So, my fiance visa arrived last Friday, dropped off by a courier who wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine. He was even less impressed when, in response to his demand for proof of identification, I pointed to the bag he was holding. Oh, how we laughed (my smile was met with a grim frown, but I know he was grinning on the inside). Thankfully we worked around that problem (I showed him my debit card) and he was able to zoom away – with the music blaring from his little car because that’s how you roll when you’re a cool dude courier – to the more important places on his route. Meanwhile I returned to my room and tried to make sense of the package.
You see, it wasn’t a thin file with my passport and maybe some papers explaining how my visa worked. Oh no, it was a huge folder filled with paperwork, most of it I hadn’t seen before. Only when I saw Vanna’s handwriting did I realize it was all the paperwork we (well, Vanna) had sent them over the past year or so. Apparently they thought they’d give it all back. Quite an impressive collection, but not exactly what I was expecting. Where is the visa, and where is the relevant information?
The relevant information was a tiny piece of paper paper-clipped to my passport, which consisted of one paragraph that essentially said I would need to apply for my LDR (the change of status form thing; hey I can’t remember what it stands for off the top of my head) once I was married, and how I couldn’t leave the US until the LDR process was complete. Well, tell me something I don’t know. As for the visa, that was a little cooler; instead of another piece of paper, it was a page inside my passport. The expiry date for the visa is the end of October, which is when my medical examination results become invalid. Not really a problem as I plan to be over there before then anyway. Otherwise, there is no restriction to when I can travel. So, that of course raises one question; when do I go?
Now, Vanna was obviously keen for me to be there immediately. But though I was obviously keen to see her too, I knew there was things I needed to sort out first. Initially I was penciling sometime in mid-July (giving myself a month), but to be honest, the deciding factor would be which day was the cheapest to fly on. So I went online to study the prices…and that is when I ran into a problem.
To put it frankly, the flying system is absolute [REDACTED]. Seriously, people, the way certain flights are priced is [REDACTED] outrageous. What I discovered makes me hate the entire airline industry because it is total [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and I’m still angry about it now (as you can imagine, the words hidden by the redaction are not friendly words. But they are accurate).
Right, let me explain. You see, flying one way (like I plan to do) should be fairly inexpensive. Logically, if the flight I usually get (Delta) is around £750, a single should be half that. Heck, I’d take £400, and probably wouldn’t blink at £500. Those prices makes sense to me. That’s what you’d expect, right? It’s what I expected, that’s for sure.
Ha! Of course it wasn’t even close to that price. £500? Think again, sucker! The cheapest Delta ticket I could find (and I looked through twenty sites, checking June, July and August) is nearly twice as much as that. It was a whopping £1200! This is for one flight! Double the price, half the service. £1200? Are you [REDACTED] kidding me?
Okay, but Delta are expensive. What about other companies? Surely they sell cheaper? Yep, two of them do, but it is still a ridiculous £700, which is only slightly cheaper than a return. Nevertheless, I would perhaps go for it because I need to be in the US, but they all involve two stops and ridiculous layover times. Because that is what I really need isn’t it? You know, on the most stressful flight of my life, why not chuck in a twenty hour stop in Copenhagen (no offence, people of Copenhagen, but I don’t want to be in your airport for a full day)? How amazing would that me? Bump up my stress and misery by offering an awful budget flight that decides to tour the world first. Fantastic!
I don’t even know what to say. Just…how the hell is this a thing? Sure, there are explanations for why it works this way online, but I can’t take any of them seriously. They don’t apply a logic I’m familiar with when they decide these prices. There is no way you can reason to me that a one way flight should be more expensive than a return. It just shouldn’t be. This is a complete and utter ripoff which is made worse by the fact there is not a single thing I can do about it. Talk about a kick in the teeth! I think I’ve taken about fifty kidney punches too. And a sly little elbow to the nose too. Complete and utter…
So, what do we do? Well, I figure that we have several options, all of them awful.
- Pay the budget. This depresses me because I would be paying my usual price but for a garbage experience. Again, I’m due to have a very stressful time at customs. I do not need two layovers and all the hassle that comes with them.
- Pay for Delta. This also depresses me, because I know the only thing I’ll be thinking about is how I’ve paid so much for it. We can afford it, but that doesn’t mean we want to. Preferable to budget, but I don’t want to eat all of my future fund in one go.
- Do the return ticket, and then ignore the flight home. Really don’t want to do this, as though it isn’t illegal, I’m concerned it will raise issues at customs. And the plane company doesn’t like you doing it (though maybe it wouldn’t happen if the system wasn’t so damn stupid) and I don’t want there to be problems there either.
- Talk to an agent and hope they come up with a better deal. Vanna has emailed her lady, and will call her again tomorrow. At this point I would accept paying the return ticket price (£700/800) for a single, providing it was Delta. It wouldn’t be ideal, but better than the above alternatives.
What choices, eh? This discovery has depressed me, you know. What should be a happy moment in my life is being ruined by a stupid system. It really has spoiled it.
It doesn’t help that I can’t do anything to change it. At the moment all I can do is pray for Vanna’s agent to come up with a miracle. If she doesn’t? Urgh, doesn’t bear thinking about.
Sorry for the general tone to this blog post, people. Understandably, I’m a little frustrated by things. On the plus side, the World Cup starts tonight. Maybe that’ll cheer me up.
Speak to you again tomorrow.