Flight booking

by phoxis

Posting after a long time, though there was no good cause for not posting in this blog, but it just gets delayed. These days we are in a blunder spree, back to back blunders. I thought to share one of the finest blunders me and my friends did recently.

These days I am staying in Bangalore, India. My friend in Kolkata, called me and told that he needs to reach Bangalore as soon as possible and he requires me to book a flight ticket from Kolkata to Bangalore. While talking through the phone, I went ahead and searched and selected the cheapest flight on the date range he asked for. After entering passenger details and confirming everything, I entered the card number and passwords and made the payment. After the payment the page showed the final ticket, ready to be printed out. Sometimes you will feel that something is definitely wrong in what you see but cannot spot it. This was the feeling when I was looking at the ticket. Everything is correct, name, Kolkata, Bangalore, date, everything. Then I re-read the ticket aloud inside my mind, and it read something like: “Source Bangalore, destination Kolkata, date … wait !! what??” . The source had to be Kolkata and destination had to be Bangalore! There was a series of questions in my mind in that instant. Which are listed below, sorted in order of stupidity (hightest first).

  • Can he travel with this ticket from Kolkata to Bangalore and say in the boarding counter that “it was just a mistake and smile :)”?
  • Shall I edit the web-page and forge the ticket and swap the source and destinations?
  • Shall I travel back to Kolkata and use up this ticket?

After some moment good questions start to come in mind.

  • Is the ticket refundable?
  • Where is the cancellation option?

Thankfully the ticket was refundable, although with around 12% cancellation charge. Then I canceled the ticket and re-booked the ticket. This time I was not on a call, and a correct ticket was booked, and my friend actually reached Bangalore.

Lesson 1: Do not do a critical work while talking on the phone, and every work is critical. In other words: Do not do anything while talking on the phone (doodling is allowed).

Wait , there is another lesson. I analyzed why and how it happened. I remembered that I was searching for a flight for me from Bangalore to another place. Therefore the source was remembered in the form as “Bangalore” and the destination as the place I wanted to go. Now, when I opened this page to book my friend’s ticket the last searched values were already populated, with the source set to Bangalore. While talking on the phone I detected that one of the source or destination city is not correct, but did not check the field names. As I had two words “Kolkata” and “Bangalore” in mind, without realizing that the “Bangalore” was the source in the form, and the destination city is nowhere mentioned in the page, I just changed the other field (the destination field).

Lesson 2: Do not let your browser auto populate forms, automation can be dangerous. (A drop down suggestion from search history is fine though).