How to book YYZ-ZRH-NBO-YYZ ?

Mar 10th, 2017, 12:15 PM
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How to book YYZ-ZRH-NBO-YYZ ?

I have trip planned for late September flying from Toronto to Nairobi. The matrix.iatasoftware site shows an attractive return fare through Zurich of 1,126 CAD, which inspired me to consider a stopover in Zurich on the outbound journey . The iata site quotes the same price with a stopover .

First leg is AC/Swissair code share but the ZRH-NBO segments are Swiss only and don’t appear on the AC website. I can get the full itinerary on the Swiss site, but it is priced at 1477 CAD, and Expedia is just a few dollars difference. I tried pricing the YYZ-ZHR rtn separately on Expedia and it was very nearly the same as it would be with NBO included.

Does the lower fare actually exist, and can I get it without going to a travel agent/? Not adverse to paying a bit extra for TA services but as is so often noted here, it is so much simpler if there is no 3rd party involved. Since a stop in Zurich would be an add-on to an already costly trip I won’t do it if it becomes too pricey.

Also, I’m curious as to why Toronto shows up on the Swissair website as YTO.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2017, 02:47 PM
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OOPs, that should be 'ita software’ not iata.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2017, 03:00 PM
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I can answer only your last question.

Cities with multiple airports will have a more generic "metrocode" that allows you to search all options for the metro area. Toronto's is YTO, even though, realistically, you're only going to be using Pearson (YYZ) for this itinerary.

Others off the top of my head: NYC, CHI, WAS, LON, PAR, ROM, MIL, MOW, SAO, TYO.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 01:04 AM
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Simply put, YTO is a city code, YYZ is an airport code. If the search is for YTO, it will search all cities within Toronto but the search result will be from/to specific airports eg YYZ.

In your instance, going to a TA could be a good option, it will save you trying to be a TA and pricing all those options and comparing when you don't have the tools to do it. All you have are the consumer websites. Not everything is best booked direct with an airline and some itineraries are simply not possible. Is the issue in the US that you don't have good TAs?
Odin is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 02:43 AM
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I’m in Canada and have used a TA in the past, though rarely. My concern is that if there is a problem with the flights while travelling she would be in a different time zone and only available when the office is open.

After I posted my question I tried Expedia again, this time accessing it through a link given on Google flight search. That seemed to produce a number of different options I hadn’t seen previously. However, after long deliberation I tried a dummy booking that seemed to suit my needs, only to get a message “Sorry, the flights you have selected are no longer available.”
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 04:33 AM
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On Ita, did you look at the booking codes? To find the booking codes, click the price on the left side and scroll down to where it says how to buy this ticket. Scroll to the bottom and you will see fare construction. FYI - Some fares are based on no stopovers (might need to be under 24 hours in Europe). Are you saying you are able to create that fare on Ita with the stopover?

I usually locate the flight numbers/times and attempt a reconstruction on the airline website using the multi-city option instead of r/t.

In the past, I've done a long day stopover in Amsterdam because a traveling companion had never been there. We arrived AMS about 7 am, stored our carryons in airport lockers, took the train into Amsterdam. Our onward flight to Zurich wasn't departing until 8 pm so we headed back to the airport around 5 pm. If you just want to see a bit of Zurich, perhaps something like that might work for you. There are trains and trams from the airport so transport is easy.
kybourbon is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 04:44 AM
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Thanks all for your helpful comments.

Kybourbon: yes, I can do an itinerary with stopover on the ita site but the fare codes aren’t much help to me without a travel agent.

I’ve done a little more investigating and can now find more options on Expedia. It does appear that the only option using one airline to book is the itinerary which has AC/Swiss code share options between YYZ and ZUR. This adds about $350 Cdn to the cost compared to booking the same flights on Expedia using using both AC and Swiss flight #’s.. So if I am understanding all this correctly I can book directly with Swiss and pay more, or use an online or brick-and-mortar TA and pay less.

