Next week I wing my way from Yuzhno Sakhalinsk to Seoul – I am returning to Korea. I am heading to the south of South Korea, so the weather will be a little milder than my previous location. They tell me the winter is warmer and the summer is cooler. I will be about an hour out of Busan, and there is a train service, so I can take Missy for beach walks.
Once again I am packing and organising. Luckily for me they offer a really good deal on excess baggage on this route – it’s cheaper than mail or courier – so I have purchased another suitcase and am furiously stuffing them with my limited treasures.
Getting into Russia with a dog was easy – now it’s time to see if I can get her out again!
Finding English speakers is a little more difficult when you live in the remote far east of Russia, but we battle on with Google Translate and impromptu charades.
Initially the flights can be problematic. I tried to book an S7 (Siberian Airlines) flight as they offer a really good deal to Seoul via Vladivostok, but they share the aircraft of Asiana for the Vladivostok to Seoul leg and there lies the rub. I got permission for Missy to fly from Yuzhno Sakhalinsk to Vladivostok but there seemed to be some issue with getting the permission for the second leg. After numerous phone calls to S7 over a three day period, and constantly being told they have not yet confirmed, one of the people I spoke to suggested that I call Asiana direct and gave me their contact number.
I called, of course, and Asiana, who were fabulously helpful, said that they could not process the request unless S7 also included the Asiana flight number – using just the S7 flight number in the request was not enough. The upshot being that they were ignoring the request from S7, and they were not allowed to take a request from me directly.
I called S7 back and told them this and the said there was nothing they could do and perhaps I should just book with them for the first leg and book direct with Asian for the second leg. Humff! The cost of that would then triple the initial cost of travel. Asiana actually offer a direct flight (by-passing Vladivostok totally) but it was double the S7 cost – but still cheaper than the S7 suggestion of going with them for one leg! Needless to say I booked the whole trip through Asiana. The Asiana flight is a far better flight as it is a direct three and a half hour trip. The S7 booking involved a four and a half hour layover in Vladivostok so perhaps the Gods were with me after all.
Asiana allow Pets in the Cabin and there is a flat rate charge for this service, as of June 2014 the cost is $US200. Worth it to have my wee girl with me at all times. Missy has travelled a lot so I had all her paperwork up to date and all I need to do it get the Veterinarian Clearance for her to travel from a local vet. For this I have thrown myself on the mercy of a lovely lady called Vera who seems to be the ‘go-to’ person those working as ex-pats here use. Hopefully that will all go smoothly and we will be winging our way to Seoul next week.
I will update the process once I know all the details ….