Is buying from a 3rd party site a good idea?

Jun 26th, 2017, 07:56 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 46
Is buying from a 3rd party site a good idea?

I am really tempted to buy a Vancouver to Auckland ticket form one of the 3rd party sites, because I am finding prices to be $300-$400 cheaper. However, these sites are ones I've never heard of like Vayama and Flight Network. There must be some catch to the good deal. Anyone have any advice?
Mapper71 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 08:36 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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I prefer to have no unnecessary entity standing between me and my airline. I've never had a problem with one of the online agency sites because I don't use them as a personal policy but it must be safe to use them (almost) all of the time, despite stories to the contrary, or no one would. I do use Booking.com for hotels from time to time and I also use a live-person TA occasionally because I know I can rely on them to do what it takes to keep me happy, because they have.

During the last month I was on the hunt for a good deal on airline tickets to Egypt. I searched every permutation I could think of and the online sites had the best prices but pretty awful itineraries and layovers on the cheapest. I kept at it and finally found a great price on an airline site and bought it.

If you've found a good price and the flight times are good for you, I'm sure it'll be fine. I'll be sticking with my own habit of not using them until there's a good reason I shouldn't. Some here I have no doubt will call me silly, as they do at any opportunity, but it works for me.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 08:45 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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There isn't a catch to the good deal. The OTAs have buying power with the airline and are able to negotiate cheaper airfares.

The issues arise with booking thru 3rd party websites is when you try to change or cancel your booking or if you misspell your name and need to get it changed or you book the wrong date. Then you run into issues to get things changed. It can cost $$ to call them, you don't always get the help you need. But if you book and consider the booking you have made to be final, you should not run into difficulties. You can retrieve your booking on the airline website for online check and seat selection etc. Make sure your OTA is affiliated with at least IATA.
Odin is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 08:46 AM
  #4  
 
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I' with MmeP, I do check prices and flight options on the sites, but then I go to the airline and have been lucky to get the same price or less. Should there be any problem then you don't have to go through a third party to get it resolved.
emalloy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 09:05 AM
  #5  
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Is it worth using a travel agent? I mean all we need are flights there and back. We don't need help with any extra travel plans or hotel stays as we are staying with friends. Can they get me a better deal or anything than what I can find via the airline's website?
Mapper71 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 11:37 AM
  #6  
 
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I wouldn't use a travel agent for flights, they will charge for that. Who knows maybe they can find you a better deal, but you'll have to find out if they will even do that and what they charge.

I don't understand if you mean the sites you found are Vayama or something else? Vayama has been on kayak for ages. I think I've read a lot of complaints but I have personally enver used them. I just don't trust those type of "agents" and I think the tickets don't have the same rights (meaning if you need to change, you can't do it at all, whereas from an airline you can with a change fee). Also, I'm not sure about your ability to reserve the seat you want.

$300-400 is a lot of money, though, sometimes those savings disappear when you pursue it further.

I don't really buy the idea that these sites have a lot of "buying power" with airlines as most planes are completely full nowadays. I do remember the very old days several decades ago when there were consolidators who got deals because the planes weren't full. But I don't think that's the case now.

well, I don't have any advice, I'd just review complaints about them before doing that. It appears if you have problems, you cannot rebook your flight through the airline with that ticket, and Vayama isn't open on weekends
eg
http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/...-23-story.html
https://www.transportation.gov/brief...vertising-rule

So I'd check what the terms are if you need to cancel or change, if you care about that.
http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/...-23-story.html
Christina is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 12:16 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Regarding a travel agent, apparently if you search using http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ a website that searches only and from which you cannot actually buy the tickets, there's a code accompanying each search result, if given to a TA, they can buy the flights for you. I've never done it but some of the fares I've seen are very cheap and even with a TA fee might get you a good deal. I'd rather deal with a real person than an online entity that may or may not respond to problems. The truth is it's unlikely you'll have a problem barring mistakes on your part.

But I still think you can find similar fares on airline sites if you put in the time and are patient. I have a switch in my brain that tells me "this is the one" and before that gets tripped, I don't buy. Very convenient.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 12:22 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I think that avoidance of 3rd party vendors is based largely on superstition. I have heard many horror stories of poor responses from airlines when mistakes occur or changes are made to itineraries booked directly with them. So I think that any out-of-the-ordinary situation, such as a mistake or a delay or a cancellation, can result in huge headaches for the traveler, regardless of how the ticket was booked.
NewbE is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 01:53 PM
  #9  
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I went to Priceline and found the same flight that was $1300 on the airlines site for $1133. I mean Priceline should be reputable, right? I am tempted to purchase it there. Good idea?
Mapper71 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 02:27 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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I think you are safe buying from mainstream third party vendors (Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, etc.) if all legs of a flight are on the same airline - and if there is a layover, it provides an ample amount of time for changing planes.

That said, any time I find a good deal on a third party website, I always check to see if it can be matched on the airline site.
scdreamer is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 06:50 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I agree.

I check the airlines, too, but I have never found anything cheaper--sometimes, the same.
NewbE is offline  

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