Friday, February 14, 2014

all for the cause

We're waging a battle out there, we the consumers of travel. We will not give in! We are onto you and we will bring you down!

Those were my thoughts this morning and yes, I realize that I need to explain.

I stayed up half the night trying to come up with the right combination of accumulated miles, scant dollars and segments on discount airlines to make feasible a trip in the most difficult (i.e. expensive) travel month of July. It's a game, it really is: you have thousands of combinations and ways to get from one place to the next: if I use miles to get me here, I will then need a fare to get me there, but if I book yet something else, I will need to travel maybe by train there so I can catch that cheap flight here. And this kind of combining and playing with permutations took me the better part of the afternoon, evening and night.

I arrived at a plan and I made some bookings and I went to bed.

And early in the morning (way too early, but let's not dwell on that point just now), Ed pointed out that a new window had opened and now one could fly for fewer miles from X to Y and so if I only cancel the flight I already booked to Z rather than to X where I could catch the one to Y, I'd score a big coup.

Do you know that the Department of Transportation issued regulations mandating that everyone, everyone who sells air travel to Americans, is obligated, be it here or in Europe, so long as they're reaching for your American credit card number, to refund fully and without penalty any reservation you purchase, so long as you are within 24 hours of that purchase?

I think the discount Easy Jet airline knows it, but nonetheless, they diddled with the $101 payment I had made last night, called it "taxes" and "administrative fees"  and who knows what else and out of the goodness of their heart agreed to refund me $21 of it.

Well now.

This bugs me. Not only because I want my $80 back, but because they have misleading language on their website, indicating that you do get a refund within 24 hours, though if you follow links to tertiary small print, you find out that actually you don't get much of a refund at all.

Which is against our laws.

It would have been a good idea for the supervisor of the agent to simply refund my full $101. I would have moved on. But he didn't. And so now I'm on a crusade to get Easy Jet in trouble for deliberate deception and noncompliance with out regulations.

It is unfortunate that such crusades bite into your time, but this why you retire, right? So you can wage battles on behalf of the tired and weary travelers out there!

Anyway, it's worth a try.

In other news -- dearest Ocean readers, it's Valentine's Day -- made joyous and funny here at the farmette because it is always such a comedy of mismatched desires: one person's indifference, nay, dislike of Hallmark (how weird that a company shoulders the blame for writing sweet messages for you when you yourself don't feel like making the effort), matched against another person's love of anything that causes her to wake up with a little anticipatory bounce in the morning.

So we eat our wonderful breakfast...

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... and then he has a work meeting and I have a sort of work meeting and it isn't until late that we reconvene at the farmhouse. In the meantime, I do my usual Friday shopping and at the store, I encounter many a scene like this --

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...telling me that our own skewed preferences are nearly universal.

  There are flowers at the farmhouse. Yes there are!

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And I hope there are some at your house as well. Ones that last and last.