5.30PM (24 hours until flight) – Unsuccessfully attempt to check-in via either Delta or Virgin Australia websites. Call Delta to confirm, but a representative says their system is down and we should check-in at the airport the next day. They don’t seem concerned or offer to look up our flights, so I try my best to keep my anxieties at bay.
8.00 – Finally finish packing! I had to use my giant suitcase, plus an unplanned small duffel. Tyler has two giant North Face duffel bags. All are under the weight limit based on our scale, but fingers crossed they register the same at the airport tomorrow
12.00PM – Pack up the car. Say goodbye to my sister. Ugly cry uncontrollably.
1.00 – Stop for lunch but can barely eat. Ugly cry behind a menu when my dad toasts with Tyler and my mom, “to the love of our lives”.
3.00 - Arrive at Logan Airport, Boston MA. Shuffle our way into the Delta terminal with all four of our massive suitcases and multiple carry on bags hanging off our bodies.
3.05 – Computerized check-in also fails to recognize our booking info. We ask a Delta employee standing near the roped off line, who looks puzzled and points us in the direction of the ticketing desk. I try not to think about how “puzzled” is not generally how you want an airline attendant to look.
3.10 – We make our way to the counter. My camera bag is slowly strangling me. After scanning our passports, the Delta agent says, “there are no tickets listed for you.”
3.11 – Minor heart attack.
3.15 – Tickets are somehow found for us, but only for our first flight. No explanation is given as to what has happened. We’ll have to get our second boarding passes at the next airport. Bags all make weight (yes!) and with each successive scanning of our bags the agent helping us says “your bag will go all the way to your final destination”. After the last bag has been sent on it’s way down the conveyor belt she finally looks down at the tickets in her hand and says “actually, NO. They wont. You must retrieve your baggage at LAX”.
3.16 – Confirm that by retrieving our bags at LAX, this woman does in fact mean we have to get off our flight, wait for them at baggage claim, go back to the ticketing counter and re-check them, go back through security, and make it to our gate. She nods. Our layover is only 2 hours.
3.18 – Second minor heart attack.
3.20 – Ugly cry for the third and final time today as I say goodbye to mom and dad. I know we’re only gone for a few months, but some old habits die hard. I’m excited for this, but a big baby at heart.
3.30 – Make it through security surprisingly quickly. Tyler and I head to our gate.
3.35 – Once again try to check in via Virgin Australia, hoping that because we’ve now checked in for our Delta flight it might just work. Still unsuccessful. I decide to read the fine print at the bottom the email, which informs me that all baggage for our flight must be checked within 2 hours of departure. We’ll only arrive in LA two hours before departure. What the hell is happening?!
3.40 – Call Virgin Australia, who seem to have no idea what I’m talking about or what the issue is. I ask if they would be able to send me a digital ticket to my email to save time at LAX, but they refuse as the tickets were purchased via a third party (a travel agent). They do, however, confirm that our bags should have been sent all the way through to Sydney, and recommend we speak to someone at Delta.
4.00 – Speak to a Delta employee, who is an actual angel from heaven, at our gate. She takes our baggage info and makes magic happen to ensure our suitcases will continue on to Sydney and we don’t have to go back through security. I call the travel agent in Sydney who booked our flights, and he promises to look into everything and call me once we land.
4.01 – Finally breathe for the first time since checking in.
5.30 – We board our first plane! We’re sat in the very back, in front of some very rambunctious Australian teenagers. Tyler and I can’t help but laugh as they start loudly talking about who of their group is “most experienced”. I guess a teenager is a teenager, wherever they call home.
5.40 – Tyler and I spend 10 minutes trying to sync up our in flight screens to play Bohemian Rhapsody at the same time (10/10, loved this movie.)
7.00 – The last vegetarian option for dinner is given to someone ahead of me. Really not surprised, after how this afternoon went.
9.00 – Touch down at LAX
9.05 – I have a voicemail from the travel agent. We should be able to go directly to international departures to board. He has also spoken to the baggage manager at LAX, who has assured him that our bags will be sent through to Sydney. What a relief.
9.30 – The Virgin Australia employees look completely unfazed when we explain our situation. Boarding passes are in our hands within minutes.
10.00 – Eat some suspicious airport sushi. Am I going to regret this once we get to 40,000 feet?
11.00 – Of course our flight is delayed.
11.30 – Finally board the plane! The front cabin looks unreal, like something out of a movie. People are in full recliner seats and every other person is being handed a flute of champagne. We make our way to the economy seats in the back.
12.00AM – Takeoff! Tyler says he’s going to stay up for a bit and watch movies, but when I look over 2 minutes later, he’s already asleep.
1.00- I awkwardly straddle/climb over our neighbor who’s in the aisle seat, because he refuses to stand up to let me out. This should be a fun 15 hours together.
1.15 – Tyler and I both take a melatonin and I slip on a cozy eye mask I picked up at target. I’m completely exhausted from our day so far, and though there’s a bit of turbulence, I fall asleep nearly immediately.
* At some point we cross the International Date Line *
12.00AM – I wake up, completely sure I’ve only been out for 5 minutes. I am SHOCKED when I check the flight screen and it says “7 hours until landing”. Could I really have been asleep for 8 hours?! It’s a miracle.
12.30 – Walk it out up and down my aisle and to the bathroom. I can no longer feel my butt.
2.00 – Decide to watch Crazy Rich Asians instead of reading one of the 10 books I’ve downloaded.
4.00 – Decide to watch Moana for the hundredth time, solely so I don’t have to give the man next to me a lap dance again to get to my stowed carry on.
6.00 – Our seatmate has gotten up for what I think is the first time all night. Tyler and I use this opportunity to do another aisle/bathroom lap and grab things from my bag. I finally start reading.
7.00 – Breakfast is served and thank god because I am starving. Tyler and I both get coconut pancakes with roasted bananas and a yogurt. It’s as good as some restaurant meals I’ve had.
8.30 – We prepare for landing, and I start to see Australia come into view. We fly over the coast, and that familiar feeling of “is this really happening?” comes creeping back in.
9.00 – Just as we land Tyler scares the shit out of me by looking over and also commenting on how close to the water we seem. He’s supposed to be the calm and confident one in this relationship!
9.05 – We land! Safely. Sweet, sweet, solid land at last! I am amazed by how quickly and easily that flight went. I almost start to feel as if all my worrying was for nothing.
9.30 – We make it through customs, and find out that we could have gone through an automatic passport check I’ve never seen or heard of before. We’re both still feeling antsy; as if they might turn us away after all we’ve just gone through. But instead a lovely Australian woman hands us back our passports and tells us to enjoy our stay.
9.45 – I am pretty much immediately confident that our bags did not make it to Sydney. We watch other duffels and suitcases go around and around the carousel, but not a single one of our brightly colored bags makes an appearance.
9.50 – I walk over to the lost baggage desk, but the gentleman there directs me to a different lost baggage desk around the corner. When I make my way over, there’s no one there. Just a sign that says “we’re not here right now – please find us at the ticket counter”.
9.51 – Muffle a scream. I don’t want to look like a crazy lady when they only just let me in the country.
9.55 – As Tyler and I discuss what to do; a nice young man in a Virgin Australia uniform makes his way to the desk. We decide to stay and see if he can help us. I consider calling my travel agent, but realize I currently am without a working phone. Email will have to suffice.
10.00 – After explaining all that has happened to us since leaving Boston, and after some computer work on his end, the baggage man tells us that the receipts they gave to us for our bags at Logan still showed them at LAX. He has no idea whether new tags were put on our luggage, but he cannot find them in their system with the information originally provided to us. He takes down descriptions of our bags, and says that they will have to be searched for based on appearance.
10.01 – I lose all hope of ever getting my bag back.
10.05 – Search through my email for instructions on how to check into our Airbnb, as I won’t have WiFi once we leave the airport. There are 10 emails from our host, with pictures describing how to essentially geocache our key. Thankful we don’t need WiFi to get in, but also confused as to why this treasure hunt has to occur. At this moment, everything is annoying to me.
10.05 – Uber in complete silence.
10.25 – Find the damn key. Get into the apartment, which is probably the most secure non-government building I’ve ever been in (you have to use the key fob to even get the elevator to function).
10.30 – Shower for what feels like the first time in my entire life.
10.40 – Realize the only clothes I have in my carry on are 4 sets of underpants, two bathing suits, extra black leggings, and a single tank top. It is 105 degrees here today.
12.00 – Walk to a local restaurant. Fries are chips, and this for some reason makes me acutely aware that I am not at home anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever been this hungry in my life.
1.00 - Stop at the shopping center around the corner from our apartment, which is like the most beautiful and efficient mall I’ve ever been to. Pick up an Australian sim for $2 and a packet of Tim Tams. Tyler inspects the kangaroo meat selection with excited fascination.
1.30 - Walk home and immediately open the Tim Tams - chocolate always makes things better. Realize I need a paperclip to replace my sim, and mentally wrestle with whether or not it’s worth it to go back to Coles immediately. It’s not. I’ll go tomorrow.
2.00 – Attempt to stay awake by watching a comedy special on Netflix. I pass out midsentence and Tyler says no matter what he does I won’t wake up. At some point I move to the bed, and eventually he falls asleep too.
8.00 – We are startled awake by a fire alarm screaming throughout the building. “Evacuate the building, evacuate the building!”. I am still in a stupor. Tyler isn’t waking up. I shake him violently, and he finally jumps out of bed. I’m asking him over and over where our key is, but he doesn’t understand. He finds it, and starts running around the apartment asking me what he’s meant to do. He still has no pants on. I realize he thinks we’re meant to turn something off using the fob. I grab the keys from his hands and try to explain, and he jumps back into his clothes as we make our way out.
8.20 – Everyone from our building as well as those next to us are waiting on the sidewalk. The sun is going down, and it’s breezy and cooled down quite a lot. I close my eyes and try to enjoy it, hoping this is just a drill and that the little clothes I have and all of my camera equipment isn’t about to go down in a fiery blaze.
8.30 – We’re let back into the apartment. Tyler and I are wide awake now, so we decide to walk down the street to get some dinner.
11.00 – After eating and watching a movie, we finally head to bed. I fall asleep, hoping my unplanned nap doesn’t get the best of me.
2.30AM – Thanks a lot, jet lag.