Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

October 17, 2009

There are no free tickets

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 12:27 am
Tags: , , , , ,

admitoneI got a special offer in the mail that stated, if I charged my debit card as credit between this date and that, I could qualify for a companion ticket on the domestic airline of my choice.

OK, that sounds interesting, so I charged some computer hardware and other expenses, and waited to see what would happen.

Sure enough, in the mail last week, I received a letter stating that I had a companion ticket coupon, and here is the number to call to redeem it.

Cool. The wife and I have been talking about going back to my hometown to visit the parents, so this seemed like a good opportunity. I dialed the number and “Dave” answered. Never mind that Dave had a strong Indian accent, he seemed very nice and seemed very willing to help me. I can’t imagine what time in the morning it was in India, but that’s another story.

I told Dave that my wife and I would like to go visit my parents the second weekend of November. He told me to wait a moment, and put me on hold. He came back 5 minutes later, though it seemed more like 20. He told me that there wasn’t any flight available for that weekend, because the minimum cost of the companion ticket had to be $359 and my tickets were $329. He told me to call back in a few days.

OK, so I called back a couple of days later, and moved the trip up a weekend, to see if that would solve the price issue. This time I talked with “Charlie”. I explained the issue, and he put me on hold again, but didn’t come back for at least 10 minutes. This time it felt like an hour.

It turns out he had some bad news for me. The dates that I specified there were no tickets that would work.

“But, but, but, two days ago there were plenty of seats.”

“I’m sorry sir but that’s what the computer shows.”

“How about you try a few days before and after.”

He put me on hold again for half an hour, or maybe 10 minutes.

“I tried 4 days either way, and there are no seats.”

“So just what are these tickets good for then?”

“We have awarded over a hundred flights over the last few days.”

“And where were those people going?”

“Mostly to San Francisco.”

“I can drive there in about a half an hour.”

Silence.

I proceeded to try to go to Omaha, which would put me 3 hours drive time to my parents house, and he did have tickets for that. The companion ticket was $659.

“Are you nuts? I can get two round trip tickets on Orbitz to Omaha for $217. Why would I pay an extra $225 for a free ticket?”

“I don’t know sir.”

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