February 20, 2023
I arrived at the airport two hours before my 8:30am flight to Queenstown, New Zealand via Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately at check in the Thai Airways attendant asked for my Australian visa. I didn’t have one. I stepped out of line and applied for the visa as quickly as I could fill out a 12 page form not designed for a phone. I got back in line, but didn’t have approval for the visa. Their site said it could be as “fast” as 19 days.
I spoke with the attendant again, showing my application form. Unfortunately they noticed it was not approved. I asked if they could rebook me on a flight that didn’t go through Australia, but she then asked for my visa for New Zealand. I didn’t have that either. At that point, I knew I wasn’t going to be flying this morning. I canceled my flight in hopes of getting the 27,000 United points back, and I applied for the New Zealand visa. Clearly I didn’t read the visa requirements closely enough for New Zealand, but I never expected to need one for my short layover in Sydney.
I sent Theresa a message about the need for the NZ visa. She and Josh applied and were approved within 5 minutes. Mine was not approved after a few hours, though they promised approval within 72 hours.
I noticed Singapore had a daily flight to New Zealand and it was one of the few that did not stop in Australia, so I tried to book a flight there. The attendant would not sell me a one way ticket to Singapore. I tried two different people with no luck. So I booked a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur two weeks out via United so that I can prove I have a flight leaving Singapore and also cancel the flight for free.
Thai Air now sold me the ticket to Singapore.
Flew in the middle seat of a 3 3 3 plane. Couldn’t see anything and the man in front of me reclined his seat the whole way.
Got to Singapore, booked the same hotel I had last time, filled out my arrival info, went through customs, took the train, walked to my hotel.
Paused to breathe then looked up flights again. Qantas has a daily flight direct to Queenstown. Whenever my visa is approved, I should be able to make the flight same day.
Checked with Jess who’s currently in Christchurch. She offered me to stay at their place and ride with them depending how my flight works out.
Took metro 1 stop to eat at Smol, a healthy food place. Expensive $14 but good. And nice weather for outdoor eating. Also, today’s budget has gone to shit so a few more dollars are not going to hurt more than having to buy a $1600 flight. Ouch.
Got my United points back for my morning flight cancellation.
Canceled my flight to Kuala Lumpur.
The next morning I checked my email hoping I had approval for my NZ visa. I did not.
I waited until just before the noon cutoff to check out of my hotel. The staff stored my bag, and I began walking down the block to take my mind off the wait. I only got halfway down the block before I saw the visa approval. Out of relief and pent up energy, I booked it back to the hotel to buy today’s flight to NZ. The flight ended up costing about $2000 but it got me to Queenstown on time and didn’t turn our trip upside down. This way, Theresa and Josh only arrived a few hours before me, and I could still pick up the rental car, which was in my name.
After buying my ticket, I walked around downtown Singapore again, enjoying what a nice city it is. Then I worked my way back to the hotel, picked up my bag, walked to the subway and went to the airport. I boarded my 11 hour flight from Singapore to Auckland, NZ at about 6pm.