Updated: Dec 25, 2019
Months ago, I was ecstatic about heading to Dubai with family and friends for this well-known group event which will remain nameless.
No need to throw shade, because the group event will still be a success. However, it became a no go for me after changes were made, right after deposits were paid.
In the light of things. Those of us who requested a refund was granted one without any issues.
However, I had already purchased my airfare along with others.
I was a little bummed, but hey, what do you do? I took the cards I was dealt and played them.
BEFORE THE DEBACLE
Prior to the debacle and before I purchased my airfare. I decided to research which countries were next door to Dubai.
Hey, since I was planning to go, why not try to squeeze in another passport stamp.
Cairo, Egypt was about a 3 hour flight from Dubai. My plans were to head to Cairo prior to meeting up with the group or right after.
I used my Holy Grail of travel airfare sites to assist me with finding a multi-city fare from my departure airport of Chicago, Illinois (O’Hare).
I played around with the dates which would correspond with the group’s dates. I used the multi-city function for all 3 sites.
The best price I found was for October 19, 2018 thru October 30, 2018. The group event was from October 25, 2018 thru October 30, 2018. Multi-city airfare of $698.11 through Etihad Airways. And the best part. I did not use any travel points.
I would meetup with the group after Cairo.
Now I found the multi-city fare through Momondo. I like Momondo, but I’m a little skeptical about some of their OTAs (online travel agents). I usually check OTAs reviews with the Better Business Bureau and other sites on google.
Smartfares on Momondo had the multi-city fare for $675 through Etihad Airways. My first thought was, “Harpo who dis Smartfares.” Not saying they aren’t legit, just saying the reviews weren’t peachy from the Better Business Bureau or other websites I browsed.
Stay clear of them I would say.
I headed directly to Etihad Airways website. There I found the flight for the same dates for $698.11. I felt more comfortable booking directly with the airline. I did not care about paying the extra $23.11. My sanity was better paying the extra.
I highly recommend checking with the airlines first before booking with unfamiliar OTAs.
However, if you ever book through a site like Smartfares. I highly suggest travel insurance. I use Allianz. Thank God I never had to use them. Knock on wood.
The Flight Itinerary
Depart from Chicago, Illinois on October 19th and arrive in Cairo, Egypt on the October 20th.
Depart from Cairo, Egypt on the October 24th and arrive in Abu Dhabi a city in the United Arab Emirates on October 24th.
Uh Oh!!!! The Loophole
WAIT!!! STOP THE PRESS. Erika you said you were heading to Dubai. Yes I did and I am. Now there is this little caveat or in other words a loophole in the plan.
Etihad does not fly directly into Dubai. It flies into its home base Abu Dhabi and transports you to Dubai at no extra charge by an air-conditioned coach bus.
The price tag made the decision of landing into Abu Dhabi which is a 75 minute bus ride into Dubai. I have time to waste and enjoy a nice cushy cool bus ride.
Depart from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus on October 30th late that night to catch the plane back to Chicago.
Arriving in Chicago on October 31st.
Now at the time of booking, round trip flights from Chicago, Illinois to Dubai, United Arab Emirates were $650+ for the original dates of the group event.
As of date 7/29/18 a round trip flight to Dubai from Chicago $789+.
Instead of paying $650 at the time of booking. I was able to land an awesome multi-city fare, basically for the price of 1 round trip fare for $698.11.
AFTER THE DEBACLE
I, my family, and friends still decided to go, but not with the group. Hell we had already purchased airfare and wasn’t planning on wasting it. I decided to go ahead with some of the plans on the original itinerary before the debacle.
Abu Dhabi City Tour
Sundowner Desert Safari Dinner
With that being said. When traveling abroad, always check to see if you can squeeze in another country. 2 Countries for the price of 1 or a little extra. Either way, it’s worth it.