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Lidiya
08-04-2012, 08:47 PM
Hey!

So I'm into that point in my novel where the character has to buy a plane ticket.

He's having to fly over to Costa Rica to find an object that will save his father from a bunch of crooks (and he thinks the location of the object is in Costa Rica because he found it in dad's journal).

You know how in movies when the character finds out he has to suddenly go to another country, and then they cut to the scene where they're in the plane?

Well, they always skip the part when they actually buy the plane tickets. I want to include that part in my book, but I have no idea how it goes down.

When my family goes on vacations, my dad always buys the tickets online. I want my character to buy them in the actual airport, rushing to get on to save his dad in time.

How would you go about buying a ticket for the next plane to Costa Rica (a small jet, not a huge plane)? Because I really want to go back to where I live right now but no tickets are available so I have to stay where I'm at currently xD

I was watching Supernatural a few weeks ago, and the characters bought a plane ticket (for a normal plane, not even a jet) for a plane that would take off in a few minutes. What? Weren't the seats booked and taken? But that was 2005 so...

Can you really just buy a ticket and hop on a plane the next hour? Or is that just movies?

cbenoi1
08-04-2012, 09:20 PM
> Well, they always skip the part when they actually
> buy the plane tickets.

Because that's boring from a storytelling standpoint. Unless something happens beside buying tickets.

> I want to include that part in my book, but I have
> no idea how it goes down.

Why? Is this a crucial plot beat or just a 'fill-in-the-blanks-for-the-sake-of-it' scene?

-cb

Lidiya
08-04-2012, 09:22 PM
> Well, they always skip the part when they actually
> buy the plane tickets.

Because that's boring from a storytelling standpoint. Unless something happens beside buying tickets.

> I want to include that part in my book, but I have
> no idea how it goes down.

Why? Is this a crucial plot beat or just a 'fill in the blanks' scene?

-cb

Something crucial happens and he nearly misses the plane (the next plane would be after a few days, and that would be too late to save his father).

Bufty
08-04-2012, 09:36 PM
Then enter the scene as close as you can to where that something happens.

It's very difficult to 'rush' through an airport.

Snick
08-04-2012, 09:39 PM
I have never bought tickets in the airport, but I believe that the procedure can be more difficult than online, and I don't think that allof the deals are available. You might want to call an airline and ask them how it goes.

In the past, before the internet, most tickets were sold in city offices and some at the airport. I don't lknow if airpines even have city offices (storefronts) any more.

jclarkdawe
08-04-2012, 09:46 PM
You call JetBlue or United (both fly to Costa Rica) and ask the person to book you on the next flight to Costa Rica. It can be done on the phone on the way to airport. You can show up at the desk and ask. At that point, it depends entirely upon luck.

I've been able to fly out within an hour and I've had to wait a day. Depends upon how flexible you are in part. Once I flew SeaTac to Logan via LAX, Houston, and Atlanta. Cheap and the fastest ticket available.

Even with the reduction in flights, not all flights are booked solid. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday tend to be better. If I was really desperate to fly out, you stand at the United counter with a sign saying you'll buy out someone's ticket. Going to cost you and arm and a leg (both to the ticket holder and the airline), but it's doable. Security will be grumpy and you'd better have a good story for them. And even then, they're going to check you out every way they can think of.

The shorter the notice on the flight, the more TSA will look at you. You do this frequently enough, and you know the enhanced screening procedures better then the people at TSA (admittedly not much of a challenge).

If you pay in cash at the airline counter, they don't have change. They have to wander somewhere, apparently very far away. Personally, I insist if they're going to charge me $318.57, then they're going to give me the exact change. Little things amuse me.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

ULTRAGOTHA
08-04-2012, 10:09 PM
Something crucial happens and he nearly misses the plane (the next plane would be after a few days, and that would be too late to save his father).

When is the story set? Contemporary?

Where is he leaving from? There are multiple flights every day from the London area to Costa Rica, so having the only available way to get to Costa Rica if he misses his flight to be a few days later would clunk me out of the story. At a minimum he could fly or take a train to Heathrow or another major airport and catch a flight later in the day or the next morning.

I wouldn't get clunked out of a story if there happened to be a spare seat on an airplane. Most planes even now fly at less than full capacity (though with airlines cutting flights capacity is fuller).

Also, if he walks into the airport to buy a ticket, how does he know which airline has the next flight to Costa Rica if he doesn't look it up first?

If your story is contemporary, I'd also get clunked out of the story if he doesn't take at least a bit of time to look up flights.

It would actually be faster to look up a flight on line and buy with a credit card and print a boarding pass than to deal with several lines at ticket counters (to find the right airline with the next flight) and also the security line. With a boarding pass printed off from his own printer, he can just walk straight to the security line.

