The process usually unfolds as follows. First, sitting in front of my computer, I hover the arrow over that “Submit Payment” button for three excruciatingly painful minutes as I review my flight details a few more times and quickly scan my brain for any indication of why I should not go through with the booking.
And then, usually without warning, my brain sends an electric pulse straight to my index finger, causing it to push down ever so slightly, but with enough pressure to force that arrow to charge my credit card account. With eyes wide open I sit and stare at the screen, being sure not to touch anything for fear of disturbing the payment process, and I patiently wait, hoping that the unstable internet connection doesn’t fail me or that the thunderstorm outside doesn’t suddenly cause a blackout.
I wait for that most inspirational of all numbers – the confirmation number – to miraculously appear on the screen.
The sight of that confirmation number alone allows me to finally exhale and for the excitement that had been building up within to be unleashed. Typically the joy is too overwhelming at first and I remain seated in shock for a few more minutes, trying to comprehend the adventure ahead that I have just committed myself to.
Sure, sometimes that initial excitement comes to an abrupt and most unfortunate end upon realizing that I just booked a flight to Milwaukee in the dead of winter in order to attend a birthday party for my distant cousin’s Poodle named Lazy, or as was my situation a couple of months ago, booked a flight for the completely wrong date. That was not such a joyful experience and ended up requiring several long phone calls and an uncomfortable amount of pleading to get my mistake sorted out.
But usually, the thought of boarding an airplane, of sitting in that metal flying machine and within a relatively short period of time being transported to another region of the world, of being on the move and about to throw myself into a land of unique challenges and experiences is about as phenomenal of a notion as it gets…at least for me.
And this is exactly why the completion of a flight booking tends to send me into a fit of uncontrollable chest-pounding and whoo-whoo-ing and often a few minutes of celebratory break-dancing on the kitchen floor (I am particularly prone to doing the snake). I might even try hula-hooping in public next time thanks to Ash at The Middle Finger Project!
Purchasing a flight ticket is the solidification of travel plans, often marking the end to a long road of saving money, revised itineraries, delays, uncertainty and pure confusion. And with that closure often comes a fresh beginning, another chapter of life, a new set of unknown opportunities and an endless string of intriguing strangers to meet.
As you might have guessed, I booked a flight ticket earlier today. While I’m not heading to the most interesting of destinations this time, I will be flying to Florida in a couple of weeks to visit my family. But even booking this short trip got me thinking about how affected I truly am by the thought of travel, and how that excitement begins as soon as the flight is confirmed.
For anyone that that flies even once a year, I recommend checking out John Bardos’ detailed post Frequent Flyer Miles Hacking over at JetSetCitizen.com for some tips that every traveler will benefit from.
How about you? Do you get this feeling once you book your flights for your travels? Or is there another aspect of travel planning that gets you even more pumped up?
Anyone planning to be in southern Florida around March 18th – 22nd?