I feel terrible.
Terribly responsible that is. I arranged for my gorgeous niece Ingrid to catch the 3:00pm shuttle to the airport (too much luggage for me to carry on the bike for that distance), having been assured that it would allow ample time to check in for her flight.
We made the bus in plenty of time, and waited, and waited, and . . .
It finally got underway at about 3:21pm and I was concerned and nervous at the prospects for an easy check-in.
Check-in closed and she missed the flight. Damn you JetStar! (OK, technically it was not JetStar's fault, but they suck and the website refused to allow access to her booking all day, so they are the kicking post du jour).
I attempt to call JetStar in Hanoi and after being on hold forever, get cut off. Text message to Ingrid. Attempt to call JetStar Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on the number on their website, and find that it is not connected. Doh!
Try Hanoi office again. Eventually get through without being cut-off. English skills of operator marginal. He is very helpful, although the attempt to spell everything ("I" for Iceland; "N" for Netherlands; "G" for Germany - his descriptors, not mine) is extremely slow and laborious). He can't access the booking reference on his computer either. More searching. He starts to talk - and - the phone call is cut off. 25 minutes of phone call. No news.
Call Ingrid. Her battery has no charge. Explain quickly what was happening. She is wait listed for a 6:30pm flight.
Mr JetStar calls back. We try to sort it out again. he assumes that I am Ingrid. Tells me I missed the flight from Hanoi. Getting somewhere now. Attempt to explain the predicament again and see if the flight can be caught. Mr JetStar goes away to find out. In the meantime I am googling like crazy to find other flights to Australia. Ingrid had to have such a short visit, because flights were booked out - this is confirmed by my extensive google-fu. Try other alternatives, such as Hanoi to Bangkok and then to Sydney. Not looking good at all.
Mr JetStar calls me back after being cut off again. He is rally trying to help, although the language gulf is telling. Don't know about her being able to board the flight. Maybe yes, maybe No. However says that if she goes to the counter for a late check-in, for a payment of USD $75 she will be confirmed on the next flight (tomorrow night). Sounds the best that one could hope for, but I have no reference, nor name to confirm this. Hope for the best. Mr JetStar effusive about being pleased to be able to help.
Call Ingrid. She is boarding flight and is hopeful. I say goodbye quickly, and look for hotels in HCMC on-line. Am happy with selection, however they need vouchers printed out first. Attempt to call Ingrid's mama. No answer. Leave message.
So, here I sit feeling frightfully impotent, refreshing the screen for flight arrivals in HCMC to access the little information possible.
And I wait, and hope that I don't hear from Ingrid, although don't hold up much hope for the successful connection. Only a day or two ago we were basking in the sun of the World Heritage listed Ha Long Bay on the northern coast of Vietnam. It was gorgeous. However, after a too-long bout of Delhi-belly (we're blaming the cheese and crackers from her JetStar flight!), and a lot of hanging around, it seems a shame to prolong the trip in this inauspicious manner.
Bad Aunty Carolyne!
POST SCRIPT: Just received a text from Ingrid. She made the flight to Sydney. Yay. Now I can relax (a bit).