Monday, March 19, 2007

Bookings, Savings...

Our travel agent sends out an email for each itinarary or each booking.

Normally, I just open the "travel" folder in the mail, and from the mail-subjects I know when and where to go.

The mail doesnt contain the exact intinarary, however. It contains a weblink to the page with the complete details. The mail alone is therefore not enough. That is normally only a minor problem: just connect to the internet, type the relevant data in, and presto.

Not so for April, May and June.

For starters, I seem to have very little mails for the coming weeks. Did I forget to request the bookings ? Bank-holiday-confusion again ?

But it gets worse:
I click on all the links, nothing makes sense. From some trips I dont seem to return, or leave. How do I get from Helsinki to Leeds ?

Help - When/where am I supposed to go ?

I puzzle through all the mails, I start making notes, and end up composing a calendar in my own spreadsheet. For starters, I only got half the number of expected mails. And most of the mails have a title that is off by 1 week from the
actual reservation inside (click, surprise: other dates pop-up..???).


Travel-agency is understaffed and overworked, so phone-hell awaits. When I finally get to a person (a very friendly one, but audibly busy), she explains: It is not the fault of the agent (do I care?) It is the consequence of a demand by my employers' bookkeepers. They have tried to get cheaper deals on "combined bookings" (I care even less, but I can sense trouble).

But the combined-bookings have failed in one of the systems, and had to be re-done (Now I care - I feel sorry for her, she had to do all this work, and she has explained this Many, Many, Many times).

As a result, in my emails, I only get to see half the data. It is a known problem, and she will send me new, complete, mails for every itinarary by COB (now I care: we are moving towards resolution).

At my insistant request, she did verify (and sort-of-convinced me) that my bookings were all (re-)done as planned and requested (I care a lot!). I should be ok for seats. It is just the email-notification that hasnt come through yet.

Moral of the Rant: Penny wise and pound foolish !

This has kept several people quite busy for several hours each:

- The bookkeeper to come up with the idea (he probably had to get it reviewed, risk-analyzed, and approved by various manager too. They all mean well, they are just pointed towards the wrong problems. Consider applying that brainpower to knitting tea-cosies for charity. It might cause less damage).

- The ladies at the agent who had to do and re-do my bookings.

- The IT-jockeys at the travelagent who build and later fixed the systems, not to mention the semi-automatic mails.

- Myself, in major panic for two hours, afraid to be marooned in an inhospitable climate.

- The ladies at the agent, again, when they had to explain it all to me (and 420 others?), and who then had to double check everything to get me (only half) convinced that it is all OK now. Maybe others would be more trusting, I'm just a suspicious bugger.

- Most Important: My friendly assistant who though the whole plan was done and dusted, but who will now recieve 13+ more semi-automatic emails to file away. I've already tried to explain it in an email, but I can sense a follow up by phone, and a box of choccies (hm, that box of choccies would have been done anyway).

I'm still awaiting the mails with new confirmations though.

On a more positive note: It was a Beautiful Day today.


Anonymous said...

You missed the most important thing out though, we had the inestimable pleasure of your company in Toon.
Glad you got it resolved, and I hope that the trains get you away again on time.

pdvfirstblog said...

Correct, Always a pleasure to visit Toon. Although the Footie is not quite my thingy - like.


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