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Rant: Don’t Fly Air India

Maybe it’s because I’m young, or maybe because I’m inexperienced, but I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for when flying cheap.

Sam (my younger sister) is going to college in England. I, enter broke young college student, am of course going to take the double whammy of simultaneously seeing my sister and going on a trans-atlantic adventure with free housing. Does it really get any better than that?

After deciding that I was definitely going in November, I began the process of scouring the internet for the longest trip at the lowest price. I worked my tail off this past summer, so I wasn’t exactly scraping by but I wanted the best bang for my buck. I checked multiple different sites, and finally found a flight through Expedia with Air India for 10 days that made my wallet happy.

I was set! England and Sam, here I come!

sister and i sitting on a dock
Me and Sam

A few weeks pass by and now it’s the middle of October. I get a voicemail from an Indian guy that my flight has been cancelled. Scam to get my credit card? That was the initial assumption. I could only wish it was a scam.

Three voicemails later, it become pretty obvious that my flight was actually canceled. Air India could only offer me one alternative flight, and I would be missing way too much school. Air India was impossible to get a hold of, and Expedia couldn’t get a hold of them, either. For a company who left so many voicemails, you’d think they’d be better at answering the phone. I spent the next five days painstakingly calling both Air India and Expedia, desperately trying to cancel my flight and get a refund so that I could book another.

Air India told me that Expedia was in charge of the refund, then Expedia told me that Air India were the ones who pocketed my money, Expedia simply being the middleman. ‘But I was JUST on the phone with Air India and they told me to call YOU about it,’ I argued, pulling clumps of hair out along with my sanity. Talk about miscommunication.

The long and short of it is that after three hours on the phone with both companies, and speeding up the hair greying process a good five years, I finally got my refund. Expedia was actually very helpful in moving the process forward and contacting Air India to get to the bottom of this mess, and I luckily snagged a ticket before the prices skyrocketed even more.

While you can cut corners when it comes to buying cheap textbooks or used clothes, I learned the hard way that, sometimes, it’s better to swallow the pill and buy the more expensive, reliable flight.

What are your thoughts on flying cheap? Which do you prefer?

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