For most people this happens rather further in advance. If you’re planning a big holiday, the process of booking a flight early not only ensures the best price but also gives you several months of looking forward to the trip to get excited about. We, on the other hand, are booking our flights only 3 weeks before emigrating to the other side of the world, which just adds to the craziness of this last minute decision.
I was pretty horrified (but not surprised) at the prices the airlines were offering. As I will be travelling with my prize possession of a Nord Stage 2 keyboard, I was keen to get a direct flight with a generous baggage policy to avoid it being bumped along the runway in its flight case too many times. But this requirement compounded matters. In the end Skyscanner threw up two deals, with Virgin Atlantic from London via small travel agents, that were suspiciously half the price of Virgin’s own fare for the same flight. I decided to research the first of these companies, Omega Flight Store, and alarm bells immediately started ringing. Dissatisfied customers galore, payments being rejected or charged twice and final prices differing from quotes on the website. Not having many options though, I decided to call them to ask about checking in extra baggage, but in reality to suss them out. After receiving a sharp ‘no’ (with no elaboration whatsoever) from a call handler with broken English to my enquiry about making an arrangement for our baggage, I decided to move swiftly on….Next up, fingers crossed for Wang Dynasty….They will win no website awards and Google warned me to be careful that this is probably a Chinese website. No kidding, Sherlock. But I concluded that we were flying to China, and this is no good reason to assume it’s a scam website. We will have to get used to working with the Chinese, after all, and I personally have high hopes. Claiming to have an office in Chinatown in Manchester, I called the office and was pleasantly reassured by a girl with a soft Manchester accent and nice Chinese lilt who was competent and patient enough to answer all my questions. Booked. The ticket numbers all look legit according to Virgin, so looks like we’ve saved ourselves a bunch of money. Assuming we get there ok, thumbs up to Wang.
Three weeks to go! I’m typing this from the poolside at my parents’ house in France, but in 2 days I’ll be back in Leeds to pack, move out, renew my passport, collect a visa and play 2 final gigs etc.! The calm before the storm!