I’ve always said if you’ve never missed a flight you spend too much time in airports. Usually the cost to miss a flight is relatively low but if you’re showing up early, each and every trip, you need to add up all that time… it’s a lot.
And yet I really don’t miss flights. I do my best not to spend a lot of time waiting for them, but I make it just fine.
There are times when the cost of missing a flight can be much greater — like when you’re trying to fly from Australia to the U.S. and there just aren’t a lot of flights. And when you’re doing it on an award ticket in business class. You really do want to show up on time.
- Introduction: Virgin Australia and Delta Business Class, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney
- Concourse Hotel LAX, a Hyatt affiliate
- Virgin Australia Check-in and Star Alliance Business Class Lounge
- Virgin Australia Business Class, Los Angeles – Brisbane
- Virgin Australia Brisbane Lounge and Business Class, Brisbane – Cairns
- Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas
- Virgin Australia Lounge, Cairns and Business Class, Cairns – Sydney
- Park Hyatt Sydney
I left the Park Hyatt in plenty of time for my 2:40pm departure. I arrived at the airport, went inside, and started looking for the Virgin Australia check-in desks. Only there didn’t seem to be any. Virgin Australia wasn’t listed on the board. My flight wasn’t listed on the board. How could that be?
How is it possible that Virgin Australia flight 1 wasn’t up there?
And then it hit me. Virgin Australia flight 1 from Sydney to Los Angeles is a morning departure. I know this, I’ve helped plenty of people book it.
When I made my award booking it was a 2:40pm flight, but some months earlier Virgin Australia had updated its schedule. And somehow I looked only at my original itinerary. I’d love to blame Delta for not emailing me about the change, but goodness knows I’ve made plenty of reservations for VA1 and I know what time it departs. Only on this day somehow I didn’t. All I knew was the printout I had that said 2:40pm. And that had me at the airport long after the flight had departed.
What to do? What to do? I started wondering. Ok, I needed to find Virgin Australia. But there weren’t any Virgin Australia check-in desks at all, since the didn’t have any flights checking in within the next several hours. So I went upstairs to the airport offices and started looking around for Virgin Australia.
First I found their employee cafeteria, and was then directed to the back office. I knocked on the locked door.
A helpful woman came out, I explained the situation. She took my printed itinerary and went inside. She came back a little while later with some suggested flights, including sending me through Honolulu late that night and connecting over to Delta. I pointed out we were in business class, and she said “oh, well we don’t have any business seats available on that flight.”
I suggested that there were still some business class seats open on the next day’s flight (five, if I recall correctly). She went back inside. Awhile later she came out and said that she had spoken with Delta, since it was their ticket they were going to put us on their own flight the next day Sydney – Los Angeles. But “not to worry because we’ll get you set up with a hotel for the night” and she sent me on my way to the Rydges hotel directly across from the international terminal.
No fight at all, no disagreements or pushing over whose fault it was that I missed the flight. The woman in the back office spoke with her counterpart at Delta and they opened a business class award seat on the next day’s flight (I had hoped I would get booked into revenue business, no such luck, but we did get two of the last three business seats for sale on the flight). And we were even given complimentary hotel.
I still felt absolutely idiotic. I’ve cut it close for flights, but I’ve never gotten my flight time wrong before (in a material way). I probably let my overconfidence get the better of me. I didn’t need to check the flight time because I know the flight time, yet somehow that knowledge didn’t connect up with the time I was looking at on my piece of paper to know it was wrong.
I’d have the next 18 hours or so to stew over it if I wished, or I could let it go, and fortunately my wife was understanding. Granted this was worse than the time I booked an overnight at the Bangkok airport Novotel for the wrong month back in 2008 or when I showed up to check in at the wrong hotel, but she was willing to accept that my batting average on these things is pretty good.
The Rydges hotel is directly across the street and couldn’t be more convenient.
The property is fairly basic, but it’s clean, the staff are friendly and I had a room overlooking airport operations so I had few complaints at all.
The room was compact, but immaculate.
The views were pretty good as well.
Since we were really ready to be home at this point, and didn’t want to go far off airport property, we ordered room service and settled in before our flight home the next morning on Delta.
I was actually excited, I would get to try Delta’s long haul business class, that’s not something I really had planned for. After a good night’s sleep, it was back to the terminal.