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Any downside to Orbitz vs. booking with airline?

Any downside to Orbitz vs. booking with airline?

Jun 8th, 2008, 08:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9,232
Any downside to Orbitz vs. booking with airline?

For some reason Orbitz flight is over $200 less than I can find on the airline's web site. Any downside to booking through Orbitz?

wliwl is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Only one possible downside.

When purchasing an airline ticket from a travel agency, you have to deal with the agency if there are any changes/problems with the reservation before your trip begans.

That changes once you're checked in. From that point on you will deal directly with the airline if any changes/problems arise.

Everything else is the same.

Airline miles - doesn't matter where you purchase the ticket, but it does matter to know the fare code you're buying. Some fare codes earn no miles or maybe only 50% of actual miles flown. If that is something you care about, read the fare rules before making the final purchase click and see what the fare code is. It will be something like NAR14SN but you just need to know the first letter, in this case N. Go to the airline site and check if N earns full miles, some miles or no miles. Each airline has it's own rules.

Seat assignment - most US based major airlines, if not all, will allow you to pick seats. That can be done on Orbitz during the purchase, or if not, then you can do it on the airline site once you get the PNR from Orbitz. Sometimes when the flight is already pretty full, you may not be able to see any available seats, but don't panic. Airlines hold a number of seats for airport assignment only. Just get to the airport little earlier.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Posts: 9,232
Thank you AAFF. I really want to get my kid home for July 4th, but ouch! those tickets are so expensive.
wliwl is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
Sometimes you will find those cheaper flights become "unavailable" when you actually try to book. Not always, of course, but it is a possibility that the cheaper fare is already gone.
bettyk is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,239
I've had really good luck w/ Orbitz. I've only used them 4 or 5 times - but each time the schedule/seat selection/miles was identical to what I'd expect to see booking thru the airline.

Orbitz has a really good e-mail reminder/notification system. Once I flew to Paris booked on Orbitz and my friend booked through AA. I got a much earlier notification of a schedule change than my friend did from AA - I think it was maybe 3 days before AA contacted him. But this was weeks before the flight so it wasn't that big a deal.

janisj is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,004
What is PNR?
DRJ is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
What is PNR?

In the travel industry, a Passenger Name Record (PNR) is a record in the database of a Computer Reservation System (CRS) that contains the travel record for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together. The concept of a PNR was first introduced by airlines that needed to exchange reservation information in case passengers required flights of multiple airlines to reach their destination (‘’interlining’’). For this purpose IATA defined a standard for the layout and content of the PNR.

When a passenger books an itinerary, the travel agent or travel website he uses will create a PNR in the Computer Reservation System it uses. This is typically one of the large Global Distribution Systems, such as Sabre, Amadeus, Worldspan or Galileo, but if the booking is made directly with an airline the PNR can also be in the database of the airline’s CRS. This PNR is called the Master PNR for the passenger and the associated itinerary. The PNR is identified in the particular database by a Record locator.

When portions of the travel are not provided by the holder of the Master PNR, then copies of the PNR information are sent to the CRSes of the airlines that will be providing transportation. These CRSes will open copies of the original PNR in their own database to manage the portion of the itinerary for which they are responsible. Many airlines have their CRS hosted by one of the GDSes, which allows sharing of the PNR.

The record locators of the copied PNRs are communicated back to the CRS that owns the Master PNR, so all records remain tied together. This allows exchanging updates of the PNR when the status of trip changes in any of the CRSes.

Although PNRs were originally introduced for air travel, they are now also being used for bookings of hotels, car rental, etc.

Colloquially, "PNR" may also refer to the unique six-character record locator used to identify the record.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3
Yeah, they promise to refund you the difference if someone books the same itinerary at a lower price. Well, guess what? It's a scam. Our itinerary was involuntarily "codeshared" with United but the itinerary, flight numbers, time etc. are all TACA airlines. When I inquired why I hasn't been sent an email notifying me of the drop in price, I finally got an emial that said "The itinerary you paid for wasn't the same". BS! My friends got their tickets about four weeks after us and paid almost a $100/ticket less.
They won't honor their own promises!
empresshara is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
empresshara - You bought a ticket on TACA. End of story.

It doesn't matter what UA or anybody else is charging for that flight.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 29th, 2009, 10:34 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820
Orbitz is notorious for showing a low price, but its quite another thing to actually get it. They get you hooked in, and then switch to something that is about the same as the true market price.
FrankS is offline  

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