Still debating the wisdom of a stopover. I was seduced by the reasonable cost of accommodation in Zurich--no more than I would pay elsewhere for a 3 star near the airport--but it looks as if other costs, meals especially, are very high. Can’t hurt to dream, though.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 06:14 AM
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What if you substituted another city for (expensive and IMO not that exciting) Zurich?

For example, and not knowing your dates, an itinerary on KLM from Toronto to Nairobi with a three-day stopover in Amsterdam in mid-September costs C$20 more than one that doesn't stop in Amsterdam.

You could stay inexpensively near Schiphol airport and use the very easy, quick and cheap train connections into the city, spend some times walking along the canals or visiting the superb museums, flower market, whatever, then off to Africa.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 04:40 PM
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There are plenty more on-line travel agencies than Expedia. None covers every option, not even Google's ita grid. For combining airlines, I like despite its goofy name. They can compete on price with individual airline sales in this situation, especially if looking at a multi-destination search function. There is a limit to how many legs of a trip the computers can assemble efficiently. Cheapo invites telephone calls or e-mails to an agent which may be necessary with a complicated itinerary. Their seat-assignment function is not to be trusted; go directly to the airlines for that.
Anyhow, when things get screwed up a continent or two away from home, an independent agent may or may not be much help. You are probably dependent on the airlines involved, whether by phone or by e-mail.
Southam is offline  
Mar 14th, 2017, 02:27 AM
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I’ll take a look at Cheapoair, Southam. I agree that it can be the airline, not the agent, that sorts out a problem We once had a missed connection in Europe due to a delayed departure from YYZ . The airline (I think it was BA) informed us much sooner about the delay and was able to offer us a better connecting flight than Expedia, our booking agent.

Amsterdam is lovely I know, Gardyloo, as it is one of only a few European cities I’ve been to, on my very first overseas trip more than 40 years ago. I’m at the stage in life now where the bucket list keeps getting longer while my anticipated years of travel keeps getting shorter. Thus the appeal of Switzerland: never been there, may not get another chance, maybe now or never. My intention would be to visit the historic old town one day, then get out into the countryside, see some mountains, ride a cable car.

The difference between a dream and a plan? Money!
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 07:27 AM
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I just tried a booking for Sept. 18 outbound from Toronto and return from Nairobi on the 28th September. Got a price of $1,044 using Google Flights.

Both outbound and return on Saudia Airlines with one stop in Jeddah enroute.

The question would be whether you are looking for the lowest price or whether you are looking for somewhere to stop enroute and visit.

I never book with third party sites, always with the airline directly. That avoids potential issues with who is responsible for what. It also avoids giving any money to parasite third party sites who add nothing to the equation between a customer and a product/service provider.
Dogeared is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 11:52 AM
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Thanks, Dogeared, I took a look on Google flights and the Saudi site but unfortunately Saudi has only a few flights and none close enough to my preferred travel dates, Sept. 24 to Oct. 7. (I’ll be meeting up with a group in Nairobi)

I wasn’t really looking for a stopover, although I wouldn’t mind arriving a day early in Nairobi. It was just that when I saw low-cost flights with Air Canada and Swiss air through Zurich I started toying with the idea of a stopover as I have never been to Switzerland. The problem came when I tried a dummy booking through Swiss Air and it added 300+ CAD (each, for 2) above what I found on itamatrix, whether or not I made a stopover.

So it looks like Ito get the best fare I’ll have to use a third party which is not a big concern if I do a stopover on the outward journey as I will have time in Zurich to sort it out. On the return, if there are problems and I miss a connection it will be a nuisance but I won’t miss the safari.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 07:40 AM
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As I said, I always book directly with the airline and avoid third party sites. However, with Google Flights, you click through directly to the airline's site but the Google Flights price often cannot be found on the airline's own site if you start out on the airline's own site. Get what I mean?

So I punched in your dates on Google Flights and got quite a few combinations in the $11-1200 range.

