I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When I booked my flight(s) for my upcoming trip, I did so through ticketpilot.com and was issued an invoice as soon as the payment went through. The next day I received my E-ticket (by email, of course).

A few weeks later, I got an email from Ticket Pilot; the first flight of the multi-leg trip, from Vancouver to Los Angeles, had been cancelled and they wanted to book me on two flights to replace it - Vancouver to San Francisco and from there to LAX. I wasn't very thrilled at the change as it was inconvenient on several levels. First off, my other flight left YVR at 07:30, which is early enough when I am traveling an hour to the airport from home and need to be there three hours ahead of time. The new flight departs at 06:00 which means I need to be at the airport at 3am so have to leave home at 2am. Secondly, I like a decent layover between flights as I am paranoid about missing my plane and the new itinerary leaves me just one hour between connections in LAX. Even though the flights are with the same airline, that doesn't leave much wiggle room. Thirdly, it adds another flight. All in all now, this trip will be 9 flights in total. NINE. That's a lot.

I very reluctantly gave them the go-ahead to book me on those two new flights after asking them to check and make sure there wasn't something more direct and their search turned up nothing better. They then sent me a new invoice/receipt with the changes and said that they would not be sending me the tickets for the new flights until closer to departure in case there were more changes. I was fine with that.

Until yesterday.

I subscribe, I guess you'd call it, to a page on FaceBook called Vancouver Flight Deals & Travel Specials and saw a post about a sale that Air Canada had to South America. Apparently, there was some sort of problem with people being able to get the price as advertised and I am not sure exactly how the problem all played out but there was a letter of explanation posted that was sent by the airline. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Mxxxx,

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in our response.

Mr. Mxxxx, I can certainly understand how frustrating it must have been for you to have your booking to Santiago cancelled, especially since you found a good price on Airfare.com.

Please know that Air Canada stands behind the fares we offer, but a specific fare is never guaranteed until the actual ticket is issued. I trust you will appreciate that since many customers are accessing our fares, whether it is via www.aircanada.com, through our Call Centre, or booking with travel agents and consolidators, fares can quickly become unavailable. While the inventory of available seats and prices are constantly being updated, the final price paid can only be confirmed once the ticket is issued. This is standard procedure throughout the airline industry and booking agencies are aware of this.

Regrettably, should the booking agency choose not to issue the ticket immediately, that fare may no longer be available at the time of ticket issue. Respectfully, in these situations, we must direct the passenger back to the booking agency.

While your disappointment is understandable, Mr. Mxxxx, we hope this information will be helpful to you when you make future bookings. We look forward to welcoming you onboard Air Canada when next you travel.

I became alarmed when I read the two lines I have put in bold above.

I started to have serious concerns that I might lose my place on those two new flights without a ticket having been issued to me. So I wrote to Ticket Pilot and asked that my ticket be issued now to guarantee my place on the flights at the price I paid. I received an email back this morning saying that they would issue me new tickets later today. Sure enough, they arrived in my email this afternoon. WHEW!

So be aware that, unless you get your actual E-ticket and not just an itinerary or receipt, you have no guarantee that you have even secured the flight, let alone at the advertised price.

It's a good thing to know.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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