The Joy of Booking a Flight

Derek Perspectives 34 Comments

Is it me or is purchasing a flight ticket one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world?

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 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?

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Comments 34

  1. Pingback: Do You Shave Your Underarms Too? | Wandering Earl

  2. Andi

    Haha, I LOVED this post!!! No joke, my FB status this very moment is: Andi Perullo thinks it’s a bit scary the high I get from buying airplane tickets… 🙂 🙂 🙂
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..imgp2629 =-.

  3. Pingback: The Attack Of The Airport Touts | Wandering Earl

    1. Earl

      Haha…I guess you’re right…I suppose all airline booking experiences are not the same at all. Hopefully you got your reservation in the end?

      If you think Air India is bad, just wait until you try to book one of the budget airlines for a trip within India. Last time, I took three trips to the Spice Jet airlines office despite booking my ticket online, paid three times (because it failed to work the first two times) and then finally discovered that I didn’t have a reservation when I showed up at the airport, even though I had a confirmation in my hand.

  4. Nate

    Hahahaha….this is great! I just recently booked a flight to Mexico and I had the same feelings. Looking everything over multiple times, the hesitation of pushing the button and then the actual freedom and excitement I feel after pushing it! Awesome stuff!

    Oh…I grew up right outside of Milwaukee. Not a bad town, but yeah, it’s not so fun in the winter!
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Gaining Glimpses of Wholeness =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Nate – That’s excellent that you just booked a flight. I always hesitate for such a ridiculously long time wondering if I have the best deal, if I should really go, if I have the correct date…but it’s all happiness once its over with! Where and when are you headed to Mexico?

      And that wasn’t a knock on Milwaukee, it was literally the first place that randomly popped into my head!

  5. Kirsten

    Oh I *definitely* love booking flights. I get the same high, do the same happy dance and feel an overwhelming sense of excitement during the process and most especially once the booking is complete.

    A great post – makes me want to go and book another flight right now!
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Featured on “The Brooklyn Nomad” =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Kirsten – You’ve made my day, knowing that I’m not the only one doing bizarre dances! Maybe one day we can team up and create a dance video of flight-booking celebrations. So did you book another flight????

      1. Kirsten

        I booked many flights this week – going lots of places this Spring and VERY excited about it.

        Also…..researching airfare for a possible RTW starting in November. Soo much to think about and ponder. It’s mostly fun though (the hard part – figuring out financials). Yet every time I hit that “purchase” button the happy dance is worth any anxiety 🙂

        Yes – a video would be hilarious and fun. Definite thing I think other travelers could relate to!!

        1. Earl

          Many flights? Lucky you!! And an RTW trip? Imagine the moment when you purchase that airfare…so go and make it happen!

  6. Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)

    I think I might be addicted to the little high that comes when purchasing tickets (plane, train, boat, bus)!

    When I’m having a rough week/month/year, I usually plan a trip because I know it’ll make me feel better. Last summer I was recovering from a 4th operation on my arm (which I shattered while traveling in Argentina). Physical therapy was not going well and I happened to be “window shopping” for flights when tickets to Costa Rica caught my eye at $219…Next thing I knew I was off to CR for two weeks!

    Now I’m recovering from a 5th operation and preparing for a 6th so I’m off to Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland for a bit! So yeah, I think I’m addicted to, or at least have come to rely on, the little high of booking tickets and taking that first, usually irreversible, step in embarking on an adventure.

    Thank you for the post!
    .-= Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)´s last blog ..I Have a Choice to Make =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jackie – That is an incredible amount of surgeries for a broken arm. I certainly hope that this next one will be the final one you’ll need and gets you all sorted out as quickly as possible.

      At least travel is as good a form of therapy as any and it seems like you’ve used it well over the course of the past couple of years. After all, who in their right mind would turn down a $219 flight to CR???!! And I’m sure your upcoming adventures (you must be leaving real soon?) are going to be another rewarding trip…Slovenia is high up on my ‘must visit soon’ list. I’ll definitely look forward to reading about your travels over on your blog!

      1. Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)

        I broke multiple bones then had nerve and tendon damage after a few bad operations in Mendoza. A tip, if you ever need medical care in Argentina, ask to be taken to the private hospital, not the public one despite the fact that its free! I was unconscious when this all happened but in the future I plan to carry a card with something like, “In case of an emergency, take me to the PRIVATE hospital,” in the appropriate language…

        Travel is definitely good therapy, the best in my opinion! I leave on Wednesday for Europe and the next operation is loosely scheduled for when I return at the end of March. I’ll definitely let you know how things go in Slovenia and look forward to reading more about your travels here!
        .-= Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)´s last blog ..I Have a Choice to Make =-.

