This is one special omelette.
Verdict: Avoid Pacific Blue at all costs
Price: 3 missed flights.
Location: Sydney International
Careful: Below the cut is a lot of bitchin’. Eff Pacific Blue. In summary:
1. Their staff was rude and unable to find a simple, quick solution
2. C and I missed our flight, he missed a second and could not get onto a third. Fail fail fail.
3. We lost 2 days of travel. Burn.
4. I’ll never fly any airline associated with Pacific Blue.
Sydney to Wellington: Flight booked? Check. Host for New Zealand set? Check. Accounting for Pacific Blue’s chaos? Fail.
Flight Fail #1
Pacific Blue wouldn't let my friend board because his visa had his full passport number, instead of cutting it off. What a difference two little characters can make! They kept telling him that he could not leave because of his visa and he was a dolt for not organizing himself beforehand.
Why was I skeptical? I was told that my visa was invalid, but luckily Minh had kindly sponsored a SIM card with a data plan so I could pull the email and prove that that was not the case.
“Oh.” The Pacific Blue attendant double-blinked and it was suddenly not an issue.
“Am I going to miss my flight??” I finally asked after 45 minutes of drawn out confusion and lack of communication. “You’d be very lucky to catch your flight” was the snorty reply as my passport was shoved towards me...efff... I ran. Told by 3 custom agents at separate points that the airline would wait for me (arggh!) only to reach the gate to see the airplane leave...then was told by one of their officers that I was inconsiderate and wasted resources. Hooray for being yelled at in Sydney! The flight attendant patted my back and snapped back at her. Good times.
The kicker? According to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Sydney this would have all been avoided by a simple phone call to confirm my friend’s visa…nicely done, Pacific Blue.
Flight Fail #2
The Pacific Blue agent who took my card said she bought him a return ticket…but the next day, they could not find his flight,it took them so long to figure out that one was not purchased that he missed it anyways (…), and they told him that he could fly to Brisbane and then connect to Wellington.
Flight Fail #3
Too bad that after hours of frustration and waiting, he could not board that evening either...so yet another flight was booked.
We were about to pop. Our compensation? A handful of Pacific Blue vouchers. Somehow, the potato omelette and the big sausage breakfast at the airport did not make up for the 2 lost days in Wellington and stress…
I tried to console myself by hitting Eating World for the fabled fatty-ramen:
Third time was a charm. The next day, we boarded the plane together, and fell in love with New Zealand the moment it came into view:
Breathtaking! I was ecstatic to finally make it out of Sydney Airport and mesmerized by the view. I could not believe that it was real – the brilliant colours and wild landscape was amazing. We arrived in Wellington, made a quick stop at the local grocery store and went a little…crazy with our bulk bin purchases (so much for getting a few healthy snacks, as planned) and JD kindly let us use his leftovers for some chili. This began my obsession with lemon-pepper macadamia nuts and dried kiwi fruit. Macadamia nuts are locally grown in New Zealand – I didn’t realize how good they were until this trip! They're in all the bulk bins and you can buy them on the road when they're in season.