like to make some more money off this flight by offering food for sale, especially since it’s a coast to coast flight, but no. The only food provided was biscuits. Luckily, I had the sense to pack a lunch from home. Airtran got me to LA on time around noon PST.

This is where the fun begins.

My flight from LA to Sydney was scheduled to leave at 9:30 that evening so I had planned to book a day room to try and sleep. However, I decided to wait until 2:30 PM to check in with VAustralia in order to check my large bag. I am so glad I did this. It turns out that the flight to Sydney was delayed until 8:00 the next morning, which would have been fine because I would have received a hotel voucher for the night.

It was not to be. VAustralia changed my itinerary; re-booked me on a flight to Brisbane that left at midnight. This flight arrived at 7:00 AM on Monday, followed by an 11 hour layover, with a final flight to Christchurch that arrived at 1:00 AM on Tuesday, November 8. Ouch.  Apparently, everyone who was scheduled to go on to New Zealand got stuck with this crappy itinerary while everyone else received a hotel voucher in LA. After checking my bag, I proceeded to the Travelodge near LAX in order to get a nap before going back to the airport that evening to catch the 13.5 flight to Brisbane.

VAustralia has some nice planes for their long-haul international flights. The economy seating is not bad; there are only 3 seats to a row and each seat has its own in-flight entertainment center withe movies, TV shows, music, games, and books available. The customer service on the flight was top notch and the in-flight entertainment was exceptional. I was able to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and it hasn’t been released on DVD yet. And I was able to sleep a few hours due to taking two doses of full power Dramamine.

After arriving in Brisbane, my partner in misery, Lindsay and I grab a few couches in order to get some more sleep. The international terminal in Brisbane has comfy couches and free showers, which were a welcome addition. But no matter which way you cut it, an 11 hour layover is pretty boring. I thank Amazon for inventing the Kindle. VAustralia should have offered us food vouchers here, but they didn’t.

To add insult to injury, since I was going to be arriving in Christchurch so late, I decided to cancel my accommodation for the night because I had to catch an early morning bus to Dunedin. At least the international arrivals section of Christchurch airport is open throughout the night with a designated ‘rest area’ for travelers who want to overnight there. There are no chairs, just carpet and a bunch of backpackers wrapped up in their sleeping bags. 

In the end, I arrived in Dunedin at the original time I was supposed to, it just felt like it took a lot longer to get there.

Dear VAustralia, I do not think I will be flying with you again. Ever.

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