Sunday, July 01, 2007

My quest for cheaper flight ticket

Having being quite succesful the last time, I wasn't that optimistic to get an under 400GBP flight ticket this summer. Summer tickets are expensive if you are wondering. I only paid 463.8GBP return flight to KL and had a marvellous time in Dubai on the way back to London. As for this next one, I browsed around the net with much enthusiasm simply because I don't want to bite the bullet for being too cocky on getting the best deal earlier.

And yeah, it wasn't that easy I tell you. (Manglish is cute me thinks). I was disappointed with Emirates and MAS prices at around 550-ish GBP but when Jas and Soha told me Emirates is still offering 380-ish GBP on the internet, I couldn't wait to get home after catching Oceans 13 with them, Sam, Fit and Smq at The O2.

However, what you see on the internet is not as good as it looks. As I tried to purchase the ticket from the Emirates website (note that MAS at the moment is out of the question) for a quadzillion times, only to find out the seats weren't actually available. Ah, now I know how bad their systems can be. The best I could get was actually 454.80GBP for travels in July.

Earlier, I went to the Qatar Airlines website and got a ticket price of 390GBP. I thought that is around the price that I am willing to pay and straight away I put on all me details only to be disappointed with the fact that QATAR AIRWAYS ONLINE BOOKING DOES NOT SUPPORT DEBIT CARD SERVICES. (Why hasn't anyone laughing at this point? Of course because it's true! Painful but true!)

And with my robust, seeing is believing attitude, I made my way to the QATAR AIRWAYS MAIN LONDON OFFICE somewhere in Oxford Circus only to be offered Business Class ticket at 2134GBP wth). I had a chat with the lady at the desk, might be of Arabic descent. My trying-to-be-cool lines didn't work either when she said all flights were occupied and there was no 390-401GBP deals on her screen although being stated in the web. She suggested to me to go through travel agents. I asked her if it's possible for the credit card holder NOT to travel with me and she said yes, which was different from what I saw on the net! Inconsistent info eh? Blame Qatar Airways then. Not me. You think I'm lying to ye, mate? Though the thing is, the credit card holder needs to be present at the check-in before the flight. I know NOONE is going to volunteer to do that since they are busy and staff. If asked politely anyway, people with credit cards will only argue with the system rather than lending a hand. Aw, come on. You can always say "No, that's not possible" to me but please do not argue with what I said. I know what I'm talking about because I was the one in that situation, who went online and to the BIG office. Not you! So simply say "No" and I can accept it like a man. Rejection is part of life. You only need to be honest and said No. It's a diplomatic country!

Dejected, I went online back again and look for other airlines. And taking the advice from the people who actually went ONLINE (obviously having the righteous information on paper atleast), I still worked hard on looking on the Emirates website. Btw, KLM didn't even calculate the fare prices on their website! However, I knew I couldn't give up at that point. I didn't stop searching until I finally opened my heart to the dodgy travel agents. I called it dodgy because the last time I checked, Emirates website is offering 10GBP lower than them so why bother go through all the hassle with the agent? Leestravel or Rexairline offered dodgy offers. But when I saw through the STA website Malaysia Airlines LHR-KUL is only 359GBP Non-stop under the student price, my quest for cheaper flight ticket was back on the track!

Now I know how travel agents work. They will indeed give great prices when there is. The low point at this moment is I have to get the International Student Identity Card. But I knew I had to act fast and get the ID as quick as possible. Once again, the lady luck smiled back at me, it could be done on the spot. So I went to STA office in Victoria to get it done. Now what? Apparently my City Uni ID does not appear the word Full-time or FT to indicate them of the status. She quickly snubbed me and I knew at that point I have to use that special ability.

No, not that penance stare (from the Ghost Rider)

Not that smooth talk from Joey of Friends.

It was actually a signature move by the makciks from Malaysia, standing there, asking if she could do anything for me, and negotiate. If it didn't work, keep standing there like a fool. It worked! Haha. I said to her that I was applying for the card to buy a flight ticket back to Malaysia and I thought that sort of fruitful as she gave up and made me the card. I was quite lucky because she was not one of those grumpy, strict, snobbish British. I bet she's Polish with that accent. But I noticed she took it with a pinch of salt in the end as I didn't have cash to pay the 7GBP and she had to set up her system to accept the debit card. I quickly ran to the tube to catch the Madame Tussauds tour with Adrian and Priscilla, my coursemates from Malaysia. Good good people.

We got a bargain as well. With vouchers in our hands and the clock showing 5.00p.m (after 2 hours of queuing up of course (1 hour for me)), we paid only 8GBP instead of the normal price 25GBP. I didn't use my voucher since Adrian got the same voucher and handed it to a gay couple behind us. It's gay pride weekend as I was told. Haha. Giving the voucher to them was actually random but 8 pounds for the tour is not bad at all. Told you I'm such a bargain hunter.

It was fun btw, Madame Tussauds. Will put on the pics in facebook or flickr later.

Got home in time for the Asar prayer, I went online again and saw the STA website shut down for maintenance. Aww dang!! What an adventure! I tried it again and again and I tried it again this morning. Give up, I called the number that they gave.

And after a 30-minute conversation, I finally got my hands to the cheap ticket! It's MAS Non-stop plak tu. This is the cheapest I could get and I'm quite happy with it.

Total price: 364.5GBP. Okla, with the ISIC cost another 7 pounds. Still a lot lower than other airlines offering me. And it's non-stop too!

Now, to make full use of the ISIC card. Hehe.


smoque said...

hey dey, you should see your face on the mirror when you asked me for the favour..i don't like to be in the situation of knowing someone that really needs my help but i cannot give anything..kesian dey, tapi takpe la kau dah tulis blog emo emo..btw, i just read the post today hahaha

Jeg said...

what went wrong with my face? I put a kitty-like muka kesian didn't I, asking a favour again and again thought it would work.

u should simply be honest and said No, as suggested in this entry.

the problem with some ppl is that they love to assume that aku emo, padahal i'm just making a point here and highlighting some hard facts.

Some ppl fail to get the positives from what I wrote.

Including the my experience in Singapore entry.