When Checking A Bag Costs As Much As Your Plane Ticket, Thanks Virgin Bloody Australia

Packs in the plastic bag

Our alarm woke us up at 4 am at the Airport Travel Air Motor Inn near, you guessed it, the airport in Auckland, NZ. Who came up with that hotel name? Read that again – Airport Travel Air Motor Inn. Just amazing. Anyways, we were on our way to Melbourne, Australia to work with alpacas!

All was going as planned until the ticketing agent at the Virgin Australia check-in counter informed us that it will cost $130 to check EACH bag. Excuse me? Since when do you need to pay for checked bags on an international flight?!?

Without missing a beat, Nic asked,

“Can we just buy another plane ticket and put our bags in the seat since it will actually cost less than checking both bags?”

The answer was no. The ticketing agent suggested that we buy a large plastic bag, combine both of our packs into that bag and pay $130 vs $260. She added, “You need to do this in the next 40 minutes.”

Clear Garbage BagFinding a large plastic bag at the airport at 5 am before drinking coffee is about as fun as getting fined $400 for apples after 20 hours of flying.

While Nic sprinted through the departure terminal looking for the stupid plastic bags, I stayed with the backpacks and thought, “How could we have missed this when we booked the tickets?!?” Then, I remembered I booked the tickets on my PHONE at the LA airport two months earlier after learning that proof of an onward ticket is required to board a flight to New Zealand. That probably had something to do with it! Seriously New Zealand?You’re killing us.

After four stops at various stores, Nic returned sweating but finally feeling successful after a few failed attempts at acquiring the elusive plastic bag. He handed me a giant clear plastic bag with Air New Zealand written from top to bottom.

I was skeptical. Would Virgin Australia accept luggage in an Air New Zealand bag? The irritation between us was palpable. Ultimately, we decided to “have a go” as the kiwis say because we didn’t really have a choice.

Guess what? Have-a-go turned into have-a-no-go after talking to the ticketing agent. We had to find a bag that wasn’t clear so you couldn’t tell that there were two bags shoved into a single plastic bag.

With only 20 minutes to spare, Nic was on another frantic jig jog around the Auckland airport. Luckily, he managed to find the black garbage bag.

So, after spending $10 NZD on two different plastic bags, transferring items from our backpacks to our carry-ons (the checked bag had to be under 23 kg), weighing our bag on the airport scale multiple times, ditching our unhelpful Lonely Planet NZ book, and talking to the same ticketing agent for the THIRD AND FINAL TIME, we checked our bags for $130 NZD.

Black Garbage BagTakeaways from this little unplanned adventure

1. Tell your husband that he is awesome and super sexy after he runs through an airport looking for plastic bags in the early morning instead of furrowing eyebrows and questioning his results 🙂 🙂 I LOVE YOU, NIC HUNT!!

2. Be cautious at border crossings since our track record is just embarrassing. The apples and now this!



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