Last week I spent a couple of hours with a client going over options for a European Tour for her family. Part of that process included figuring out which flights would offer the best compromise between cost and convenience. (That seems always to be the trade off, doesn’t it?)
When she left my office, she had the printed itinerary from the airline itself as well as well as the printed confirmation about the tour upon which she had decided. Her quest was to go home and discuss the arrangements with her family so that we could put deposits down and finalize everything.
Apparently, when she got home she decided to do some looking around on the flights to see if she could save her family money over what I had found.
Fair enough. Resources are finite and it is up to each one of us to do the best we can with what we have.
Turns out she did find some flights. And, lo and behold, the flights were $100.00 per person less. Great! $400.00 more that she could spend on some other part of her vacation…or not. Quickly she entered her credit card number so as not to lose this amazing airfare opportunity. Whew! SCORE!
There are actually two things wrong with this scenario. For one thing, she hadn’t made a final decision on her land arrangements. She and her family hadn’t made a final decision that the arrangements we had put in place were what they wanted to do. By purchasing those airline tickets, she was limiting the options if the family wanted to do something other than what we’d discussed. She was setting in stone the dates that they would arrive and depart. What if they chose a tour for which they needed to come in two days earlier or later? Massive airline revision fees!
The other thing that went wrong was that she didn’t look carefully at the itinerary before she hit “BUY NOW”. Turns out that flight connects through New York City by going into one airport and out of another airport across town. At rush hour. Without adequate time to make the connection without a minor miracle. Or a helicopter.
So now she owns non refundable airline tickets with a basically unusable itinerary. She called the airline to discuss moving to a different more convenient itinerary and, as you can guess, they were totally open to the idea, for a mere $250.00 per person revision fee, plus any difference in the fare.
So, now that $400.00 savings has turned into a $1000.00 loss.
When you’re working with us, or any other real travel professionals, please understand that we do this every single day. Planning vacations isn’t something we do once or twice a year. We do it every day. We work with thousands of people every year. I’m not saying we’re perfect, but I am saying that we have a really good perspective and that we give valuable advice.
Trust your travel professional!