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john luke

Booking Sites and On Line Travel Agents

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For my long haul flights, as I do not need to book accommodation, I normally book directly with the airline.  I am aware that a number of members use booking sights such as Skyscanner, Travel Supermarket and others.  There are considerable savings to be made using these booking sites and online travel agents, however this is balanced to some degree by the facts that any changes to the itinerary must be done through the agent and there is often little or no flexibility in the tickets sold by the agents. Additionally some tickets sold by the agents do not carry full entitlement to air miles.  There are also online scams by criminals posing as travel agents.

My question today is which booking sites have members used on a regular basis and end enjoyed good service and good value for money?

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Kayak.co.uk is my go to site for looking at flight prices , never had an issue 

i will compare the prices to the Airlines own site ( just as I do with hotels and Booking.com )

 

 

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I actually booked flights today for next year, so had this dilemma.

I always go through skyscanner, and usually Travel Trolley or Netflights are best then. 

But, Sa's mum is old and not well, has been in hospital recently, though out and okay now.

For the rough dates I wanted, for the 3 of us, Travel Trolley were about £100 cheaper in total, but as said above, f***d if need to change dates.

So I ended up booking direct with EVA, for peace of mind just incase, £100 was okay. 

Glad I did straight away, as when booking online, it wouldn't go through the first time, but did the 2nd. I then noticed an hour later when I checked my banking app, it must've went through twice! I went to my local Santander branch, who confirmed I had been charged twice. They said leave it 48 hours, it might drop back in, if not, open a duplicate payment dispute. I didn't like the language, 'dispute', and waiting 48 hours anyway. So rang EVA London office. They confirmed my flights, then had a look at the payments. Said one was taken, hence my flights confirmation, the other was 'pending'. She said they would just cancel the pending, and I should get it back on my card in a few hours, but could take a couple of days. To call them again on Friday if it wasn't back. The money was back in my account in under 2 hours.

Now, I wouldn't fancy calling Travel Trolley or similar and telling them the same thing had it happened with them. Not saying I wouldn't have got my money back, i'm sure I would,, just not sure if would have been so straightforward. 

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These computer systems with the airlines have gotten so sensitive and complex.

I use Kayak for a basic search. Then I go to the airlines site and set it up. Then I call and tell them how f***d up the computer is and settle it on the phone with the agent. They usually waive the fee for doing so on the phone.

Always clear your cookies. 

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1 hour ago, cosceguinhas said:

I've been using TravelTrolley for the last few years - never any problems, but I've never needed to change anything.

Me too, I have used Travel Trolley twice in the last year and so far so good. They have some great fares and obviously have a very good relationship with the airlines they get their seats with.

If you are happy with your agent then good to use again.  Like TripAdvisor etc though you can check on reviews for many of these agents and some of those advertising really cheap deals don't always come out squeaky clean and I tend to give them a wide berth.

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I used to use Emirates a lot and always booked directly, for peace of mind ...... over the years I've had quite a few freee upgrades.... someone I was sitting next to told me it happened because I was traveling single and had booked directly........ don't know whether that's true but it certainly made the premium I'd paid worth it

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I use kayak and travel supermarket to look at times and prices but always check the airline as well before I book.

Never had a problem with travel trolley or west east or last minute, same as others though, I have never had to change plans and in fairness they state the rules of the ticket quite clearly. 

I have however had extended stays because I was sick :default_ermm: and that's what travel insurance is there for.....

Edited by Smiler

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4 hours ago, Krapow said:

I actually booked flights today for next year, so had this dilemma.

I always go through skyscanner, and usually Travel Trolley or Netflights are best then. 

But, Sa's mum is old and not well, has been in hospital recently, though out and okay now.

For the rough dates I wanted, for the 3 of us, Travel Trolley were about £100 cheaper in total, but as said above, f***d if need to change dates.

So I ended up booking direct with EVA, for peace of mind just incase, £100 was okay. 

Glad I did straight away, as when booking online, it wouldn't go through the first time, but did the 2nd. I then noticed an hour later when I checked my banking app, it must've went through twice! I went to my local Santander branch, who confirmed I had been charged twice. They said leave it 48 hours, it might drop back in, if not, open a duplicate payment dispute. I didn't like the language, 'dispute', and waiting 48 hours anyway. So rang EVA London office. They confirmed my flights, then had a look at the payments. Said one was taken, hence my flights confirmation, the other was 'pending'. She said they would just cancel the pending, and I should get it back on my card in a few hours, but could take a couple of days. To call them again on Friday if it wasn't back. The money was back in my account in under 2 hours.

Now, I wouldn't fancy calling Travel Trolley or similar and telling them the same thing had it happened with them. Not saying I wouldn't have got my money back, i'm sure I would,, just not sure if would have been so straightforward. 

This happened to me about 3 years ago. I booked four tickets with either Southall travel or Travel Trolley via Skyscanner and they took the payment twice. Took forever on the phone to find out when I was going to get my refund. Took 10 days and to say I was pissed off was an understatement! 

Still, that's the only problem I've ever had with using online booking companies in over 12 years. 

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Just remembered that I did have to cancel direct with EVA around 8 years ago and it was quite late, think I got 85% refund within a week or two. My fault of course or rather the shower of shit I was working for.

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With my EVA ticket, it's £180 cancellation/refund fee, and £75pp to change dates. 