        1. Earl

          That is definitely a good lesson regarding the private vs public hospitals and is probably good advice for many countries. I can’t imagine what that entire ordeal must have been like for you. One bad operation seems like enough, let alone ‘a few’.

          At least it isn’t stopping you from traveling, I’m happy to see that. Safe travels on Wednesday and enjoy your time in Europe!

  7. Karen

    Hi Earl,

    It’s not so much the ticket for me, as actually sitting in the airport and then getting on the plane. I get so excited about the possibilities of where I’m going. Very exciting.

    It continually boggles the mind that you can get on a plane in one city and in a few short hours be in a totally different country, or even on a different continent. I don’t think I will ever get used to it.

    I’m off to check out John’s Frequent Flyer advice. I could use a vacation 🙂

    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Friday’s Links =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Karen – That is indeed a mind-boggling concept and something I never get used to either, no matter how many times I fly. To be on the other side of the planet in less than a day is always amazing to me, and keeps me sane knowing that all of the places on my wish list aren’t so far away after all!

      I guess I’m too eager to travel that I can’t wait until I get to the airport to get excited though…haha…but I know exactly what you mean, when you’re sitting there in the airport and then taking that last step off the jetway and onto the plane itself, your travels are truly about to begin. And there’s nothing more exciting than that!

      Hopefully you’ll get to take your vacation soon 🙂

  8. Pres

    Great article, Earl! It’s always a great pleasure stumbling upon world explorers. You are a true globbler, my friend! =)
    .-= Pres´s last blog ..The 3 Globbleristic Spheres of Life =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Pres – Thanks for the comment!

      I just checked out your site, I like the ‘globbler’ concept. And it appears that we share some similar ideas. I’ll have to explore your site some more.

  9. John Bardos -JetSetCitizen

    Hi Earl,

    When I was younger I used to love cycling out to the airport just to watch the planes take off and land. Unfortunately, I don’t go to airports just for the enjoyment of it anymore. I should though!

    However, my wife and I often go early before flights and stay longer after flights. It is great to get a massage, have a meal and coffee before leaving a country. We are usually in no rush to return home when we get back so we often stick around for at least a coffee.
    .-= John Bardos -JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Frequent Flyer Miles Hacking: Tips and Tricks to Fly for Free =-.

    1. Earl

      That actually seems like a great idea, sticking around the airport after a flight, especially when flying somewhere new. It might help us get our bearings and to relax before heading out into the often intense unknown. That’s something that has never occurred to me…so thanks for the idea!

      And I’m sure there’s plenty to do at Narita so I assume you’ll be there quite early before your upcoming flight…I can only imagine the incredible facilities that airport must have.

    1. Earl

      I agree, airports do have a special energy and appeal attached to them. I guess stepping foot inside is the official confirmation of travel plans as there’s nothing stopping you at that point. Although I must ask after reading your comment, do you hang out at airports often without going anywhere?

  10. Liz

    Well, I do enjoy booking a flight, but my favorite part is actually being at the airport! That is PURE MAGIC to me. I dont care if I have to wait 30 min or 7 hrs, I just love every second of it! =)

    1. Earl

      That’s an entirely different blog post altogether. All the coming and going, people starting and ending their travels and adventures. Nowhere else can you find so many people traveling all under one roof. It’s quite an intense atmosphere of travel. Although 7 hours is personally a bit much of a wait for me!!

  11. Lisis

    OMG, Earl!! That’s EXACTLY what I go through any time I pull the trigger and actually book a flight. Of course, I “window shop” all the time, checking airfares to my favorite spots. But when I really get that magical confirmation number, my whole universe gets better in an instant.

    I just booked a trip to spend the first 3 weeks of April in Costa Rica… any chance you’re headed that way? 😉

    1. Earl

      Hey Lisis – It’s funny you mentioned “window shopping” as I just spent an hour this morning looking for flights to Thailand even though going there really hasn’t been in my plans!

      I figured you’d be one to get super excited about booking flights as well and even better than you’re less than a month away from CR! It appears I’ll actually be heading to Boston in mid-April…but I shall most definitely keep you posted.

    1. Earl

      Hey Moon – I’ll be down there from March 18th – 22nd…any chance you’ll take your road trip around that time?

    1. Earl

      Hey Floreta – Thanks for stopping by! I love it when I press the payment button and the entire adventure ahead flashes before your eyes. Of course, we have no idea what to expect but we start imagining all sorts of adventures to look forward to. And by the way, I just checked out your site, I cannot believe you ate that thing!!

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