Okay, I don't know where to begin with this, so I'll just get straight to the point: I've been trying to book a plane ticket for Emma and me to travel to the U.S. over the past few days, and Friday night I thought I was set after having found a great fare on CheapAir.com -- but no, it was too good to be true! The next day I get an e-mail and a phone call telling me that the flight can't be confirmed at the quoted price on-line because in fact the "class" for an infant has been changed, or something or other, and that in fact Emma's fare will be 210 AMERICAN DOLLARS MORE -- supposedly for fuel charges!!?? In essence, her ticket will cost nearly as much as MINE, and she doesn't even get a seat! She will be sitting on my lap and may very well get a bassinet, IF I'm lucky enough to get a bulkhead seat.
Folks, as you all know, my daughter will only be 5 months old in December, and I decided to travel with her in January, after the New Year, because I figured that by then the fares would be much cheaper than traveling over the holidays. It wasn't absolutely crucial that I be in the U.S. for Christmas this year, as Emma is still really little, and I figured we would celebrate Christmas here with my boyfriend's family, and then just celebrate things a bit later with my family back home. In the future, further down the road, I hope to take Emma back to the U.S. for an actual Christmas, when she's older and can really appreciate the Christmas carols, baking cookies, the atmosphere around the holidays -- the whole shebang, quoi. This is pretty much the ONLY time I'll have to be this flexible about my travel times, too, because I'm not working right now. Once I go back to work it will be much tougher to figure out the best times to travel. And this time around I don't need to fly over on a particular date, so I was open to many different possible options.
Basically I was looking at flying over around January 8th and staying nearly a month at my parents' place. But I am BEYOND SHOCKED by these new supposed fuel charges... Does anybody know anything about this? Have you heard anything about this before? Suppposedly the woman at USAir told my mother (who called for me as well, as she was helping me to try to book the tickets) that this was some sort of new international regulation for infant passengers -- but WTF?!?! I thought the whole benefit of traveling with a child under the age of 2 was that the cost was much lower, and this is because she doesn't even get a seat! She weighs less than 15 pounds for goodness sake! How can they say this is for FUEL charges, both ways? Is this some money-making scam, the way the airlines are trying to make up for their own financial losses? Has anyone encountered this? I know I basically have no recourse, but I just don't understand how these Internet companies can quote certain fares and then 24 hours later call you to tell you that no, in fact your fare is NOT what you thought it was going to be, as the airline you're traveling with has decided to add this extra charge...
With the extra taxes and fuel charges, Emma's fare will be pretty much as much as mine, and once again, she DOESN'T GET A SEAT! I'm trying not to get steamed over this, but it's definitely not working... I just got off the phone with my mother again, and we're both simply flummoxed by this whole situation. And they've got us good, these damn airlines, because we obviously can't do a thing! And here I was thinking that I wanted to be able to travel with my daughter while she was little, like everyone has told me, because it's financially beneficial, in addition to the obvious fact that it will be a nice way for us to spend time with my family back in the U.S. But NOW what are we supposed to do? Just bite the bullet? I have a feeling that we'll simply have to do exactly that, because we basically have no recourse. I'm just stunned that the international airlines can just UP and do something like this, out of the blue, and inform passengers about it in such a roundabout way, instead of doing it up-front.
Anyhoo, sorry for the rant. I usually don't get so up in arms and upset about things, but this is just extremely disappointing and unnerving for me, particularly since we're really trying to watch our pennies these days, with me deciding to take a few more months away from work with Emma at home. The last thing we need is to have to pay for an expensive airfare in JANUARY, pretty much the lowest season and what I would think would be one of the least expensive times of year to travel to the U.S. from France.
OK, I'm off to grumble some more to myself... And drag my butt to bed.
P.S. ~ On a brighter sidenote, Emma was adorable today -- gurgling away like crazy and being just the sweetest thing. She even took a 3-hour nap from noon to 3:00! It's her smile that makes everything else fade away into insignificance.