how i got vacation tickets
We’ve been planning to have a winter vacation this year, so when I got a nice fat envelope for a translation—really, I’ve never held such a thick wad of bills before, although don’t be mistaken, it’s because they paid me in twenties—we decided to get the plane tickets right away, to have the largest expense behind us.
Usually, this kind of thing is my responsibility, so I logged on to the online booking page and selected the flight we’d set our hearts on already, one with two very long connections in Vienna, so we’d have the additional treat of spending an afternoon and a night in a magnificent city we’d never seen before. Once the flight was booked, the website gave me a printable receipt, and I immediately wired the money over to the agency. Meanwhile, the e-ticket arrived to my inbox. It said: 9 Jan V. to T. via Kiev, connection 5 hrs; 21 Jan T. to V. via Kiev, connection 7 hrs.
Now, Kiev is a city we have most definitely been to before. In particular, we’ve enjoyed its fabulous airport, reminiscent of the train station in A.’s native provincial town in Russia. We’ve actually missed a flight home from Kiev once and had to take an overnight train because we’d made the mistake of thinking that a cab would get us from the city to the airport in an hour and a half. It is obvious now that a five-hour connection would be just about enough to get down town and back without stopping, and provided there’s no traffic.
Well, there was nothing to do but pick up the phone and call the booking agency. Hello, I said, I have a problem with reservation #xxxxxxx. Yes, the one that says NO CANCELLATIONS NO EXCHANGES NO REFUNDS underneath the four-digit price. Yes, I booked it myself just now. Yes, I’ve already paid for it. Yes, I’d like to cancel that, please. Why yes, I’d love a discount code to the same amount on my next purchase with you! Thank you!—After this highly improbable act of mercy on the part of the clerk, I only had to wait for my code to come in and re-book.
The next day (yesterday), the code was sitting there in my inbox, and I rushed gleefully back to the booking page. This time, I double-checked where I was clicking on, and made sure to get Vienna and the long connection, not the option listed right below it, of a mere 40-minute transfer in Vienna’s unfamiliar airport (we wouldn’t want any discomfort the second time round, right?). The tickets were booked, the price difference paid, the confirmation mailed to me, and happy announcements made to our friends in Destination Country.
Today I decided to tell our friend in Vienna, who was a big part of the reason for this whole NO KIEV WE WANT VIENNA hullabaloo, the times of our arrivals. January 9th is the day we’re flying there. The day we’re flying back, deliberated over for over a week with regard to our lonely cats and our limited leave from work, is January 21st. Except that I’d marked this as the day we fly out, so most of the journey would be on the 22nd. A Saturday. When A. can’t fly because he has severe Judaism. On an unrelated note, I hate religion.
To sum up, this, children, is why I shouldn’t be permitted to do things. Especially things involving money, where a mistake would (and will) cost upwards of $200 to fix. Oh, and that lovely second night in Vienna? Will be all mine to enjoy. Alone.