Once I had Margaret booked to Italy on my award, I was going to make every effort to book myself on the same flights. Fares were higher than I was hoping for May; I was set up with Yapta to check for any notable decrease, but I was ready to book whatever there was on Jan. 13 when a new credit card cycle opened. In the time I was tracking the fare, it reached a maximum near $1300, but mostly hovered around $1150; usually the difference over the lowest fares for any flights on those dates, also on United, could be explained by the extra taxes for connecting in Germany.
Would that Friday the 13th be my lucky day? When I got home from work, the fare for those flights was in the $1060s (before any Yapta alert showed), lower than they had been in the time I'd been checking. Even though connections on US Airways were in the $880s, I was determined to be on Margaret's flights and started to book. Kayak directed me to the United site, which asked me to log in. Once I did that, I got a message that the fare was gone and was now near $1200. When things like that happen, I stop and hope things will settle down later. I was leaving for Arizona the next day, and packed my netbook computer, which I wasn't sure I would take, so I could check fares during the trip.
I did another check at 11 p.m. The fare had gone down to $947.70, and I was ready to book. There was another hiccup in going from Kayak to United, but the fare was still showing. I started the booking process, including selecting my seats. I opened the United site in a second window to see what Margaret's seat assignments were, so I could select seats next to her (and it would include going to the Lufthansa site to make a selection for their Chicago-Munich flight). When I finished selecting my seats in my window on the United site, the final booking page showed Margaret's itinerary, not mine! I was able to start over with the fare still there, and get it booked.
So I'll be worried about the Chicago connections to the flight to Frankfurt, with myself taking a 5 p.m. flight on a regional jet, when aircraft can accumulate delays during the day, and Margaret having 1 hr. 20 to connect; I get agitated when time at airports gets short. For now, I'm glad to have the flights booked; my mother may join us in Italy for some of the time, and I'll be looking at what "on the ground" plans need to be made for Italy.