We’ve been gone for eight months but we’re finally flying home on June 19. I don’t want to say a cancellation is probable, but after the last few weeks I certainly wouldn’t say it’s impossible.
Virgin Australia’s international flights are completely grounded and the airline has gone into receivership. Its billionaire founder Richard Branson may find himself a few billion dollars lighter.
American, with whom we were supposed to fly home on April 28, has suspended all its Australian flights until October. Yes. Freakin’ October.
Qantas began showing flights on its website, but then sent me an email saying that all its international flights are grounded until mid-July.
That leaves United Airlines. It initially grounded all its international flights but resumed some of them on June 6. Then its website began showing a daily non-stop from Sydney to Houston. When we tried to book that flight the phone rep said, “Sorry. All those flights have now been cancelled.”
Luckily, we were finally able to snatch up a Sydney-San Francisco non-stop followed by a cross country flight to Dallas. So far, so good. But they warned us to check in a few days before we’re scheduled to fly because they’re cancelling flights every day.
It could have been worse. A lot worse.
One possible route back home was Adelaide-Sydney-Tokyo-Frankfort-Dallas.
Another option was Adelaide-Sydney-Toronto-Chicago-Dallas.
How about Adelaide-Sydney-Tokyo-Washington DC (Dulles International)- take a taxi across town to Washington DC (Reagan)-Houston-Dallas.
Or try Adelaide-Sydney-San Francisco-Las Vegas-Houston-Dallas.
And yet another was Adelaide-Wellington-Auckland-Tahiti-Los Angeles-Dallas.
Each of those routes would have taken more than 48 hours in the air and in airports. And there was no guarantee that we wouldn’t get grounded and quarantined in one of those far-off foreign ports.
So. June 19. That’s still five and a half weeks away, but we think it’s going to fly by. Non-stop.