My Biggest Road Warrior F*&! Up Ever

Have you heard that song by Fun, “Some Night?” Well, this is one of those days & nights!  I am headed to Bangkok from LA on Air China.  My flights from Charleston to LA were on a separate reservation and totally different airline.  I had it in my head that I departed from LA at 1:40.  So I booked all my other reservations accordingly.

Don’t worry, I’ve been laughing for several hours now, so you can laugh while you read this too!

So around 11:30 I get to the airport and it doesn’t seem like Air China’s counter is open, so I have a seat and wait, and wait, and wait….. finally, I went over to Air Canada’s counter (since they’re both Star Alliance) and asked when the counter opened.  The lady said not until later tonight.  I was a bit dumbfounded.  I pulled out my itinerary on my phone and she took a peek. She replied, “Your flight was at 1:40 am, this morning.”

Very Empty Queue

Very Empty Queue

OMG! I can’t believe it.  What a stupid mistake, a rookie mistake, not something a seasoned road warrior would do. Maybe I was just so excited about the huge interview I conducted with a hospitality giant that I got flustered and lost my head. Maybe my memory is starting to go.  Maybe I’m just a dummy who didn’t pay enough attention to her itinerary.

So, what’s a girl to do?  I jumped on my laptop and started looking for new flight options at the same time calling Air China.  For the second time in my life I discovered that Air China’s phone center people really aren’t that helpful and don’t really care what’s happened.  They quoted me $3800 to rebook on tonight’s flight.  Insane! No way was I going to pay that.  I asked if I could just keep the return portion of the flight, nope, not an option.  I bought a semi-flexible ticket, so for $75 USD I could cancel the ticket.

Now online, I wasn’t finding anything within a reasonable price range to get me into Bangkok by Sunday night. Shoot (that’s not what I really said) this was going to be a nightmare.  How to find reasonable business class that wouldn’t break the bank (I pay to upgrade to business out of my own pocket.)  I sat on a bench at LAX for close to 2 hours without any luck. I was even having a hard time finding anything reasonable in coach.  Desperate, I called the US Airways Chairman Preferred Desk.  I got a very kind agent on the first go at it.  She totally understood my predicament. She searched and searched, but no to avial. Then she suggested an award ticket.  Okay…I was game (I didn’t think she’d find anything though.)  She was able to find me a ticket from LA to Hong Kong in first class for 120,000 miles.  That’s not terrible. With a targeted promotion I received from US Airways this week, I could buy 100,000 miles for $1750.  Deal!  First class one way from LA to Hong Kong for $1750 plus 20k of my own miles that I wouldn’t replace.  Next, I had to find a way from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Sunday after 9pm.  Boy, were the choices limited!  I ended up finding a flight for $440 on Royal Jordanian.  At least I can get OneWorld miles which will merge someday into my US Airways account.

Next, I had to find a way back home.  I have zero flexibility on the way home because I have a VIP wedding to attend on Saturday April 6th and I’m working through the end of the day in Bangkok on April 4th.  I used the ITA Matrix search to find an amazing deal! Air China had a one-way business fare from Bangkok to JFK for $2,022 all in.

So, in the end:

  • I spent $500 less than I originally spent, but since there’s a $75 cancellation fee I’ll save $425 which is nice.
  • I get to fly first class from LA to HKG
  • Unfortunately I won’t earn the preferred miles for the trip out there, which is a bummer. (and what got me into trouble last year with re-qualification for Chairman’s status on US Air.)
  • I’ll get into Bangkok 24 hours later than planned, which is also a bummer because I have an early wake up call Monday morning!

Ironically, I’m still in such a great mood from the amazing interview I conducted that I didn’t flip out, I’m not stressed, I’m just still smiling ear to ear (P.S. you’ll want to check out this interview here on my blog on Monday!)

Have you ever made a huge mistake like this one?  How’d you deal with it?

10 Comments on "My Biggest Road Warrior F*&! Up Ever"

  1. We’ve all been there. I once showed up at the airport during the wrong month. JUN/JUL…tricky stuff! 😉

  2. @Michelle – that’s funny, now I don’t feel as bad. The US call center got a good chuckle too!

  3. That is my biggest traveling fear……not realizing when an itinerary is on 24 hr vs 12 hr times…….I’m having paranoia about it on my trip coming up to hkg when our flight home leaves for ICN at 12:30….AM….. on a thursday night, errr friday morning….

    BTW – Royal Jordanian? you know what I need… 🙂

  4. @Dennis – I got ya covered!

  5. Why did you have to buy a return ticket? Surely at 120K the ticket was RT. Have them look at the following:

    feb5: TG944: bkk-fco 0020:0650 (f award class)
    feb5: LH231: fco-fra 10:10- 12:15 (c award class)
    Feb 5: LH404 fra-jfk 1710 – 1950 (c award class)

    If they insist on ending at LAX
    Feb 6: UA797 jfk-lax 06:30-945am (C class award) – hopefully you can convince them JFK is an international arrival and you can take next available flight out over 4 hours – but under 24.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck.

  6. I did the same as Michelle – one month late for a flight. Aer Lingus….which never sends a reminder. Missed it by a month to the day…totally embarrassed. Major lesson learned. I check itineraries with a degree of OCD at this point.

  7. A perfect reason to finally get rid of that stupid am/pm notation…. I got caught by one myself last week too.

    Fortunately for a future reservation that leaves BKK at 12:45 instead of the 00:45 that I had assumed….needed another hotel night for that one.

  8. did something like this a few years back but on the day after, time confusing, but the checkin counter was willing to work and rebook but with a few hundred dollars different from original ticket. lesson learn

  9. @Mike – Feb is over….assuming you mean 2014?
    As this is a business trip, I have no flexibility with the flight times the only thing we saw when we looked, and I know it changes frequently, couldn’t get me back to LAX or NYC (or anywhere really.) I booked a return for some time in September when I think I’ll be here again and hopefully I’ll be able to make use of it.

    Thanks for the info. If it had been a vacation trip and I didn’t have a wedding to make I’d have been able to look at other options.

  10. @Gerard, I’m glad I’m not the only one!

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