Sent our preferred flight options to the travel agent this morning.
Normally I would prefer to book our flights directly online, but given the complexity of the flight options (potentially multiple carriers) and especially the non-standard ticketing requirements for Nicol (she is only flying one-way, while the rest of us are on return flights), I thought it would be far better to use a travel agent to avoid complications. They should also be able to search for better pricing on tickets more easily than I can.
Finally got an email back late this afternoon (the delay was waiting for the airlines to confirm how Nicol’s ticketing arrangements would work).
Our preferred itinerary will see us fly out on Saturday the 7th of April to Santiago on either the direct Qantas flight or the LAN flight via AKL. I had already done a search on the Qantas website and it looked like there would be no seats available on the direct Qantas flight, so I was kind of resigned to having to fly via Auckland again (not that I don’t like Auckland – I love it – it’s only that it adds about 4 hours to the trip!).
I was not surprised when the agent came back with no availability on the Qantas flight, but it turns out that LAN are also selling seats on that Qantas flight (just like Qantas sell seats on the LAN flights via Auckland) and we were able to grab some of the last of those seats. This is still okay – LAN are a OneWorld airline so I still get my frequent flyer points, although I do miss out on cabin-bonuses and such. I’m okay with that, since I would gladly pay that small cost to get on the direct flight!
The direct flight also turned out to be cheaper and overall it seems my preferred itinerary ended up being cheaper than any of the alternatives I had suggested (including different airlines in Colombia for the domestic legs). Bonus!
I won’t get costings until tomorrow (still waiting on the airlines to sort out things with Nicol’s tickets), I’m dreading how much damage this is going to do to our bank balance.
Lots of other trip preparation stuff happening now – the last bits of shopping and getting things organised. Only 10 days until we leave (assuming no problems with the ticketing), although we do have Easter to contend with, so need to make sure we are completely ready before Friday. I think Friday will be our packing day, we’ll concentrate on everything else first.