Why I don’t book airplane tickets: The Vegas Incident


Generally speaking, I am perfectly capable of booking my own airplane tickets. Prior to the “Vegas Incident,” I booked my own travel, successfully I might add. But since that fateful moment, I’ve left the travel bookings to my dear wife Anne. So what exactly happened that fateful day?

Happy Honeymoon

Anne and I were not flush with cash after getting married, but we wanted to do some kind of honeymoon vacation away from home. We decided that Vegas would fit the bill. We aren’t gamblers but its somewhere we’d never gone and the prices for airfare and accommodations are cheap.

Anne was in charge of most of the wedding details so it fell to me to do the honeymoon planning, with input from her of course.

Air Vegas

This was in 2002 and online booking was already pretty solidly squeezing out traditional travel agencies. I got on whatever service was in vogue at the time and looked for the best deals. I settled on Air Vegas. They had decent reviews and the best price available.

Upon hearing of my choice Anne was none too pleased. I was caught by surprise. What had I done wrong? Anne wanted to know why I didn’t book on Alaska Airlines instead? I explained that I got the best price possible. She said she didn’t trust this Air Vegas.

I argued that if we were going to Vegas, there was no reason not to use Air Vegas. Taking you to Vegas is what they do. This did not impress my dear wife. And good for her, its a pretty bad argument. She countered that Air Vegas could go out of business. She’d never heard of them and the news reports were heavy with tales of failing Airlines in 2002.

It was my turn to be skeptical. Go out of business, in the space of four weeks, the notion was ridiculous. What were the chances of that? Besides, I’d bought the tickets, they were not refundable, what was done was done. I got a bit of the evil eye but otherwise emerged from this discussion unscathed, and confident in my wise bargain hunting.

Time to fly

The wedding was fantastic, married life was upon us, and it was time to partake in the honeymoon ritual. We were high on life, and while Vegas wasn’t our first pick for fantastic vacations, we were still pretty stoked to be celebrating our union by exploring sin city together.

You may expect given the subject matter of this story that the flight was a disaster. I’m here to tell you this is not the case. Air Vegas came through in delivering us to Las Vegas as well as could be expected for economy class tickets. They were largely on time, no hassle, and whisked us to our destination for the lowest price available. A serviceable snack was served and we were on our merry way.

Vegas was a mixed bag of delights and disappointments, but having no especially high hopes for the place, we had a grand time with one another. I even made some small point of highlighting that the dreaded Air Vegas had done their job admirably. My dear wife was kind enough to award me this point of pride.

How the mighty fall

Yet if this tale had a happy ending, I would not be writing it today. So what happened?

At the conclusion of our vacation we arrived at the Las Vegas airport ready to return home and begin the work of building our new life together. I stepped up to the ticket counter to get my boarding pass and was greeted with the following news.

Air Vegas went out of business yesterday and have canceled all their flights.

I blinked. I reeled slightly knowing both I was now pooched and that I was about to get the mother of all “I told you so.” But then a light shined down from the heavens and the woman at the counter offered both salvation and damnation wrapped into one statement.

Alaska Airlines has decided to offer free flights to everyone who had Air Vegas tickets, so I just need to transfer you to one of their flights to Seattle.

At once it seemed the gods were mocking me while rescuing me. Anne’s right to “I told you so.” had just quadrupled. But she could see in my eyes the defeat and she chose mercy over vindication. After all, my error had ultimately had not cost us anything, but she was 100% right, and I had learned a lesson, as improbable as it seemed to me.

True to their word, Alaska Airlines delivered us home safely, promptly, and with slightly better snacks than those offered by the now defunct Air Vegas. But from this time forward, I’ve left the airline arrangements to my wise spouse.


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