When Traveling Fugally Backfires – Part I

Originally I was thinking I would just do one post about my recent last minute trip to go to a funeral but I figured I would do a mid-trip update.  My grandfather passed away this past week so my sister and I planned a trip down to Florida for the funeral and did our best to be as frugal as possible.  So far, this has failed and makes me wonder how much easier my life might be if I was just willing to shell out money every once and a while.

Mr. SFF recently did some work for a friend who works for Jet Blue and instead of paying for his services we bartered for the future use of some buddy passes.  I “cashed in” on these tickets for this trip since last minute flights are never cheap.  I have used the Jet Blue buddy passes once before for my other grandfather’s funeral 2 years ago and it went off without any problems.  Unfortunately this time, we are running into all sorts of snags.

First off, it is the start of a vacation week at schools.  This means that everyone is trying to get out of town.  Great…  Instead of flying out of our local airport because they were 100% booked from Thursday through Saturday we decided to fly out of Boston.  Not ideal but doable.  My friend said there were currently 12 seats open for the 9am flight out of Boston on Saturday morning (this was on Wednesday) so that sounded pretty good.  Instead of having to worry about the drive both ways plus parking, as those costs can easily add up, we decided to take a bus down to Boston the night before and then fly back into our home airport.  Sounds good, right?

The bus ride went pretty well, other than being on the second floor and feeling a little woozy and the Jersey girl behind me completely unaware that her talking voice was too loud for a public space.  We got in around 8 and took the commuter rail out to a relative’s house as they had a spare bed for us.  So far, so good.  This morning my aunt drove us to the airport and we were ready for the next leg of our trip.  The lines to check in and get through security were insanely long.  But after checking in at the kiosk and making it through security we headed to our gate.  That’s when I started to get worried that this might not work.  I overheard a woman next to me say she was flying standby and there was only 1 seat available.  Oh no, not good.  When I checked in with the JetBlue rep I learned that there was only 1 seat available and that we were numbers 6 & 7 on the standby list (I thought we were 1&2 based on what my friend has said when we booked).  Oh goodness, not great.  This was, after all, vacation week and people were probably more likely to actually show up for flights.

One by one the other standby customers were called to the desk.  It turned out that they were all in groups of 2 or 3 and were not willing to split up so they called our names.  We had decided while we were waiting that one of us should go if it came down to that and that it would be me.  My dad was flying in today as well and set to arrive within an hour of our flight so I could easily catch a ride with them and then my sister could rent the car when she finally (hopefully) arrives as the car rental was in her name.  Decent plan B, right?  Wrong.

Once I landed I turned on my phone and saw a text from my dad.  Apparently their flight was delayed leaving and they missed their connection.  They may have paid full price but were also having issues and likely wouldn’t arrive until 7:30.  Being that I arrived at 12:30, that is a long time to wait at the airport.

I tried the Hertz desk to see if it might be possible to switch the reservation to my name.  Nope.  Apparently when you pre-pay you can’t make changes to reservations.  Ugh.  Lesson learned, never pre-pay.  I really hope she does make it otherwise she is paying for a rental that she won’t use.

Now a reasonable not frugal person might have figured this was a good time to shell out a little money.  Maybe pay the $42 for the bus to get to our final destination.  Or get a car rental in my own name for the day, approximately $46.  But frugal me?  No.  That’s a lot of money.  I will try to figure out something.

One uncle was coming in a couple of hours but as I had already been waiting for 2 hours at this point I didn’t really want to wait for another couple, and that was assuming we could actually get ahold of him as he was already in the air.

I was running out of options.  After about 2 hours and a couple of conversations with my dad I finally called my aunt and asked her to pick me up.  I hate asking someone to make the drive but it was better than waiting a few more hours.  So here I am waiting for her in hopes that the rest of the trip will go well and my frugality doesn’t continue to bite me in the ass.

I will post a follow up summary of the trip to see if all of this stress was worth the savings.

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