If You Want Delays, Fly Fiji Airways
I will NEVER fly Fiji Airways again. EVER.
If it wasn't for the incredibly nice people, I think I might have been on the news.
I know for sure that by the end of a week full of delayed flights, my friend Chidi (who is usually very calm and quiet) was all the way turnt up. And I don't mean that in a good way.
Before we set out on our first flight, I checked their website for any notices (as any well informed traveler does). I'd never flown with Fiji Airways before...and actually prior to even booking the tickets, I read as many airlines reviews as I could find. There's a tip for you...read reviews before flying with airlines you've never used. The reviews I read were far more good than bad. The ticket prices were low compared to other airlines offering the same route so that was good and believe me, we scrutinized the prices to make sure we were getting the best price possible.
Anyway, before we left, there was a notice on the airline's website stating something like one of their airplanes was involved in an accident with a food service truck on the tarmac and was out of service. As a result, travelers should expect delays......They didn't say that these delays would ruin my life and push me to the point of losing all my religion. All of it.
I experienced the first delay in Los Angeles. The very first flight was delayed. I should have known that this was a foreshadowing of things to come. So...we're already 2 hours behind schedule. Fortunately, the pilot was able to make up some time in the air. The other half of my travel group arrived the day before us and they, too, experienced this two hour delay. Not a good sign.
Alright, we set out for the second leg of our tour of the South Pacific. We arrived at the Nadi ariport (with the couple we met at our hotel who was on their babymoon) for our flight to Auckland and were met with a very chaotic check in process. We learned that the reason for the chaos was that our flight would be delayed for 6 hours....yes, that's right...6 damn hours in this small airport with one store, 2 places to eat and dufry shop that was unnecessarily half the size of the airport itself.
Fiji Airways provided a meal voucher that we could use at one of the two restaurants in the tiny airport (and it was really only one small pizza place that just happened to serve breakfast. The other place was a coffee shop). Smh. We posted up in the pizzeria's dining area which was unclean and I'm pretty sure we saw a roach. After studying the menu, we learned that if we didn't use the whole value of the voucher at one time, the rest of it would be lost. Great. But, we outsmarted them by buying two meals on one voucher for breakfast and two meals on one voucher for lunch. Muahaha. Yes, we were there long enough for breakfast and lunch. Then, instead of buying water at the restaurant, we purchased the cheaper, same sized water from the convenience store across the way. Take that!
To pass the time, I did some writing in my journal, read part of my book and listened to some music. Then I looked up and only an hour had passed. So we bought some cards and the babymooners taught us a card game that I neither remember the name of nor the rules.
By the time the flight was set to depart, I was ready to do a full out spring out of this airport. The boarding process was really stupid too...ugh.
We flew LAN airlines from Auckland to Sydney....that flight was on time, thank goodness.
So while we were in Sydney, Alan received an email alerting him that our return flight to LAX was canceled. Also, if I recall correctly, I think the airline may have even called Alan's hotel room to let him know of the changes. They did not call us. Instead of leaving Nadi when we were supposed to, we would be leaving on a flight that departed an entire day later, arriving in LA after midnight on Sunday, so actually Monday, making it so all of us would miss our connections to Houston and NYC respectively (OMG!!! That's me freaking out all over again). Let me also mention that both Chidi and I had purchased our flights from IAH - LAX and NYC - LAX with miles. We checked the prices to change the flights....$500, because why would it be cheap, right? I felt anxiety come over me...what the heck were we going to do?
I pulled it together, because I was seriously panicking, and then realized that I might have a solution - I would call my daddy for help. I Facetime'd my sweet father (because my phone had been stolen) and calmly explained the whole story to him. He said he'd try to figure something out but no promises.
The next day, a miracle happened. My father was able to work some magic and change all our flights...for FREE! I love that man....ya'll just don't know. I'm about to go kiss his bald head again just cuz.
I really can't express how happy we all were that my father was able to fix this mess for us. And of course, I felt like hero by extension...MY daddy saved the day! Some of us literally shouted and fell out on the floor.....I mean, it was bad enough that we'd been delayed the whoooole time, we'd be missing an extra day of work and we nearly having to take up residence in Sydney because none of us could afford this change ticket fee. We had had enough of Fiji Airways and their shenanigans.
We get to the Sydney airport on the day of our flight....guess what? Our flight is delayed. Also, we got separated from our friends. Apparently Fiji Airways felt bad for them and put them on a Qantas flight straight to IAH. I wanted to be mad but whatever. At least some of us got back home on time.
We got to Nadi and since we were delayed overnight, the airline provided us with a hotel for the night and a meal. They were also providing reimbursement for those who had to pay for flight change fees. We got ours handles for free but the fool in me wanted to approach the agents anyway, just to give them a piece of my mind. Chidi talked me out of it, fortunately for them.
It was all so chaotic. There were so many people delayed (basically the whole flight) that there wasn't enough space in the hotel shuttle for everyone. They had to make several trips. Then the line at the hotel's check in counter was outrageously long....we were so tired man....soooo soo tired and irritable...ever so irritable.
We settled in and went to dinner, by this time I was hangry. There were only two items on the menu, a burger or fish and chips.....yet another disappointment....the food was mediocre and the meal voucher did not cover sodas. I wanted to scream....and then some huge flying killer bug attacked us and I was officially done for the night. We slept and headed back to the airport early the next morning. Our attitudes were trash at this point.
Another flight delay!
We arrived in LA after midnight...again, starving. Since my Aunt lives near the airport, I had made arrangements for us to go to her house for a shower and a brief nap. We asked the cab driver to pass us thru Carl Jr's drive thru on the way. He didn't seem too thrilled about the detour but I tipped him. Plus, you're a cab driver. Take me where I want to go.
Hours later we were back at the stupid airport for our flights to IAH and NYC....FINALLY!
Despite these delays...these plane rides afforded me the opportunity to see some awesome sites, that's for sure.