In this month’s parting shot, guest writer Dave takes us through his feelings for booking cheap flights online.
Budget airlines. They kind of make you feel like you felt during that dysfunctional relationship you had when you were 19. You hate them because they are totally stupid, except that they are also sweet and nice, and sometimes even a little bit cool in an annoying sort of way, and you just can’t bring yourself to break up with them.
Welcome to the homepage. Be sure to read every word before you click through to the next screen in your online booking odyssey.
Keep in mind that those amazing 39-dollar airfares you’ve seen advertised do not include airport taxes, credit card fees, or the service charge for flying on a Tuesday preceding a full moon.
Want to check in your luggage? Excellent! Do you wish to check in 10 kilograms or 12? Or 17.86? Jeez, man, what do you mean you don’t know? Fine, your flight might not be for another nine weeks, but maybe you should pack your bag now and weigh it before completing your booking.
Oh, you’re just going to pack light and pay for the smallest amount of checked luggage? Good plan. Then be sure to click that dropdown menu beneath the box that says you want to check 15 kilos – because there’s a hidden cheaper option if you squint hard enough. There is, however, also a fee for squinting too hard, so don’t overdo it.
Or maybe you should just go with hand luggage. Fine. Don’t forget to uncheck the pre-checked box in which the airline has agreed, on your behalf, that you will pay to check two suitcases plus the bicycle of the guy seated behind you. And be prepared to jettison your old shoes at the airport if your backpack turns out to be 0.7 kilos over the limit. Because while you could have paid 15 dollars online to check a bag, if you wait until you’re at the airport, the fee quadruples. Also, the airline now gets to keep your first-born child or your left kidney. (Their choice.)
Insurance? You want travel insurance? If not, then remember to uncheck that other pre-checked box. Afterwards, please click “Yes” to confirm that, no, you do not want travel insurance. Then click “Cancel” to verify that you really, seriously, swear on the life of your second-born child (which the airline does not want and accepts no responsibility for) that you wish to recklessly surrender your right to travel insurance. But understand that in doing so, you agree the airline cannot be held liable if the first officer is having a bad day and punches you. If you are unflinchingly positive that you want to waive your right to not be punched by the first officer (a savings of seven dollars), then go ahead. Click the “Cancel” button.
Oops. Wrong “Cancel” button. Please return to the homepage to begin your booking. Or just plan an exciting MRT ride to Chinatown.
Dave Fox is a Singapore-based writing coach and a freelance travel and humour writer. For more of his stories, visit www.globejotting.com.