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Choosing a flight by price

Worthing, United...
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Choosing a flight by price

Just received an email from Trip Adviser offering me cheap flights to various destinations including Atlanta where I am flying to next month.

Special cheap price with Last Minute, £440, not bad you think. Me to. Flights with KLM and Delta. Great.

So next step check price with KLM, £476 plus a credit card charge, back to Last Minute, I mean that's a saving of £36.

Go through booking process with Last Minute, £487 plus credit card charge. Now I've lost the £36 saving and they've added on £11.

This example shows exactly how these online bookers work, headline price which doesn't exist rising to more than booking direct.

Jackie

Edited: 5:52 am, March 22, 2013
Fredericia, Denmark
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1. Re: Choosing a flight by price

Most online booking agencies don't have online inventories of the airlines. That would simply be too expensive.

Worthing, United...
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2. Re: Choosing a flight by price

Hi

After I obviously rejected the booking, I already have flights anyway, this was just an experiment, the cheaper price which doesn't actually exist was still being advertised by Last Minute.

If I have access to current airline prices why can't the flight bookers, I'm sure they could have something installed to automatically update prices. But then that would show an honest comparison and they are not in that business. Their business is to extract as much money as possible from an unsuspecting person and offer the least customer service.

Jackie

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: Choosing a flight by price

If the price went up before you completed the booking wouldn't that mean LM did in fact have live access to the price? I don't know why these booking sites can't show the right price from the beginning but as Hans suggests, it may be a financial issue. It can go both ways as well, sometimes the price comes when you pick your flights.

Worthing, United...
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4. Re: Choosing a flight by price

Hi Lex

My point was that the price became greater as I made the booking but was still shown as the lower price when I went back to Last Minute, and not just by using the back button on my browser, I closed it down then went to KLM, closed KLM and went to Last Minute.

ie, they were still saying they had cheaper flights for the days I wanted to book than they actually had. And I was booking as one person so saying maybe they only had one ticket at that price was also untrue.

It proves exactly what we all say about booking direct, it is often cheaper by the time you actually purchase your tickets than booking with an online agent.

Jackie

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Choosing a flight by price

"My point was that the price became greater as I made the booking but was still shown as the lower price when I went back to Last Minute"

Sure, I got that. But as I said, it goes both ways, sometimes the price comes down.

UK
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6. Re: Choosing a flight by price

If the price went up before you completed the booking wouldn't that mean LM did in fact have live access to the price?

==================

No. To take a notorious example, eDreams, I've been on their site, done a test booking for a flight advertised on their site at £x, and at the final stage been informed 'between booking and confirmation the airline price went up by £20 so its now £x+20'.

You might say "thats fair enough that can happen", except that 30 minutes later I did the exact same thing, got the same first 'offer' at £x, and then the final stage before 'purchase' got the same message 'between booking and confirmation the airline price went up by £20 so its now £x+20'. (and this of course doesn't even allow for the fact that a day later they would likely send you an email saying its gone up another £100. )

Others have reported the exact same behavior with Cheapoair and various other third parties. These are IMO the classic 'bait and switch'

Italy
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7. Re: Choosing a flight by price

Sometimes they are a bit of a con because a lot of people don't check the final price before they give their credit card details and assume the initial price is what they're being charged, I always check out 3rd party websites mainly to get an idea of what's on offer but newarly always book direct with the airline.

Edinburgh, United...
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8. Re: Choosing a flight by price

Agreed, that's a fairly common occurrence on 3rd party sites. But again, the price sometimes come down as well, at least on some sites so I wouldn't necessarily call it a bait and switch tactic. I don't have any first-hand knowledge so if somebody knows better they should feel free to correct me but here's how I imagine it works on a 3rd party site: For whatever reason, the site does not update prices live but only at certain times. This means the price you are shown when you search for a flight may be out of date. If you then proceed with the booking, the system will look up the current price at whatever database or booking system the 3rd party site uses and if the price has changed, you get the message 'sorry, the price has gone up' (or come down). Of course, it's entirely possible that some sites deliberately show an artificially low price (in which case it's clearly bait-and-switch) but if this is how 3rd party sites work it isn't *inherently* bait-and-switch (IMO).

Edit: That was in response to Joe's post.

Edited: 7:30 am, March 22, 2013
9. Re: Choosing a flight by price

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