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Butch

Flight booking, will you do anything different next time?

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No one , except perhaps the Chinese saw this coming. We've seen that the Airlines have done their best in a bad situation, but ultimately, a sudden stop of cashflow and demands for ticket refunds booked several months back has effectively crippled their finances.

Ever since the Volcanic Ash cloud event, I've always gone direct to the airline for my booking. At the same time I've always booked well in advance, rather than last minute so the financial strain isn't as much (2 - 3 round trips for 3 people a year to the RP is not cheap).  When this all kicked off, we received a refund from PAL very quickly. there was a definite sense of relief when it was refunded !. EVA also refunded my ticket in fairly good time, albeit with a penalty.

Of course I have friends who have booked via TA's, and as such had extra hoops to jump through when asking for a refund, as the Airlines won't deal with them directly. Therefore many offices were closed and the infrastructure for working from home being installed, causing more of a delay. A few have said they will in future go direct with the airlines, in case of this (potentially feasible) event happening again.

I won't change anything, I'll still book fairly long in advance (minimum 5 months) and direct. For a bit of extra expense (although not that much with PAL or Cathay) it gives a peace of mind knowing that, as long as the offices are manned, help is just a phone call and reference number away. The other advantage is that should there be an issue with your ticket in your destination Country, you then don't have to go through your TA in the UK to get anything sorted, you can just call the local airline office. I had this with Cathay back in 03, I needed to change my ticket in order to return to the UK pronto, local Office refused to help, so it was $2 a minute phone call ping pong in the wee hours of the morning to the UK getting it changed.

What do you guys prefer to do?

 

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I've never had an issue using a flight booking site , but I always compare with the Airline directly as well and unless there is a material difference I book direct ( same for hotel bookings ) 

my only errors have been not checking my travel insurance properly ( didn't tick flight disruptions apparently.... ) and booking the discounted and non-cancellable hotel rooms  ( the Thais were good enough to cancel anyway, but not sure if I will have the same luck with Brazil and Heathrow) 

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Posted (edited)

I had a flight booked for next month with Netflights.com flying with Qatar ..

It took a while of e mails back and forth , but mainly calling Qatar and Netflights out on twitter , but I got a full refund so I have no qualms with Netflights .

Air Asia I had one internal flight booked and absolutely couldn't get one satang back from them (their internals are supposedly still going so far on my dates)

After calling them out nearly everyday on twitter I finally got it back but as credit on my app account I know loads have had problems with them .

I would recommend anyone doing it in public on any social media platform in public they really don't like it and it seems to get things moving a lot quicker than e mails especially now.

As for the future I don't know but for the forseable while the virus is still around and a threat i'll book everything last minute and go.

Edited by roomark
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I don't think anyone will disagree it's better to book directly with the airlines, especially for flight only bookings, but when the £££ signs of a lower priced travel agent light up there will always be some who succumb.  Most times they'll be OK, but when something goes wrong a middleman just gets in the way.

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When it was just myself, and my dates were pretty much nailed on, I used to book via cheapest, ebookers a lot of the time in them days. 

But now as there's 3 of us, and anything can change, I book direct with the airline. 

Happily, that's what I did for our June trip, we would've been in Thailand now. I booked direct with EVA, whom I got a full refund from in 14 days of applying for it. 

Will usually book direct with EVA, and the above experience just validates it for me. 

 

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22 hours ago, Krapow said:

When it was just myself, and my dates were pretty much nailed on, I used to book via cheapest, ebookers a lot of the time in them days. 

But now as there's 3 of us, and anything can change, I book direct with the airline. 

Happily, that's what I did for our June trip, we would've been in Thailand now. I booked direct with EVA, whom I got a full refund from in 14 days of applying for it. 

Will usually book direct with EVA, and the above experience just validates it for me. 

 

I've been let down by EVA twice now. Once when my flight was delayed for 24 hours, we were lied to by the CS Ground agents (not EVA Staff, but they represented them) . I overheard them say there were 33 seats on the Thai flight and they would bump pax up. When I asked the guy at the counter he denied it, I stood there arguing with him and called him a liar, but they were having none of it. Only pax booked forward onto Taipei would be put on the Thai flight due to an onward being arranged. we were put up in a crap Hotel, given a meal voucher for cold food which had been sat there for ages and basically not treated very well. No apologies, no letters, and a refusal for compensation as it was a "bird strike" which is not covered.

Second time was recently when the office wouldn't answer the phones or emails (no email address provided), or the phone would ring, answer then cut off half way through the recorded standard disclaimer. Understandable in recent times, but this was very very early and pre UK lockdown. I ended up getting a refund via the online portal, fairly quickly, so in some ways they redeemed themselves.

