Sunday, March 17, 2013


AKA, what's been consuming my internet activity lately.

Shopping for and buying plane tickets is one of my least favorite tasks. It's so stressful! Will the fares go up? Will they go down? SHOULD I BUY RIGHT NOW?!??!! Ugh. makes the process easier and I have had several fare alerts set up for months/years now. It's nice to have an idea of what a "good" fare is so that when you see something low, you know it's low, and you can buy it.

Anyway, we played the airfare game with some spring break tickets recently, and yesterday, we lost (the fares shot way up). We moped for a good part of the day.

This morning, I called Emirates to see if that magically low fare we'd lost was somehow still available even though it didn't show on their (or Kayak's) website. Of course it wasn't. The agent tried all kinds of things, like splitting us onto two different flights and fiddling with the dates, to no avail. I'm sure she could tell how disappointed I was, because she told me to keep checking back. She said the fares could still come down if there were cancellations.

Well, a few hours later, I checked again...and the magically low fare was back. You'd better believe I snatched it up. Hooray! Spring break is back on.

All this airfare drama is in addition to what we went through a week ago when a different magically low fare to a different place (summer destination) showed up and we pre-booked it. For some destinations, Emirates allows you to reserve a flight without initially paying for it. That booking is then cancelled in 24 hours unless you've paid. At about 22.5 hours, I logged in to pay for our great tickets and the system wouldn't accept our credit card (sometimes our US-issued card gives us trouble on airline websites). After a few frantic phone calls to Emirates (me) and the credit card company (Jeremy), I changed out of my pajamas and back into clothes and drove like the dickens to the physical Emirates office in the Dubai airport to pay for the tickets in person before the booking (and the magical price) expired. STRESS. But it all turned out OK.

So, who else loathes plane-ticket shopping? At least I don't have to go through a government agency to do it, I guess, and at least I'm not required to fly a US-based airline. We've had to deal with both of those in the past, and it just complicates the process.

Anyway, yay for completed travel arrangements, THE END.


Suzanne Bubnash said...

Nobody like to play the baffling airline game. Still, I believe the joy of making reservations via the internet is that it empowers the consumer to decide what is a good fare. Sites like Orbitz and Kayak and others make it easy by using a matrix and sending fare alerts and so on.

Back in the day we called the airline whose really smart agent fiddled through all the options while we sat there with the corded phone to our ear for an hour. However, prices were more consistent before deregulation about 30 years ago. And there's the catch. We now have a greater chance of snaring a good deal, but also a greater chance of personal spontaneous combustion due to the frustration of buying a fare only to see the price drop dramatically. Especially if we have been watching the ups and downs for long enough to be sure we've educated ourselves enough to know a rock-bottom fare when we see one.

Glenda The Good said...

I have a kayak alert set up right now. Thanks for the tip. Glad you got your tickets! I think it is funny how so much of my airline stress is driven by missing the "good deal" and I've lost the magic that for less than 1500 dollars I can go almost anywhere in the world and I can be there in 24 hours...if only I could get it for 1200 though :-)

Lucia- insert creative nickname said...

Oh yes, airfare is stressful, and yet so exciting when you get a good deal! But so irksome when you HAVE to go somewhere without any timing flexibility and end up paying so much more. I use travelocity fare alerts but we just discovered skyscanner which is fun because you can check price patterns for up to the whole year. I think a lot of our future trips will center around which destinations are cheapest for the weeks we are available. I'm glad you got the magically low tickets!!

Sherwood family said...

I agree with you! I HATE dealing with ticket booking. Why can't we just return to the good old days of sea voyages? Much classier and far superior food.


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