Oct232017

Momondo OTA fares really low, but computer says No!

This past weekend was mostly spent organizing a December-January trip in Europe. I have had a flight to London ticketed for six months, but no ticket back to California. Last June I flew Iberia’s low cost Level one way Oakland to Barcelona and flew back in late June with British Airways on Finnair codeshares from Stockholm, Sweden to San Jose SJC, California.

That $557 Kiss & Fly online travel agency (OTA) ticket is one I purchased through Momondo.com search and deep link. Turned out to be a bit challenging finding a low fare ticket for late-June flights to California. Ticket prices were actually lower to fly from USA to Europe in June than ticket prices for flights starting in Europe.

The main advantage of my $557 ticket from Stockholm to San Jose, California is the return flight is taking me to London with a domestic flight portion on one of the busiest and most expensive days of the year for USA domestic travel in December.

Ideally, I wanted to fly SAS Scandinavian Airlines back to San Francisco in January 2018, however, the brief period of time when SAS tickets were offered for around $550 in early September were also the same weeks I was pouring money into our cars for tires, repairs and all the expenses that come with daily life not involving travel dreams. I missed the opportunity to buy SAS in my quest for Aegean Airlines Tier credits and Star Alliance Gold elite qualification with cheap SAS flight miles.

$451 SAS Scandinavian Airlines Jan 8 – June 13, 2018

Odenresor.se Swedish online travel agency price Sep 9, 2017.

ARN-SFO $451 SK Jan8-Jun13

SAS Airlines Stockholm to San Francisco are pricing at $925 today for dates I purchased a ticket to fly Copenhagen to San Francisco yesterday with United Airlines for $527 round trip.

Momondo.com says $378, Computer Said No!

There were so many enticing ticketing options for returning to California with Star Alliance airlines.

Munich and Denver and Vancouver 21 hour layovers

I imagined walking streets of Munich taking photographs of Marienplatz and the Rathaus-Glockenspiel show with Kelley on a 21 hour transit layover, followed by 21 hours in Denver, where we would celebrate my birthday with Kelley’s sister and our niece.

I tried to buy the Stockholm to San Jose SJC ticket with transit layovers in Munich and Denver and flights back to Stockholm in June 2018 via 21 hours in Vancouver, Canada from Odenresor.se, a Swedish OTA.

Computer said no.

My MasterCard credit card payment for the $378 round trip ticket Stockholm to San Jose was rejected by Odenresor.se.

I repeated the purchase attempt using a Visa card.

Computer still said no.

Google Translate Swedish to English

After more than a dozen trips to Stockholm in the past few years, primarily because Stockholm is where the cheapest flights between Europe and San Francisco Bay Area tend to originate, I have used Google Translate many times before when making airline ticket purchases and filling out Swedish language forms for Swedish online travel agencies. I am impressed by easy to read English translations on Google Translate when I inserted large pieces of text from the Swedish OTA.

Kelley hates Newark more than she loves Amsterdam

Another ticketing option I liked was flying Stockholm to Amsterdam with 22:35 hours from 10:40am to 9:15am the next day. I imagined the cold air blowing through bare trees along the canals and the sounds of birds overwintering in the parks and waters of Amsterdam.

The main drawback of a day and night in Amsterdam was 7:35 hours from noon to 7:30pm sitting around Newark Airport EWR waiting for our flight to San Jose. While Kelley loved the idea of a day in Amsterdam, she dreaded the thought of spending a day in Newark Airport. 

Did not matter anyway.

When I tried to buy the $393 round trip ticket from TripMonster.se, the computer said no.

Copenhagen instead of Stockholm to hang out with the happiest Scandinavians.

After 24 hours of the weekend consumed with planning our December-January trip, Kelley said she would really like it if we did not fly back to Stockholm next June for the return trip of round trip tickets.

Tickets from Copenhagen to San Jose were $100 more than Stocholm tickets, however, the flight from Prague to Copenhagen was $65 less, so Copenhagen seemed like an alternative solution to ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, the condition we have experienced on many occasions of spending jet-lagged arrival and last night in Europe at Stockholm Clarion hotels eating hot chicken from Coop market, brie and bread with exorbitantly priced $3 and $4 bottles of beer from Systembolaget.

$492 for Stockholm to San Jose would also allow us to spend 17:25 hours in Denver with Kelley’s family on my birthday and put us in London for 19:30 hours (2:20pm-9:50am) next June before flying on to Copenhagen.

Airngo.dk forms filled out with the assistance of Google Translate, although by this time my fluency in Nordic languages had improved to the point that I could read many of the Danish words simply by their similarity to Swedish words on the forms I had already filled out several timesin the previous hours.

Credit card information inserted, computer spinning, and spits back another rejection.

Computer said no again, this time in Danish. 

Kayak.com and Expedia.com to the rescue?

At this point I was frustrated with Momondo.com low fare searches and my Swedish and Danish language lessons. Give me a fucking English language website, and if possible, a regular USA-based online travel agency ticket.

The ticket prices through Kayak.com and Expedia.com were coming up at $600+ with no great transit layover options like I had found through Momondo.com searches.

Google Flights Saved Me

My dreams of a sub-$400 ticket from Scandinavia to California were dashed repeatedly.

Back to the drawing board, I returned to Google Flights to find Copenhagen to San Francisco for $527 round trip through United Airlines Denmark website.

No international or domestic transit layover in Amsterdam or Munich or Denver on the flight home in January. I get 6 hours of my birthday sitting in Toronto Airport.

No international transit overnight layover in London next June. We efficiently fly San Francisco to Zurich, Switzerland on a United operated 787-800 Dreamliner and a 2 hour transit in ZRH before flying back to Copenhagen.

$526.86 round trip per ticket through United Airlines Denmark website.

Inserted my credit card information on the United website and waited.

Error

We’re sorry but United.com was unable to complete your request. Please try later of contact united.com support in the USA and Canada at 1-888-491-6573.

Reference your confirmation number: xxxxxx

Progress?

I called the United phone number and ten minutes later I had two United Airlines tickets Copenhagen to San Francisco.

Until next time

I’ll keep my eyes open over the next six months for another airfare ticket deal to fly home to California from Europe in summer 2018 with a return to Europe for the December 2018 holiday season.

United Airlines only earns 50% flight miles as Aegean Miles+Bonus Tier Miles. I will be looking for a cheap SAS winter flight between Scandinavia and San Francisco to finally earn Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite and Star Alliance Gold member elite status.






About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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