Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Life As a Travel Agent

There are probably a million good reasons why I’m not a travel agent. The best one is probably because I don’t have the patience for it. The other, I'm just not that good at it.

I found this out on Saturday. After working with Lawrence much of the day, braving airless humidity and dodging raindrops, one of the mother’s friends pulled in the driveway while I was cleaning things up and putting stuff away. I knew she was coming, I just didn’t know she’d be there that soon.

As it turns out, it’s a good thing she came as early as she did because it took FOREVER to book flights for four people!

You see, the mother’s friend, the mother, and another of their friends are going on an adventure later this summer. They’re going to see yet another friend, out of state. The friend will be here and will fly back with them. I stupidly agreed to make flight arrangements for all of them online, knowing firsthand that the earlier you make reservations – except in very rare circumstances – the better fares are.

They had talked about driving, about taking a train, and I said, “Why not just fly?” Turns out, the rates are good, especially when you factor in flight time vs. time on the road in a car.

And so, I went online. Travelocity kicked me out a number of times. I’m not sure why. I’d get to the part where you’re selecting seats and it kept going back to square one. I got mad and went to the airlines site directly. It wouldn’t even let me on. I never did figure out what the problem was, but, ultimately, I got them all squared away.

Both the mother and her friend couldn’t believe that the process was taking so long. Nor could I. Yet nearly two hours later … I finally wrapped things up. (Yeah. I have time for this. *rolls eyes*)

Frustrated, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to crack wise.“I’m not a travel agent – but I play one online.” And apparently, not a very good one.

The mother hasn’t traveled since all the post-911 and shoebomber restrictions went into place. I keep trying to explain about the liquids and cosmetics and why it’s a good idea to just use my wheelie bags, rather than her older, albeit more stylish, wheel-free ones. And how airlines now charge $25 to check bags. And how she may want to put her purse in her carry-on before she gets on the plane as that counts as its own bag. (THAT set off a firestorm. As if I make these rules.)

Do you think she’s listening? I think not. Go ahead, TSA, give it your best shot. I can do no more with her.