Thoughts for Friday – 20th February 2015

Plans For British Airways And Iberia Merger Are AnnouncedSpurred on by writing about my upcoming trip to the States last week, I’ve spent many long hours looking for my flight tickets to actually get me over the other side of the pond and back again. ‘This will be easy,’ I laughed as I typed ‘Cheap Flights’ into Google.

What came out of the results astounded me. More than that, I think the fright took at least three years off of my life.

The first sites I clicked on promised me ‘the cheapest flights anywhere’. Having seen their idea of cheap, I hate to think what they’d class as expensive. The first couple of comparison sites offered me a best price of around ยฃ800 and that was just for ONE WAY. Even more alarming, the flight durations ranged from 18 to 48 hours. One assumes that some kind of hand-reared bird of flight would be my mode of transport for a flight to last such a long time, but on closer inspection it became apparent that I would be expected to fly from London Heathrow to Berlin International Airport, Germany, and then get a connecting flight after a stop over of anything between 12 and 36 hours.th_77

Considering that London is, geographically speaking, closer to the USA than Berlin is, why on earth would I get a flight a good few hundred miles in the wrong direction just to come back the other way again? The quoted airline is some sort of Icelandic-based company and, based on how they charter and schedule their flights, one can quite easily see how their banks went bust several years ago. Perhaps all that ice and snow went to their heads…

Now I am the first to admit that I am a woman of limited means (hence my post on gambling last week), and so I began to feel the very real fear that even just purchasing the flight tickets to the States would all but wipe out my cash reserves. ‘Crap,’ I thought, as I began to think of ways to gently break it to Kate that perhaps I wouldn’t be able to come visit after all…

Call it divine intervention (I prefer to believe it my own supreme intellect), I came across the idea of cutting out the middle man and going straight for the horses mouth (get me with my snazzy metaphors). Armed with a shaky amount of confidence and only a smallish pot of money to play with, I entered my preferred flight plans into the British Airways website.

british-airways-boarding-pass-novelty-ticketMuch to my relief, I found a number of options to fly from London Heathrow to Baltimore International with no stop overs and only a seven and a half hour flight time. ‘Success!’, I thought, relieved to see that the prices were much more reasonable. Not only that, if I timed my flights correctly, I could save myself hundreds of pounds on the cost of my flights.

It was at this point that I began to get a little confused.

Depending on which day I traveled, the difference in prices for flights shot up by hundreds of pounds, and in one instance, shot up by nearly ยฃ1000. One would logically assume that flying in during the weekend would be more expensive (as that is when most folks prefer to travel) and that a mid-week flight would be cheaper. According to the BA website, apparently it is not only the day of the week in which you travel, but also the week in the month that you travel.

th_66Confused yet? So was I.

I tried to view the prices logically, I even squinted and turned my head this way and that, and still I couldn’t make any sense of it. Knowing that it would cost me hundreds more to fly in at the weekend, I shot an email off to the lovely Ms Loveton and demanded a swifty response (‘demanded’ is too strong a word, ‘panicked pleading’ would be a better description) as there were only two seats on the outbound flight at a decent price left. Being the wonderful woman that she is, Kate agreed to my slight amendment to our schedule (hey, she must REALLY want me to come visit!)

Schedule agreed, I began the process of reserving my place and purchasing my tickets. Want to know what happened next?

Well, you’ll have to come back next week to find out….



Filed under Thoughts for Friday

24 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 20th February 2015

  1. Sometimes it’s even worth looking at airports that are near (ish) to the one you want to go to and then consider a train. Washington, I imagine, isn’t that far from Baltimore and I know BA have a lot more flights (thus more choice, more seats, and lower fares) to Dulles than Baltimore. And they’re on bigger planes too.

    Flying, eh? Who needs it?

    • Honestly, and I thought trains and their fares were bad!

      How can it be that there are so many variables when it comes to getting a decent price on your air fares?

      Really, what I should have done is demand that Kate and her husband relocate to New York so that I could fly into JFK…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I would have helped you out with those tickets just to get your British butt over here! ๐Ÿ˜„ Where there is will, there is always a way! We are going to have a fabulous time!

    • Awww, thanks Kate! โค

      Luckily, the house sale went through and I had some money saved up anyway, so there wouldn't have been anything that could stop me from invading American shores come August!

      It just amazes me at how wildly varying prices for flights can be. Much like car insurance premiums, it makes little or no sense to me. Perhaps I am being dense, but I just don't get how they come up with the prices.

  3. It always amazes me when people say how much they saved booking a holiday online. I’ve never ever been able to find the secret to these so called deals, and that goes for flights as well. But like you I was surprised to find a fair deal over on the BA website. Problem is, I don’t know about you, but if these websites could just tell me when the cheapest time/month is I’d gladly work around it instead of aimlessly putting in dates and hoping for the best! Enjoy USA – it’s the best! I loved it (and very inspiring for a writer).

    • Thanks! And thanks also for stopping by and commenting on my post โค

      I had assumed that, by cutting out the middle man and going direct to comparison sites, I would be able to save myself a fortune. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise and confusion when I saw some of the fares that were being quoted.

