This past week I was in the UK packing the last belongings from my house and now I am kind of a ‘digital nomad’ living in hotels.
Since my husband had to go back to Doha for work I enlisted the help of my mother to come for mostly moral support and to escape babysitting my nieces for a few days. 😉
WizzAir had a great flight from Sofia to Doncaster for like £20 one way which by the time I booked it was about £60.
My mother, however, went to the airport and still managed to miss this flight!!! – Oh, mama I still love ya!
She was one of a few people who missed their flights and sadly the ground support staff didn’t help them at all. They didn’t even tell them they can re-confirm their ticket so they don’t lose the money.
I am still disputing this with the WizzAir and almost 10 days later I haven’t heard back. I just felt really sorry for my mum and the other passengers who had to wait 4 days for another flight or pay £200 per person. Having been through that airport numerous times I have to say it is chaotic with all the low-cost airlines and I am not surprised they missed their flight.
Anyways, my mum was in a big shock and disappointed for actually missing the flight and her being herself couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night once she was back home.
Everything was fully booked from Sofia as it is peak ski season and the only option was an Avios flight to London. And the 700miles round trip to pick her up! Ouch!
Considering it was last minute, literally 4 hours before the flight departed it was about £250 cash or 10,000 Avios and £15 one way.
Wonder which one I picked? 😉
Now the reason why I love using Avios and actually stash for an emergency exactly like this one. When prices are high and totally last minute, airlines will open their unsold seats for redemption. This was the case with my mum’s flight. It wasn’t available until the morning of her departure on Avios but it saved me a ton of cash and most importantly it made her happy.
My lesson is to always have a stash of Avios available for immediate redemption in case of a family emergency. Since I live abroad my bigger fear is something happening to my parents while I can’t get to them. Especially since last-minute flights cost mostly an arm and a leg too.
If the flight is not available when you check don’t panic, come back later or even few hours prior to departure and about 80% of the time when it’s not overbooked it will be available.
One thing I love about using the Avios option is that I can literally buy a ticket just an hour or so before the flight.
I did this on a trip back from Rome and I booked my ticket while at the check in counter. Even my own ticket back from Doha was not available for the last leg of my flight from London to Leeds, I had to change the flight morning before I board my flight to London. It saved me about £150 per person and I ended up paying only £35 for the change of the ticket, not even extra Avios where needed as international redemptions have free local transfer.
Such emergencies and conveniences are the reason why I love my points so much and I will always keep my small stash ready to go.
P.S. Always make sure they are in your airline account rather than for example an American Express card since that transfer will take much longer to process.