I’m going to pollute quite a bit of this planet since I will be traveling quite a lot next few months. The past few days I’ve been trying to book tickets and dealing with incompetent travel agencies and air lines. They really need to sort this booking tickets thing out.
The deal is perfectly simple: I’m in Helsinki and I want to go to St Quentin La Poterie, France (Le Gard district) to visit my parents in the south of France. The nearest airfields are Nimes, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Paris (more or less in that order; there are more airfields BTW and technically Barcelona is closer than Paris). I will have to rent a car regardless of where I fly. How hard can this be?
In short, there is no airline website capable of figuring this one out. I happen to know that my options are blue1, Finnair, SAS, KLM, and Air france. Blue1 and SAS are partners; so are KLM and Air France. Well that may be true on paper but their back end systems are not integrated, at all. Air France managed to provide me with the “best” offer, so I filled in my details (including credit card details) and then was redirected to a stupid pop up, in Finnish. WTF! So fuck you very much. No Air France this year for me. So I go to klm.com and they can offer me the same flight for 600 euro extra. WTF! No way. Fuck you very much as well! So I end up on good old Blue1.com, the overpriced but still cheaper variety of SAS with a direct flight from Helsinki to Nice. At 430 euro, this does not come cheaply but that is what you get for booking late in November. I spent about an hour figuring out what the alternatives were before finally selecting this one and I still have the feeling I’m being ripped off.
Originally I had planned to do something much more complicated. I asked the travel agency at work to book me a flight via France, San Francisco and Las Vegas spanning three weeks. The best proposal they could come up with was 4000+ euro. In my view this explains 100% why travel agencies are going out of business world wide. This is not what I wanted to hear. I ended up booking the flight to France myself and returning to Helsinki for a flight along this path Hki-Amsterdam-SF-Vegas-SF-Amsterdam-Hki combined with the hki-marseille-hki path that is quite a bit of flights that are somehow half the best the travel agency could offer me. Beats me. Arguably there’s some redundant air miles in this trip. Apparently it is impossible to make a sensible itinerary that has me travel to France before christmas, after christmas from there to San Francisco to Vegas and finally to Helsinki. I’m flexible on pretty much all the dates and I’m sure it can be done in less than 8 separate flights. My estimate is that I will be wasting enormous amounts of fuel on behalf of travel agency incompetence.
Anyway, enough bitching. I’m going to France, San Francisco, Las Vegas in the next few weeks. I’m very much looking forward to all of this! After that I’m also planning to go to Granada in late January for the Sensei project kick off.