Spurred 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 £800 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.
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.
Much 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 £1000. 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.
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….