A few old college friends and I have been planning an extensive 2-week New Zealand trip for this upcoming December, and I'm really excited about it. I'm most looking forward to backpacking for four days on the Milford Track, especially since we had to reserve our spots way back in July! It is supposedly one of the most beautiful trails in the world, and just looking at some of the pictures online has made the anticipation almost unbearable. We are also visiting Auckland, Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier, Paparoa National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, and Wellington. All the hotels have been booked and everything is set.
Unfortunately, there's just one final detail missing... I don't have my plane ticket to New Zealand yet! And even worse, we are traveling during peak Christmas period. So here's the explanation: way back in June/July when we started planning this trip, the cheapest roundtrip tickets for LAX-AKL were running around $1400, which, while reasonable, was still a little steep for me. I had a bunch of United, Continental, and American Airlines miles, so I decided to wait to see if any award seats would open up on Air New Zealand or Qantas. I did my research and signed up for an ExpertFlyer account for award seat notifications, and for the next few months, I waited.
In late September, I finally received an email notifying me that an Air New Zealand business class seat was available for AKL-SFO non-stop... and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I figured an open award seat for SFO/LAX-AKL shouldn't be too far behind, so I waited... and I waited some more. And now, a month later, I'm starting to sweat bullets at the prospect that perhaps not a single seat will open up for the dates I need (despite setting up alerts for 2 consecutive days for all seating classes available on 8 different flights).
So I'm not exactly sure what I should do at this point. While I'm still holding out hope that one seat in any class will open up within the next month and a half, I'm also really starting to realize that I need some sort of back-up plan in case that doesn't happen. Decisions decisions... :(