Friday, July 25, 2008

Pacific Blues

My wife and I are flying to Auckland today via Pacific Blue, one of Virgin Blue’s offshoots. We’d booked a flight several weeks ago when fares were particularly cheap, so we’re hoping we won’t be sitting in seats that make you keep you knees under your chin somewhere.
Pacific Blue offers a web check-in system and notified me by automatic email yesterday that I could do this. (For some odd reason you can only do it a day in advance, compared to Air NZ’s facility to book your particular seats weeks in advance.)
So I clicked on the link in the email, put in my number and then tried to find my departure city from the drop-down list. Hmm, all Australian cities, and I’m leaving from Dunedin in New Zealand.
Rang Pacific Blue. Turns out I have to be on the New Zealand web check-in section. Try again. Put the reservation number, drop down, find Dunedin, and click next. Receive message: Web Check-in is not available for itineraries containing international flight segments. Please proceed to the airport and see the Pacific Blue Guest Services Staff..
Ring Pacific Blue. Must be a temporary glitch. Try again later.
Try again later. Still a glitch.
Try again when I get home from work. Same message. Ring Pacific Blue. This operator’s explanation is that there must be an international component in my flight! I tell her I’m only going from Dunedin to Auckland. I look at the flight plan. Is it likely that the Christchurch to Auckland section is international? Seems unlikely, since Pacific Blue, as the operator ought to know, is New Zealand based, not international!
We have an impasse, I say. She doesn’t understand the word, since she’s probably sitting in the heat of Malaysia. We have reached a wall. She tells me she can’t check in for me because she doesn’t have access to that facility. That makes two of us. We don’t depart on the greatest of terms, since her willingness to help doesn’t go beyond what she’s been trained to do, apparently.
Hopefully, when we get to the airport today, the check-in staff won’t have the same difficulties!

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