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October 09, 2008

Airfare discount? And, need a hand?

October 9. Day 101.

Continued from this morning:

For a few weeks I've been planning a trip to Seattle, whenever airfare dropped and the timing was right with La Sorella and her boyfriend. They moved up there a few months ago and needed some time to settle in. I'll be there for a week, maybe 10 days, reading materials for my next chapter by day, cooking up a storm by night, and making a pilgrimage to my beloved Espresso Vivace.

I checked tickets on ITA Software, and as I was preparing to buy something on JetBlue, I got an idea. What if I tried to get a customized discount? I mean, airlines are struggling right now as much as consumers are, so maybe they'd be willing to cut a deal? Something beyond Priceline, which stopped being a bargain destination years ago. I emailed the corporate communications department and made my case. An excerpt:
I'm writing today with a question. I was wondering if you ever have any leeway on prices, or if you could lower your prices by even a small amount, for an upcoming trip I have to make. I would like to travel to Seattle from San Diego to be with my younger sister, who just graduated from college, and help her out as she looks for a job. I'm a grad student living in California, and my budget is very tight.

I realize that asking for a personal discount is highly unorthodox, and I think you have wonderful prices based on the excellent service you provide! But, I just thought I would ask, since given the economy and my own financial situation, I need to be careful with every penny I spend. Yet I also don't want to miss seeing my sister.

If there is any way the $219 ticket on your website can be lowered, by any amount, I would be very grateful.
If it works, that would beyond cool, and I think JetBlue is just open minded enough to consider my request.

On a final note tonight, I bring you an example where offering help rather than asking for it ended up can bring unanticipated benefits. I parked a few blocks from my house, for lack of a closer spot, and walked back past a couple standing next to a car that had one headlight flashing. Odd.

"Do you need any help? Do you need to use my cell phone?" I asked from across the street. Normally, I don't accost people when I'm alone, by a bunch of bushes, at night, but it's a generally safe neighborhood.

Or so I thought.

"No, it's not our car," the woman replied. "We just called the police, since it looks like someone broke into this car."

It was a Honda Civic. The man told me his car, also a Civic, was burglarized on the same street two nights ago. And the car I parked a few feet away (it's Mr. A's, since we traded cars today) is also a Civic.

I moved it immediately.

Gained: Perhaps an airfare discount, and critical info about my neighborhood these days.
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