Brisbane, Australia- February 2016

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Pages from MA2016xI think I’ll move to Australia, I thought one day.  Wouldn’t it be great if life was that easy. The universe has conspired to have me move to Australia. I am still waiting to find out why, but I am enjoying the adventure so far.

Booking a one way ticket is kind of a pain. For some reason, round trip’s tend to be cheaper. But if you don’t take the return, it’s considered a throwaway ticket. And well the airlines, frown upon that.

Since I was planning on being in Australia for at least a few weeks,  I tried to fly with one of the airlines I have status with, so I could utilize my additional baggage allowance. I ended up booking my flights on Fiji Airways. I would be flying Chicago to Los Angeles to Nadi to Brisbane.

For some reason, something kept telling me that I would not be flying on Fiji Airways. A few weeks before I was leaving,  I even started looking for alternatives. Which was quite odd because my ticket was non-refundable. I finally accepted I was flying Fiji Airways and decided to make the best of it.

Well 2 days before I was scheduled to leave, Virgin Australia posted on Twitter that due to Cyclone Winston, they were suspended flights to and from Nadi. **Twitter is a traveler’s best friend.  Hmmm I should check Fiji Airways. All flights for that day had been cancelled. A waiver was in place and I would need to call. And let the games begin.

I had made my booking with Orbitz. So I called them first. I was told I could cancel the reservation, but I would need to call Fiji Airways. I called was on hold for 15 minutes, got an agent and soon as I told my issue, the call was disconnected. So I then started looking to my options for another flight. I called United Airlines, oh sure we have a seat for you for $8,817.  I called American Airlines and I was able to book a flight in coach but us an upgrade for business for $1400. I could not provide my credit card fast enough. So new flight booked, I tried my luck with Fiji Airways again. After 45 minutes on hold, I gave up and called back to Orbitz.

After a quick hold, I explained to the agent my issue and asked could my itinerary be cancelled. He said no that I had to fly or lose the value. I tried to explain that the flights were not operating and so what were my options. He called Fiji Airways and they told him that if I wanted to change my flights I would have to pay a fee?  I said well that contradicts their website. He said I was misreading. Really?

So of course I asked for a supervisor. She called Fiji Airways and tried to feed me the same line. I politely referred her to Fiji Airway’s own website.  She came back and said, well the guy is now saying ok maybe they can put you on Qantas direct from LA to Brisbane, but they had not for sure cancelled my flight yet so I would have to call back. I said no, either cancel my ticket or deal with American Express. I’ve had enough. The supervisor came back on the line and said I was good to go. I had been rebooked on Qantas. And if I had any further problems with my ticket, to please NOT call back to Orbitz, but deal with Fiji Airways myself.

I have used Orbitz, a lot in the past, especially when I dealing with a weird itinerary. I’ve never had a problem, but I must say I would reconsider using them in the future after this little fiasco.

I can tell you with absolutely certainty, I will be avoiding Fiji Airways in the future. I am sure they are lovely airline, when things work.

My new home, for now…….

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Stay tuned for future travels from Down Under.

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New York, NY- February 2016

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Have you seen the a TV show, Younger? It’s about a 40 year old pretending to be 26 to get a job in publishing. I felt like I was re-enacting an episode of Younger with a weekend trip to New York with my friends Jana and Whitney.

l love visiting with my extended family. So when an invitation come for a baby shower in New York, I booked my ticket before sending in my RSVP. I then mentioned it to Jana and Whitney, and boom girl’s trip to New York.

Seeing the value in losing a vacation day, Jana booked a 6 am flight. I just laughed, silly gal, said I’ll see you about 6 pm, when my 3 pm flight lands.  Then Whitney booked a 6 am and well, not one to miss the party, I moved to a 6 am too… BAD IDEA.  Surprise surprise, there was weather in New York. United pushed my 6 am to 7 am the night before, so thankfully I did not have to show up early for no reason. Whitney’s original flight cancelled, her re-booked flight cancelled as well. She was put on a 1 pm flight from Norfolk. So much for our 6 am’s.

It’s funny no matter how many times I visit New York, I always discover something new that just surprises me. We took a walk down a walk down 5th Avenue and checked out the flagship New York Library. Its just beautiful inside. We watched the ice skaters in Rockefeller Plaza and awed at the beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Whitney arrived with a broken foot, so we just kept our dinner plans simple. We were staying in Koreatown, so Korean BBQ was a no brainer choice. My friend Rebecca, who lives in Manhattan, was able to come join us.

The next day we headed off to Soho for Cronuts at Dominque Ansel’s.  It”s the only place in the world you can get a real cronut. Forget that crap you may have had at Dunkin Donut’s.  Lucky for Jana and I, Whitney really wanted to try a cronut, so she had placed an order a few weeks back to ensure we got some. There is only 1 flavor and you get what you get. I think it was blackberry? Whatever it was, it was messy, so don’t wear a pretty outfit if you are planning on eating some cronuts.

 After that filling feast, we headed over to the 9/11 memorial. It’s an sad part of US history. We then headed over to the Times Square, the gals were able to get tickets for the matinee of Chicago. I was heading to Brooklyn for my cousin’s baby shower.

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We met up with Rebecca again for dinner at the BarBacon. Who doesn’t love a bit of bacony goodness?

The next morning we headed off The Highline, a park built over old railroad lines. After which we head to the famous Katz’s Deli. Where I got see where a scene from one of my favorite movies, was filmed.

We then so unwisely walked back to the hotel. I underestimated the time and well I missed my flight.  Luckily there was a seat on the next one and it was leaving an hour later.

I had a great time visiting with my friends and family.  But as always the time was too short.  It was great to be able to squeeze in one last trip with my friends before the “Big Move”.

Happy Travels………….