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