The Last Week in America: Ticket Trouble

Nothing can ever be easy. That’s been the overall lesson here.

So last night, UPS told me my visa would arrive at 10am today. So last night I negotiated out the ticket with my school, I was supposed to book it and they were planning to reimburse me (I know, I know, the idea makes my skin crawl too). So I found a decent ticket, only 2 hours of layover, 670 dollars. Not a bad deal. Now, of course, the second I attempt to book the ticket, it skyrockets to 1800 dollars. Not a good deal. At all. A direct flight is much cheaper, and I’d get to fly Korean Air instead of Delta followed by Singapore. I also know that for every connection you add to a flight, you add an opportunity for things to go wrong. Additionally, I’ve been attempting to book a fight for about a week now, and every one of the 600-700 dollar flights would skyrocket the moment I attempted to book it.

My handsome visa. Well, part of it. I'd love to show you the whole thing, but there's some personal information on here, so this'll have to do.

So my options were to either A) Book the cheaper (1130 USD) direct flight and end this problem, or B) Attempt to find a better deal a week out and spend the next 5-7 days sitting on my hands. I chose the first option. I’ve flown to Japan (with a two way ticket) and I’ve booked the flight a good 6 months ahead of time and still had to pay 1600 dollars or so, so I knew I wasn’t going to save much money waiting a week. So I booked it immediately, because I didn’t want to risk losing the flight, nor did I want to give it a chance to change price. I was proud of my decision, and I was overjoyed that I now would have no layover at all. I’ve also heard Korean Air owns really nice planes, so if that is true, there’s another win for me.

However, my agent was a lot less thrilled. He wasn’t terribly happy I didn’t wait for confirmation, and he chewed me out for getting such a high priced ticket. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. We sent one argumentative e-mail after another, back and forth.

And then I figured it out. I didn’t tick the last check box to send him the itinerary like I thought, and my initial e-mail mentioned that the other ticket skyrocketed in price to 1850, but didn’t mention the price I actually paid. I realized when he said he could probably have the school sacrifice my return ticket and then pay me 1500 USD and then I might still have to the remaining difference. 1500 was more than the entire ticket, so I knew we weren’t on the same page.

Of course, this was at 9:30am, my time, so he was going to bed. I had to wait several hours to talk to my agent again. Fortunately, the problems did stem from miscommunication. The school thought the ticket was still a bit over priced, and wanted me to pay a portion of the difference of the ticket, but they said I’d still get my return ticket, or the cash value of my return ticket, if I chose to not return home (a fairly likely scenario). I’m still losing a little bit of money (something I knew would happen the second someone said “reimburse”) but I think it is worth it in the end. First, I now have exactly the flight I want, a direct flight from my favorite airport. Second, I had a few offers from schools in Japan, and none of them offered to pay for the flight at all, so I’m doing much better than if I accepted any of those contracts.

In the end, I’m just overjoyed that the major red tape is over. This time tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane. And the then my Korean adventure starts 15 long hours later. I’m going to go ahead and put the finishing touches on my packing.

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~ by James on February 17, 2012.

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