Tl;dr – world’s most expensive taxi, 13 hours of planes with an Aussie stopover, new taxi app
If you’ve used Uber before you will know that during busy times prices get multiplied wity surge pricing. You will probably remember a time when you could get notified when prices dropped. Uber helpfully updated their app to drop this feature during our trip and so when the surge price was 2x and we had plenty of time I thought I’d wait but had to keep checking myself. It was steadily rising so we were going to call a regular taxi until I found a new prebook feature that quoted us a base fare ($42 – $55 without surge) for ten minutes time, with the promise of notification if the price increased. Sounded too good to be true!
So the taxi turned up with no notice of a surge and as the taxi arrived (and whilst I still had wifi) I checked to see if the price had increased. Apparently not, so we happily jumped in. At this time of day the 20km journey took 50 minutes due to epic traffic so we slept most of the way there. When we awoke we thanked our Uber driver and walked into the airport. As soon as the free wifi was signed into we got our Uber receipt. $162. Oh.
I emailed Uber and we had a few exchanges back and forth but apparently what happened was impossible and the “excellent improvements with the app” have included a price quote so things are now simpler. “No Math and No Surprises!” I couldn’t believe their arrogance. I’m sure it looked to them like I was a customer who had regretted paying £90 for a taxi, but when I was sold it for £20-£30 I felt a bit hard done by. I once bought something that was on offer in Asda but was charged full price. They gave me a full refund and a £2 voucher which I bought two easter eggs with. I left Asda very happy. Instead Kate and I have deleted our Uber apps and have started our boycotts.
We checked-in and boarded our flight, although there was an issue with another passenger after I was let through and Kate had to wait for five minutes or so before she was let on. It was probably something to do with that time she did in the prison she told immigration about.
We were seperated by an aisle but I was wearing my Sabah proboscis monkey t-shirt and a bloke from Sabah was very impressed and moved us to two seats together. With a window!
We landed in the Gold Coast a short while later where we had to disembark, down the waters we’d bought for the trip to go through security and re-embark.
We flew onwards, separated by the aisle once more and actually got a good sleep on this one.
Although we landed at 4:41 local time we had flown 5 hours into the past so we felt relatively refreshed. Nevertheless we had booked an extra night at our hostel so we could get in and go straight to sleep!
We tried out our new taxi app (Grab) that was apparently cheaper than both the airport taxis and Uber. And although we couldn’t find him and he had given up on us and left, when we discovered he had been on level 2 we went up and he came back for us. And we had a great trip to our hostel for a good old post-overnight-flight nap.
17:34 (GMT +13) – taxi from Uenuku Backpackers to Auckland International Airport: NZ$161.86 (£91.45), 52 minutes
20:24 (4 minutes late) – flight to Kuala Lumpur: NZ$545 (£307.91), 13 hours 17 minutes (11 minutes late)
05:53 (GMT +8) – Grab car to Explorer’s Guesthouse: 73 MYR (£13.10), 52 minutes
Arrived: 6:45 (GMT +8)
Total time in transit: 15 hours 1 minute
Total travel time: 18 hours 11 minutes
Total cost: £412.46 (£206.23 each)