So China was starting to look like it wasn’t going to happen. The panel session on the conference that was our original reason for travelling there had fallen through. China seems besieged by natural disasters, like a new strain of bird flu and a recent earthquake. And, day by day (because when we are planning a trip, we check flight prices every single day until we book), the prices, high to begin with, crept higher and higher…
We had read that many airlines will drop prices on international destinations eight weeks prior to travel. So we have been extra vigilant the past little while in checking online prices, to no avail.
Our anecdotal observations had also taught us that flight prices are often lower on a Sunday morning when, presumably, many people are lazing around in bed rather than being woken up at the crack of dawn by their delightful morning-person child.
Experience has also taught us, numerous times, that prices are variable and, if you think too long about a possible price or routing, that may be gone by the time you decide to book.
With all that in mind, this past Sunday, we surfed the interwebs as per usual. Wait. Stop. There is a reasonable price (well, more reasonable than we have found the past three months) with a very good routing online. Right now.
To complicate matters more, we had those lovely vouchers to put towards our flights. Air Canada regulations state that you can only claim those vouchers after travel, unless – and here’s the catch – you purchase your tickets at the Air Canada airport ticket counter, in which case you can apply them to your fare right away. For a trip like this, that was a definite advantage.
Now here is where living in a small city really makes a difference. We live five minutes from the airport so we literally tossed jackets on and flew out the door, iPad in hand (with proof of our find), and out to the airport.
To say that we flummoxed the staff at the counter is an understatement. They could not believe what a great deal we had been given (apparently European Air Canada staff have greater leeway than those in North America). They had to try and book each leg individually to ensure we got our routing. Miraculously, the same price came up. And finally, they had to deal with vouchers in Euros and tickets in Canadian dollars.
After an hour hanging out at the airport (good training for those long flights ahead?) and calls to the help desk from the local staff, to our massive disbelief, we got our flight to China.