      I completely agree that it would be much easier if BA and other flight providers could at least tell us when the cheapest times are and save their customers a lot of stress and anxiety. At least if there were some sort of trend that one could track in regard to times, dates etc. but there doesn't seem to be, which makes trying to book a flight a guessing game at the very least.

      Why do they have to put us through this? All I want to do is go visit my friend!

  4. Gee whiz. By the time you get times and tickets organized, you’re going to need a vacation! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. As if the airfares aren’t bad enough, most airlines now charge you for your luggage too! If you’re flying into Baltimore I imagine this will be more of an East Coast outing, but if you happen to have Portland, Oregon on your itinerary please give me a shout!

    • Hi there, and thanks for commenting! โค

      Funny you should mention baggage allowances and charges, they may very well be part of next week's post….

      I believe that Kate and I will primarily be staying on the East Coast and I have to admit that my geographical knowledge of the US is minimal to say the least. If we do travel your way we'll be sure to give you a shout and add you to the list of blogging friends who have asked if we'll stop by. I feel like Kate and I will be going on a literal blogging tour! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It would not surprise me if the Airline and luggage industry didn’t soon collaborate to charge variably based on color.
        “All red bags fly for 40% off between now and March 7th!”
        “I’m sorry sir, there is a 15% upgrade required for plaid”
        As for the visit, I always chuckle a bit when people from outside the US admit to not knowing our geography because I’ve come to find most of us don’t know it either! AND, we won’t it admit it ๐Ÿ™‚
        You will definitely not stumble across Oregon in your travels, unfortunately, as it is almost as far away from the East Coast as you can get, save for Alaska and Hawaii. But it is beautiful here, despite near grey skies, and we have a wonderful craft industry for Beer, Spirits, and various Hard Ciders, especially apple. With a plethora of wineries we have pretty much cornered the market on deliciousness when it comes to adult beverages! (Might have something to do with the overcast ๐Ÿ™‚
        I look forward to reading about your adventures! Safe travels!

      • Your comments about charging people based on the colour of their luggage really made me laugh, but the frightening thing is that it could actually happen one day.

        I know some rough geography of the US, such as New York is on the East Coast, California on the West, and states such as Texas, New Orleans etc. are somewhere down south. As for the bits in the middle, I am pretty much clueless!

        To be fair to US citizens, your country is a whole lot bigger than ours and is comprised of many more states (our version are called ‘counties’) and so it must be harder to remember all of them and where they are situated on a map.

        You’ve pretty much sold me on visiting Oregon by mentioning the alcohol alone! Kate and I were actually discussing the merits of doing a literal blog tour of the US, rather than a virtual one whereby we visit fellow bloggers in person as we travel around the country. I need a big win on the lottery or a multi-million selling book before I can contemplate such an undertaking! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Those of us who live on the Coasts have been known to refer to the states in between as the “Flyover” states, so you are not alone there!
        I think it would be awesome if you and Kate could do a blog tour of the US! The money is certainly a limiting factor, but I wonder if you had the time, and willingness, if you could bounce from blogger to blogger in the states as our guests for a couple, few days at a time before moving on to the next city?
        It would be a pretty epic undertaking of logistics, but there’d be one amazing adventure book in there too ๐Ÿ™‚

      • You know, that sounds like a great idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Should I ever be lucky enough to be in the position to do a literal blog tour, it is something that I would definitely undertake. It would probably be a complete logistical nightmare but at the same time an absolute hoot. It would make for a pretty awesome book too ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Itโ€™s a minefield, Heather. Soo confusing. My friend and I travelled Virgin when we went and got quite a good deal (mind you my friend booked the tickets for which I was eternally grateful!) and we were going to NY. Looking forward to following your adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Cathy! โค

      I remember visiting New York about 9 months after 9/11 and the tickets were cheaper back then. Accounting for inflation etc. I think I managed to get a deal fairly similar to the one I got back in 2002.

      It both confuses and frustrates me that airlines make it so difficult for customers to get a fair and honest deal on their tickets. I mean, I need a vacation after the stress of booking my holiday flights! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • The airlines seem to be a law unto themselves for sure, but itโ€™ll all be worth it in the end ๐Ÿ™‚ Take loads of photos, wonโ€™t you, so I can be really envious โค ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thanks for commenting Cathy โค

        I will be sure to take lots of photos on my trip and will be blogging about the run up as well as the actual trip itself. It promises to be a very exciting time ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. And now I know why I have never visited Europe, Heather B. Yikes! I am glad you have gotten things squared away. At least I hope so, as I await part two of the airline ticket saga. โค

  8. It’s a minefield! We’ll be looling for intetnational flights soon … not looking forward to it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • All I can say is, ‘Good luck!’

      If I could figure out any logical reasoning for the costs of airline tickets these days I would, hand on heart, pass them on to my fellow bloggers. The truth is that the pricing structure of tickets is illogical in the extreme and has more to do with pot luck than anything.

      I wish you well in your attempt to book tickets โค

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