Archive for November, 2010

I Saved $250 in 12 Hours


2010
11.30

I’m getting ready to take a trip to New Jersey again.  When I looked at airfare last night, it was $450.  But thanks to Bing Travel I knew to wait.  When you give them a route/date combo, it gives you pricing but also tells you whether to buy now or wait.  They said to wait, saying they were 80% sure the fare would go down by $150+ in the next week.   There were plenty of seats available on the flights I was looking at, so I gambled and decided to wait.  Thanks to a spectacular FareCompare iPhone app, I got a push notification this afternoon that the low fare for my selected dates was $199.   The only possible catch is that my particular timing needs might not match-up with the lowest fare.  But in this case, every combination I found was $199!!!  They say knowledge is power, and in this case knowledge is also cash in hand!

When I look at Bing now, it says to buy…with a 92% confidence that the rate will rise by $270-363 in the next 7 days.  Having made this same trip countless times, I know that $199 is the best I can possibly hope for, so I booked with confidence that I did the best I could.

Give this a try with your next trip.  You stand to save a lot of hard earned dough!

Farecast is a great tool that was acquired by Bing Travel

Delta Diamond Royal Treatment


2010
11.11

I recently crossed the 125,000 mile threshold for the year, putting me into Delta’s highest “elite” category, Diamond Medallion.  Before they created this status (just this year), I had been a Platinum Medallion for three years.  As the top tier at the time, I have to admit that I still didn’t feel like I was treated all that specially.  Yes, I could get a Delta representative on the phone in under two rings almost any time of day or night.  That’s really quite excellent as much as I travel.  But aside from that, Platinum felt an awful lot like the lower statuses except that I had a better chance of being upgraded domestically.  Given the business-heavy routs I fly, I still only got upgraded occasionally (less than 20%).

But after reaching Diamond status, I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole new world.  The Delta reps are now eager to do anything they can to make me happy.  Case in point, they just switched an international flight for me, at no cost, when it was arguably my fault!

I’m on my way home from Israel at the moment.  This trip came about on short notice, so I literally bought the ticket only 5 hours before leaving my house.  My usual MO is to check upgrade availability online (thank you Expert Flyer!), book my ticket online, then call Delta to book the upgrade.  In this case, there was no time.  I called Delta to check on upgrade availability (I could fly direct , or through JFK, or through AMS), then just told him to book the flights.  I told him I needed to come home on Thursday night.  Well, he complied in the literal sense.  He booked me on a flight at 00:30 Thursday.  Yes, that’s at night, and yes it’s on Thursday.  But I think most of us would call that a “Wednesday night” flight , especially since you have to be at the airport at 22:30 on Wednesday night to check-in.  I didn’t notice the error when I got the confirmation e-mail, as I was frantically packing and trying to spend a few minutes of my Sunday with my kids.  Instead I noticed this when I looked at my iPhone on Wednesday night to verify the flight time for the next day.  I noticed that my flight was leaving in two hours.  DOH!!!!!

You see, the part that really threw me off is that I took this EXACT flight last week.  I flew TLV-JFK at 23:30 on Thursday night.  Well for whatever reason, Delta pushed the flights back an hour this week…so the same flight (Delta 269) leaves at 00:30 this week instead of 23:30.

So I called Delta and explained what happened.  I just laid it all out there.  I acknowledged that I hadn’t looked carefully enough at my itinerary, but given that I had just taken the flight 3 days before…it simply didn’t occur to me.

If you’ve read this boring story this far, thanks.  :)  We’re close, I promise!

So here’s the truly amazing part.  The Delta agent was kind enough to re-book my flight for the next night, and was even able to get me an upgraded seat on the direct flight instead of the connection through JFK.  To top it all off, they waived the change fee.  SWEET!!!!

Thank you, Delta!!!  This is precisely the kind of service that creates customer loyalty!   Thank you!