Saturday, March 14, 2015

Traveling day from hell...

We finally found a place to stay in Auckland- apparently a band named 'The Eagles' were doing a concert and every single place was sold out. ;)

Once we got there, and unloaded the van (such a process with 5 bike boxes, 5 heavy suitcases, and 5 backpacks! I am so ready to be done hauling everything!) it was pretty late and the only thing we could find for food was McDonald's- we literally drove around for over 45 minutes and couldn't find a single restaurant! We ate back at the hotel and went to sleep- knowing we had a long day ahead of us when we woke up....

Once everyone was up and we loaded up the van- AGAIN! we made our way to the airport. Jamie and Todd were on a different flight later on so they dropped the 3 of us off curbside.

The struggle of trying to keep the bike box, suitcase, and backpack all balanced on one of those airport carts in a busy airport was SO infuriating!

When we reached the baggage check everything rapidly went downhill.... We printed out our boarding passes and luggage tags and when we went to drop our bags off they told us our bags were too heavy and we had to go wait in a line (that was extremely long). Okay- no problem. We waited in line for what seemed like forever, and had to pay $300 dollars for both of our bike boxes being over the limit, and then I had to pay another $100 for them being over because we were flying 2 separate airlines and they both charged for it. (At this point, I was frustrated. We had being dealing with this for well over an hour and our plane was going to start boarding soon. Not to mention, I did not anticipate the extra charge and we had no problem getting the bikes here. It's not like our bikes gained any wight while on vacation...)
We then made our way back to the baggage drop, and they informed us that our suitcases now were too heavy and wanted to send us back to the line to pay- the same price we just paid.
This is where I went Joey from 'Friends' and opened my suitcase and started putting on every piece of clothing in the middle of the airport. Yup! I was not about to pay another $400 dollars in bag fees. The man sent us back over to the line, where we spoke to the same sweet lady who understood our frustration and though that $800 in bag fees was a bit excessive- we aggreed. She decided to wave her airline fees and only charge us for the second airlines fees (which she couldn't control) if we promised her that if we ever came back to New Zealand we would fly Air New Zealand again. We laughed as we agreed, and told her we were already planning to come back in 2017.
She left her desk and walked us over to a special bag drop and made sure our bags got accepted. FINALLY!! We thanked her a MILLION times and then quickly ran through the airport to our gate. We made it right before they started boarding, thanks gosh!!
The whole flight I napped and watched movies, watched more movies and napped. It was great. We had lunch and dinner on the plane and both meals were surprisingly really, really good- especially the dessert!!

We finally arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii at 9:30 pm. We made our way through customs and had to retrieve our luggage and then drop it off with the next airlines. Since it was so late, the airport was pretty dead and we had no problem dropping the bags off- YAY!!
We had a 9 hour layover, so we figured we would get some food and maybe go to the beach.

((When we initially purchased the tickets back from New Zeland, we purposely stopped in Hawaii because my mom lives there and we figured we could hang out with her and it was a lot cheaper. But my mom had to travel to Arizona for work- so she wasn't there. huge bummer!!))

As we took our bikes over to the 'oversized' area, we asked some of the workers where to go for some good food. They gave us a few suggestions and we thanked them as we headed out to catch a taxi. As we were walking out, the airlines lady came chasing after us saying our flight wasn't until tomorrow morning. We told her it left at 6:30am the next day. She told us we could not drop the bags off since it wasn't the same day. So much for leaving and getting food....

She gave us all of our luggage and bike boxes back and we were- once again, struggling to balance everything on those tiny airport carts! If we had a nickel for every time everything fell off the carts we would have been able to pay all the baggage fees and upgrade to first class!! We were exhausted, hungry, and lost.

We asked some locals how close the nearest food was, and they told us there was a McDonald's about a mile away. David offered to make the trek and bring us back something- but we just had McDonald's and it would have been cold by the time he got back. We thought we were for sure stuck at the airport for 9 hours with no food (the airport completely closes down at night, and there was nothing open).

We decided to go down to ground level and see if we could find anything to help our situation.  Getting in an elevator with the tiny carts was damn-near impossible! David went first and the bike boxes would not fit in on the cart- so you had to take it off, quickly put it in the elevator and then wheel the cart with you suitcase on it in- all while wearing your backpack. We helped him shove everything in as the doors closed.
'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' went next and it was a shitshow at best. The cart would not go over the lip to get into the elevator. So we tipped it up and got it in, I shoved the suitcase in and he heaved his over-the-limit bike box in. We took too long and it started beeping at us only making the situation worse.
He finally shuffled in with his bike box and the door closed. I prepared to load my elevator, hit the down button again, and waited.
Almost instantly, 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter's' elevator doors reopened and he quickly starts scurrying out.

Standing there confused, I ask him what he's doing and he looks up shocked to see me and not David. Realizing he hadn't gone anywhere, hee said a few choice words before shoving stuff back in the elevator. I immediately starting laughing at the situation, and once he was back in the elevator I reminded him to hit the button and he shouted for me not to touch anything as the doors closed.
I literally could not stop laughing for the rest of the night about this, only to upset 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' who did not find the situation funny at all.

I waited a few minutes and then finally made my way down the elevator as well. We got there, and there was nothing- no taxi's, shuttles, nothing.

I saw a rental car place and said we should just rent a car. The boys seemed shocked at that idea and 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' headed over to check out how much it would be while David and I wrangled the luggage as it kept sliding down the sloped sidewalk.

'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' returned so fast, I thought for sure they had been closed or he got turned down. He said they had a SUV and would charge us $60 dollars. To be able to get food and not have to stay at the airport, I would have paid double!

*What's the worst thing that has ever happened to while traveling? 

*What's the best?

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