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Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

London
posts: 3
reviews: 99
Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

Skyscanner is now completely useless. I just tried to book flights from London to Dresden and was offered £295 pp across a number of websites including the airline itself (Air France).

After comparing this choice with other destinations (Berlin, Leipzig etc) we chose Select to proceed and the price went up to £619 in total (i.e. £309.50 pp).

I clicked to choose that option and the price went up to £689. I clicked on that and was taken to the Air France site where the total price for the flights was £750 (i.e. £375 pp).

I rang Air France and they would not deny that this was being done deliberately by Air France to manipulate prices. They would only say that this kind of problem was at least sometimes down to Air France and that they were unable to say any more.

Does anybody have any solutions - are there any better price comparison sites out there?

Also, does anybody know of any regulatory body who might be monitoring this phenomenon? I contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (UK) and they told me that they do not regulate price comparison websites (except where someone has paid for a premium position on the website).

21 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,006
reviews: 39
1. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

Nobody would recommend anything other than using aggregate sites for their intended purpose - to compare. Always better to take the information gathered, directly to the airline site for accuracy, rather clicking through.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,081
reviews: 5
2. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

"I rang Air France and they would not deny that this was being done deliberately by Air France to manipulate prices. They would only say that this kind of problem was at least sometimes down to Air France and that they were unable to say any more."

What does that mean (did not deny)? Did AF CONFIRM that they deliberately manipulate prices on Skyscanner? I would seriously doubt that.

I would suggest that more likely AF's uploads to the GDS that is tracked by Skyscanner (and Kayak and others) isn't completely real time and so sometimes fares that appear on the search engines are sold out by the time you come to book them.

At least you were informed of the up to date fare >>before<< you handed over your money, unlike some of the disreputable third party bookers who take your money based on the lower fare, then come back wanting more and won't refund what you've already given them for xxx weeks.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,931
reviews: 15
3. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

Skyscanner's prices often aren't live. There's nothing more dodgy going on than an out-of-date price comparison site.

London
posts: 3
reviews: 99
4. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

1. By "did not deny" I meant just that. I accused them of it and they did not deny it or provide any explanation of why this happened.

2. As to the non-live prices - there is obviously more to it given that the price went up 3 times. The first price might not be live but what about the £619?

3. In any case, non-live prices is not a justification at all. Skyscanner is advertising for airlines and the airlines work with Skyscanner. The fact is that they could ensure that the correct prices were there if they wanted.

4. In any case, I do not believe it is a problem of live prices. I went back onto Skyscanner from a different computer after buying my ticket and the same old price of £295 was still being advertised.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,081
reviews: 5
5. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

"3. In any case, non-live prices is not a justification at all. Skyscanner is advertising for airlines and the airlines work with Skyscanner."

No they don't. The search engines work off what they have available to them, not direct feeds from the airlines. They use the GDS, or even their own cache of the GDS. They may provide links to the airlines' websites when you select them, but the airline site is the only time that you get the real live fares.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,931
reviews: 15
6. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

No flight comparison site I know of has live prices across the board. They can still be useful, you just have to take them as a rough guideline. Aside from the disappointment of seeing a price go up, I don't really see what the problem is either. I certainly don't see why it's Air France's fault that Skyscanner's prices aren't accurate or why "they suck" because of it.

Edited: 4:18 am, November 26, 2013
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,081
reviews: 5
7. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

"4. In any case, I do not believe it is a problem of live prices. I went back onto Skyscanner from a different computer after buying my ticket and the same old price of £295 was still being advertised."

My post #5 explains why that happened.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,006
reviews: 39
8. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

100% with USBT and Lex.

Point #3 is so far wide of the mark its not even funny.

The OP really needs to get a grasp of how various websites operate, and understand the difference between live inventory (load availability and fares) and not.

Edited: 4:21 am, November 26, 2013
London
posts: 3
reviews: 99
9. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

I'm pleased the three of you are all on board with the airlines and skyscanner on this but none of you are addressing the big points:

1. Why does skyscanner keep non live prices even after 'live' prices have been obtained? if i go on skyscanner now, it is still quoting £295 per adult for this flight, even though it has been through the process of checking live prices. Post no 5 does not explain this.

2. My point 3 is spot on and not wide of the mark at all. Air France confirmed that they work with Sky Scanner and that they pay Sky Scanner for the referral, hence it is a form of advertising. KVE1005 you should be embarrassed pretending you know so much and attacking me, a consumer, when you don't know the position at all. Skyscanner confirm here that they are paid referral fees by airlines (and other operators but in this case it was a price direct from the airline): http://www.skyscanner.net/whywearefree.aspx

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,931
reviews: 15
10. Re: Skyscanner alternative (and Air France sucks)

"Why does skyscanner keep non live prices even after 'live' prices have been obtained?"

Simple: The site isn't updated based on the searches people do. Paying for referrals does not make AF any more or less responsible for the prices on Skyscanner's site.

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