Friday evening, we showed up at Arlanda airport (Stockholm’s main hub), weekend bags in hand, ready to go to Prague. We thought nothing of it when the self-check-in kiosk didn’t recognize Matt’s card, and got in line to speak to a real person.
The desk agent looked for us in the computer, looked at our confirmation printouts, and then looked at us. She sadly informed us that while we had confirmation numbers, the reservations were not complete. We had no plane tickets for our trip.
This was a first for Matt and me. We are used to booking our travel online, searching for the cheapest option, relying on our credit card purchases to go through, and trusting the emails we receive that say, yes yes, you have a ticket!
Matt called the online travel agency right away — while they had sent the email saying “you have your tickets!”, they had also, unfortunately, sent a follow-up email saying that the credit card had not gone through. And that had been shunted to Matt’s spam box, four hours after the company had sent the initial confirmation email.
And of course, the company said it was our fault for not checking on the tickets. Now, I could go on about issues of “buyer beware,” poor business practices, and more. But the gist is that we had no recourse.
It was an interesting experience to be standing there without an option, and a deadline that would require a lot more money than we have to spend to get to where we wanted to be. A childhood friend of Matt’s was getting married in Czech Republic on Saturday afternoon, and we had already been pushing the limits by arranging to arrive after midnight on Friday.
In the end, Matt and I handled it fairly well, I think! We took the train home (we dropped more than $100 for our little Friday evening jaunt to the airport). Once there, we got online immediately. And Orbitz came through at the last minute — while every other online site (including Czech Air, which we would eventually fly the next morning), offered us prices over $1,000, Orbitz kept saying, “hey, we got a deal for you!”
We ended up spending about $200 less than we thought we had paid for the *original* roundtrip tickets — including the car rental. Plus our flight ended up being direct, amounting to less than 2 hours and without the transfer we would have had the evening before.
So, we had dinner at home, slept in our own bed, zoomed out to the airport for an early morning departure, and had a lovely drive through the Czech countryside to a small village about two hours south of Prague in bright morning sunshine.
We ended up arriving at the castle where the ceremony would take place with five minutes to spare! And it was fabulous…