Fear, Conferences, and the Online Flight Reservation

The uncomfortable questions that run through our minds.

April 2, 2015
We need a word to describe the feeling of fear that is induced by clicking on the “Purchase Now” button when making an online flight reservation for travel to a work related conference. 
Nowadays, we all make our own travel arrangements.  The days of an administrative assistant booking travel are long gone, if they every existed in academia. We are our own travel agents, our own meeting planners, our own logistics coordinators. Sometimes we mess up.  
Each and every time that I book a flight online to go to a conference, the following scary questions run through my brain:
Did I really get the dates right for my trip?
How come the fares look so expensive? Should I be booking this flight on a different day?
Am I arriving in time for the start of the conference, or should I have gone to the pre-conference gatherings, and what if I learn later that I should have signed up for those but I’ve already booked my ticket?
Am I doubly sure that I’m actually flying in to, and back from, the airport that I should be?
How long is it really going to take to get to the airport from the conference/event/gathering, and did I leave enough time in choosing my departure?
Was I really smart to save my university the $200 bucks by choosing the itinerary with 3 stops and a 5 hour layover in Detroit?
Was I really justified in booking the more expensive nonstop flight to save myself from the layovers?
What if the conference/event/gathering is cancelled - but the airline has no refund policy? How will I submit a reimbursement for a conference that I never attended?
How many people get confused and get on the wrong flight?  Could that happen to me, is that even possible nowadays?
Should I have added a couple of days to my trip for vacationing?
Can I really afford to be away from campus for so many days to attend this conference?
Should I have booked the flight and hotel together online, or do they rip you off when you try to bundle your bookings?
Is this really the conference that I should be attending?
How am I going to get from the airport to the conference, and more importantly back from the conference to the airport?
What if I’m booking my conference travel, but forgetting some critical and important event at on the same dates at home (like a graduation or scheduled wisdom teeth removal) that I also need to attend?
Okay, I’ve booked my flight and hotel - did I remember to sign up for the conference registration?
Did I remember to put my frequent flyer number in?   
What am I forgetting to do?
What scary thoughts go through your brain when you are making your conference travel arrangements?


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