Caught on THE FLY

BOOK­ING A TRIP ON­LINE IS EASY, RIGHT? BUT SOME­TIMES IT’S THE TINY DE­TAILS THAT CAN STUFF A PER­SON UP

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - SHORT BLONDE -

We’re head­ing down to Christchurch to spend one last week­end with my daugh­ter Kate and baby Bart. It worked out well – my daugh­ter had al­ways planned to spend a bit of time with her South Is­land fam­ily be­fore she re­turned to Lon­don, so I thought when I said good­bye to the two of them in Auck­land, that was it. Then I was booked to MC a gig in Christchurch on her last week­end in the coun­try.

“Come down and stay!” she said. “Bring Tom and we can have one last hur­rah.” We’re very lucky, her dad and other mum and Tom and me, that we all get along well, so spend­ing time to­gether at each other’s homes is never a prob­lem.

I booked Tom a ticket and pre­pared to look for­ward to hav­ing a few more pre­cious mo­ments with my daugh­ter and baby grand­son. Then, a few days af­ter I’d booked Tom’s ticket, I re­ceived an email from Air New Zealand. Due to op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, his plane would be leav­ing later than the sched­uled time and did he want to be trans­ferred to an ear­lier flight?

My hus­band was in­clined to turn up at the air­port on Satur­day morn­ing and take what was on of­fer, but I told him that wouldn’t work. I would need to col­lect him from the air­port and drive him out to the farm, and I didn’t want to spend time hang­ing round Christchurch ter­mi­nal – as nice as it is – when I could be playing with the baby. Yes, that would mean he would have to pause The Chase while he made a phone call, but some­times these things just have to be done.

So, with a sigh, Tom picked up the phone and al­most im­me­di­ately was put through to a call cen­tre lady. From there, con­fu­sion en­sued. Ini­tially, I could only hear his side of the con­ver­sa­tion but what I was even­tu­ally able to glean was that I had booked Tom to leave Auck­land at 9.15pm on Satur­day, not 9.15 in the morn­ing! I had done the book­ing my­self on­line and had clearly failed to spot the cru­cial dif­fer­ence be­tween AM and PM. If Tom hadn’t ar­rived un­til mid­night on Satur­day, the week­end would have been a ma­jor let­down.

The lady at the Air New Zealand call cen­tre couldn’t have been more help­ful. “You’ll cer­tainly be need­ing an ear­lier flight, then,” she laughed and booked Tom on the flight we’d orig­i­nally wanted.

And be­cause of the op­er­a­tional re­quire­ment – what­ever that was – we didn’t have to pay for a new fare. How very, very for­tu­nate.

But, in fu­ture, I’ll leave my travel book­ings to the pro­fes­sion­als. I gen­er­ally do when it comes to any­thing be­yond the

Pa­cific, but I thought I could man­age do­mes­tic and trans-Tas­man flights all by my­self.

Clearly not be­cause the stuff-up with Tom’s flight to Christchurch wasn’t a one-off.

Just yes­ter­day,

I re­alised that while I may have booked my flight to Syd­ney for my girls’ week­end away – I hadn’t booked a flight home. It was a one-way ticket. I have no de­sire to live in

Aus­tralia and I’ve never felt the temp­ta­tion to cross the ditch for any­thing more than a fun week­end. So I jumped back on the Air New Zealand site and promptly booked a ticket home, then I put my travel agent friend Carol’s num­ber on speed dial.

‘ I had booked Tom to leave Auck­land at 9.15pm on Satur­day. Not 9.15 in the morn­ing!

As well as read­ing her col­umn, listen to Kerre on New­stalk ZB, week­days, noon to 4pm.

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