Well, it’s June 26 (again) and I am currently sitting in LAX waiting for my final flight home. Some of you may not know, but there is a Chilean volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain that has created an ash cloud over the Pacific. This volcano began erupting over a week ago. Since it was unsure what this ash could do to airplanes, most flights in Australia and New Zealand were cancelled, particularly international ones. However, the cloud passed by and everything shortly returned to normal. Not for long, however, as the volcano continued to erupt and spew more ash into the atmosphere.
For my trip home I was scheduled to fly Air New Zealand from Palmy to Auckland on the morning of June 25. That went without a hitch. The next leg of the journey, Auckland to LA, was through Qantas. Well, Qantas decided that they weren’t flying on the 25 due to the ash cloud. Everyone else was flying, so what’s up, Qantas?! Anyways, Kristen, my travel partner, and I were not able to depart New Zealand on the 25th. Let’s just say that we were more upset at having to leave Palmy and being stuck in Auckland than being stuck in the country. We happened to have a very emotional departure from Palmy and we just wanted to finish our journey. But no. At least Qantas was kind enough to offer complimentary accommodation and meals while we were stuck in Auckland.
We were extremely lucky in that we were re-booked within two hours for a next day flight to LA via Papeete, Tahiti. We had brief discussions with people who had been dealing with Qantas for over a week, trying to depart NZ. Our new schedule was to leave the country around 2pm on the 26th, arrive in Tahiti around 9pm on the 26th (international date line and all) leave again around 11pm on the 25th, and finally arrive in the U.S. around 11am on the 26th. Luckily we made it, even with dear Kristen, the problem child of our trip. So we arrived in LA this morning after two days of travel and disruption. We were quite surprised at the speed at which we were able to make it through customs which involved two security points and luggage retrieval. I would say it only took about 30 mins. Awesome! We then meandered our way out of the international terminal and over to terminal 4 for our domestic flights home.