Even people who fly often can be prone to travel mistakes. And boy, I just made a doozy that cost me $1,000 to fix.
I discovered the problem yesterday, when I went to book a car for my upcoming trip to New Orleans. I had considered myself a savvy traveler this Mardi Gras and had saved money – I thought – by booking flights into nearby Baton Rouge.
Except when I checked the tickets again, I realized I booked the tickets on the wrong day.
Big deal, you might say. Mardi Gras goes on…..except that I’m riding on a float this year. Keeping the wrong ticket would have meant missing the parade. And my entire family is meeting me in New Orleans for the event. Cue panic.
I got on the phone with Orbitz (my friend Chris Elliott would tell me that booking through them in the first place was a bad decision. And he’s right. Airlines have more power to be flexible than third party sites).
Although the Orbitz agent was nice, he was firm: canceling the ticket would cost $180 in change fees from the airline and the service, plus any increase in fare. To make matters worse, there were no flights to Baton Rouge on the day I needed it. My best option was to book brand new tickets to New Orleans and take the other as a credit (which will still come with change fees).
Which is what I ended up doing in the end. So now there’s an extra $1,000 on our credit card that we didn’t need. New Orleans is shaping up to be a very expensive weekend.
The moral of the story: Check your tickets immediately after you buy them. Sometimes ticket agents will give you a break if the transaction hasn’t gone through. Besides making sure the dates are right, check to see that your name is exactly the same as the one on your ID.
My sister, a frequent business traveler, laughed when I told her this story. Her biggest oops? Accidentally booking a ticket to St. Louis when she meant to go to Kansas City – and then not changing it right away. “I assumed they’d be close together and I could just drive,” she said. “Same state, right? Um, no.”
Well, I hope I haven’t blown my credibility with y’all completely with this confession. It proves that everyone slips up sometimes – and that throwing money at a problem usually solves it. There goes our planned tasting meal at August.
What’s the biggest travel mistake you’ve made?