You would think that the guy who books so much travel and writes a blog about travel would never, ever be forgetting about flights, right? You would think wrong. 🙂 I actually have a great resource that helps me keep track of all my flights (and those for whom I book tickets for) and it works exceptionally well. If I had only listened to the program instead of doubting it, I wouldn’t have left my self stranded…
Here is how it happened – my Dubai trip is come up soon and I was getting my papers together. This trip involves one car rental (more about that in the report), one itinerary with one airline and then a separate itinerary with three airlines and finally my return from JFK with another airline and separate itinerary. Except, I never booked that final flight – oops! So, I am printing out my itineraries and reviewing my reservations in my program when I notice that my Jetblue flight from JFK is not on the list. I just thought I must have not gotten the e-mail or it went to spam. So, I look all through my stuff with nothing showing up. I check and I could still use my points for a ticket but I didn’t want to do that if I already had a ticket. That meant sheepishly calling Jetblue and asking them to see if I even had a reservation. Just as I feared, I did not have a flight home!
Now, Jetblue is a revenue based system so the amount of points necessary for a flight is tied to the cost of the ticket. The cheapest fare (that I thought I had purchased) no longer existed so I had to put out more points to correct my oversight/error/senior moment. That should teach me to review stuff more carefully!
Ok, so how do you keep track of all your travel plans? There are many different ways to do it (from travel-specific programs to spreadsheets) but my preferred way (that really does work! It was just operator error!) is to use TripIt. – Link
TripIt has a free version and a paid version. Both versions will allow you to keep track of all of your travel (including the ability to have all of your trips imported when you receive your travel confirmations by e-mail). The major differences are the ability to search for alternate flights and to have the program track your flights for delays/cancellations. Two other perks that can be very useful are Hertz Gold Club membership and a Regus Gold membership (they have offices and office lounges all around the world for you to use to print, work, have internet access, etc). The paid version is $49 a year.
So, give TripIt a try! It is free to use and you can use the Pro version for free for 30 days. In addition to the web-based service, they also have smartphone/tablet apps that are really great.