June 10th, 2019


The KC Shuffle

I had been trying to figure out what would be a good airfare to fly to KC in September like I had mentioned in a previous post. The base price would be based on driving the 1600 mile round trip. That would be about 80 gallons of gasoline at $2.50/gallon, so about $200. Of course that would also mean 2 days of nothing but driving. So when I checked flights on Expedia, I saw that the cheapest flights were about $250/person round trip. OK. Not too bad. Southwest was still being idiotic and asking over $700. I suppose that's an improvement from the $1000 they were asking a couple of weeks ago. I had also considered Amtrak since it goes between here and there. They too were asking about $700 if I wanted a sleeper. And once again that would mean 2 days on the train. So I decided to go for the fare on Expedia which would mean American Airlines.

One reason I usually like Southwest is because they don't dick around with the fare. Sure, you have to be ready to hit that confirmation button exactly 24 hours before your flight to avoid the dreaded "C" boarding pass, but I never had a problem getting a "B" and my choice of seat. With American if you don't pay more money (like $100!!!) your seat will be chosen for you when you get to the airport. Fine! You want to give me the middle seat? It won't be hell for me. It will be for the schmuck that paid the $100 to get a window or aisle and ended up next to me.

Then I noticed that Expedia liked to play games. You book a base fare for the round trip based on your departing flight. It then figures out the additional cost on the return flight based on your preferences. So it came up with a price of $230/person and my return flight was an addition $0 for a total cost of $460. I then added a rental car for the weekend which would add $100. OK. Done. Not so fast. It said the car I wanted was no longer available. Start again. So I rebooked the flight, and now the cost was only $190! Woot! I then booked the return flight which had gone from $0 to $40. The net result was a change of $0. Oh. And the $100 car was now $200. WTF?!? So I decided to just book the flight and deal with a car later. I priced out the flights again and it was back to $230/$0. Oy! Fine. Booked! Done. It then asked me if I wanted that extra $100 to book a seat. No. Would I like to book a car? Sure! Guess what? The price was back down to $100. So I booked it. Done. I know airline fare algorithms are complex things, but this was ridiculous. But we're booked and ready to have a fun weekend in a few months.