As i’m writing this on my phone, i’m sitting in LAX airport getting ready to blow up my mattress and go to sleep for the night here. It has been one very, very long night and it’s still not over. But let me start from the beginning.
My first 2 flights (originating in Christchurch) were short – about an hour long each. Honestly, I don’t remember much about them. Since I woke up at 4am to catch the first one, I fell asleep the second I got into the airplane seat and woke up only when the plane landed. Both times.
Then, the fun stuff began. My first big flight from Auckland, NZ to Fiji arrived as expected. We were even met in the airport by a band of 4 fijians playing guitars and welcoming all new arrivees into their land. However, I – along with about a dozen of other transfering passengers – were pleasantly surprised that our flight from Fiji to LAX had a minor delay… of 6 hours!
That spelled trouble as it would mean that i’d miss my connecting and last flight from LAX to JFK. But not to worry, assured me the lovely Air New Zealand personel, they’d take care of everything.
In the meantime, they have arranged to put us in a hotel, give us a drink and feed us dinner. Not a bad deal – I actually wouldn’t mind the stopover if it would’ve been during the day, since there’d be a few hours to walk around. But this was all taking place in the middle of the night with heavy rain, so we all headed for the hotel.
After bonding with all the other passengers over our troubles and getting a whole 70 minutes of sleep, it was time to go back to the airport. Everything went dandy from there. We boarded the plane and 11 hours later – voila, I was in LA.
At this point, I was a bit tired since I already spent about 2 days between planes, airports and bad airline food, but I was pretty relaxed thinking that there is just 1 simple flight left.
Imagine my surprise when I approached the Delta counter (my LA to JFK carrier) and then, with a confused look on their faces, told me that while I was rebooked for the next flight (leaving at 11pm instead of the original 3pm one), Air New Zealand didn’t actually re-issue the ticket. While i’m still not completely sure what the hell that means, it basically means that I wasn’t on the flight… And the flight was already booked.
By this time, it was about 9pm and the whole thing was getting tiring. Understandeably, Delta couldn’t do much, so I headed to the other terminal to raise hell with Air NZ.
They were quite surprised about all of this, but weren’t particularly helpful. After 2 hours of going back and fort, they told me to go back to Delta and try again. By now, the flight was less than 45 minutes from departure.
I raced to the Delta terminal and explained the situation for the 10th time to a new agent. She cheerfully looked at my passport, said that ‘you’re going home tonight’ and gave me a ticket.
Quite happily, I headed to the gate and only then realized that she gave me a ticket for another person who’s name simply started with the first few letters as mine! So, I headed back to her. She checked her records again and grimfully confirmed that i’m not on the flight.
Kind of expecting this, I headed back to Air NZ terminal. By now, I was willing to accept their original offer – a night in the hotel and the flight the next day, since I already missed all the flights for the day.
But as luck would have it, by the time I reached their terminal, everyone went home and the terminal was dark. When I asked a nearby worker, he said that they only start work at around 1pm the next day.
Now, it was getting to the point of ridiculous. I couldn’t go to the hotel nor did I really want to wait around till 1pm the next day to rebook my flight. So, after some consideration, I headed back to Delta and asked them to change my ticket for the first flight in the morning and paid for it myself. At the end of the day, the insurance will cover the fee and i’ll get home tomorrow (later than wanted, but hey…), but the whole thing did wind up sucking up a lot of energy.
But, at least now I can say that I stayed in Hotel LAX Sorry for the rant :)
Update: 01.17.07 – 7.00pm – I’m home!