“We’re sorry to inconvenience you, but your flight had been cancelled. We know the last flight you booked with us was not verified, causing you to be stranded at the airport. To make sure we offer you the very worst service possible, we have chosen your next booking with a deplorable company that operated itself into the ground. Do not worry, we have an available flight that we can gladly book, and likely cancel, for only twice the original price of your original ticket!
Cheap airlines are great, however the thirst for the cheapest fare has made many companies think they can provide the service that most people cannot afford. If you look correctly, and have enough flexibility, flying across the world can be surprisingly cheap. In the grand scheme of humanity, it is ridiculously cheap. Most airlines in Europe compete with alternative international travel. The flights requiring a long journey across an ocean, in nearly every way imaginable, should be more expensive. Sometimes they aren’t.
My flight to Europe was cheaper than I could imagine. My return flight was nearly twice as much as the first leg, and although I had a very flexible schedule, I couldn’t seem to match the original flight. The incident my lovely flight attendant spoke of was from the last time I traveled to England. The bags were packed, I left at 4am from the hostel, and got to the airport just in time for them to let me know that TooGoodToBeTrue.com never actually purchased my ridiculously cheap flight from London to Paris. Needing to catch the leg that got me back into the United States, I was forced to pay 3x the price for the same flight thanks to toogoodtobetrue.com.
I decided to give TooGoodToBeTrue.com one last chance. I can’t put 100% of the blame on the last flight, I could have done more diligence during the check-in process. When I decided to check on their site one last time, after cross referencing it with other sites that find the cheapest, crappy leftover spots available, I took a chance again. This time I focused on the verification of the booking, and left from New York to London without a hitch.
Just before I left, a friend of mine told me about WOW airlines cancelling flights. I told him not to worry as he dropped me off at DFW, I made sure to use some other cheap ariline. Until TooGoodToBeTrue.com offered me a flight package with a price I couldn’t refuse. I don’t really have a schedule so I can miss a flight, or shift it around, but I think it’s fair to expect not to pay twice the price again. That was their offer to me for booking me on WOW airlines within the midst of their bankruptcy. I have linked the article that describes it better than I can.
I knew it was bound to happen. When I visited Iceland, I felt like I was in an intercontinental tourist trap. Everything was ungodly expensive and it was clear even the people who live on the tiny island would have trouble sustaining themselves from outside world importation. Ironic, because Icelanders celebrate a xenophobic culture historically. Ladder pulling from the 4th century! I like the term ladder pulling as describing NIMBYism, the art of staking a claim somewhere and trying to change the culture around your claim with conservative ferver. Pulling the ladder in Iceland started with Leif Erickson, and there has been battles over that shitty island with no trees ever since. Don’t get me wrong, the experience and the views I witnessed were beautiful, I just think that people should live in places where they can sustain. Most major cities in the world have an international port, and land that it can use to feed its people. Iceland has a finite capacity of humans, and during the summers will see a 10:1 tourist to resident ratio. More tourism brings more shipments of goods and services, but when I was there, it seemed like they really need to learn international business and marketing.
Those meatheads with small gene pools ruined their biggest resource – tourism. I made a mistake thinking the airline would be the loss loser for the country of Iceland. Either said meatheads didn’t realize this, or the country of Iceland is also run by meatheads that didn’t realize bailing the airline back and charging the tourists for the cost was a viable idea. The country missed out on so many marketing opportunities. Just one – There are gorgeous waterfalls that line the ring road that outlines the entire island. Some days they are too full for people to park. Many don’t even have parking meters, or even a donation box. Most of the people visiting would have been happy to pay to contribute to the conservancy of the area, which includes having designated parking. But Iceland just recently created the idea of tourism, and like a teenager, they just need to fail on their own.
You wouldn’t believe it, but I’m not even angry at TooGoodToBeTrue.com for selling tickets from WOW airlines and getting screwed over on the deal. But, If I go to the convenience store and purchase a soda, open the soda and a spider crawls out of it, I think the convenience store would gladly refund the customer. I have yet to deal with them directly, and I may ammend this post if the conversation goes better than I think it will.
The idea that I can be in an uncomfortable position for 10 hours, and be somewhere that only 100 years ago took days took weeks, is why I will continue to hunt for cheap flights. You get what you pay for, and I understand the airline industry is complex and their income sources vary from mail to livestock to people. People aren’t always the most important cargo on the plane, and the cheap companies look at passengers as if they were mail. If I were to get from where I’m at now back to Dallas in any other way than air travel, it would take weeks. I always expected their monopolized routes to be the most expensive, but because they are the most popular, the delicate balance between supply and profit is often mistaken.