Sunday, April 03, 2005

So I'm still in Phoenix

a whole bunch of things conspired to keep me in Phoenix this weekend. I'm not complaining; I managed to catch that second episode of Coupling and was amazed to hear 'the' four letter word on American TV.

You'll remember that I thought I was going to France this morning; I still am, just not leaving until Monday. If I were to describe to you what I went through searching various websites for a suitable itinerary you'd appreciate the value of a good travel agent. Alas, ours is merely so so (he thinks it's okay to arrange a business trip so that one spends 12 hours in a stopover) but even so...

So I found an itinerary that was reasonable (as described yesterday). Booked it on the internet. To achieve that feat I had to raise a couple of travel advances; the first ($2000) was to cover my hotel bills whilst in France; I was operating on the assumption that our agent would arrange the ticket. Alas, the ticket he could arrange was for Monday morning, arriving in France on Tuesday afternoon. I was happy with that - my boss wasn't. So I arranged another travel advance ($2900) to cover the cost of the ticket. An amazing thing. At 1:30 yesterday afternoon the round trip price from Phoenix to Nice was $2300. By the time the second travel advance had been arranged and the cheque deposited on my credit card (90 minutes later) the ticket price had risen to $3700. So we went searching for other deals and found one at $2500 (that's the itinerary I described yesterday).

Now having booked it on the internet and printed out the confirmation number one might imagine it was a done deal. So I fronted up at Phoenix Sky Harbour today in plenty of time to complete the formalities. My checked baggage (one bag - I travel light) was accepted and disappeared into the machine. But she kept asking me if I had the paper ticket and I kept answering that I'd booked it on the internet yesterday and didn't have one. After dancing around that question the third time she admitted that the ticket wasn't paid for so I handed over my credit card. Nope; it won't go through. Half an hour on the phone to the credit card company and they'll allow the first travel advance to go through; that would be just enough to cover the cost of the ticket but they won't let the second travel advance go through until Monday at the earliest. Hmm, so I have enough credit to travel to Nice but not enough credit to secure a hotel room. On those conditions I'm not going to travel. I'm way past the age where it'd be fun to sleep on the beach!

So we fell back to the original plan; I'm leaving Phoenix on an 8 AM flight Monday morning. Yikes! That means rising at 5 AM to be at the airport by 6 AM. It's been so long since I was awake that early I'm not sure but I imagine it'll still be dark at that hour. On the other hand, this way I get at least one weekend in Nice and our customer is civilised - they don't work weekends so we can't either! Maybe I'll be able to make it to Italy this time, if I can find that damn A8!

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