Check It Out

It happened again. We are out of town and we get an email asking for us to commit to a short hopper flight from San Pedro Sula to Utila. We had no idea if we would be able to connect with the flights outlined and we were no where near any info that would tell us if we could. This put us under pressure to get some answers, but when we arrived home, I took the time, did my due diligence and ‘checked it out’ before making any rash decisions.

Sitting in the campground in Cranbrook we opened our email and there was an email from our friend P in Syracuse. S, one of the other participants on the trip to Utila, had been researching connecting flights from San Pedro Sula to Utila. She had booked 10 seats and needed to know if we would be able to make the connections. With no info at hand we were unable to make that decision.

S had her contact at Roatan Charter book the 8 seats that could be confirmed and asked that Debbie’s and my seats be held until Wednesday this week.

First order of business when we returned home was to book our flights from Edmonton to San Pedro Sula. This is where I again find out the internet system does have its short comings. Even though Air Canada has a code share agreement with Continental, I could not get the AC website to give me reasonable routing to Honduras. I suppose it wants to fill the AC planes first and to hell with the customer.¬† The weird part was I could not even get a routing to San Pedro Sula. It has always been¬† my understanding that in the customer service business the customer should at least be considered. Doesn’t seem to be the way with AC or many of the other airlines for that matter.

After I got a price for the Continental flight off the internet I thought I might shop it around and see if I could get a better deal. I was under the impression that the Flight Centre could and would get a better price than I could find. So I went to one of their outlets and asked for the best price. All I could get from the young man there were tickets that cost $200 more than what I could get myself over the internet. When I inquired about the difference, his response was that Continental “had just pulled the fare that I was quoted in the morning.” I did not purchase the tickets. I got home, sat at my computer went to the Continental site and pulled up exactly the same price I pulled up in the morning. I bought the tickets and did not spend the extra $200 asked for from the agent. Lesson learned, CHECK, the agents story did not pan out. I do not think I will use the Flight Centre. Not only could they not supply what they said they could, the agent fed me a line of BS.

The big surprise came when I was booking the flight online and after the site had time to digest the fact that I was in Canada, the price of the tickets was adjusted to Canadian dollars and we saved an additional $100 dollars. Thereby putting the Flight Centre price $300 out of whack, that is more than 10%.

I then contacted Debbie at Roatan Charter and confirmed our availability for the hopper flights to and from Utila. Paid for them through Paypal and we’re all hooked up.

I guess the point of this installment is that when you are doing this stuff unless you do not care about the cost, CHECK IT OUT. You have to spend quite a bit of time on the net following along all the paths that reveal themselves and don’t take for granted the claims of businesses that they can provide something they cannot. “Flight Centre Unbeatable.” By being diligent I managed to save $300 on one plane ride, enough to pay for at least 2 complete days of our travel in India.

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