I was visiting friends in Petersburg, Alaska when I heard the story. A couple had landed there, their suitcases filled with shorts and t-shirts and suddenly stepped into a chilly northern climate. Where was the sun, the tropical beach? Their agent had booked their trip for the wrong state! They had planned a vacation in Petersburg, Florida but of all the travel deals they’d considered, this one sent them to the wrong side of the continent.
That was long before travelers were able to arrange their own trips using the internet. Today, those with time and patience can comb the web for travel bargains and set up their own trips easily enough. I do it often, but it can be stressful. Working without a travel agent may be fine for the intrepid and independent traveler, but experienced agents are trained, usually well aware of the areas they book and offer many services apart from actual ticketing.
I’m sure the couple who ended up in Alaska instead of Florida were able to call their agent and re-book their flight. They may have lost a day of vacation but returned home with a great story and the bonus of glimpsing a stunning part of Southwest Alaska on their way to a sunny, warmer beach.
Recently, it didn’t turn out as well for another couple.
The price was too good to pass up.
Kevin Jones, from Leicester and his partner Jeanett, booked a bargain flight to the Caribbean but were turned away at the gate because the ticket they’d purchased was leaving from Birmingham, Alabama and not Birmingham, England. While the girl at the Midlands airport information desk was very sympathetic, she had to break the news that their flight was departing over 2,000 miles away.
Kevin told the UK Sun reporter: “We had no choice but to get our car out of long stay and drive home.”
It’s a terrible situation but the saga may not be over yet. I imagine that American Airlines could be persuaded to help the couple out in some manner, but with travel deals the bottom line is the airline agent.
When booking your own travel deals:
- Double and triple check details.
- Have a third party confirm that everything’s in order before purchasing.
- Buy travel insurance for big budget travel.
- Bring copies of your itinerary and receipts with you.
- Pay attention when you board! Be sure you’re rested and have enough time to get to your boarding gate to make sure you’re getting on the right plane.
- Practice a little Flytime Yoga too!
- If a fare or travel deals seem too good to be true – it probably is. Check the small print, check references and then be flexible, persistent and calm should your plans not turn out as expected.