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Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Just wondering why it is that we have found 2 flights recently that came up via online booking agencies via a web search ap but when we checked the airlines own web pages neither of the flights we are looking at booking appear! Is there a risk of being scammed ie paying for a flight that doesn't exist??? or are some flights only given to these on line agencies??? Any help greatly appreciated as would hate to turn up at an airport to discover our flights are non existant!

Nannup, Australia
Level Contributor
3,615 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Put the title of your thread into the search box just above your question. Sit back, relax and read the many responses to the many times this question has been asked before.

Worthing, United...
Level Contributor
6,349 posts
11 reviews
2. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Hi

If the flight doesn't exist then you can't buy it. This forum is full of complaints about these booking agents.

It works like this, they show a flight for X pounds, you think wow what a bargain, you start to make a booking and at every step a little more is added on. The final price seems ok, just about par with the airline, so you give them your credit card details.

The next thing is you find after a couple of days they couldn't book your flights, and the price has gone up, so you can pay the difference or cancel. Cancel and they will charge you in the region of £100, remember they have your card details. Or pay up for a flight that would have been cheaper if booked direct.

The other possibility is they just keep your money and don't book anything for you.

Jackie

Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Oh my gosh - just searched for one of the names - unbelievable - now I am wondering how they can continue to get away with it???? Lesson learned will stick with the airlines direct or a TA! Thank you!

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
20,637 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Third party bookers (I don't call them travel agents) are notorious for bait and switch techniques. Post a fare that's incredibly cheap, you pay them, and 1-2 days later you get an email saying "sorry that fare's no longer available it's now $xxx" (where $xxx is higher than the fare offered by the airline) ... "Please authorize the extra payment. If you don't it will take us 6-8 weeks to return the money you've already given us."

It may not be true bait & switch in all cases, maybe just saving themselves money by not paying to get the latest fares for a month.

But, regardless, it's something to prod away with your 100' bargepole.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
20,637 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

>> now I am wondering how they can continue to get away with it???? <<

That's easy to explain.

Unlike you, who is doing research and thinking "maybe this is too good to be true, I'd better check", so many get suckered by that magic word ... CHEAP ... and just click the purchase button and "kerchinggg"!

If every passenger were as sensible as you, these cheapskates and scumbags would be out of business. :-)

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
29,963 posts
85 reviews
6. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

It is understandable that the rogue bait and switch agencies give 3rd party booking sites a bad manner because they generate most complaints. However, it is unfair and unreasonable to tar all on-line booking sites with the same brush. Respected UK sites like Trailfinders and NetFlights provide competitive prices and generally competent and professional support staff if you choose to call them.

Unless you are a well informed, savvy and seasoned traveller if you go direct to an airline and just ask for or look for the cheapest ticket that's what you will get and will receive just as big a surprise if you have to change or cancel and are faced with either sorry no can do or high charges as you would by booking through an agent.

I mostly Book direct but I know (largely due to reading advice on this forum from my better) what I am looking for and what questions to ask but when appropriate e.g. A multi-centre trip, I have no hesitation in going to a 3rd party site which I have thoroughly researched.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
20,637 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

^^^^ Arandora,

I agree with you, but as far as I can see Trailfinders isn't an online booking agent (the OP used the right words there). They (Trailfinders) are a FULL service travel agent, with travel experts, and you book travel via phone and speak with a real agent. Same for Dial-a-Flight, which my mother has used for years and conferenced me in once to discuss her flights out to the US to visit me, and took my advice re a tight connection. No experience with Netflights but I trust you and put them in the same category.

There's a difference between "bookers" and real full service travel agents.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
29,963 posts
85 reviews
8. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

USBT

Yes, you are right. I went a bit Off Topic. I shoud have made clear that I was including Trailfinders as an alternative view to those who say book exclusively through the airline rather than "bookers" or travel agents.

UK
Level Contributor
47,878 posts
91 reviews
9. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

If the flight doesn't exist then you can't buy it.

======

I'm sure eDreams would sell it to you :-)

Worthing, United...
Level Contributor
6,349 posts
11 reviews
10. Re: Using on-line booking agents for air travel

Ah yes they would but they cover themselves by never admitting it, allowing you to go to the airport to have a massive difference of opinion with whatever airlines they have not used. And leaving you stranded.

But somehow, and this is the clever bit, they would make you believe it was all the airline's fault and absolve themselves of any responsibility whatsoever. So you, the passenger, would then go after the airline ad infinitum leaving Edreams and it's chums to carry on stealing from others.

Jackie