My vacation is almost over. Ten days was the longest I've stayed in my hometown since I moved out and I was beyond happy that I got to spend more time with my family. On Monday, I'm officially back to work with an update training class waiting for me. Life is good! But before all those good times happened, there was one bad time, and never in my life did I imagine something like that to happen to me. But it did. I guess I just have to believe Murphy, if something can go wrong, it will. But I wasn't prepared.
April 6, Sunday - Reiko and I were scheduled to fly to my hometown at 8:10am. Knowing that it's hard to wake Reiko up so early, I checked-in online the night before our flight so I wouldn't have to rush the next morning. To my surprise, I wasn't allowed to check in and the reason was not indicated at all. I double-checked the requirements - it's up to 72 hours before the flight, Reiko is no longer an infant, and there are only two of us traveling so why the heck wasn't I allowed to check in online? Then I called the airline's customer service and they told me that I still have a payment due for around Php5,000 or around $115 and that if I wanted to pay it, I can pay at the airport.
After a couple of text messages and phone calls to my friend whose sister booked the ticket for us (it was a ticketing office), I was told that they're already fixing it. I panicked for 5 minutes.. no actually, I panicked every time I thought about what may happen and did not get enough rest that night as I was waiting for a response from them.
Morning came and off to the airport we went 2 hours before our flight even though I wasn't so sure of what's happening. I prepared extra cash to pay off that payment due whatever that was and thought of just asking a refund from the ticketing office that booked our flight. I just had to explain to the airline personnel that I booked the flight a month ago, I paid in cash, then a ticketing office booked the flight for me. The itinerary receipt was sent to me a month ago with a CONFIRMED status and I wasn't informed of any changes. So why were they saying that I still have a payment due? Clearly, there's a disconnect and I just couldn't figure out where.
My husband already left us inside the check in area since only passengers were allowed and he didn't have his phone so I couldn't contact him right away. I lined up at the check-in counter and much to my horror, the personnel told me that I still have a payment due of Php19,000 or around $430?! Seriously?! So it turned out that whoever booked our flight booked us an entirely new flight on that same day and that's why they're asking me to pay Php19,000! Sounded really absurd so I went to the cashier and told her that I'm gonna pay the original flight booked for us for Php5000 only but she insisted that I needed to pay Php19,000 instead! I asked why I still have a payment due and she told me that the transaction was suspicious and it was a fraudulent activity so it was charged back by the bank and was never paid! Although I completely understood what she meant by a charge-back and a suspicious transaction, I was still in confused mode and for a while I thought of yelling at her but I was sure it would do more harm than good. And well, I'm really not that kind of person.
I asked the cashier if I could book an entirely new flight using my debit card and she tried to look for one on that same day but it was already very very expensive. What was I thinking? So with Reiko running around from time to time, my luggage, and my heart on my throat, I decided to just go home and think of what to do next. I called my mom and told her everything and despite how upset she was, she told me that maybe there was a reason why it happened and that she would do her best to book a new flight for us instead.
I felt really really really upset about what happened. It was the worst inconvenience I've experienced so far. I was nearly in tears, or I think there were a few tears or I wasn't sure, it must have been sweat from my eyes? I didn't even bother argue with the cashier, she must have been right you know and I was too scared to embarrass myself. I was still feeling blank but I couldn't just sit there and do nothing. I could do something right? So what I did was go home and let go... let go instead of regretting I ever booked a flight through someone else in the hopes of getting a discounted fare. I didn't expect that it was to the point of fraud or something like that, had I known, I wouldn't have booked our flight through them. Wrong move.
Well, this story fortunately had a happy ending. But no, we didn't get any explanation yet from the airline as to why they're asking us to pay the Php19,000 instead of the Php5000 only even after 2 hours of being on the phone with them. Yes, I got refunded of half the ticket price by the ticketing office and I'm still waiting for the other half. No, I still did not know exactly why it became a suspicious activity or fraudulent transaction although I have some ideas. And yes, we were able to book a new flight to our hometown and we arrived exactly to celebrate Reiko's birthday there. It was a 10-day vacation well-spent.
Lessons learned: Know the people you'll trust. Let go of the bad things. And move on. There's no point crying over spilled milk.
Has something like this ever happened to you? What did you do and how did you feel about it? Hope you have a great weekend!