Wednesday, October 31, 2001

At what price risk?

I've been none too keen about getting on a plane lately. Then tonight came--the amazing one-day fleamarket on airfares. $31 one way to all of your favorite east coast and mid-west destinations out of Atlanta--from Toledo to Fort Myers.

I'm reading this thinking, Hey, for that price I'll fly. Okay? I can do it. Go home to Rochester, through Buffalo of course, and see the family and friends. For less than $70 roundtrip, I'll get on a plane. Yah, I need to see my Aunt. And my brother. Let's do it...

And then I see it. A dream vacation at a fan-fucking-tastic deal. "Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas." I'm saying, HUH? $62 round trip to the Bahamas? Terrorism be damned--toss me in a window seat and give me a stiff one. Sunshine here I come. Buffalo? Who said Buffalo? Family? What family?

Off I go to to book my vacation deal of a lifetime. Hmmm What do you know. First few attempts are bringing all the fares up at their normal $700-ish and climbing prices. What's up with this? That's no good. I click the sale link again, get to the reservation link--was careful not to book on those dreaded fridays and sundays when the fare didn't apply--and still, the same high fares.

I'm Stumped. Well, let me go back to the homepage and try that again. Huh? Ught oh. Things are getting worse. The server's down. Or not responding. Odd messages come up - Sorry, our server is not responding. If you'd like to make a reservation, click "here". Okay. I'll click "here". ERROR.

Well, heck, no wonder--at that rate, everyone in Atlanta is online booking their flight to Toledo. Surely, though, no one spotted that Grand Bahama's deal. I'm just going to have to call them. I'll pay the $36 one way and do it over the phone. Throw caution to the wind.

So, for the next two hours, I press redial after redial after redial. Busy. No-go. Argh. I'll just keep trying.

With portable phone in one hand and DSL-powered laptop in the other, I look up the resort where we will stay... maybe forever. The only all inclusive resort on the Island--Club Viva Fortuna. What a hot name--I am SO packed. Even has a kid's club. Look at that fucking BEACH!

I try with no luck to find out through the site what it costs to stay at my paradise, but can't, and having no idea what resorts on the Grand Bahama Island cost, I call my new Bahamian friends at Club Viva Fortuna. They sound so happy there. I can see Vivienda's face now. She tells me there's lots of availability in December. Call back in the morning for reservations. How much? I was afraid to ask. $75 per adult per night. All inclusive. Drinks round the clock. Beach galore. Eat, drink, forget about "The Evil Ones." All for $150 a night. Kids stay free. I had found my paradise! Nothing standing between me and Vivienda but a bottle of sunscreen and

Just to be sure I'm spending my $75/night wisely, I sneek over to google and search up some reviews on the place. Aside from the occasional ants in the room and geckos in the closets--which upset a few of the guests--it sounds like heaven. Everyone said their children had a blast. The occasional "rude waitstaff," sure. Isn't there always? I'm not swayed from my new favorite vacation spot.

In fact, I'm more determined than ever. This is IT. Get back on the phone to airtran and do my redial dance. For another hour. Damn! What is UP!? Play with the home page. Trying to get in on a gimme. Nothing.

Meantime, my brother in law calls. Yeh, man--you can get from Boston to the ATL for $74 round trip--come on down! We jump over to (running the same special under a different marketing promo cover and WITHOUT my favorite Club Viva Fortuna destination) and click-click through all the steps, no time flat, we even get to pick his seat online. Bada-boom - James, we'll see you in January. Thank you for choosing A thing of beauty. Why don't they fly to my Club Viva Fortuna? Why? What do they have against Grand Bahama?

Now I'm back over to, trying to click my way in the back door, through some secret someplace no one else knows about. Come on baby.... contact us... no... help... no... back round the front door again and into the 36-city special..... and..... error.

If you have a lousy sale, shouldn't you be ready for people to TAKE YOU UP ON IT???

Then a lightbulb goes off. No. you don't think. no. couldn't be....

A few bucks more, but yes. was working just fine. No errors. Same price plus a couple of bucks more because they have a web site that works. Take me through the process, Kenneth. So we set out. When do you want to depart - heck, any day--let's say November 13.

Sorry, no availability for that date. (then why was it BLUE when I went to book it? Blue is good. Grey is bad). Oh well, at least they have plenty of other dates. You can travel between now and February 13th. Something must be left.

But as I click my way through every week from November to February, one by one, availability magically disappears, blue turns to grey, and Club Viva Fortuna is again but a dream away.

Vivenda!! Why?!?!

I try to call airtran a few last times, just so I can hear a stupid call center shmuck tell me the terrible truth. That I am never going to get to Club Viva Fortuna. But the line's still busy. You tell me those phones aren't sitting on the desks while the whole lousy bunch of them tip-tap their fingers on their special keyboards, sneaking in that secret backdoor and booking their own trips to Club Viva Fortuna.



So I'm back over to Where it all began. And with the same flawless navigation, I click my way through to the $74 round trip vacation (including taxes and all those other crappy fees) that looked so good before I ever learned about Club Viva Fortuna. And the ants. And the geckos.

Flying into Buffalo in February... what could go wrong?


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