Depart Minneapolis at 1:10pm. Arrive in Dallas at 3:45pm.
Depart Dallas at 4:35pm. Arrive in Los Angeles at 6pm (local time).
Depart LA at 10:20pm. Arrive in Sydney at 8:20pm (local time).
Depart Sydney at 11:45am. Arrive in Vila at 3:10pm (local time).
That seems perfectly reasonable. It is about 36 hours of travel, but nothing too bad for an intercontinental transit. Too bad it hasn’t worked out that way.
We left Minneapolis on time with all 4 of our 48 lb bags on the plane. (International flights still get 2 complimentary bags and we are bringing a bunch of early reader books back for a school.) We didn’t even get frisked for having 5 computers with us. I was expecting at least a little hold up in security for that but we went right through.
The flight out of Minneapolis left on time with a good tail wind and it looked like we’d get in slightly ahead of schedule. We got above Dallas and the captain said there was a thunderstorm. We couldn’t land in the lightening but we’d stay in a holding pattern for half an hour. That put us behind schedule but not too badly. We finally land with 10 minutes to make the next flight. We sprint out of the plane and check the board. The flight has been cancelled.
We got ourselves re-booked on the flight for an hour later without any hassle. We have a 4 hour layover, so an hour won’t make a difference. We were waiting at the first gate for awhile. It got changed and we walked down to the other end of the terminal. They announced some delay. And then another delay. And then another delay. The captain and first mate were in Tulsa. Then it got delayed long enough that the LA flight would put them over so they had to call in a different pilot. We didn’t leave until 9:00pm.
Unsurprisingly, we missed our connection in LA. There was a second flight going to Sydney an hour later. We missed that one, too. They re-booked us on a flight to Brisbane, instead. I guess when you are crossing the Pacific Ocean a couple hundred miles north or south isn’t that big a deal. They booked us on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney that would have us missing our Sydney to Vila connection, but at least we’d be in place for Friday’s Sydney to Vila flight.
We boarded the Brisbane flight around midnight. The pilot got an error reading during his pre-flight check. They looked into it. At 3:45am, they let us off the plane to stretch and walk around. We re-boarded at 4:30am. Our midnight flight left at 5am.
We arrived in Brisbane 2 hours after the flight to Sydney left. After going through customs and getting all 250 lbs of our stuff back, we got in the what-do-we-do-now? line.
I know from personal experience that there is a Friday afternoon Brisbane ->Vila -> Brisbane connection. I was on it when I cut my hand with the bush knife. So, we convinced them to transfer our flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Either way, we weren’t getting there before Friday and we didn’t really want to have another flight in the middle that could go wrong. They agreed that that made some sense and with a little more convincing they even waived the ticket transfer fee.
Then we went to Qantas and discussed our accommodations for the night. They waffled a bit on putting us up. Apparently the Vila booking was done separately from the rest of the bookings so they weren’t actually responsible for us. They were only responsible for getting us to Sydney, which we’d just changed to Brisbane. I guess we were cute and pitiful or something because after 3 hours of discussing it they gave us an exception. We got a room for the night with dinner and breakfast included.
Our flight to Vila is at 7:30pm today. We are supposed to get in at 10:00pm. Cross your fingers that we make it and don’t have anymore delays, re-bookings or travel adventures.