Headed for Rhode Island…Hide the Wimmen!

I’m headed for Providence, Rhode Island next week on business. Got some workflow to work on…some scripting to script…some files to file…some tiffs to … never mind. You get the picture! Newspaper workflow ‘puter stuffs.

Should be a fun trip. I really don’t like to travel for business all that much…but the city (downtown) is pretty cool and the newspaper is…well…a newspaper. I’ve got a bit of ink in my blood I expect, and I do like working on needed projects.

What a nightmare to book the travel! My company requires me to book stuff through Orbitz…and was a bit late getting the trip approved…so I was trying to book airfare today. Gad. “Search 1” for the times and dates I need to travel. Oh. Nice. No non-stops. Even to Boston. Oh, but look, Air-Trans can get me to Boston with one stop, reasonable layovers, low price. Cool.

But wait. The page expired whilst I was confirming dates and times. “No problem. New search!” Heh…wow. One direct to Boston flight. $2200 (that’s more than the budget for the entire trip). No Air Trans flights. All other flights into Boston OR Providence had at least two stops and OVERNIGHT layovers! We’re talking travel times here on the order of 30 hours!

Ur. Hmmm. (checks the Air Trans site). Plenty of planes. No problem. Cheap too. (checks the American Airline’s site) No problem. Plenty of planes. Not so cheap, but not $2200. (search again on Orbitz). Yuck. They got even worse. Now they’ve got me going Dallas-to-Boston via Houston, Atlanta, and someplace in Wisconsin. The return trip has 4 plane changes, two of the layovers are 12 hours.

Called Orbitz direct. Said, “Yo! Dude! WTF?”

“No problem,” he said. (clicky-book clicky-book clicky-book). Oooo. Magic! Now I’ve got the flights I want. They still won’t show up in a search. They still cost way more than I could have booked them for directly from the airline’s sight. Why are we using Orbitz again? I guess you have to be an accountant to understand why spending “more-for-same” is a good thing.

But I got the flights! Viva la victory! 

On a roll now, I charged into the Abyss! “Damn the torpedos and full steam ahead! Hotel! Must have hotel!” The season’s all wrong up there for sleeping on a park bench.

Orbitz shows no “preferred hotels”…that is…hotels my company will let me use…available within 10 blocks of the newspaper they are sending me up there to work on. The rate of the 10-block-away one is $385 per night plus (about $50/night) tax. Hmmm…I’m not renting a car. I think I’ll stay in the hotel right across the street from the paper. That’ll save ’em $50/day in parking alone…much less the car rental. I manually over-ride the preferred hotel and choose the one I want.

Gah! No luck. Expand my range. NO hotels have the block of nights I want. Something’s going on in Downtown Providence next week it seems. Gee. Maybe we should have approved the trip waaaaayyy back in December when we knew we were going to have to make it.

Sigh. Call the hotel direct. They can get me Monday and Tuesday…and Thursday and Friday nights. Cool! Only one night on a park bench! I take the rooms. Bird in the hand thing…yaknows? $100/night cheaper then the preferred (far far away) hotel.

Then I go back to Orbitz. (clicky-search-book) And book the same hotel. Same room description. For the missing Wednesday night. No problem. Need I say WTF?

So. I now have 4 confirmation numbers for 1-round trip airline ticket and 3 confirmation numbers for a five-night block in a hotel. It took me over 2 hours to get something cobbled together that looks like it will get me there and back again. I will be simply amazed if any of this works! LOL!

So, anyway, fly to Boston (with a plane change and 32 minute layover in Atlanta), take the train to Providence, walk to the hotel, and all is well. Should be a productive week…

Well. It would be a productive week anyway…if the new license key for the system I need to modify had actually been paid for and delivered.

Heh. Details, details. At least I DO know where the good steakhouse is!

Daniel Meyer

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