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03 December 2011

Stranded in Sydney

After a 13 hour, mostly sleepless flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney I arrived and rushed off to the transfer desk to get my boarding card for the next leg of the journey. The airline, however, appears to be conspiring against my travel plans - it turns out that my flight to Christchurch has not been in existence for months, and the airline failed to let me know. It was about 7.30 am, I was completely shattered and had no idea what to do. The first thing was to find my luggage because it had been checked through to Christchurch, even though there was no longer a flight to take it there. You would think that when checking my bags in at Dublin airport somebody would have noticed that little fact. Apparently not. I was worried my bags would be lost in airport limbo but I got them easily enough, then had to go find the Etihad offices. Only it was still not even 9 am, it's hard to keep track of time when you cross so many time-zones. There was nobody there, no Etihad staff in the entire bloody airport and by that stage I was a complete bloody wreck. I went to Air NZ hoping that they could help me, that there was another day-time flight to Christchurch today that I could get on in order to make my connection to Invercargill. There wasn't, though, and they couldn't help me if there was because I booked through bloody Etihad.

They were very nice though, Air New Zealand is so much nicer than some of those really grumpy European airlines. I remember flying with BMI once and they were really rude and useless. So they let me call Etihad on their phone, even though I was kept on hold for ages. The really long phone call didn't help much. The office here at the airport didn't open till 1 so I was stuck in the airport check-in area for about 6 hours, stressing about getting a flight and not being stranded for a night. Finally they sorted me out, they were really nice even though I told them off. I am flying out tonight but I miss my connection. So they re-booked that too, as they should, though really they could have refused because I didn't book it through them or anything. However, that next flight to Invers is not till the morning so after being stranded here in Sydney all day I am going to be stuck in Christchurch the night. I can write to Etihad and complain that it was their fault I missed my plane and that they shoudl reimburse me, but I can't be sure that they will so instead of getting a hotel room I settled for a backpackers and will just be glad to get some proper sleep.

This is not really a good start to a holiday. Let's hope that the rest of it goes better.

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