In my experience, nothing compares to the standards set by Cathay CS, they are just excellent, in fact, I'd say the best in the entire business. As an example, when we fly to Manila we usually go LHR-HKG-MNL, the HKG connection is often fairly tight, especially if the flight is a bit late leaving LHR which is occasionally is as it is a late evening departure. Very often , I'll inform the staff at check in and they will put "priority luggage" stickers on it so it gets transited faster. Little things like that, and when you call them, they actually do what they can to solve your issue rather than ping pong you around 20 other departments.

I've also had a situation doing a 3 way call between Cathay HKG ticketing office and my Mrs in the RP at the time, re arranging and rebooking her on a flight due to leave Manila in less than 8 hours. Bless her, the girl on the line was tapping away and rebooking while I passed on the details to the wife, and asking whether she could make it on time. She even pre booked the seats through to London, and that was an economy fare!.

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38 minutes ago, Butch said:

I've been let down by EVA twice now. Once when my flight was delayed for 24 hours, we were lied to by the CS Ground agents (not EVA Staff, but they represented them) . I overheard them say there were 33 seats on the Thai flight and they would bump pax up. When I asked the guy at the counter he denied it, I stood there arguing with him and called him a liar, but they were having none of it. Only pax booked forward onto Taipei would be put on the Thai flight due to an onward being arranged. we were put up in a crap Hotel, given a meal voucher for cold food which had been sat there for ages and basically not treated very well. No apologies, no letters, and a refusal for compensation as it was a "bird strike" which is not covered.

Second time was recently when the office wouldn't answer the phones or emails (no email address provided), or the phone would ring, answer then cut off half way through the recorded standard disclaimer. Understandable in recent times, but this was very very early and pre UK lockdown. I ended up getting a refund via the online portal, fairly quickly, so in some ways they redeemed themselves.

In my experience, nothing compares to the standards set by Cathay CS, they are just excellent, in fact, I'd say the best in the entire business. As an example, when we fly to Manila we usually go LHR-HKG-MNL, the HKG connection is often fairly tight, especially if the flight is a bit late leaving LHR which is occasionally is as it is a late evening departure. Very often , I'll inform the staff at check in and they will put "priority luggage" stickers on it so it gets transited faster. Little things like that, and when you call them, they actually do what they can to solve your issue rather than ping pong you around 20 other departments.

I've also had a situation doing a 3 way call between Cathay HKG ticketing office and my Mrs in the RP at the time, re arranging and rebooking her on a flight due to leave Manila in less than 8 hours. Bless her, the girl on the line was tapping away and rebooking while I passed on the details to the wife, and asking whether she could make it on time. She even pre booked the seats through to London, and that was an economy fare!.

The London Office?

I called it 2 or 3 times during lockdown and it was always answered, albeit i called in the morning an it took about 10 minutes.  But answered it was, every time, my questions answered.

Never had a problem with EVA, and next flight will be booked direct with them again. 

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3 hours ago, Krapow said:

The London Office?

I called it 2 or 3 times during lockdown and it was always answered, albeit i called in the morning an it took about 10 minutes.  But answered it was, every time, my questions answered.

Never had a problem with EVA, and next flight will be booked direct with them again. 

I tried and tried at all hours, not a thing!. It's not their fault I guess, a huge volume of calls coupled with everyone asking the same question.

I'll try Thai next time, depending upon availability I might try the mid day flight. The problem with Thai though is that they don't have Premium Econ which is a really good effort from EVA and possibly the gateway drug into Business for many!.

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9 hours ago, Butch said:

I tried and tried at all hours, not a thing!. It's not their fault I guess, a huge volume of calls coupled with everyone asking the same question.

I'll try Thai next time, depending upon availability I might try the mid day flight. The problem with Thai though is that they don't have Premium Econ which is a really good effort from EVA and possibly the gateway drug into Business for many!.

I really liked Thai when I flew with them in January, much improved.

The problem with Thai though, is they're too unstable at the moment. 

That said, they're all unstable at the moment until the Kingdom allow tourists and flight schedules back. 

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Usually go with Emirates but find the stop in Dubai in recent years taking its toll. Getting old!!

Informed my refund from my April return flight cancellation, will be made this week. Came back with EVA, but have to say the service was not the same standard as Emirates. Direct flights are more desirable now though. Straight choice between Thai and EVA. Not sure if Thai are better.

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7 hours ago, john1000 said:

Usually go with Emirates but find the stop in Dubai in recent years taking its toll. Getting old!!

Informed my refund from my April return flight cancellation, will be made this week. Came back with EVA, but have to say the service was not the same standard as Emirates. Direct flights are more desirable now though. Straight choice between Thai and EVA. Not sure if Thai are better.

