Once upon a time, flights were booked through a travel agent. You’d give them your travel dates and they’d find the best available fares. Easy peasy. Nowadays it’s not as simple but, in my opinion, it’s a lot more fun.
I love travel research. Hunting for the best fares, with the routing that matches my preferences is like a game. Do I book now or wait? Do I want to connect in this city or that one? Perhaps I can take advantage of a built in layover, and see some sights. Or wait.. that airline has direct flights!!
I usually start with flight search engines before moving directly to the airline websites, once I know which of them offer flights on my travel days. If my trip schedule has a bit of wiggle room, I’ll compare flights for different days.
It’s like a puzzle but better, because when it’s completed you’re left with a trip to look forward to instead of cleaning off your dining table and cramming little cardboard pieces back into a box.
And that moment you put your credit card details and complete the purchase? For me it’s such a rush. My trip has gone from being hypothetical to real!
Several months ago I went through this process, and booked flights to Paris. My best friend and I are desperate to get back there for a girls’ trip. We’ve registered with the France government for our Covid health pass, and have started booking activities. It’s coming together and we’re both beside ourselves with excitement.
Until this morning when I received an email from Air Transat, who I had booked with.
My immediate reaction wasn’t pretty. It felt like the ground had dropped from beneath me. A string of words not appropriate to share here flew from my mouth. Was Paris cancelled?
It doesn’t have to be.
This isn’t the first time I’ve run into a situation like this. Many years ago I had tickets booked with another airline, coincidentally to Paris as well. A month before we were set to fly out, the airline folded and we were left scrambling. Ironically, we booked with Air Transat – the same airline who cancelled my flights today. Shortly thereafter, there was a massive fire in the Eurostar which connects France to England by tunnel. In the exact train carriage we were booked to be in a month later.
But in the grand scheme of things, what started off as a major panic ended up being okay. Flights were rebooked and we enjoyed our trip. The train tickets were exchanged and we were crammed in like cattle to make our way across The Channel. What felt like the end of the world at the time proved to be nothing of the sort. My point, as the title says, is that we need to expect the unexpected – and roll with it when we’re faced with challenges.
Remembering this helped me take a much needed breath, calm my nerves and refocus. I started a new search online, going through the usual steps until I found new flights. It turns out they’re even better flights. Direct with extra legroom for almost the same price as my crappy seats with Air Transat (that had connections in each direction).
Now my only conundrum is trying to decide if I want to pay to take advantage of the airport lounge. Not exactly a bad problem to have.