Booking Bangkok After Vietnam Failure

4

Booking Bangkok is part of the Reunion Tour Trip Report.


How are you under stress? Like a great quarterback, I feel the pressure and do my best to go through my progressions. Panicking will only lead to paralysis. Instead of having a meltdown, I audibly laugh as I witness the situation go from bad to worse.

If you haven’t been reading, I was supposed to go to Vietnam but did not receive my visa in time because the visa office was closed on account of Vietnam’s independence day. My friend from India was already en route to Vietnam when I received the news (see Vietnam E-Visa Not Processed: Another TPOL Duck Up?).

Before taking off to Singapore, I tried changing my flight from SIN-HAN to SIN-BKK (see Booked! World’s Longest Flight). Try as she might, the Alaska Airlines agent was not able to do so. She told me to try again when I arrived in Singapore. I went to the transfer desk and was informed that I had to call Alaska Airlines.

I called Alaska assuming that there would be many flights available. The opposite was true. I was told that the next flight available was in three days. I foolishly replied that I could fly coach earlier. She said that the flight in three days was in coach. My heart sank as I disconnected the call.

My Indian friend had already booked his flight to Bangkok for that day. Imagine his delight when I told him the Alaska news. I told him not to worry as I took out my laptop to begin my search.

Of course, my laptop was dying. Of course, the charging station was loose from overuse and my adapter kept falling out. I packed up and moved locations.

I began searching for flights using Avios, Lifemiles, and SQ directly. I found nothing for the same day. I found nothing for the next day. Slightly concerned, I searched for revenue tickets. The prices were exorbitant. They were well over $500. I could have flown for free on SQ business to BKK had I booked that route from the beginning, but chose to go to Hanoi to extend my time on SQ business.

Down but not out, I continued to search. I went to United.com and found a direct coach flight for 20k points that was taking off in an hour. On the one hand, I did not want to burn my United points that can be used for better redemptions (see Revealed: An Insane Use of The United ‘Free’ One way (Part 1) & Part 2). On the other hand, I had put my friend through enough and thought it might be time to be selfless.

I gathered my things and hustled to the gate. If I could book the flight when I arrived at an open gate, I would do so. If not, I would have to find an alternative. I arrived at the gate which was still open. But, could I still book the ticket? And if I could, how would I obtain my boarding pass? Of course, my laptop’s screen had zoomed in 5000 percent and I couldn’t figure out how to undo it. I had to reboot. By the time it reconnected to the Wi-Fi and by the time I went to United.com, the option to book was gone.

I sat there for an hour watching one passenger after another board for Bangkok. Looking back, I probably could have booked it when I found it and made it with time to spare, but given my paranoia of the gate closing (see Boarding Announcement Paranoia), I believe I was prudent in waiting.

With no viable options for flying that day, I took my time and charted a plan. First, I booked a hotel in Singapore. After this misery, I needed Marriott pampering and used a stay cert for the Marriott Tang Plaza (see Who Needs Hanoi?). With accommodations arranged, I needed a flight for the next day. I checked all points options as I did before for Sunday. There was nothing. I had three choices: Pay $300 to fly the next day or book an indirect points flight to Bangkok, knowing that I had 24 hours to cancel.

After a long night out in Singapore (see Singapore Nightlife Guide: Hip Hip Hop-a You Don’t Stop), I returned to the Marriott and searched again. There was a direct flight on Scoot. While Scoot is part of SQ, it is the furthest thing from SQ. And instead of flying business for free, I had to pay $200 to fly in coach (see Scoot SIN-BKK: Hard Product: Dreamliner Soft Product: Not). Serves me right for my visa stupidity.

Overall 

The Travel Lessons will be updated with multiple entries:

  1. Do your visa well in advance.
  2. Don’t let one mistake turn into two: I should have rescheduled my SIN to Hanoi flight for a future date. I was so caught up in the hell I was in that it did not occur to me to do so (see Another Error: Why Didn’t I Reschedule BKK to HAN?).
Don’t Let This Be You: Sitting outside the boarding gate for BKK.

4 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply