Well, in May we're off again, back to the American continent for another two weeks of vacation and visit. This is a particularly harrowing trip, though: first we go to Toronto, to go to the wedding of our good online friend MAui who, despite being Canadian, is awesome. Then we fly over to California for two days of Disneyland, followed by a flight to Phoenix to visit Beedoo!'s parents, and then, six or seven days later, a flight back to Amsterdam. Just thinking about this vacation exhausts me!
I was rather worried about booking a complicated flight plan like this, but Beedoo! knew exactly where to go. The Orbitz website offers the possibility to plan a multi-point flight spread over several carriers. This worked quite well too! We went through the several hundreds of permutations (out of thousands more!), discussed them, picked one, spent some time filling out payment data and picking out seats on the planes, and then errored out. The error message was not very helpful, something along the lines of "Call the carrier", not useful if you are planning flights accross 4 or 5 carriers. Clicking the supplied link gave us a list of possible causes, none of which applied...
So, we tried again, and again, and again... I think this was the first time Beedoo! saw me frustrated; I hope I managed to pull off some dignity in the process, but I fear this picture is a fairly accurate one of her memory of the event. Only way past midnight (on a weekday no less), after she had shooed me off the computer for my own good, she managed to make it go through. Go girlfriend!
No neighbours were harmed in the making of this comic. That I noticed.
To be honest, the whole online process was frustrating as well, and I think part of that may have been because I had to convince Arno that we should go to Disneyland while we are yet unencumbered with a child. Arno has never seen Disneyland or Disneyworld, or even EuroDisney, which is more in his neighborhood. (Of course with that last, that's like saying Disneyland is in my neighborhood too, even though it's about 6 hours drive... closer than it is for the rest of the country, but still requiring a day of travel.)
Arno is probably still reeling from the expense, but we managed to find a relatively cheap hotel within a short walking distance of the two parks and HE talked ME into staying for two days and going to see California Adventure as well. And considering, after I tried various flight plans of us going to Disney after visiting my parents, or possibly before MAui's wedding, we realized the cheapest option (aside of leaving it out entirely) was to hop to LA after Toronto but before Phoenix. This is where about half of our frustrations lie.
The OTHER half was with the online booking. Arno, I think, hasn't had much experience booking multipoint flights, or at least, I have more experience than he does, I get the impression. (For instance, the fact that he thinks only Orbitz does multipoint flights kind of amuses me.) Some of the trouble (aside of me relinquishing control of the computer at this early point to Arno) originated with our limited demands for flights leaving between noon and 5 pm. We did this to avoid having the same problem we had on our Christmas vacation, namely that our flight left at 8:30 and we had to be there 3 hours in advance to get the dog taken care of (nevermind that the service desks aren't open when you arrive that early either!). Anyway, after fiddling with the limited and expensive selections offered us, I grabbed control (Arno was out walking the dog at the time) and changed our preference of departure/arrival times so we had a wider range. This turned out to be a very smart thing to do! We got a much broader spread of flight options for much cheaper! Arno took back over and filled out most of the forms and seat selections for us, and this is where we kept running into trouble with the error he mentioned. Said error caused boyfriend to pound very hard on the desk, which scared me enough to back away from him for a bit. I was also a little afraid that he'd damage the new desk, but as it hasn't fallen in on itself yet, I think it's okay for the trauma.
After Arno wrote a rather snippy letter to Orbitz about their bad programming and unhelpful error message and faq, he took off to get ready for bed, and again let me take care of things to see if I could get something to go through. I did. Oddly, the thing was just being picky about all the seat selections... possibly even over one or two of them, but of course, they didn't tell us that or which one was the problem. Maybe someone else picked that seat while we were dicking around online trying to get their program to work for us, or something else went wrong.... but if you ever run into a similar problem, try it again without choosing seats. That's the moral of this story.