Arrived at the morning at the airport „Waingapu, Ostsumba“. First thing i do: use the airport WiFi to check the time & Price of my next flight from the west side of the island. But right now im on the wrong side of the island and i have no idea how to get to the west side (179km) so I dont buy the ticket (current price: 479.454IDR).
Finally i arrive at the airport on the west side of the island (hitchhiked with a guy on a bike). The airport security is telling me that all offices are closed and the whole airport system is down because there is no internet – im not able to buy any tickets today.
I’m asking if I can give them the money now, as some kind of confirmed reservation – I can’t afford to miss out on that flight.
They say not to worry, and to do it 30 min before departure at 7am next morning.
I DO worry, especially as they could be asking me about any price they like so shortly before departure, knowing that I need to get there ..
My friend, who speaks some English, tells me, „Let’s leave – there’s nothing here!“
Just on the way out I see an airline office in a hidden corner .. He doesn’t wanna drive there, so I go by myself.
The guy confirms that the system is down, but he could book it on his cell phone (having internet) with his credit card, and I’d give him cash! Great plan. The price has risen to 525.000 by now.
Just yesterday I had to pull a Million Rupees from the ATM because my card wasn’t working with any amount less than that. Actually I had only been short 30.000 (~2€) on the flight I bought back then. Meaning I’m carrying about 970.000 in cash that I now try to get rid of in the next two days.
So DEFINITELY I want to pay cash for the flight, not incur the +1,75% for use of credit card in foreign currency, PLUS having another problem with the reconversion of the unused Rupees.
So far so good..
„The whole airport system is down – no internet connection“
So the travel agent agrees, and I’m on the phone on the credit card details page of the flight booking. In that moment he changes the plan, and chooses bank transfer. He would go into town, to the bank, and pay there (has to be made in the next 29 minutes), telling me to advance the 500.000+ to him :O (which can be anything between a 14day to a month’s wage in rural Indonesia!)
I suggest we drive to the bank together, to which he agrees. Then we wait for him outside the office. When he shows up with his helmet, he has another new idea: what about petrol money for the second motorbike he needs ..?
That’s when I’m losing it!
He has already changed the plan twice since we agreed on this transaction, and after all it wasn’t my fault that the system is down all the time – I figure an agent should know the price of a ticket of the two flights daily total they have by heart if he’s worth anything, and just issue me the ticket right there with me giving him the cash.
So anyway – I’ve had it & tell them I don’t want the ticket anymore, let’s just relax – maybe I will even go down to the port & try to find a boat…
[03:05, 31.1.2018] Sascha Grabow: I just checked in. There was no more cancellation talk at all. It had just been a (cheap & usual) agency trick.
And another (typical) thing:
I had been prepared to pay 480.000 (or even a bit more as that late at night I wanted to secure my seat for next morning), but because she was so focussed on getting me onto the other, 4 hours later flight – her wits wasn’t there when she could have asked me 488 instead of 448, thus losing 40.000 in possible commission.
(The lesson here:
You lose on what you could have made originally, because you want too much. One of the basic lessons that repeat themselves manyfold throughout life!)
[03:05, 31.1.2018] Sascha Grabow: So what lesson did I take from this?
If it somehow just doesn’t feel right – then don’t do it, even if time seems to be running out.
This a approach can seem a bit risky, and even be expensive at times – but at least you know why it happened – because you miscalculated the real chances to obtain a deal that feels better & makes you happy.
Over a lifetime you will have so many thousands of chances to train yourself on this right/wrong decision ‚game‘ – it’s like you are becoming a Federer at it, hardly ever missing a beat or playing the wrong note.
Of course if you refuse to play to begin with – then this process can never come into place in your life!