Trip Report – Down Under In a Flash: Introduction

Seattle to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Brisbane
Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra
Canberra to Melbourne
Qantas First Lounge Melbourne
Melbourne to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Seattle


A number of years ago before I moved to the USA and before I had even lost all the weight I did a contiki through the USA. That trip was great and I made quite a number of friends on that trip. Two of them who met on the trip, lived in Canberra. They had met on the trip, moved in together a few months after the return to Aus and eventually got engaged. Their wedding would be in Canberra and I would not miss it for the world. So with the date set and a half portion of ticket still to be used back to Australia a number of points that needed to be used this trip just had to be done.

The wedding was not the only reason for the trip but it was the main one. There was a couple of side reasons:

1. Visit Family
2. Visit Friends
3. Get 4 minimum segments with Virgin Australia to requalify

So with all of that set and a wedding date advised I set about arranging what would be an extremely short trip. With my ticket to Aus covered from LAX to Brisbane with Virgin Australia unfortunately due to the days of the week of this flight I could only get into Australia the day before the wedding. O well. It meant that whatever time I could get with the family would be between my flights in Brisbane. This worked out to be barely anything at all (3 hours of family time).

My flight home was dictated by the availability of points redemptions which when I booked it as soon as it came out pretty much meant that I had a few days after the wedding to get myself to Melbourne (as there was no Sydney availability with what I wanted). My points redemption home though was something I had dreamed of for quite some time. Qantas First Class.. on the A380. I was going to enjoy that flight and everything that comes with it. I was going to do it in Style! Pyjamas the lot!

With the two over water flights handled I just had to do the flights internally. Since I needed 3 more Virgin Segments it meant that my flight from Brisbane to Canberra could not be direct and there would be a forced 90 minute minimum between flights in Sydney thanks to segment rules (at that time). So with that arranged and the 4th and last flight from Canberra to Melbourne booked I was all set. Eventually once the flight prices went on sale for Seattle to LAX I ended up with Alaska down nice and cheap and Virgin back for the right price. Virgin on the way back was perfect as I could get Lounge access in T3, Alaska down was purely a timing thing. If United had of been cheaper I would of gone with that but they were sadly not. It meant I had no priority treatment at all and would even have to pay for a checked bag 🙁

The flights all handled it was then onto hotels. Canberra was dictated by the wedding so that was set (At least I got a good rate). LAX is always a crap shoot and for so long I couldn’t make up my mind. In the end I was checking out the Radisson and the rate was super cheap, so i booked it. When I got home from work that night I saw that the website had stuffed up the dates and booked it for THAT night! O Dear! I called the Radisson and they got it Fixed up but the price wasn’t as cheap as before but it was cheaper than the others so I sucked it up and kept it. Melbourne was a bit tougher. I had a number of options but I wasn’t going to spend much time in the hotel as I was planning on catching up with plenty of friends. Eventually a co worker suggested I use a contact at the Langham to see what they would offer and the rate was DAMN good. Add on the 1865 program error that was floating around and I could use that to get elite status and possibly an upgrade! score!

So all hotels were set up, flights set up. Time for cars! As I was flying down the night before in LAX I would have the whole day to do whatever I wanted. So the usual rental company was used (National of course) and then in Australia it wasn’t cheap at all as I would need a car to get around Canberra rather than relying on my friends for once (since they would be busy with the wedding). So I touched base with a friend at my old work and they set me up with a good rate and a possible car upgrade. Better than nothing right?

In the end the plan looked like this:

Australian Journey Map

April 2nd – Seattle to Los Angeles, Overnight at the Radisson LAX
April 3rd – Spend day in LA, Los Angeles to Brisbane
April 4th – Ceases to exist
April 5th – Arrive Brisbane, spend time with family, Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra, 2 nights Rydges Capital Hill Canberra
April 6th – Morning to explore Canberra, Wedding in Afternoon/Evening
April 7th – Morning free in Canberra, Canberra to Melbourne, 2 nights Langham Melbourne
April 8th – Meetings and friends in Melbourne
April 9th – Melbourne to Los Angeles, Qantas First, then Los Angeles to Seattle.
April 10th – Back to work cause I have no choice

Lightning Fast 4 Day trip covering god knows how many time zones and miles all for a wedding. Was I insane? Check out the map and you tell me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *