Going to New Zealand, you cross the international date line, so in addition to being on an airplane forever, you also loose an entire day. Once you reach your destination, you're very excited to get your things and clean up. A fine plan, as long as your suitcase arrives when you do...
My co-worker Rachel and I purchased our flying tickets together, and our other co-worker Barb purchased hers separately. However, surprise surprise, we all ended up sitting in a row together from Philadelphia to LA. Once in LA, we'd go our separate ways, both ultimately ending in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
This was easy enough, and should have involved a nice, dull four-hour layover in LAX. Instead our plane was over an hour late arriving in Philadelphia, and was a corresponding hour-plus late departing. And after we boarded the plane, taxing down the runway, the pilot explained how airplanes have fuel tanks in the wings. This particular airplane, why one of the fuel tanks was broken! Funny thing, we'd have to stop in Kansas City to refuel, or else the flight would not make it to LA. So we rode on a busted plane. Was there no other unbroken plane in the whole of the Philadelphia airport to borrow? No.
The Kansas City stop took and hour, and once we finally arrived in LA we sat on the runway for 45 minutes while we waited for a parking spot. This was eating far into our layover time...
Once we finally got off the airplane, we ran out of security, outside from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3, got our new boarding passes and explained to the Virgin Australia people how our flight was late and that our luggage would be hard pressed to make it. They sighed, said they'd do what they could, and went home (it was 10:00 pm, and they had been keeping the desk open, waiting for only us). We booked it through security again and ran to the next plane.
After an uneventful flight to Brisbane, Australia, and from there to Wellington, we looked hopefully for our luggage. No go. Sadness. We bought a few small items in Wellington - the Virgin Australia representative said that our bags would probably arrive the next morning, and we figured that as soon as we bought things, they'd arrive.
The next day, no luggage. No messages from anyone, only answering machines. Co-worker Barb, whose luggage was also lost, had her bag returned the very next day. I figure the problem was with US Air, who had shuttled us on that horrid flight to LA. That they were not communicating properly with Virgin Australia. But how to contact them from New Zealand? The solution: email Mum all the details and let her loose on the culprits.
Only Mum knows who she had to scold, but our bags were located and sent on their way to Wellington, arriving luckily the morning of the first day of talks. Honestly, I think if she hadn't called, those doofuses would still have our luggage, we never would have gotten it. I never want to travel with US Air again!
For a short and sad time, it seemed that the outfit pictured below would be my New Zealand Conference Outfit. It's a perfectly fine dress, but in happy times, I would not wear it with blue sneakers.
While our luggage had not yet arrived, Rachel and I attempted to cheer ourselves by taking the Wellington Cable Car to admire the city from the high ground!
At the top were a number of nice overlooks and a huge botanical garden.
Sneakers. I like you, but not as conference-wear.