With equal parts of enthusiasm and apprehension, we're starting a long trip tomorrow (Tuesday) that ends in Melbourne, Australia Thursday afternoon to attend our 14th FlyerTalk Oz Fest. We'd attended 13 consecutive Oz Fests until the world went sour in 2020-21, and we're looking forward to seeing a good number of our Australian frequent flyer friends again. 8 of the 35 attendees have actually visited us in Blaine, some more than once.
We booked an outbound business class flight on points (air miles), largely on Fiji Airways, an Alaska partner. That was our only affordable routing to access flat-bed seats. It's going to be a loong trip...
Later today we rent a car (Enterprise) at the Bellingham Airport, since the only routing available starts in Seattle.
Tuesday, May 24: Drive to Seattle and drop off rental car
6:00 PM AS 1092 SEA-LAX (layover at Los Angeles)
11:55 PM Fiji (FJ) 811 LAX-NAN (layover at Nadi)
Thursday, May 26 9:00 AM FJ 911 NAN-SYD (layover at Sydney)
3:00 PM Qantas (QF) 455 SYD-MEL
We have to navigate immigration in Nadi (pronounced Nandi) and in Sydney, and we'll have to transfer terminals in Sydney.
Once we've arrived in Melbourne, the itinerary includes a couple of dinners, a long walk in the parks Saturday, and attendance at an Australia Rules Football match ("Footy") Sunday. We're staying at an airport Holiday Inn when we stagger off the last of our four flights at 4:35 PM Melbourne Time, and at the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street for the remaining three nights of our stay.
Monday we fly back to Fiji, but we'll be staying at a hotel there for four nights with two of our best Aussie friends. That will break up the trip on the way home. We'll also scheduled for a "two-for-one" Covid test, required within 72 hours of arriving in Fiji, as well as required the day before flying to the U.S. We see no reason why one test result can't satisfy two governments.
We've been wrong before though.