False alarm

So, I did it.  I took the plunge and bought airfare to Europe.  Now, I don’t fly often, partly because flying is not exactly on the “things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint” list, but I’ve never been to Europe (or off the North American continent), and this is something we’ve been talking about for more than two years.

During that time, I hem-hawed, waiting around for airfare that fit within my rather limited idea of “what I thought I should pay for airfare to Europe.”  When I didn’t see fares I liked for Fall 2008, I put it off until Spring 2009.  Spring 2009 fares not low enough?  Let’s wait for fall.  And so on and so forth.

We were already leaning heavily toward just doing it in 2011, when we received a bit of an extra nudge in November.  So a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet, found a decent (but still high for my frugal mentality) fare and actually bought the tickets.

I decided to be very well-behaved and not torture myself by continuing to track fares after that point.  All was well until I read “11 Tricks to Cutting Travel Costs in 2011” (see trick #4) — of course I had to take a peek at fares.

Now, I booked our tickets directly through the airline, thinking that if, for some reason, we needed to make a change, that would be the best and most reliable way to go.  Imagine my surprise (and excitement) when I searched that airline’s website and found the EXACT SAME itinerary for $150 less PER PERSON.

Three hundred dollars would be a nice chunk of extra change for our trip.  I immediately called the airline to inquire about a refund.  The customer service rep quickly dashed my hopes, claiming there would be a $250 “change fee,” which would  eat up a large portion of the fare difference. I asked a few more questions, trying to see if I could find any loopholes, but the conversation ended in disappointment.

After a brief retreat to lick my wounds (and scratch my very itchy torso), I regrouped and wrote a letter to the airline, expressing my disappointment with the situation.  I’ve pretty much accepted that we’re stuck with the original fare (which really was not too bad), but the letter can’t hurt anything.  Either way, we are Europe-bound in 2011, and I’ll spend the next few years working off the environmental impact of the trip 😉