Sat 13th May: A very early start, left June's house in Christchurch at 3.30 a.m. Saturday morning, flew via Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore. I'd like to say it was uneventful but I can't! I'm updating this as we go by the way so here's a synopsis of the saga!
At Christchurch airport we were told that our bags would only be checked to Singapore, which was a contradiction of what I'd been told when I rang Jetstar two weeks ago to ask where they would be checked to and told "all the way to Cambodia". This was important to us because we'd booked the transit hotel at Singapore airport, which is not seemingly accessible once baggage has been collected. And with 14 hours in transit there we wanted a bed and a shower!
After some discussion and the Jetstar staff member checking with his manager, we were told that they would check our bags all the way but we should double check in Singapore. Fair enough.
We got to Melbourne 4 hours later and went through to the international transit area as we thought we'd been told on the plane. Why? Well, we had the same flight number from Melbourne to Darwin and Darwin to Singapore so it appeared to be an international connection (there was even confusion at Christchurch as to if we would get off the plane at Darwin or not). We browsed duty free and wandered around; I happened to glance at a departure board and our flight wasn't on it! Yikes! So we retraced our steps and ended up at the wrong side of customs, only to find out that we should have gone through customs, collected our bags then re-entered the domestic terminal instead. The miscommunication from Jetstar plus the fact they had rerouted us through Australia instead of Auckland as planned meant we had to enter Australia with no current visa, Not good. Customs staff were brilliant and sorted everything out, but in the process ........ our bags had disappeared! So we went from being escorted through customs like all those dodgy people you see being detained on Border Patrol to the shock of being told (eventually, after several different stories depending on who we talked to) that no-one knew where our bags were.
So now, after 5 hours transit in Melbourne, we're on the second leg to Darwin, minus bags, another 4 hours away. There was still a dispute over wether or not we should clear customs in Singapore but we have agreed to talk to staff there and remain in transit. Oh, I didn't add that the plane was not very clean either, rubbish under the seats and what looked like the remnants of flaky pastry on them!
Looking forward to the hotel. Will sign off now as it's quite turbulent, more later!
Sun 14th May: Spent a very pleasant and comfortable night in the airport hotel and checked out at 6.15 this morning feeling quite refreshed. We had been advised to clear customs to speak to Jetstar and see if there was an update on the missing bags then re-enter the terminal. We did this and spoke to Lost and Found first, who said they couldn't do anything because the bags were (supposedly) checked to Cambodia. So we exited the area and that's when I realised I'd lost my camera bag! Just not our day. And this is the second time in two days but I left that out earlier to keep it brief! Nightmare. I had to get clearance to re-enter the arrivals area, be frisked and then be escorted back to Lost and Found, where the camera bag was just where I'd left it! Such relief, as there were other expensive items in the bag too.
Jetstar couldn't do anything for us so the whole thing was a waste of time really, saying that Jetstar International lost the bags and this sector is Jetstar Asia. I am running out of confidence that we'll ever see the bags again but Mac is optimistic! Well, as the song goes, things can only get better! But heck, we haven't even arrived at our destination yet! I can honestly say in over 30 years of travelling it's never been this eventful!
So now we're sat in the free wi-fi are shaving just had brekky, awaiting the last leg to Phnom Phen. Watch this space! Thank goodness we're in a first class airport!