Free Flight Fiasco

I recently booked an award travel with USAir for my upcoming Oktoberfest trip. I had 100k dividend miles and still paid $111 in feed. Due to my itinerary, I had to choose these dates. A ‘free’ flight is always welcome but I felt like I could have done better. After all, it took years to save up for those free flights!

Flight Itinerary

Depart: Charlotte, NC (CLT) 18 Sep 2009
Arrive: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) 19 Sep 2009
Class: Coach

And Back
Depart: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) 04 Oct 2009
Arrive:Charlotte, NC (CLT) 04 Oct 2009
Class: Coach

CLT to FRA was fine but CLT to Munich or Berlin would have been better!

It turns out that I could have done much, much better! I left out some items in my How to Find Cheap Flights Post.

Bring In the Cavalry

I travel a bit, but there are others that travel much, much more. And I now bow down before them. There is a frequent flier’s bulletin board FlyerTalk and it covers everything flying on the cheap. And they mean business. Seriously. It took me a week to find the Rosetta Stone for these people!

Errors Made While Booking

It turns out booking via the USAir website was a big no-no. They only offer a fraction of the flights there. For far cheaper I could have used the Star Alliance – an air carrier group of which USAir is a part of – and gotten my pick of any German city – Berlin, Munich, etc and traveled Business Class for only 80k miles! I would have spent less AND have gone to the exact place I wanted to. All I would have had to do is to join the ANA Frequent Flier program and used their search engine to find a way to go. I was robbed!

What to do next

Well, if it was only me, I would cancel the flight (and pay $250 to do it) and rebook on a partner airline for 50K miles, or 80K in business class. But I have a traveling companion for the first week and that brings the re-booking fees up.

What I am going to try to do is rebook the leg of the journey back from Frankfurt to Charlotte. Unfortunately, I have been told conflicting information. Ideally, I would leave from Munich (or Prague) at the same time / date as my current flight out of Frankfurt 10/4/2009. Is it possible for me to do this – and get the 50k in miles back – without invalidating the first leg of my trip? I am not sure, but I will find out!

Oktoberfest Vocabulary

Several Cubicle Warriors are headed to Munich, Germany this September for Oktoberfest. LargeMammal, compiled a little vocabulary list you may wish to brush up on. Just a few things he thought might come in handy.

Of course, there’s the official Oktoberfest English dictionary here.

Pronunciation notes
“W” is pronounced as “V”
“V” is pronounced as “F”
“R” is pronounced as in “Ahnold”

Useful phrases

English German Pronunciation
Hello Allo Allo
Yes Ja “Ya”
No Nein Nine
How are you? Wie geht’s? Vee gates?
A beer Ein bier “Iyn beer”
Please Bitte Bitta
One more, please Einmal, bitte Iynmal, bitta
Good Gut Goot
Bad Schlecht “Shlekt”
What is your name? Wie heisst du? “Vee highst do?”
Here is my friend Hier ist mein Freund “Here isst mine froynd”
What are you drinking? Was trinkst du? “Vass trinkst do?”
More beer, please Mehr bier, bitte “Mare beer, bitta”
You are funny Du bist lustig Do beast loose tig
You are pretty Du bist schön Do beast shern
You are drunk Du bist getrunken “Do beast getrunken”
Come with me Kommt mit mir “Komt mit meer”
This is my hotel Es ist mein hotel Ess isst mine hotel
Yes, I own it Ja, ist mein Ya, isst mine
Who are they? Wer sind alles? “Ver zind allays?”
These are my friends Sie sind meine Freunde Zee zind mina froynda
Where are you going? Woher gehst du? Vo hare gayst do?
Please don’t go Bitte nicht gehen “Bitta nisht gayhen”
Goodbye Auf wiedersehen Owf vee der zay hen
I feel sick Ich bin krank “Eech been kronk”
Where is the toilet? Woher ist die WC? “Vo hare isst dee Vee See?”
Oh my god Mein gott “Mine got”
This is the wrong room Es ist der falsch Zimmer “Ess isst dare falsh tzimmer”
Hello, officer Allo, Herr Polizei-Mann “Allo hare po lee tzai mahn”
US embassy US-Botschaft OO Ess Bot shaft
I’m sorry, Cubicle Warrior Es tut mir leid, Cubicle Warrior “Ess toot meer lied, Cubicle Warrior”