May 26, 2011

A Short Rant

For the second time in a month, Southwest has no record of a flight I swear I booked.

Today, we showed up at the airport and tried to check in for tonight's flight to Seattle prior to our drive to Spokane to meet my new nephew! Woo hoo!

Last time I caught it the day of when I tried to check in online (which I don't always do).

Both times I had the flight info in my outlook calendar, where I always enter the appointment *post* payment.

Yet somehow, those awesome sale fares were never booked. Instead, both times, the last minute flight has been 3-5X more expensive than the on-sale fare I thought I'd booked.

Moral of the story?

With Southwest, make sure to note the confirmation code before you put the flight in your calendar (especially when booking southwest sale fares).

Note -- with Alaska, I have never had this problem. If I enter the flight info after payment, I'm always *somewhere* in the system.

OF course, once that somewhere was a state where I was "cleared to fly" but not "in a seat." Had the plane been oversold, I would have been screwed. It took an agent 10 minutes to even figure out what happened (and the delay could have meant I wouldn't have made it to the gate in time except my flight ended up being delayed by 2 hours). Once they figured it out, they smiled and said, "Oh good, there are still seats left, I've booked you for a middle seat in row 27." At the time, I was, as you might imagine, underwhelmed with his success. Today, after having to accept that we'd just book middle seats on a flight tomorrow at 12:30 because tonight's evening flight was oversold, I realize just how lucky I was.

Have I mentioned I'm excited that tomorrow's flight to SEA is my last flight for a while?

Also, I should give huge props to Hyatt. Despite calling 2.5 hours after the "cancel without fees hour" when I explained my situation, they were very happy to cancel my reservation. I reiterate my position: Airline rewards are worthless. Hotels are where it's at.


A said...

OMG! this just happened to my darling spouse - he swore he booked his flight to Oklahoma for a wedding, but then it turned out that he somehow hadn't - even though he remembered going through all of the motions. WEIRD.

Biting Tongue said...

A -- The first time, I was totally willing to chalk it up to user error (even though I'd pasted the flight info into my calendar).

But the second time?

Super annoying and makes me suspicious.

Matt Ginzton said...

Wow, that sucks. Who knows if it's user error or not, with no evidence... that's happened to me once or twice and makes me wonder if I'm going crazy.

My solution is to ignore the web interface and drive everything based on the confirmation email (which should show up quickly). Also, use tripit, use their calendar integration, forward the confirmation mail to tripit, then you never have to enter anything manually and if it shows up in your calendar you're pretty sure it's really booked.

bt said...

Matt: Good advice.

Thankfully, E and I are back down to an average of less than one round-trip flight per month for the next 8 months, so hopefully, if it was user error, the likelihood of repeat will decrease with the decreased frequency.