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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