So this topic may not be a big issue for those who have an assigned date at least six months out, but for me having just two months notice it was quite a process. Two days after getting a confirmation on my date I decided to book my tickets. I knew only being two months out, flights would be limited, maybe not so much if you live near a major airport, but for me I knew it would be a struggle.
I live in southern Idaho. We have one larger airport for that entire region of the state and it is located in Boise, several hours away from where I live. It is not an international airport, it’s fairly small, and it does not offer very many flights. In order to book an international flight I would have to fly either Delta or United out of that airport. Either airline was acceptable but the United flights were almost double the price of the Delta flights so I knew Delta would have to be my option as money was an issue for me.
I initially went to AAA to see if they could help me book my flights. We have AAA and they offer free travel and flight booking for members, seemed like things would be simple and easy. Nope, not at all. The gal at the desk told me that unless I’m planning to book an entire travel package they couldn’t help me at the office. She then proceeded to give me a business card that listed a phone number for their flight booking line and told me to call them or to book online. Well that pissed me off, so much for the free assistance. So I ventured back to my in-laws house to use their computer since we don’t have internet at home other than on phones and trying to look up and book flights on a phone is pretty much impossible for someone like me. I looked up flights on all the major sites including Delta and United and determined that booking on the AAA site did give me the best rates and significantly more flight options than even on Delta’s website.
So getting a flight out of Boise, ha, not an easy process. My date for Russia is April 25th, I planned to fly out on the 24th, not possible at all. The only flights available that day gave me a 53 minute layover in Salt Lake City or an hour layover in Paris. So I had to look at flights that left on the 23rd. There was only one flight leaving Boise that would work for me and that left me with almost a 4 hour layover in SLC and a 10 hour layover in Amsterdam. I lucked out, there were 2 seats left on the flight out of Boise and I got one of them, crappy aisle seat, but at least I got that flight. I’m flying a combo of Delta and KLM on my trip to Russia.
The return flight. Oh boy, it was worse to figure out. This flight alone took me over two hours to get figured out, nothing was working for me, every option I had initially gave me a 57 minute layover in Paris, which is not possible at all. Finally I got a combo to work, but wow do I have some long layovers, but it was the only option. I have a 12 hour layover in Paris and then a 7 hour layover in Minneapolis. Not ideal at all, but when you live in Idaho, you don’t have many options. I got one of the last seats on the flight into Boise as well. I’ll be flying a combo of Air France and Delta on the way back.
So almost five hours of computer time later I booked my flights. I could not afford to fly business class on the way back like so many others can. The flights were pretty booked up and it would have cost an additional $2000, and was not a viable option for me, so coach it is.
I’m not thrilled about having the super long layovers, but such is life. I’m happy I got the date I did, so I’ll survive hanging out at various airports.