Riding the Airfare Roller Coaster

Community Highlights Travel Philosophy Riding the Airfare Roller Coaster

As promised in my last blog, I will try to have one entry every other week. This one will be about how it all started: a cheap flight offer.

I was casually browsing through Facebook and someone posted a link about a promotion on Icelandair. Apparently they were selling $800 direct round-trip from Vancouver to Reykjavik. This is an offer for low season and since the only times that works for me are the summer months, I checked out their website to find out more. And lo and behold, dirt cheap prices for the summer flights too!

Now I got a little excited. Iceland has never been on my bucket list of destinations-to-visit; I can’t even spell or pronounce its capital properly (it’s Reykjavik by the way), but I knew one thing: it is a short hop from continental Europe. Icelandair offers connecting flights to major cities in Europe, so I compared the prices offered and concluded that the $1118 total (flying to London and leaving through Amsterdam with a four day stopover in Iceland) was a sweet deal. I went around telling everybody that I was going to Europe and started making a detailed itinerary for each day of the trip.

Days passed, and I checked the airfare daily. On Boxing Day, it appeared the price dropped to $1070. Still I dawdled, trying desperately to convince my parents that it wasn’t an impulsive decision (who am I kidding, it totally was, but if anything I wished I was even more impulsive and bought the ticket on the spot). Just when I was ready to purchase it, the fares shot up by a hundred dollars. Naturally I panicked and scrambled to test alternate dates and airports. And when I finally did find the same price offered for another date, I figured, well, I can buy it first thing tomorrow morning. But yes, you guessed it, it went up again. You would think I would have learned my lesson but I waited again. In the end I ended up paying almost $200 more than the cheapest price!

Purchasing the tickets felt like a victory and a defeat. I won because I overcame my fears and proved to myself that I am determined to go, but at the same time I lost because I felt like I was ripped off. With airlines, the house simply wins by a lot shot, every single time. It really isn’t a total loss, however. If I decided to buy the tickets at the original price, it still would not have been the cheapest. The original dates meant that I would return almost a week earlier, and the extra days give me more time to explore (and spend more money).

It’s easy to count every penny that gets spent; this natural instinct is both a valuable and detrimental asset buried deep in my Chinese DNA. I’ll probably say this at my deathbed: “I wished I didn’t spend that extra $200, because then I can pay for that surgery that could extend my life for another month.” At the end of the day, money’s only value is to exchange it for a potential experience, and I would much rather have it spent in my youth than in my final days (Which leads me to think, should I even bother with saving for retirement?). It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I cannot live life with the sole purpose of hording money.

The moral of the story anyhow, as I’m sure you are all waiting for one: Devote a good portion of time each day to carefully scroll through your newsfeed; one day you will strike gold and have a life changing moment. Just like your newsfeed, events in life will flash by your eyes, and you will have a hard time finding something again if you missed it the first time.

This featured blog entry was written by timothy9 from the blog Timothy Goes To Europe.
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By timothy9

Posted Wed, Jan 15, 2014 | Comments