finished the way it started. Badly.
Air New Zealand sucked this trip. Seriously. I know the fog in Melbourne that started this whole mess off wasn’t their fault, nor was it their fault that we missed every flight because of that fog. And it’s certainly wasn’t their fault LA Airport sucks great big donkey balls when it comes to clearing customs (an hour and a half? Seriously, why not employ more people to handle the overload?). However, given they combined three flights (two LA flights and one San Francisco flight) into the one later LA flight, they (Air NZ) must have had some inkling that maybe they would have a good three quarters of the plane needing assistance before they closed up shop for the night.
But getting stranded at LA and missing connecting flights we didn’t know about wasn’t the end of it.
Coming home, when we least needed it (hey, conferencing, and being wined and dined is hard work 🙂 ), the Air NZ fun started all over again. We actually got to LA okay, and wandered around to the Air NZ terminal. Where we waited. And waited. Ten or fifteen minutes into the waiting, every AIR NZ staff serving at the counter got up and walked out. Just walked out, leaving over a hundred of us standing there wondering what the hell was going on. Twenty minutes later, with a line that snaked around the terminal and out the doors onto the footpath, the Air NZ folk calmly wandered back in. Apparently, they take their smokos (morning tea) very seriously over there. An hour and a half later, we finally got tickets (though Mel losing her baggage check from Dallas caused great concern to the woman at the counter–she was convinced that the baggage handlers wouldn’t know what to do with the bag, even though it was completely checked in and tagged right through to Melbourne from Dallas.) An hour after that, we get through LA customs (again, what is with the three or four gates open? Seriously, when you get that many people hitting the airport at one time, employ some people to handle it.) So, we get to the plane with little time to spare…except that the plane ended up taking off late, though communication as to why it was late was none existant. We did make our Auckland-Melbourne flight, but again, it was late taking off.
And then, to top everthing off, they lost our cases. Apparently they’re still over in NZ.
If my cowboy boots don’t arrive in one piece, I will be annoyed. Or more annoyed than I am.
Tomorrow I’ll blog about the brilliance of the conference, how wonderful my agent is, and how well Mel and some of the other Aussies did at her first conference 🙂