Fiji nearly never happened.
We arrived at the airport with excitement in our eyes, even in the weary little ones. Our flight was at 11pm and everything had sailed swimmingly well with getting to the airport. We’d unloading the car, caught the bus to the terminal with our pile of bags and children in tow with ease. We had it covered. It felt like the holiday had already started.
Check in was going to be easy because I’d already done it online, so it was just a matter of checking our passports and handing our baggage in. Easy peasy.
That was until the flight lady behind the counter started examining one of our passports more closely and whispering to her colleague next to her. Still, we had no cause for concern. Right?
The flight lady very diplomatically informed us that Little Vick’s passport was only valid for a further four months, however to travel to Fiji, immigration requires a passport to be valid for six months.
Alarm instantly rung through my every inch. BUT IT’S A VALID PASSPORT I said in my head.
Flight lady went to the boss lady to talk it over. Surely, she was going to see sense in the matter and somehow shoo us through. This will all just be a scare!
No. Boss lady calls us over to her desk and proceeds to tell us that we won’t be able to fly tonight. Just like that. “You’re not flying tonight, this will not be accepted”! My mouth dropped (don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me….)
Apparently we would need to get a letter from the consulate in Canberra via email the next day to say we’re good and well citizens and Fiji should feel okay about letting us in. And apparently we should have looked at the immigration website because it’s all there in black and white for the reading. Our bad.
Boss ladies next suggestion was for three of us to travel that night on our booked seats and two should follow the next night and can she book that for us now? We looked at her with our dead pan eyes. Seriously?
Mr Vick instantly told her that we would not be separating. Boss lady explained that the flight the next night was already over booked so she couldn’t guarantee that there would be seats for five. Mr Vick again very sternly said we would not be separating.
I could feel a battle coming on. Deep breaths, deep breaths… my mind was instantly filled with all the things. Why didn’t I just update the passport when I got the two other Vicklets done? Don’t they know how much we need this holiday? Don’t they know how hard we’ve worked to make this holiday happen? Don’t they know? And then, why would we check the immigration website? It’s Fiji – it’s virtually an extended state of Australia! And then, can I pull a teary? Can I squeeze a tear out? Nup, nothin’.
She continued to stare at us willing us to make a decision and for it to be the one she was telling us to take. I explained that we had a returned flight booked for a week later and showed her our accomodation details just to clarify that we clearly had no intention of staying any longer. Still no deal so I asked her if she could at least see if there was any seats available for the next night and how much the difference would cost us.
The wait seemed like an eternity whilst she went off to make phone calls and look all very serious and proper. The free time we had was suddenly disappearing and they closed the flight and the terminal was emptying as everyone was making their way to the gate to board. My heart was racing.
Boss lady whilst still on the phone whispers to me that the seats to fly the following night would cost $2000!! WHAT? I felt ill.
More waiting. So many things were swimming through my head. I paced up and down trying to get Baby Mango to sleep in my carrier.
A few moments latter she puts the receiver down and smiles. Immigration was willing to give us a pass this time but next time we will need to read the guidelines of immigration when flying internationally.
Lesson learnt, lesson definitely learnt. Check the immigration website team even for those things completely unexpected. Travel smart.
Have you ever had problems at check in?
Do you read the immigration websites of countries you’re visiting?
Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT