Monday, March 19, 2012

Mistakes of a Travel Expert

Because I travel so much, I make many more mistakes than the average traveler.

You'd think it would be the opposite. That travel is a skill that could be learned and perfected.

But the truth is, hitting the road is a complex undertaking. And when you have to plan trips quickly, with little time for turnaround between one and the next, well...things go wrong.

Take last night's crisis. In looking at his airline itinerary, my husband discovered I had booked him, by accident, on an overnight layover. (We're going to Belize later this week, but because of his work schedule, my husband will be flying a different carrier, on different dates, than my daughters and I). I had meant to book him on a 6pm ticket from Miami to New York City, to line up with his 11am to 3pm flight from Belize City to Miami. Instead, it was a 6 am flight. Oy!

A quick call to the airline showed what I knew it would: in order to fix the error, they'd have to reticket the itinerary entirely, adding hundreds of dollars in the process. No thanks!

Instead, the ticket agent suggested my husband take his chances in the Miami Airport, and simply try to get on an earlier flight. The change fee (if there was a seat to change to, that is): $150 dollars. Ugh! And again, no thanks.

Instead, I started searching for one-way flights from Miami to New York. Quickly, I saw that a rival carrier had a seat on a 6:25 flight. And the cost? $150, the same as the damn change fee. Booked, problem solved, though at an ugly expense.

(One note: this would not have been problem solved had my husband had to check luggage. But we only own carry-on bags, a strategy that forces us to ALWAYS pack light).

The next problem I'm going to have to tackle at 6am Wednesday. That's 24-hours before the flight I take with my daughters to Belize takes off. Because we booked this vacation so late (long story), I was unable to get seats together for the three of us on three out of the four legs we're flying. Unfortunately, that's a crisis for my shy 9-year-old. And its one that likely could have been easily solved with an advance phone call to the airline as little as a year ago. But because so many seats are being held for higher level passengers than I (I'm not "loyal" to this particular carrier), a dozen or so seats won't be released until 24-hours in advance of flight, so I'm going to have to call then for the "privilege" of paying extra so we can be guaranteed seats together.

This, I admit, is not so elegant a solution (in fact, I find it maddening). But its an expense I have to swallow for my daughter's peace of mind.

And being a bit of a bulldog, I'm also going to call today, to see if we can do the switcharoo any earlier. I've found it never hurts to ask. Every once in a while you get someone on the phone who cares and takes the extra step for you (not the case with my first call).

We'll see.

By the way, I likely won't be blogging from Belize, as we'll be staying in very cheap places, without electrical outlets (no joke). I've programmed some blogs to run while I'm away and will post about the experience once I get back.

1 comment:

  1. You might enjoy this post about mistakes.