One E-ticket with Two Separate Flights through South Pacific.
Incredibly the best price for one –way ticket from Auckland (New Zealand) to Noumea (French New Caledonia) is to use the Chilean carrier LAN airlines followed by AirCalin flight with 9 - hours layover at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, Australia.
I’m happy not only because of ticket fare but because I can use this connection flight as a pretext to apply for Australian transit visa for a short stay in Sydney between the flights. In my assessment the layover is enough to go downtown and the see Australian landmark panorama of the Opera, the bridge and surrounding area around the Botanic bay. The third reason for my excitement is to fly for the first time with LAN airlines on Boeing 787 Dreamliner. LAN airline is the only flight carrier connecting South America with Australia (via Auckland, New Zealand). I wish I shall fly the whole route Santiago de Chile – Sydney one day.
At the same time I try to avoid the tough visa procedure to apply for standard Australian tourist visa. Sophisticated by modern on-line system this is still a boring and unpleasant process where the final outcome is uncertain. Instead in case of transit visa I need to provide the respective consulate complete sub-class 771visa form, my e-ticket and first page of my passport. That’s all. In my case this application was followed by brief visa interview by phone about my travel interest in South Pacific. It was a really pleasant conversation about nature and metropolis followed by visa issuance which I received by e-mail.
Anyway, be aware that it is not very wise to apply for visa after you have purchased the ticket as it might be considered not enough reliable proof and not a necessary condition to get a visa. Of course … as the more things change one should double check the immigration rules when the time comes.
As I secured my transit visa for Australia I was weird to know what will happen with my luggage as I change flights in Sydney. I thought that the company is responsible for handling my luggage as the both flights are on one e-ticket. The counter- officer of LAN airlines explained my as these are two different companies and LAN doesn’t serve the route Sydney – Noumea it is my responsibility to collect my luggage at Sydney airport and to go through a completely new check-in procedure with AirCalin – the carrier of New Caledonia. The next question which rises immediately in my mind – what will happen in this case if he or she doesn’t have Australian visa. In this case you should go through the Australian immigration authorities anyway in order to get your luggage and reach the check – in counter for the next flight. I was holder of connection flights via Sydney on one e-ticket but this doesn’t grant me free access out of the transit area. In this case I should leave the transit area. This question still remains unanswered and bothers me from time to time.
The LAN airline flight had delayed by an hour in this early morning in Auckland which wasn’t fatal for my sneak entry in Australia. I took all my backpack which was inconvenient but I am used to carry my luggage all my journeys. I was lucky with the weather and I took nice sunny pictures. The flight wit AirCalin was on time and I arrived on my first territory in South Pacific – the island of New Caledonia late on same date.
It is not a classical, boring layover at the airport terminals. Instead it turns in a sneak hip on / hip off fast trip in the most beautiful city of Australia – Sydney. Everything went perfect. I took the risk, I was betting on one e-ticket with two flights of two different air carriers. In the end I was successful.
Following trip through South Pacific … to be continued.
Auckland International Airport
Missed connecting flight
Recommend this airline for connecting flights