It cost £1330 for the 3 of us, so if worst happened, £1000 would be saved one way or another. 

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Where do you draw the line between the benefits of saving money against the drawbacks of not going direct?  Is it £50, £100 or what?

I tend to go direct, often because I have a discount code or maybe a double miles deal or something, but have also gone the TA route when blinded by the pound signs.

There is also the argument that over time, the savings will more than compensate for perhaps having to buy your way out of trouble if something goes wrong, but that won't make you feel better if you're stranded at the airport with no support.

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3 minutes ago, KWA said:

Where do you draw the line between the benefits of saving money against the drawbacks of not going direct?  Is it £50, £100 or what?

I tend to go direct, often because I have a discount code or maybe a double miles deal or something, but have also gone the TA route when blinded by the pound signs.

There is also the argument that over time, the savings will more than compensate for perhaps having to buy your way out of trouble if something goes wrong, but that won't make you feel better if you're stranded at the airport with no support.

My saving at Christmas on Air China amounts to at least £1000 over going direct (non stop) with EVA/THAI or BA. I could not really allow myself to afford the direct option. If it had been in the £200-400 difference region I would have possibly gone direct. 

The saving for me will pay all my accommodation in Thailand and Philippines and still leave over £500 for spending. The actual flight times on Air China with 7 hours in Peking with use of lounge and 17 hours in Shanghai for a trip into town have actually been less than a headache than I thought. Lounge in Peking is a bonus and time spent in Shanghai allows me to add another city on my bucket list as I will be using the TWOV option for entry into China.

I am a half glass full kind of guy who sees the value in what I do, the savings alone on the flight allowing me to cover my other costs is a real boon.

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1 minute ago, Horizondave said:

My saving at Christmas on Air China amounts to at least £1000 over going direct (non stop) with EVA/THAI or BA. I could not really allow myself to afford the direct option. If it had been in the £200-400 difference region I would have possibly gone direct. 

The saving for me will pay all my accommodation in Thailand and Philippines and still leave over £500 for spending. The actual flight times on Air China with 7 hours in Peking with use of lounge and 17 hours in Shanghai for a trip into town have actually been less than a headache than I thought. Lounge in Peking is a bonus and time spent in Shanghai allows me to add another city on my bucket list as I will be using the TWOV option for entry into China.

I am a half glass full kind of guy who sees the value in what I do, the savings alone on the flight allowing me to cover my other costs is a real boon.

Sorry Dave, by going direct I meant direct to the airline to book as opposed to a travel agent - my wording was probably misleading.

Direct (non stop) flights against one (or more) stops is a different discussion again.

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1 minute ago, KWA said:

Sorry Dave, by going direct I meant direct to the airline to book as opposed to a travel agent - my wording was probably misleading.

Direct (non stop) flights against one (or more) stops is a different discussion again.

Ah OK, in answer to that I doubt the savings would be too much on short haul flights but can lead to bigger savings on long haul.  If I was saving £100 by going through an agent that I had used before I would probably go the agent route as there are usually 2 or 3 of us traveling and due my circumstances (school holidays travel restrictions etc) only a medical emergency would likely change my plans.   On my own I would probably go direct to an airline if no more than £100 above the agent price.

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1 hour ago, KWA said:

Where do you draw the line between the benefits of saving money against the drawbacks of not going direct?  Is it £50, £100 or what?

I tend to go direct, often because I have a discount code or maybe a double miles deal or something, but have also gone the TA route when blinded by the pound signs.

There is also the argument that over time, the savings will more than compensate for perhaps having to buy your way out of trouble if something goes wrong, but that won't make you feel better if you're stranded at the airport with no support.

For me, this time, was a combination of Sa's elderly mother being unwell off and on, and the difference in price only being £100 in total for all 3 of us between going direct with EVA and say travel trolley. 

Had there been no current ill health, or a larger price difference, then i reckon I'd go cheapest. 

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23 hours ago, john luke said:

For my long haul flights, as I do not need to book accommodation, I normally book directly with the airline.  I am aware that a number of members use booking sights such as Skyscanner, Travel Supermarket and others.  There are considerable savings to be made using these booking sites and online travel agents, however this is balanced to some degree by the facts that any changes to the itinerary must be done through the agent and there is often little or no flexibility in the tickets sold by the agents. Additionally some tickets sold by the agents do not carry full entitlement to air miles.  There are also online scams by criminals posing as travel agents.

My question today is which booking sites have members used on a regular basis and end enjoyed good service and good value for money?

With regard to agent bookings not carrying full entitlement, please see a snip of a direct booking with Oman Air. Note the miles earned on 2 Economy classes.

Price for the outbound leg LHR - BKK.

super saver out.JPG

Edited by bob lt

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Travel Trolley and no one else for me. Great service. Changed flights inbound twice. Outbound once. On one occasion Oman managed to find themselves massively overbooked when big group of passengers on "open" tickets rescheduled for my homeward flight. Result offloaded. Got hold of TT back in London tell them to deal with it, 30 minutes later phone goes "you're back on check in online as normal"

I simply wont book with anyone else. Out of interest people saying they use Kayak, Travel Supermarket, Skyscanner etc etc you're not booking your flights with them. They are just the search engine. Likes of Travel Trolley, Crystal Travel, Westeast Travel etc etc are the actual ticketing agents

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