Since I'm on a budget, or rather, since I like to do things as cheaply as possible, I usually book through Expedia. On Thursday, I decided on a BA flight to Heathrow costing 80 euros...but the system went into an infinite loop and after consulting with their helpdesk, I was told that the site was experiencing a temporary error but that they were working on it and I should try again later. The following day, the price of my preferred flight had gone up by a tenner, and the error was still there. This morning, my flight had disappeared from the list...and the site is still down.
So I did another search on the Internet, found an afternoon easyJet flight ostensibly costing 55 euros, entered my credit card details, was shocked to discover that with all the add-ons, the amount to be deducted came to 96 euros, became much chagrined but then reluctantly authorised it...and then instead of a confirmation received the message that there was a temporary error in the airline booking system.
I then spent 45 minutes on the phone to their helpdesk (half an hour of waiting for someone to answer the phone, 1 minute to explain my situation, and 13 minutes of them keeping me on hold while they found out the status of my booking) at the end of which, I was advised to try again later, as they were having problems with the system as well; with the promise that in the meantime they would take steps to reimburse me on my credit card...which is all well and good, but I've only got the word of a lowly helpdesk agent that I will get my money back, and having worked in a similar environment years ago, I can but say: seeing is believing.
BTW, yesterday I tried booking the flight I wanted straight from BA's website, but for some reason, when I worked it out the price in pounds came out much dearer than the price in euros...which seemed a bit unfair to me.
I may still decide to drop by the Paris Eurolines office and hope to purchase a ticket on the London coach the next day -- although there's no way to check whether there will be any still available.
As for finding a safe place to rest my weary head after the gig, the search is still on-going. It seems it doesn't matter whether you pick a **-hotel or a hébergement in the 10me or 11me arrondissement; single occupancy will set you back around 60 euros while doubles are advertised as priced between 33-45 euros a night. Per person, of course, but still...:(
ETA 20:45 CET: Sorted! I'll be staying at the Grand Hotel de l'Avenue in Paris 75011, and the mid-afternoon following will fly in to Luton at a cost of only 49 euros. :-)