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Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

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Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

Hi. I have never booked an international flight on my own before, and I am needing to book one soon. I have been looking all over, and to be honest, I'm not trusting most websites.

I don't know who to trust when booking. I keep finding these great deals, but when I research the ticket company, they turn out to be horrible (lots of people complaining).

I'm going overseas for college, and I only get one shot at getting there in one piece. Should I just bite the bullet and pay more by booking directly with an airline (i.e., going to American Airline's website directly) instead of going through Expedia, TripAdvisor, or Skyscanner? Please help.

Newmarket, Canada
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1. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

Yes, book direct with the airline. Also, don't look at it as paying more, because you probably aren't. Many of the so-called deals you see on other sites are either not real, or there are a pile of additional charges. If they are cheaper, they come with the additional cost of no customer service or support in the event of problems with your flight--another stress you don't want to deal with, especially as a first-time traveller.

Find a price you are happy with, book direct with the airline, and don't second guess your decision. Also, keep an eye on your reservation before the day of travel in case there are any changes you need to be aware of (flight times, seat assignments, etc).

New York
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2. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

If you have no experience, find airfares on kayak.com and then book directly with the airline

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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3. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

Let us look at a worst case scenario. You book a flight from X to Z with Pirhana Brothers Discount Travel because the fare shown undercut the fare at the airline's website by 100 currency units (at a guess, $US in your case).

Everything seems to be in order and the Pirhanas have booked your flight, but on the day of travel it is cancelled. You call the airline and they tell you that because it's an agency booking you will have to sort it out with the agency. You then call the Pirhana Brothers who then tell you their systems are down and they can rebook you by early 2015. You ask for something a bit more timely, and they say they'll come round and nail your head to the floor for making such a sily request.

Granted that may be a wee bit OTT, but at the heart of the matter is this: why include the middleman for a very uncomplicated transaction? Book with the airline. If anything goes wrong you will deal with them, a much more amenable proposition.

If you do book with AA then double check the airline who will actually operate the flight. Depending on your origin and destination cities you may be flying with BA or US rather than AA. If you will need to connect then allow more than the minimum time suggested by the airline, especially if you will make that connection at London Heathrow airport.

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4. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

How does that happen? Kayak uses third party bookers, right?

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5. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

So, that's why I can find a $1500 flight on American Airlines, but then when I go to Kayak, find a $500 flight with American Airlines? Meaning that Kayak is shady?

Trying to convince my Dad that not going with these third parties is a good thing.

Newmarket, Canada
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6. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

What flights are you looking at? Where are you flying from? Where are you going? When are you travelling?

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7. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

I'm traveling from the States to London at the end of September. I'm trying to find the most cost-effective flight that's legitimate and easy.

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8. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

What about StudentUniverse? Are they reliable? I'm a student so I could get a discount? Or is that a big no too?

Illinois
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9. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

Kayak isn't exactly shady, it's just that they are a search engine and aren't especially picky about which sites they link you to. They now are apparently also booking flights, but I've heard bad reports about that. I used to use kayak, but I've mainly switched to http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ which is just a search engine and doesn't link you anywhere. This is useful for comparing flights on different airlines. If you have to fly on AA for some reason, just book on their website.

If you say where (what airport) you are flying from and when, people can give you more specific advice (for example, they could look at that $500 flight and tell you what the problem is).

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10. Re: Brand New International Flyer -- Please Help

Oh, ok. I'm trying to travel from OKC (Will Rogers Airport, Oklahoma City) to London Heathrow (I don't want to do Gatwick as I'm not as familiar with it -- unless it's significantly cheaper).

Basically, I go on even Trip Advisor and see a bunch of stuff from Air Canada for $750 (thereabouts) but when I go to AirCanada's website, it's $1700.