WOW! Miller

by Ant Stone on April 19, 2007

in Pre-Trip Planning

24 hours or so later and I’m amazed to still be thinking along the same lines as yesterday i.e. fly into Tokyo for a week, then onto UB then down to Beijing. Against my better judgment i called twinkle-twinkle-little STA Travel yesterday, but just as i was getting somewhere the fire alarm bellowed leading to the operator screaming “we’ve gotta go, I’m really sorry Ant I’ll call you back. Ruuuuun for your lives!”. Beeeep. Needless to say, he didn’t call me back. Fate?

So, with a burnt patience i called them again tonight. I was eventually greeted by quirky Miller (after he’d finished texting) and his quirkier speech impediment. In all honesty, he was the most helpful person i have ever encountered at STA and I’ve called and visited them a lot in previous years. I went to their Cambridge branch the other week and asked a guy if he could tell me where i shouldn’t visit for safety reasons “Afghanistan and Iraq are pretty bad at the moment” he replied. I’d love to tell you he was being sarcastic, i might even laugh along with you.

The crux of the info Miller gave me on flight prices i was inquiring about was in itself quite alarming. First he exclaimed a show-stopping “WOW!” followed by a 10 minute silence (or so it felt) then filled the next 10 minutes with the fact that he doesn’t say “WOW!” very often and the things that would warrant a “WOW!” in his opinion.

“Ha ha, ok Miller… so what were you wow’ing about!?”

He went on to tell me that the flight price to Japan would be a mere £320, which released an exhilarating “wow” of my own. He then went on to tell me he’d never been asked to book a flight to Mongolia (which filled me with confidence), but would cheerfully embrace the challenge. Thirty or so fun-filled minutes later I’d managed to teach him how to spell “U-laan-baa-tar” and hinted at him that he might like to utilise ‘MIAT Airlines’ which i’d been advised of over at Lonely Planets forum. Tip tippety tip tippety tip tippety tap. Whirr. Whizz. “£769” he muttered disappointingly. “Miller, you can do better than that, try it as two singles, via Seoul or Beijing”. Whirr. Whizz. “Wow, £465” he responded, somewhat surprised.

Despite all his good work, I’m on a budget and the £465 had still taken me by surprise, i was expecting something along the lines of £150. I decided to call it a day and retire to think about it. “I’d just like to point out Ant, that the Tokyo flight really is a ‘WOW!’ price and i wouldn’t leave it any later than Sunday. Maybe you should hold it?” Miller kindly pointed out “how do i do that Miller?” i inquired “just say ‘Miller, can you hold the Tokyo flight for me?'” which, i duly did.

Following the Miller-phon i used the net to scan for prices to see if i could beat Miller at his own game and am genuinely surprised to tell you, i couldn’t. Even going direct to the airlines i was still 20% cheaper going with Miller and his STA Regime.

London to Tokyo
Web price: £365.50
Miller price: £320

Tokyo to UB
Web price: £528
Miller price: £465

Throw in the fact that he insinuated he’d cut me a deal when he calls me back on Sunday. So, it all looks like it’s happening. The only thing that will sway me from lavishing Miller with well earned commission is if i find a more economical way to get from Tokyo to UB but the more i look, the more i think I’ll admit defeat. So, raise your mugs to Miller, all together now… “WOW!”.

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