This week is a mildly complicated travel week for me (or was going to be). With the original flight plan, I would leave Washington, D.C. at 7am on Wednesday and arrive in San Francisco at 9:30am. I would then have to grab my luggage and get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 to then board an Alaskan Airlines flight to Portland at 11:20am. Yes, this is extremely mild in the scheme of things, but I hate having to go to baggage claim, walk a long ways, recheck luggage on a different airline, then get re-screened by security in less than 2 hours. Doable, yes, fun, no.
Thinking more about that travel schedule more this weekend, I felt there had to be a better way. The problem is, that is the best route I could come up with because two different parties were paying for my travels (FEMA/DHS on the first part, and Yahoo! on the second part). I decided to call FEMA travel back and see if they were willing to just fly me direct from Dulles to Portland as it would save me a lot of trouble. As it turns out, they have a 5:47pm flight out on Tuesday night which would get me direct to Portland. Not only is this much more convenient (no airline change), it also ended up saving almost $230 on airfare (I will never understand how flights are priced). Add in the savings on rental car and the elimination of a night stay in DC and you come up with almost $500 in savings (hooray tax payers!).
Now for the harder part, this means I would need an extra night in Portland (a city which is already packed with OSCON folks). After extensive digging, I finally found a hotel which had availability and wasn’t in Vancouver/Hillsborough. The new Shilo Inn Rose Garden had a room for all three nights (and is only several blocks away surprisingly enough, would think it would be booked). As it turns out, Yahoo! Corp Travel had a nice discount rate with them (~40%) and my room rate would be only $79.95 a night. This is a $70 a night savings from what I was going to pay before (Holiday Inn), so even with the additional day, Yahoo! is saving money. Then I needed to find a one way flight back to San Francisco, which I did, on United (my preferred airline for mileage purposes) for a meager $182. This again is a savings from before (roundtrip was $330 on Alaskan Airlines), so now Yahoo! is saving about $200 (hooray stock holders!).
So, after spending about an hour digging online and about a half hour on hold for the travel agent, I have ended up saving the government and Yahoo! combined over $700. Needless to say, I feel it was worth my effort and on the positive side, I now get 2 full days at OSCON for recruiting, an extra night to hang out with friends who are there, and about 400 extra frequent flyer miles (not much, but hey, every little bit counts).