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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why I Won't Book Travel for Family

When I meet people and they ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I am a travel agent and then quickly point out that I only do business travel for corporations, in order to prevent them from immediately saying "Really? Where is the best warm place I can go this winter that won't cost me anything?". Because the answer to that question is always "Hell" and then the conversation gets awkward.

My family, however, knows that I am in fact capable of booking personal travel, and in times of crisis, I have offered to do so. My father needs a nonstop flight to Phoenix? No problem. Done and done. Family has an emergency and needs a cost comparison on flying versus driving? Piece of cake. My mother needs a hotel? Hang up the phone, change your number and your name and move out of state.

The first and only time I ever attempted to book travel for my mother, she wanted a hotel in Washington D.C. That would take a dog. That had a restaraunt. And a pool. And was within walking distance to everything. And wasn't in a ghetto. For under 100.00 a night. In other words, FantasyLand. Leave the airport, take a right at the Rainbow and a left at the unicorn and there's your hotel. But I tried. For 4 days I searched hotels. I looked for places that would give discounts, hotels that had most if not all of her requirements. Someplace quiet and scenic that was somehow located right in the middle of everything she wanted to see, where she wouldn't get mugged on her way to the ice machine. And when finally I thought I hit the jackpot, I called her and told her what I had. At which point she said, "Oh, nevermind. I already booked something online." I vowed right then I would never book travel for her again.

Fast forward a few years and there is a family emergency and she needs to fly. Mind you, she is online looking at the flights when she calls me. She says "it's going to cost me 300 and something dollars for this flight!" I said, "That's a great price! Book it." She says, "But I thought it was only 182.00 and then I saw I didn't have a return." One eighty two times two...yes, that is 300 and something. Good price. Book it.

"I want to go business class. Can I wear a sweater and slacks?"
You can wear whatever you want, Mom.
"Well, when you travel business you said you have to dress up."
Mom, when I travel FOR business I have to dress up because I am representing my company. You are representing the public. You can wear a tube top and Daisy Dukes if you want to.
"Well, I wouldn't do THAT. What size can my luggage be?"
Same size it always was. Or check it. You don't have to pay for it with Southwest.
"But then I have to go to baggage claim in Vegas"
Then take carry on. Make sure all your liquids are in 4oz bottles.
"What about my hairspray? It's in a pump bottle."
Transfer it to a 4oz bottle. Make sure you have your pills in their bottles.
"But they're in my pill box so I know which ones to take each day."
Why don't you call Southwest to book your flight and you can ask them about your pills. Do you qualify for a senior rate? You sound like you'd quallfy...
"The website says age 65."
Then you don't qualify. CALL Southwest and book your flights. They'll tell you.
"Well, I'd rather deal with a live person."
?????? Uh huh. Call them. (God, I hope she gets someone who speaks English)
"But then I can't check in from home."
Yes, you can.
"But I won't be booking online."
They'll give you a confirmation number and tell you how to check in. CALL THEM!
"Well, I should get this booked soon."
Yes, you should. Right now in fact. Call the airline. Dear God, PLEASE call the airline.
"Do they still have drink service? I'd like something to drink."
I don't know anymore. Buy a soda at the airport.
"Oh, it says if I go business I get a premium drink!"
Then they have drink service. That's an alcoholic beverage.
"I just want a 7-Up."
Fine. Have a 7-Up.
"Unless I don't take my Xanax. Then maybe I can have a drink instead."
For Heavens Sake! Have both! (I know I'd like a Xanax and drink right now)
"What about my seats? Will they give me an aisle seat?"
"Ok, well maybe I'll call them to book this."
Oh, thank God.

Now, where is MY Xanax?

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