I will say this about as stopover in Switzerland. I am a big fan of Switzerland but would never consider just stopping over for a day/night in Zurich. It's just not worth using your time in my opinion. Zurich is a city and while it is different from Toronto, it really isn't if you see what I mean. Seen one GAP store, you've seen them all. To visit Switzerland, you need to spend time in the country and get away from the major cities. All that a stop in Zurich would do for you is let you 'tick the box.'
Dogeared is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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I agree, one night wouldn’t do it. My tentative plan is for three nights, with one day in the city and two day trips out into the countryside. Haven’t decided yet if that would be worth the cost. I do know what you mean: large cities, although very different, can seem very much the same if you don’t have time to get to know them. I always find the rural areas more interesting when I travel, and cities can be exhausting. I guess I’m just a country girl at heart.

I’ll try the Google link you gave and see what I come up with. Fares haven’t fluctuated much since I started looking and it is still 6 months away so I’m thinking I have a bit o time to sort things out before I book.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2017, 06:05 AM
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If you want to add on a few days in Switzerland then that is another story altogether eliztravels2.

I would suggest that you look for a flight from Toronto to Zurich that arrives early in the morning. You can then be almost anywhere in Switzerland by early afternoon and checked in to a hotel ready for an easy stroll around, dinner and relatively early to bed (10pm) to get over your jet-lag.

On day 2, you should be sluggish but able to enjoy the full day wherever you are.

In deciding whether it is worth the time to visit Switzerland en route to Nairobi or not, I would use the same criteria as I always use to decide whether a stop makes sense to me or not. I never visit anywhere for less than 3 full days. If I can't see it holding my interest for at least that long, it isn't worth my time moving from A to B.

You have to consider that it will cost you at least 1 full day of time lost to making the move to/from. I am not willing to make such a move for a ration of 1:1 or even 1:2. I want a ratio of at least 1:3. That is 1 day lost for 3 FULL days spent in a place.

If you used my criteria (your own may differ of course as that is your decision to make), you would fly out of Zurich on day 5 if day 1 was your arrival day. You would spend 4 nights in Switzerland.

As to where to go, I am big fan of Switzerland and have many places that I consider more than worth visiting for 3 or more days. Most people on their first visit, want to see the picture postcard Alpine scenery and most opt for the Bernese Oberland area. In that area I would stay in any village and avoid Interlaken where most tourists stay. Wengen, Grindelwald, Murren, etc. are all villages up in the mountains worth staying in. They are all very touristy but that can't be avoided really. That's why I personally prefer other areas where you still find plenty of tourists but just not quite as many. But for a first visit, it's hard to say to someone 'go somewhere else'.

After the 4th night in the BO, I would get a morning train back to Zurich to take an afternoon flight onward to Nairobi.

Another thought is that even if it cost you $300 extra (as you mentioned earlier), with a 4 night stopover, that cost becomes more acceptable. It really all depends on whether you want to visit Switzerland or find the lowest fare to Nairobi as I've already said.

So in short, either you do it right or you don't do it at all. ;-)
Dogeared is offline  
Mar 20th, 2017, 05:16 PM
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I second avoiding third party sites and booking directly with the airline. In my case however I am willing to book separate tickets if need be as I have found multiple simple round trips to be easier for the average consumer to book on their own.

e.g. you book YYZ-ZRH return, and a second ticket ZRH-NBO return. Of course, you would ideally overnight in ZRH in both directions, to minimize risk of missing onward flights due to delays.

I like Dogeared's concept of 'ratios' as an index of intensity. Although as a minor quibble, I would say that 1 day in transit, three full days actually in a place, makes for a ratio of 1:4 not 1:3. (1/(1 + 3) = 1/4). Thank you. I'll go back to alphabetizing my spice shelves now...
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:16 AM
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Sue, I see your point. You see a ratio of 1 OUT OF 4 days. I see a ratio of 1 FOR 3 days. ;-)
Dogeared is offline  

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