A Travel Tale of Woe… with a Happy Nerdy Ending

So Monday I’m packing nerdy socks for the next event, and I hear

CLANK!

A phone notification…. My phone clanks all the time, but this one was different.

FLIGHT CANCELED!

Wha? What was happening?? I was leaving in less than 24 hours, headed for Owensboro, KY, a fairly small town in a state not known for its air travel options.

But my nerdy know-how kicked in! In the hours that followed, here’s the tech that helped me find a solution….

    1. TripIt Pro
      Oh, how I love you, TripIt Pro! TripIt was the only push notification I received regarding the cancelation. Expedia where I booked the ticket didn’t notify me. The tiny airline that canceled the segment didn’t notify me. Alaska Airlines that took the money for the ticket didn’t notify me. I pay the $50 a year for the upgrade from the free version, and this comes with helpful features including immediate flight updates like “YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELED!”
    2. Google Flights
      Take a look at the phone call spree that this crisis prompted. One call with Expedia lasted 93 minutes. Ugh! While I was on hold, I was furiously checking Google Flights to see what other options were available. This site has improved quite a bit over the last couple of years. It’s easy to search a number of ways and will filter for any factor you find important. It also helps you track prices and will add an alert to help you look for the best price.
    3. Travelmath
      Another tool that I used while on hold was Travelmath. The site lets you search for the nearest airports to any town. When the Expedia lady came back on, I was able to ask about alternative flights to nearby cities. You can also find driving distances and all kinds of other calculations for travel.
    4. The Hertz App
      This is not an endorsement of Hertz… it’s just a reminder that sometimes the best resource for travel options is directly through the providers themselves. The eventual solution to this mess was to fly to St. Louis and drive 4 hours to Owensboro. Believe it or not, it’s not easy to find a one-way rental from St. Louis to a small(ish) town in Kentucky. My searches for a rental car on Priceline and Expedia came up empty, but the Hertz app helped me find more options.Similarly, I find the specific airline apps the most helpful on the road, even though TripIt sometimes beats the airline app to the punch with notifications about gate changes, delays and the like.
    5. Waze
      The navigation tool I use every day proved incredibly helpful as I toodled down the road. As soon as I hit the road, I used Waze to send a link to the meeting coordinator. Here’s how she used it….
    6. Migo
      Waze was very important to the travel nightmare solution because  I feared the transportation options in Owensboro were quite limited. I had a feeling that I would be challenged to find a quick Uber or Lyft (I prefer Lyft) to get from the rental car place to the hotel. Migo let me look for multiple ride-sharing options at once. As I feared, there were no cars in site as you can see.
    7. Podcasts
      I’ve written before about my obsession with podcasts, and they kept me company throughout my drive. This time I binged on The Black Tapes, a supernatural, fictional docudrama that totally sucked me in.
    8. Tunity and Hyperlapse
      Ok, these tools were actually not part of the emergency, but they did both help me out on this trip. First, check out how I was able to listen to the TV in the lobby when I finally arrived at the hotel. The audio is off, but you get the picture.
      And now share the happy moment via Hyperlapse when the return flight was NOT canceled on the way out of town… but it was in a very, very small plane.

     

     

Win an Amazon Fire Tablet!
It's a beautiful day in the Nextdoor neighborhood