I’m supposed to be in Melbourne, Australia, right now watching the Adele concert but no, I’m sitting at home and typing this. For the first time in my life, I had to cancel an entire trip overseas while standing in Changi Airport.
It was all down to how my electronic application for the ETA to Australia was not approved. I was beyond shocked to be honest. I’ve been in and out of Australia at least 10 times during my adult years and this is the first time such a thing has happened to me.
I’m not sure what went wrong or did I hit the random sample that flags online applications out for manual checks. Regardless, my biggest mistake was leaving it to the last minute; ie at the point when I was trying to check in for the flight.
While my friend was still hopeful that I would be able to take a later flight to still make it for the Adele concert but deep down, I knew it was useless. The airport staff were nice enough to try to help but but there was nothing they could do as well. Imagine that crushing feeling when the airport staff told me that Canberra said that I had to sort my visa issues out at the Australian Embassy in Singapore but I had to wait till Monday.
I have a very horrible perception of duration so I idiotically thought that my last ETA when I went down to Melbourne to watch McBusted was still valid. Turns out that what I thought was last year (2016) was really 2015.
Anyway, this also wasn’t the most last minute I had applied for the ETA to Australia. When I went to Perth in 2011 to watch Kylie’s Aphrodite Les Folis the airport staff at the check-in counter told me what I don’t have an ETA and I turned on my laptop to apply for one immediately. That went through without problems.
Whatever it was, it’s over and can’t be undone. It’s been one very drama and pretty traumatic experience and it’s one that I’m sharing as a lesson learnt and so I don’t have to keep repeating why I didn’t make the flight to go watch Adele in Melbourne.
Hopefully, none of you will make this stupid mistake that I made: apply for the online approval for any country on the day of departure.