Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Murphy’s law

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

If you know anything about the principle of Murphy’s Law, whatever  could go wrong, will, even before you leave.
In my case, this is very true.
Especially when I booked the “too good to be true” bargains offered by those “3rd party” websites for my trip to Naples, I did experience a period of “buyer’s remorse,” but I was invested.

My investment at the beginning of my travel plans began after 24 hours, when I paid in full for my hotel stay in Naples after the hotel refused to let me pay when I arrived.
Then as well, my bargain airfare to Naples and return booked with Expedia was not refundable either.
I was facing a huge dollar loss if I couldn’t find a way to be proactive, and I leaped into action.
As it stands now, if you have read my last 3 blog posts, beginning with "2017 Travel Recipe" you know I have to wait until May 7 to see if can download a boarding pass just get to the security line, but I spent a few days exploring just how to do it.
I’m hopeful that I can do a happy dance at 6:30 p.m. May 7, when I try.

The “proactive” as I indicated in that last blog, included my return, when I booked a NYC hotel with Booking.com at “bargain” price, but after calling directly to the hotel, I used the prompts to the “reservations department."
Proactively, I asked for that person’s name, a perquisite to more “proactive," as I went through the process which I mentioned in my last blog.

Now with less than a week before I leave, I knew I had to recheck with that same person who told me to wait until May for the hotel to communicate with Booking.com., retrieve my reservation, then finalize with the hotel’s reservation system.
Sure enough, my “person” contact had no idea what I was talking about, but here’s another “proactive” tip: be chatty + express your need, as well as the “why” it’s so important.
The “proactive” as above was successful.
Janet  immediately remembered, plus she committed to search though the hotel’s data base maintained with Booking.com.

However, Murphy’s Law ruled once more, the “anything” that could go wrong “did.”
Booking.com had mangled my name.
Yet my previous “proactive” effort secured a committed reservation’s person, I gave her the booking number and the pin code (listed on all Booking.com reservations)—a few minutes later she gave me the hotel’s booking number and put “late arrival” on the reservation.
I know I have a room awaiting me when I return from Naples after some almost 24 hours of activity, but totally exhausted I can finally sleep, perhaps relive my Naples experience.   

 Wish me luck, I’ll need it.   

And if more “Murphy’s Law” comes to bite me, I’m hoping that it won’t happen until I’ve made that connecting flight from Rome’s Fiumicino airport and then arrive in Naples. 

*My next post will be after June 20, but exactly when depends on how quickly I can recover from what I know will be a real adventure.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

3rd party bookings dilemmas

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

Although this is the next installment of my travel saga to Naples, and I still have 2 more weeks before I leave, remember, there is no such thing as a good price, if it’s a good price you should expect problems.

It’s a dilemma but the price is great.
Yet, if you are proactive, the problems can be lessened, nevertheless, the problems come from using 3rd party booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Booking.com.
The issues with my flight to Naples and return came from booking the flight on Expedia.
I need a boarding pass to use my Known Traveler number, and it trumped my need to rest up and stay in a hotel near JFK for the night prior to the flight.
Since I was proactive, I spent more time questioning Delta, the listed airline carrier for the flights to Naples with a stop at the Fiumicino Rome airport + a change to another flight that leaves 45 minutes later—re the CSR staff at Delta, I lucked out when a lovely gal based in Atlanta took the time find out how I could possibly get a boarding pass on Alitalia who is the carrier operating my 3rd party “good price” flights, and if not Delta will issue me a boarding pass with my Known Traveler number as well. 
The same Delta CSR told me 45 minutes is a legal time for a flight change to another terminal, but if my plane is late, then I have the right to be given another flight to Naples on Alitalia as well, and she found 2 flights that I can use to get me to Naples on the same day.
I have to print out the boarding passes 24 hours before my flight, so no hotel to rest up before the flight.  
Accordingly, I had to revamp how I traveled to JFK from my upstate New York location.
Now I’m taking Amtrak to Penn station the day of my flight which leaves at 6:30 p.m., and I discovered there is a bus to JFK just a block away from Penn station—I can buy a ticket for $18 and be at JFK in 1 hour, with plenty of time to rest before my flight.
However,. my return from Naples will be late and I won’t get to Penn station from JFK until at least 10 p.m., so I decided to look for a hotel near Penn station for an overnight stay.
NYC hotels are pricey so once again I used a 3rd party booking site, this time Booking.com, where I found the perfect hotel just 2 blocks away from Penn station and I can pay when I get there, saving me at least $100, also I can cancel up till the day before I arrive.
The price was too good, and indeed more problems, but I was once again proactive and called the hotel directly to check on my reservation—the hotel didn’t have it, but that’s because they prioritize bookings and they wont assign rooms or have listing of reservations until the end of April.
As it turns out, I arranged with the booking office of the hotel to send them a copy of my Booking.com reservation and I will give them a reminder call at the end of April—sent my e-mail direct to the hotel using the name of the reservations supervisor I spoke to.
Again, 3rd party booking sites are the source of travel dilemmas, but you can’t beat the price, so BE PROACTIVE and spend time to anticipate + avoid the problems.