Trip Planning – Our 1st Fail
Posted by: Mark Plante on July 11, 2019
It is kind of disheartening when the very first thing I try to do in planning our 2020 trip to Orlando falls through.
Let me set the stage. We usually plan our vacations roughly six months in advance and what we do is based on the cost of airfare. You see, we live in Rhode Island and our main airport is located in Providence [PVD] (Warwick, RI to be exact, but that’s another story for another time.). The only carriers located here that fly into Orlando [MCO] or Tampa[TPA] are Delta, American, Frontier, United, Southwest and JetBlue. United, Delta and American Airlines are very expensive to fly out of PVD with roundtrip fares averaging about $900 per a person (there are four of us). Frontier Airlines is fairly new to Rhode Island and what I have read about them, not too dependable. That leaves us Southwest and JetBlue Airlines to get our flights.
Of the two airlines, I prefer Southwest for flying to Orlando from Providence. Although both carriers provide direct flights, JetBlue’s fares are slightly higher with only two scheduled flights per day to and from Orlando and JetBlue also charges for luggage where Southwest offers anywhere from 10-15 flights a day, both ways and luggage is included within the cost of your ticket.
With that being said, we have two windows of opportunity for vacation in 2020… February or April school vacations. I have two teenaged daughters that are in high school and my wife is an elementary school teacher so our vacations, as I said, are based on the 2020 school calendars.
Also, this year will most-likely be the last time that we all visit Disney as a family. My oldest daughter will be graduating high school in June and will be moving away to college in the fall. College and grade school vacations do not line up.
OK… So we are hoping to go in February this year, but we cannot make any further plans because both Southwest and JetBlue have not announced their flights for February and beyond as of yet (Southwest is booking through early January and JetBlue through the week before we would be leaving in February.).
After checking through Google a few weeks ago, Southwest announced that they would be opening flights for January – March, 2020 on July 10, 2019. I was excited that I was actually going to be able to begin the planning of our 2020 vacation. The cost of the airline tickets with affect what we are able to do and where we are able to go for the rest of the vacation. I was glad that I would at least get the ball rolling.
Well, yesterday was July 10, 2019 and when I went onto Southwest’s website at http://www.southwest.com and tried to search for tickets, they were still only accepting reservations through January 5th. What? REALLY??? I tried again today, July 11, 2019 and, nope, they are still only accepting through January 5th.
Come on Southwest! It is not like I went to some Travel Blogger’s site to get this information. I got it directly from your website www.southwest.com.
Well, I guess that I will continue to search and watch to see when JetBlue will start accepting reservations for the third week in February, 2020 and see who has the better price. My daughters were a little disappointed last night, as was I, due to the fact that once we have the plane tickets, we strategically plan the rest of the vacation as a family. When we sit at the kitchen table to figure where we are going on certain days, it can get more intense than a NFL team’s war room on draft day.
My plans are now put on hold, which to be honest is not a major disaster in the grand scheme of life. But, Southwest, I would have expected better from you than to put out incorrect information that would mislead your customers.