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Booking the Right Flight

Do you know the way to San Jose, CA? Or was that San Jose, CR?

So you’re at home, ready to hit PURCHASE on your computer and buy your nonrefundable plane tickets for your vacation. Before you commit, are you SURE that you’re booking the exact trip you intended? Cities with similar names, similar pronunciations and airport codes that are close can cause travelers a great deal of confusion and can result in you being booked to the wrong place! Once you’ve selected your destination, some additional due diligence is in order. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Before you buy your plane tickets, or book that advance purchase hotel, be sure to take a few extra minutes and google things like the airport code for your departing and arriving cities. This way, you can be sure that you’re going to the correct place! Are you heading to the Spice Island of Grenada in the Caribbean? Or off to see the Alhambra in Granada, Spain? Do you know the way to San Jose, California? Or, is San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica your final destination? In this example, the airport code for San Jose, California is SJC but if you really are going to San Jose, Costa Rica then you want to go to SJO. Similar letters but about 3800 miles, and a few countries apart. Maybe your plans are to go visit Walt Disney World in Orlando. A little research will show you that the code for Orlando International Airport is not ORL, but MCO (the former name of that airport was McCoy Field.) See how easy it is to go to the wrong place? Good travel agents, actual humans, as opposed to the big on line travel agencies, can be very useful in cases like this. They will be sure that you get where you’re going. Sure you may get a great deal from the big websites on line, but you’ll likely get much better service from an agency in your town or even a smaller, on-line boutique agency. Ask your friends for referrals. Be sure to ask questions and state where you intend to go. Pay attention at the airport too. If you’re off to Panama City, Florida, and your bags are tagged with PTY, they’ll arrive in Panama City, PANAMA! (The airport code for Panama City, FLA is ECP). Confusing right? Not really – as long as you take a few minutes to make a note of this information. In case you’re wondering, travel insurance will likely NOT cover this sort of mistake, and airlines do not have to correct mistakes made when booking. If you’re booked to the wrong place, you’ll likely be spending a considerable amount of money to book another ticket, not to mention scrambling for a hotel and so on. Taking some extra time, or getting some professional guidance when booking your dream vacation will save you time, money and, ultimately, your sanity!!    

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