How I Saved Hundreds on Airfare

I was freaking out. Not just bummed out, but slamming my fist on the desk trying to hurt my credit card to no avail. I couldn’t believe the airline tickets I had almost booked just slipped through my fingers. My credit card not working and my old computer crashing cost me over $260 and a perfect non-stop itinerary.

I panicked and booked the next best priced tickets only to learn even they had gone up in price in that last 30 seconds. I was just stunned. I had found non-stop tickets to from Nashville to Los Angeles for $363 but ended up with $429 and some lame lay-overs. Times four that’s a huge increase.

“If you love me God, why did you let me lose these tickets!? You know money is such a huge issue right now! Where’s the love, Man?!”

Good news is my brother-in-law is getting married and we are excited to see family in L.A. this summer. Good news is we have money to make the trip thanks to the good old IRS.

I had used Yahoo Travel to book the flights. It took me about an hour to calm down. When I did, I decided to check online again and see if those cheap tickets were back. They were! Actually not the $363 tickets but $380! “Are you #$%@ing kidding me!” The calming down I had done was wearing off.

I was so pissed! I knew I just had to call Yahoo Travel and just beg someone to let me re-book my tickets. This was a matter of $200! I’m glad I did, because I learned a very valuable piece of information that ended up saving me hundreds.

Just by following the automated voice prompts I was able to learn that I had until 11pm CST the following day to cancel my reservation. I would forfeit  only the $27.96 Yahoo Travel fee!

Short of the story is, I was able to go back online and book tickets for $380. Once the new tickets were locked in place I called back and cancelled the first reservations I had booked for a savings of $196 minus the $27.96 fee. Though I am still paying $17 per ticket more than the original price I had found, I am so relieved to get some of that money back.

From now on, when I see the ticket prices dropping, I’ll just pull the trigger but keep looking for cheaper tickets for the duration of that 2 day grace period.

The silver lining here is that without this mishap, I may have never learned about the grace period with Yahoo Travel. This new little trick I have up my sleeve could potentially save me hundreds more dollars in the future. I was really my crazy frustration that caused me to pick up the phone. Usually I would have just sucked it up.

And a little confession: I mentioned that my credit card didn’t work and that was one of the reasons I lost those super cheap tickets. I of course got mad at the Universe. “How could you let this happen to me!” After calming down, I realized the reason my credit card didn’t work is because the credit limit was too small to make the purchase. Yep, it was my own dumb fault. If I’d just used my debit card in the first place….Ughh!

Please stop reading here if you really just wanted to know how to save money on Airline Tickets. If you do want to keep reading, I decided to write some thoughts about my little temper tantrum.

When I started writing this I really didn’t intend to make this some sort of spiritual life lesson, but I supposed my ranting at God needs some sort of resolution.

I have this weird short-circuit in my spiritual brain that causes me to easily feel upset and frustrated with God when things don’t go the way I feel they should. I mean, I sometimes get really upset. Like pounding my credit card upset.

I think what usually happens is I assume all circumstances are God’s will. “Oops, lost those tickets. I guess it’s God’s will. But, why would He want to tease me like that? It seems cruel.”

But as I can see from the rest of this little story, maybe God is more interested in how we respond to things that happen to us. Maybe he wants us to feel empowered to do something when circumstances are not what we want. I don’t have sit back and accept the fact that I lost hundreds of dollars booking the wrong airline tickets. I can and should do something about it.

I think this is a significant distinction. I feel like a lot of “spiritual” people would encourage us when we are upset about something to just accept it as God’s will. The result is we feel powerless and hopeless to affect our own lives. You know that feeling of getting all charged up about doing something  positive in your life only to watch circumstances like a broken down car steal your momentum.

I heard a radio preacher a few weeks back quoting the scripture about slaves submitting to their masters to encourage his listening audience that if you have a bad boss and or abusive work environment it is God’s will for you endure it. “God put you there for a reason.” I think his little analogy of slaves and masters to employer/employee is more than a little off; slaves don’t have a choice of masters, employees do.

But this is really what we hear from a lot of idiot preachers. Whatever bad experience your going through, God wants you to just endure it. It is His will for your life.

Was it God’s will for me to lose that $200? Was he trying to to punish me or something? Or maybe the whole point was the lesson I learned by taking matters into my own hands and finding a way to mitigate my loses.

My life long struggle to recover from this lie of “Over-Spiritualizing” is slow going. I know that successful people take responsibility for their lives and circumstances. Unsuccessful people, like me, are superstitious and blame circumstances and God for their failures.

Maybe this where I’m stuck. For whatever reason I think I’m supposed to just thank God for what happens to me and accept it in order to be a good Christian. I think I still have a lot of fatalism in my thinking. Is everything that happens to me really God’s will? Or is it God’s will for me to learn to affect my circumstances?

In the movie Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey there’s a scene where God, played by Morgan Freeman, responds to Bruce as he’s begging God to change his life. God says something to the effect of,”your problem is that you keep looking up.” Stop praying and do something about it, “be the miracle.”

I’m trying so hard to reform my thinking and realize God wants me to be empowered and not give up when things go wrong. After all, success, as I’ve been told, is not magic, it is persisting until you succeed. I can’t persist if I think every time something goes wrong that God is directing me or something. I need to stop being superstitious like that.

Even though I can now intellectualize my new position, it’s crazy how I default back to my old superstition when I’m fixing my car and accidentally break something else.

If God really does have the will and the power to affect my life for good, why doesn’t he always do it? I’m starting to think it’s something akin to the old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

For now, with this money saving airline trick I learned I’ll just say, “God, thanks for teaching me how to fish.”



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