We used to go Emirates all the time, but Dubai was a real faff, a long walk plus ages to get though security (again). The duty free was pretty epic if I remember. Friends often fly Emirates to LOS and rate the airline very well, their Stansted option is quite tempting for me as it'll save an hour or so getting to LHR.

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Posted (edited)

Won't be doing Emirates again unless it was business class. Last trip the connection was short and spent my transit running through the terminal, on the return the flight again gave me no time to go into duty free.

It was like a football match crowd trying to get through the transfer security area, not a good experience.

Edited by Horizondave

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19 hours ago, Butch said:

We used to go Emirates all the time, but Dubai was a real faff, a long walk plus ages to get though security (again). The duty free was pretty epic if I remember. Friends often fly Emirates to LOS and rate the airline very well, their Stansted option is quite tempting for me as it'll save an hour or so getting to LHR.

They have scrapped this now. I always thought it was weird that you had to go through again.

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2 hours ago, monkey_omelette said:

They have scrapped this now. I always thought it was weird that you had to go through again.

That seemed to be normal everywhere I have transitted - I guessed it was some international regulation to cope with flights arriving from less secure areas.

 

I've been waved past on a few occasions when a late arriving flight would have delayed the onward flight.

 

I wonder if this is just a Covid-19 thing or whether it's now permanent.

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On 6/21/2020 at 8:57 PM, Butch said:

No one , except perhaps the Chinese saw this coming. We've seen that the Airlines have done their best in a bad situation, but ultimately, a sudden stop of cashflow and demands for ticket refunds booked several months back has effectively crippled their finances.

Ever since the Volcanic Ash cloud event, I've always gone direct to the airline for my booking. At the same time I've always booked well in advance, rather than last minute so the financial strain isn't as much (2 - 3 round trips for 3 people a year to the RP is not cheap).  When this all kicked off, we received a refund from PAL very quickly. there was a definite sense of relief when it was refunded !. EVA also refunded my ticket in fairly good time, albeit with a penalty.

Of course I have friends who have booked via TA's, and as such had extra hoops to jump through when asking for a refund, as the Airlines won't deal with them directly. Therefore many offices were closed and the infrastructure for working from home being installed, causing more of a delay. A few have said they will in future go direct with the airlines, in case of this (potentially feasible) event happening again.

I won't change anything, I'll still book fairly long in advance (minimum 5 months) and direct. For a bit of extra expense (although not that much with PAL or Cathay) it gives a peace of mind knowing that, as long as the offices are manned, help is just a phone call and reference number away. The other advantage is that should there be an issue with your ticket in your destination Country, you then don't have to go through your TA in the UK to get anything sorted, you can just call the local airline office. I had this with Cathay back in 03, I needed to change my ticket in order to return to the UK pronto, local Office refused to help, so it was $2 a minute phone call ping pong in the wee hours of the morning to the UK getting it changed.

What do you guys prefer to do?

 

In over 10 years of flying out to Thailand I only made the mistake once of going through an agent...when I wanted to change my ticket I had all sorts of issues even though it was flexible with a small fee. For all the messing around I would rather book with the airline directly and get the best possible service possible. Over the years I’ve been very spot on with my dates for travel so not had major disruption except the volcanic ash issue....now that takes me back! Whenever I’ve got even the cheapest tickets from the airline I’ve weighed up selecting my seat and potential to change vs not. I’ve always gone with the latter because that why I have a peace of mind. But if you are on a tight budget I can see why you’d not want to start adding more costs. Then again if you are on a tight budget...the last place I’d be heading is Pattaya unless of course you are with family etc.

On 6/24/2020 at 10:08 AM, john1000 said:

Usually go with Emirates but find the stop in Dubai in recent years taking its toll. Getting old!!

Informed my refund from my April return flight cancellation, will be made this week. Came back with EVA, but have to say the service was not the same standard as Emirates. Direct flights are more desirable now though. Straight choice between Thai and EVA. Not sure if Thai are better.

Back in 2007 onwards I loved running through the airport and making the short connection as short as possible because I had a big grin on my face knowing when I landed I had someone I wanted to see waiting 😝 but these days I’m torn between having a connecting flight with potential sleep disrupted or travel down to Heathrow and then a 10hr flight. Either way it’s a day of travelling and it all depends how you want to break it up. Ideally you want to travel from your nearest airport and work out what’s best for you in being comfortable in the journey.

With the Dubai connecting flight option I’ve flown early morning and late evening trying to work out whichever way I can knock myself out to sleep and wake up with sunny LOS 😂

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5 hours ago, monkey_omelette said:

They have scrapped this now. I always thought it was weird that you had to go through again.

When did they scrap this?

I went through in January and had to go through security.

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8 hours ago, Sherlock said:

When did they scrap this?

I went through in January and had to go through security.

I was going to ask the same, and I came through mid March just as things started shutting down.

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