From One Seat Sale to Another

I was raping the “refresh” keys on my laptop and my mobile phone and I still couldn’t get through. A friend the night before alerted me that Cebu Pacific, a local budget carrier, started offering its one-peso base fare seat sale again. It was so long since this promo was last offered and people with wanderlust wouldn’t let this chance pass.

My mind started to wander to places. I was thinking about next year’s trip abroad – probably in Osaka, in Hanoi or in Bangkok. Or if I was unlucky, I could perhaps settle with a local summer trip to Palawan or Iloilo, or probably somewhere further down south like Cagayan de Oro.

I wasn’t even thinking if I could pay for it, or if I have enough money to support me until the next payday. My best friend and I just came from an overseas trip last week and I didn’t have much money to spare since I have another trip — a work-related one — next week.

But a fool I was. I was already thinking about getting through the next payday with huge credit card bills and monthly dues to settle when I couldn’t even get through Cebu Pacific’s website. From the time I sat down at 8:30 in the morning until about two hours after lunch, I didn’t stop hitting “refresh”… to no avail!

It was funny because that night, my friends and I met this Thai guy that has been working in the Philippines for about three years now and he joked about it. He said Cebu Pacific’s website will load, once all the cheap seats are already gone! This might be true and it was extra funny, coming from a foreigner.

I was just one of the unfortunate ones who couldn’t get through the website and I conceded. It was a real competition. These days, people are so into travelling that almost everyone wants to score cheap seats for a quick trip out-of-town or out-of-the-country.

A friend was able to get through the website and was very lucky to get cheap fares for a trip he was planning to take later this year. We were discussing how cheap the flights were, and the ideal destinations. I was ranting about my bad luck since I could browse the rates through my mobile but couldn’t really book. We also talked about particular country we’ve been both wanting to visit and he decided to book a flight to a jump-off point because again, the seats were crazy cheap. He was already on his second cheap seat treat and me? Nada.

But my hungry travelling soul couldn’t be stopped. I asked him to book my seats, convincing him that I really couldn’t get through. This unlucky girl, poor her, couldn’t travel to the place she’d been longing to visit. As if it was destiny’s way to appease me, my friend agreed and he successfully booked my flight. I also scored cheap fares, through a lucky human! Hoorah!

The idea of visiting the place of interest excites me beyond compare. Granted, he only booked the jump-off point. But I believe that another strike of destiny’s wand will allow me to get a good deal for the actual fare to that place. I could only hope… and pray… and save.

It’s still one year to go but my excitement was peppered with worries that I wouldn’t be able to save enough. I am an adult with dues to pay and other places to visit, which would require money more than I actually earn every cut-off. But I didn’t allow worries to overpower my anticipation because this feeling, it makes me happy; it makes me look forward to better things ahead.

Going back to this seat sale craze. We are lucky that these exist because how else can poor millennials like me afford to travel? Travel means shelling out extra bucks from our pockets. But we find ways, always. Remember the idea of tightening the belt and backpacking?

Still, most of us — like me — need to save up. And this wanderlust will be the death of me… a happy kind of death I hope.

I am a regular in seat sales. It didn’t come until two years ago, though. When my best friend and I booked a mere P6,000 worth of roundtrip, multi-city flight (with luggage) to Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. We found it really cheap even though we booked only about three months ahead of the travel date. It was our first out-of-the-country trip together. It felt so grown-up to be able to do all those preparations.

And then I got hooked to trial bookings. Of course, a responsible adult should always consider the purse so I don’t just book and fly. I consider the timing, and the possibility that cheaper fares might come up. On one lucky instance, I found cheap flights – about P2,000 roundtrip – to Visayas. It was one of the most relaxing trips of my life, one that I spent with two of my closest friends.

There were several more times that seat sales tempted me to the core but most of the time, I wasn’t lucky enough.

There was one time last year when I was inside a coffee shop, reading the news, when I spotted another cheap fare to Hong Kong. With two other friends in tow, I booked the flights and visited the country again — after 10 years. Also late last year, my core group and I secured good deals to fly to another country. It will be our first out-of-the-country, all-girls trip together and we are so looking forward to it.

There were lucky days and unlucky days but people – just like me – keep on trying to travel as much as possible. We have different reasons — for leisure; for the chance to experience different cultures; for the beautiful photos and the chance to tell stories behind them; for the opportunity to meet new people; for work or business; or for the temporary escape from the stressful daily grind. And together, no matter how different we are, we compete over the same thing — very limited cheap seats. Who thought people could end up this competitive when it comes to travelling?

So. When’s the next seat sale again?

 

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