Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Travelling (with or w/o Autism) Tips

I seem to have gotten a little side-tracked and dropped the ball on sharing my Travel Tips and holiday vacation adventures since being hit by this most annoying flu/cold the past couple of weeks.  Since coming home to wet, cold, rain and snow I am going to refrain from reminiscing about the sun, sand and beach for the moment to avoid breaking down in tears. 

I did want to “pass along” (aka vent about) something I learnt if you have booked a package through a vacation operator/travel agent and you are planning on doing web check-in yourself within 24 hours of your flight in the hopes of saving you some of the grief that I experienced. 

Tip #2:

As soon as you receive your e-ticket confirmation from your vacation operator/travel agent make sure you have the appropriate information that is required by the airline (eg. Airline booking code) for on-line check-in.  The booking file number on your e-ticket is not the code required by the airline and is used by the vacation operator only.

I usually book most of our travel on my own and rarely book through a vacation operator/travel agent.  I find trying to find the best deal a personal challenge.  ;P  However when you’re trying to book a vacation for 8 families, 25 people in 4 different cities…a travel agent and packaged vacation seemed to be the way to go.  Not being familiar with how these package vacations worked, I should have done my homework and/or asked more questions rather than assuming I would be able to go about my merry way as usual. 

Vacation operators purchase a block of seats on airlines.  If you choose to do the 24 hour web check-in on the airline’s website (like I did) as opposed to advanced seat selection through the vacation operator, you must have the airline’s booking code which is not given to you by the vacation operator unless you request it by e-mail.  They then allow themselves 24-48 hours to get back to you which, if you didn’t know this and are trying to web check-in within 24 hours of your flight and it’s during the Christmas holidays, can be a “bit” of a problem.  The airline is not “able/supposed” to give you their booking code.  They are instructed to direct you back to your vacation operator.

Normally this wouldn’t be a major problem unless of course you are travelling with small children and need to be seated together or you are travelling with R and need to be seated together.  What should have taken me about 10 minutes to check-in took over 2 hours, what seemed like dozens of phone calls (many were recordings that their offices were closed for the holidays), much pacing and cussing by G and a lot of frustration on my part.

In hindsight I should’ve sucked it up and paid the extra for advanced seat selection at least for R and my seats although I’m pretty sure that after 5 minutes in the air, any stranger sitting beside R would’ve gladly switched seats with me.  HA! 

On to more current events...D

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