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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sadness, with more changes of plans

On January 10, 2016, my mother died following a stroke that she had over the Christmas period.  It is difficult to think of writing a full tribute, but it's impossible to measure the full scope of her influence on my life as a traveler.  Her interest in living in Europe meant that I spent formative years there.  My quick picking up of skills in practical matters such as navigation and transportation schedules complemented her talents in showing appreciation of the beauty of the places and picking up on local culture.  Margaret and I will look at our upcoming trip as a tribute to her as we revisit places where I lived with her.  In particular the trip to Grimaud will be interesting as I go back after so long and have conflicted views of my year there at 13.

So we've seen the consequences of making a booking so long in advance, that we continued to be notified of flight schedule changes.   Seeing where I left off in the last post on the flight changes.  In toying around with airfare sites as I often do, I found that the Kansas City-Miami flight was back on the schedule for our date of travel.  I called to see if we could get changed back to that, our original booking, regardless of SAAver award availability.  This agent was very helpful, calling another department to force a second award seat on the Miami-Milan flight, and it looked like a good booking for a comfortable trip.

Then the next day, I got an email of a new schedule change:  the flight from Miami would leave at 5.30 p.m. instead of 2.20, giving us seven hours in Miami.  We could take advantage of that with an outing to South Beach, but the later arrival in Milan would also be something of a concern in how we would get to Genoa.

Go ahead a couple of more months, and on the evening of my mother's death the airline sent a new email:  KC-Miami was off the schedule again, and they had us booked via Miami with a connection at Dallas/Fort Worth that was too short for comfort.  While trying to deal with getting back into routine things, I had to consider what effort I could make to get the least bad rebooking, which be going back to the option via Washington and the change of New York airports.  Then award availability turned up on the KC-LaGuardia flight, where service will just be starting two weeks before then.  I got that booking changed:  we'll go via New York, a change of airports but not an extra stop.

We'll have 7.5 hours to make the airport change.  We may just spend the time from getting to JFK in their Admirals Club, considering the hassle and transportation costs of leaving the airport, even for lunch within Queens.

We've also completed bookings at an apartment rental in Genoa, and a B&B in Grimaud, the limited option of staying in the village rather than the country or the faux fishing village of Port Grimaud.  The other thing that threw us for a loop was that I discovered that the Intercontinental Hotel de la Ville in Rome, where we were going to spend our last night on a program free night, would be closing down before we got there.  I was able to change that free night to the Indigo on via Giulia, in the area where Margaret and I went to school, so that should be nice.  At the time that I understand that people with reservations were notified of the closing, I couldn't have gotten that award night.  It has paid to keep looking at travel sites and boards.