If you want him to get delayed and almost miss the flight you can do that on his way to the airport. Or the security line can be longer than usual. Or he could get delayed because he purchased a one-way ticket at the last minute, if they do that in the UK.

Costa Rica does not require obtaining a visa in advance (http://costarica.com/visa/) for UK citizens (I assume he's a UK Citizen?) but the passport must be valid for at least 90 days after entry to the country and there must be at least one blank visa stamp page.

Lidiya
08-04-2012, 10:20 PM
When is the story set? Contemporary?

Where is he leaving from? There are multiple flights every day from the London area to Costa Rica,




Costa Rica does not require obtaining a visa in advance (http://costarica.com/visa/) for UK citizens (I assume he's a UK Citizen?) but the passport must be valid for at least 90 days after entry to the country and there must be at least one blank visa stamp page.

Contemporary.

And he's from Utah.

cbenoi1
08-04-2012, 10:35 PM
> Contemporary.

There are airline booths separate from the check-in counters where you can buy tickets. Valid passport and a credit card is all you need. They will issue the ticket immediately which you carry over to the check-in counter with your luggage.

Many large companies have corporate travel services which is extended for personal travel. Just a phone call away.

Online / smartphone is another option.

I once had to travel for an emergency and ended up calling the corporate travel agency from the taxi. The ticket was already issued by the time I got to the airport and only have to go through check-in. All I had to do was present my passport and I got my boarding pass right away.

My father went through the very same steps although he had to pay cash back then. The voucher waited for him at the ticket counter. That was in 1975.

-cb

ULTRAGOTHA
08-04-2012, 10:36 PM
Ah. Same deal for US citizens--no advance visa required, must have 90 days remaining on passport.

There are daily flights to Costa Rica from the Salt Lake City airport as well.

WriteKnight
08-04-2012, 11:11 PM
As others have said, it's not hard to buy the ticket - but it's a boring story point unless it advances the plot, or illuminates character. - For instance, he has to use a fake ID or someone else's credit card. Something that will 'pay off' later. OR he hates talking on the phone, and stumbles a lot in trying to get this done - you needed to illustrate this point. OTHERWISE. Skip to the important action.

One thing you mentioned you needed a 'small jet'. You generally DON'T get to choose what aircraft you fly on. Typically, an airline will note on the ticket what type of aircraft is making the flight. IF it's to a large airport, heavily travelled, well booked popular flight - it's going to be a larger jet. IF it's to a small airport, shorter runways, infrequently travelled - it will be a smaller jet (Like an MD 80) OR more likely a turbo prop - Like a DeHavilland. So you might want to check on flights to Costa Rica from your destination. "Non STOP" vs "Change of Planes".

Lidiya
08-04-2012, 11:26 PM
Thanks, guys. I'll take this all into consideration.

cornflake
08-05-2012, 02:13 PM
Viewing a few episodes of The Amazing Race (pretty much any episodes, from any season) will make this procedure and any and all possible variations very, very clear for you! :snoopy:

You can run up and buy a ticket, yeah. If there are seats there are. Lots of flights aren't sold out, depends on many factors, like how many flights go from point A to B, time of day, popularity of the airport you're in and the destination, and what you're willing to pay.

shaldna
08-05-2012, 02:46 PM
How would you go about buying a ticket for the next plane to Costa Rica (a small jet, not a huge plane)? Because I really want to go back to where I live right now but no tickets are available so I have to stay where I'm at currently xD

I was watching Supernatural a few weeks ago, and the characters bought a plane ticket (for a normal plane, not even a jet) for a plane that would take off in a few minutes. What? Weren't the seats booked and taken? But that was 2005 so...

Can you really just buy a ticket and hop on a plane the next hour? Or is that just movies?


It depends on the airline - some have online check in as well as online booking, so you could book the tickets on your phone on the way to the airport.

Most airlines have a ticket desk at the airport and you literarlly just go to the counter and buy a ticket.

In terms of getting on a plane that's leaving in a few minutes - planes generally have boarding times, but once the doors are closed they are closed, but you could buy a ticket and get on the plane so long as they haven't shut - depending on the airline this could be anything from 10-15 mins before take off, to half an hour or so.

In terms of the seats being taken - next time you're on a flight look around, you'll usually see a couple of empty seats, especially if you are flying at an undesirable time. Last time I took an international flight the plane was only about half full.

MoLoLu
08-06-2012, 11:48 AM
Back in the day, I remember going to the airport with my dad and him picking up tickets against cash at the counter. Think we had one flight where, due to unforeseen circumstances, he more or less picked up the tickets, hopped on the plane and we took off an hour later. Given, that was ten years ago, but I think the desks are still there.

shaldna
08-06-2012, 01:14 PM
Then enter the scene as close as you can to where that something happens.

It's very difficult to 'rush' through an airport.

Yeah, actually, it's best to never rush through an airport - it get's folk all twitchy.