Even experienced travellers make mistakes. And sometimes they are pretty epic. A few years ago I wrote about my failed attempt to enter Singapore (which remains one of my most popular posts to this day), and today I’m going to tell you about my failed attempt to visit Tasmania. My Singapore posts teaches the importance of checking visa requirements. This post teaches about the importance of reconfirming your flights.
I booked these flights hella early. There was a flight sale on a budget airline who will remain unnamed (as they did right by me in the end) with epic cheap flight from Melbourne to Hobart over the Christmas long weekend. My mom was going to be visiting us from Canada during that time, so I thought it was a great opportunity to show her a different area of Australia. There were 5 seats left, and I snapped up 4 of them.
Months passed. I spent the time leisurely organizing car rental and accommodation in Hobart and researching what to do in this interesting little arty city and what would be open during our holiday time visit. Once everything had been organized, I have to admit, I didn’t think too much about the trip. I was busy with a new job and a move from Melbourne to Sydney after all.
The time came. We had flown from Sydney back to Melbourne for the holiday period, and had our planned little weekend in Hobart to look forward to. We all piled our luggage into a family members car and got driven to the airport. The first thing I did once arriving at the airport was go and try to check in at the ticketing machines. But it wouldn’t let me check in. I checked the departure board. There were no flights listed to Hobart at all.
Panic. You know that moment where your stomach rises into your throat and you start sweating. I had printed out the flight itinerary so I ripped it out of my bag and took a look. I double checked and triple checked the data and time on my phone. I was three hours early, what could possibly be the problem?
Lining up at the service desk, I felt a little bit assured that it seemed like several of the other people lining up were doing so for the same reason. Comfort in numbers.
“Your flight time was changed. It departed four hours ago. There are no more flights to Hobart this week due to the public holidays.”
……. ummm …. what?
“An email was sent to you.”
Apparently one thing I had in common with the others lined up behind me for the same reason was a very thorough and aggressive spam filter on my email account. An email had (allegedly) been sent, but I had never seen it.
We had missed our flight, the ticket was non-refundable, and there were no more flights going there that weekend.
Now this story goes on quite a bit. We argued with the girl at the service desk. She said she would put through a refund for one leg of the journey (we hadn’t yet missed our returning flight after all), then she finally agreed to refund the whole lot. She refused to give me her employee ID or any confirmation of the conversation and instead said she noted the file. Long story short, no note was ever made and it took a lot of emails and complaints to get eventually refunded – but as I said, the airline did eventually do right by me.
So an hour after we were dropped off at the airport, we had to call our family member and ask her to come all the way back and pick us up again.
Tasmania remains the one Australian state that I have not yet visited. I have visited every other state and territory, and Tasmania has always been high on my wish list. So it seems I will have another chance. In about a months time I will be heading to stay in some beautiful cabins near Cradle Mountain to do a bit of hiking and wine drinking. It will only be a short taste, but I’m thinking next Christmas break I might just try my luck at getting to Tasmania again. But this time I will reconfirm my flight details the day before.