Double Check Your Travel Geography When Booking

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A distressed passenger is suing British Airways after he thought he booked a ticket to Granada, Spain but instead was bound for Grenada – in the Caribbean – because his travel geography and that of the reservation agent did not align.

While many on social media and message boards are crying “frivolous”, it forced me to think back and recall a few of my own similar tales of booking woe:

  • When I used to book travel for others (early in my career before I traveled much myself), I once booked someone to go to Columbus Ohio instead of Columbus Georgia.  I wasn’t clear with the travel agent on the other end of the phone and didn’t think to verify where the CMH airport code was when I saw the itinerary.  Luckily back then, tickets could be voided more easily!
  • I once booked a great first-class fare for a mileage run based off a quick text from a friend.  SFO-MIA-SJO-MIA-SFO.  I was convinced, however, until a few days before the trip that we were going to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) where I was trying to make plans to meet up with friends.  Thankfully I was not responsible for the hotel as we were actually headed to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO).
  • I will also likely never get a job tagging bags for the airline as it took me years to figure out that SAN is San Diego and not San Antonio (which is SAT).
  • I’ve also booked car rentals for the wrong date or location.

I find that loading all of my relevant details into TripIt has cut down on these kinds of mistakes for me – especially if I have the directions function enabled.  (And I have been showing up at the car rental without a reservation less often too!)

I also keep the secrets of a few friends and colleagues who have made similar gaffs… but since it’s out there, what is YOUR biggest booking mistake?  What steps do you take to make sure you are headed to the right place?



About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. I want to make sure that I do everything right while preparing for my upcoming vacation. It makes sense that I would want to have trip reservations! that way I don’t have to worry about there not being enough room for me.

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