The snowstorm moved up the east coast of the US last week.
Travel was snarled on the ground and, air and train traffic was
halted. Government offices were closed.
I had a planned trip on the west coast for a meeting first thing
Monday morning. Originally, I arranged travel on Sunday in enough time.
All things needed to change.
ADVANTAGE TO FLY SOUTHWEST (SWA).
SWA does not charge a change fee if you have to make a change.
I rearranged to leave Saturday on the same carrier SWA and
planned to fly through Chicago, rather than Baltimore which seemed
likely to close due to the storm. (It did.)
Then, I had to figure out where to stay for the one night early
arrival. I searched for accommodations on several sites and found
they all were $170 and up, $250 in the convention vicinity. I have
a rewards program with one of the vendors, so I went to the site.
$169, with a match a lower price offer on the webpage. I searched
and found one at $129, PRINTED OUT THE PAGE and brought it
(You usually have to have proof of a lower price to get approval
and have to show it at check-in.)
The flight was on time. The hotel I chose was 1 mile from the airport
and had a free airport shuttle service. So, I could be picked up from
the airport even at 11pm. Service requests need to be made when
you book, so I booked via their 800 number asking for a shuttle
At check in, I negotiated a $50 lower stay and asked for shuttle
service to my pre-arranged hotel for the meetings.
Then, catastrophe struck. We had a death in the family requiring me
to leave the meeting early. In the rush and over-burden of the
moment I misplaced my parking ticket at the final destination
Again, I called SWA and asked for help to change flights asking
for an additional flight, a bereavement flight. They provided
a nice service at quite a reduced cost over the advertised price
due to the problem– again without a change fee.
Step by step we proceeded through the lengthened trip. Then,
I had to negotiate with the car parking garage. You can usually
deal with an experienced attendant as long as you have your
itinerary, license and auto registration with you.
When making travel plans, think about the possibility of
travel plan changes, book with an airlines, hotel and auto
rental firms that allow changes and provide the services you
Expect the unexpected and be prepared, having a copy of your
itinerary and registration with you (in the glove compartment).