Those of us that have relationships surving one partner’s travel hacking addiction dread the day the word ‘Australia’ is mentioned.
The partner, who to varying degrees of tolerance puts up with hours of computer screen zombie, endless credit cards showing up in the mail, coincidental stops at drug and grocery stores on weekend walks, and the rest, bide their time until they want payback for their suffering.
Someday they move beyond US trips, beyond Europe, beyond Asia and casually mention, “I want to go to Australia. During summer vacation (or Christmas).”
After all, it’s just another flight. For someone spending so many hours on this stupid hobby it should be trivial. Use all your geek skills to book me in business, Saturday departure, one connection max, returning on a Sunday evening. In July. With a month or two notice. And no, last minute bookings days before departure are not acceptable, I want it confirmed now.
We slink away to hope for luck.
What’s this? A Qantas Sunday flight New York – Brisbane in business? Oh boy, that saves my bacon…wait, click through and “The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request.” dot.com support won’t be able to fix that. Glorious phantom availability!
Every other search: no dice.
Whatever we say about AA not allowing routing through Asia will not work as an excuse, and even Hong Kong is blocked out for the month anyway.
The options go from bad to worse.
Triple connect in coach.
Spend $1,500 or more to buy a coach ticket and try to standby for an upgrade using Delta or United upgrade certs.
Tell her that half a million Delta miles from her business travel won’t cover a roundtrip because Virgin Australia availability has vanished. Maybe if she connects in Tokyo, Seoul and Guangzhou she might do it for 300k and a boatload of taxes (and only take 60 hours).
Get to Kuala Lumpur, overnight, then continue to Darwin and home free from there. Except Kuala Lumpur isn’t available, that flight to Darwin is 5 hours, and it isn’t a stroll down to Sydney after that, either.
As desperation grows, the ideas become more fanciful. It starts to seem plausible, despite having seen Manila Airport, to cash in Amex or SPG to transfer to ANA to book on Philippines with a 40+ hour itinerary and forced midnight overnight in Manila.
The moment of truth comes when we deliver the news: the miles and points are pretty much useless for this little request. Please pay for a coach ticket. Or let’s go to Orlando.
The storm breaks.
Note: I am too cowardly to have broken this news yet.