When it comes to my travel habits, many times, I book my travel within one month. Sometimes, it is even within the week of travel. It is not that I do not like to plan ahead but rather that my schedule can shift quite a bit and things can come up so booking far in advance is not normally good for me.
This Is Why I Hate Booking Travel Far In Advance
Started with a Great Qatar Sale for Business Class
Yet, earlier this year, Qatar ran another sale that had a great fare starting in Athens to Doha to JFK in business with the return in economy. I never did get good photos on my Qatar A350 flight last year and thought this would be a good chance to do it right. Plus, I was hoping-against-hope that Qatar would put their (at the time) newly announced Qsuites on flights to JFK by then (November). So, it was a total length of 6-7 months between booking and travel
Then Things Started Popping Up
Since I do need to be in NYC from time to time, I figured I would just make that trip work. But then, things began to come up. First another trip popped up that was only a few weeks before that and I was mad at myself for not having put that flight on that week! Then, recently, a whole series of trips came up that will have me going back and forth quite a bit between the US and Europe – and none of the dates aligned with my nice Qatar A350 flight.
Another Fare Sale – Lining Trips Up
When the Emirates sale came out between NYC and Athens, I figured I would just start with the return from NYC and book all of my trips using Emirates with that first flight as the starting point of the whole series of bookings. I booked a couple of them and today started organizing it all in my favorite travel app – TripIt (Pro).
Wait! What Happened With My Qatar Flight?!
When I entered the flight number for my first leg of the Qatar journey, I noticed that the departure and arrival times had changed. No worries! But then the Doha to JFK also popped up with different times and I saw that it was now an overlapping connection.
I quickly called Qatar and the alternate flight was not going to work but they did offer to let me move it 21 days on either side. Unfortunately, both of the other trips were just outside of that 21 day span. In the end, I cancelled (!) this trip. (BTW, they never contacted me by phone or e-mail to notify me of this change – not good).
But now this meant that I had to move quickly and start cancelling the other trip plans as well since they were all based on my starting in NYC after that Qatar flight! Fortunately, I was within the 24 hour booking period so I was able to make the changes/cancellations I needed.
Oh, and one more thing, I ended up cancelling my nice 60,000 point reservation at the Hilton in Amsterdam in the Presidential Suite since I bought tickets that have me flying to the US on that day. But, now that I am back to square one, I found tickets that actually would put me in an overnight layover in Amsterdam – for that night I just cancelled! ARGGHHH!
If similar things happen to you, here are some things to keep in mind:
- If you book awards, you can (almost) always get those miles back – you may have to pay a fee to do that, though
- Make sure you check your tickets before you start building other plans around them in case there have been changes since they were booked
- If situations arise that would fall under travel insurance, check your credit card used to see if it covers it
- consider travel insurance if there is a possibility that something covered may come up
- Don’t jump on every good deal just because it is a good deal! Make sure you can work with the schedule, especially if it is booked months in advance!
- If your flight booked far in advance no longer works for you, keep checking for a schedule change (often happens with flights months away) as you can use that to get a refund
But, this just served to remind me why I absolutely hate booking my travel far in advance! This happened another time with the fantastic Myanmar to Canada first class booking on Singapore’s A380 in Suites Class for under $400. I ended up cancelling (and getting refunded) for that one as well since a family trip popped up for that timeframe.
This has happened more times than I can count and I always say I am done booking trips far in advance. But, just wait until the next fare sale comes along. I will likely book that as well. 🙂
Do you have problems booking travel far in advance? What is your comfortable timeframe for bookings?
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock