Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/)
-   Air Travel (https://www.fodors.com/community/air-travel/)
-   -   Questions about Expedia (https://www.fodors.com/community/air-travel/questions-about-expedia-1668879/)

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 10:19 AM

Questions about Expedia
 
I'm hoping to take my niece to Germany in December.

I've been researching fares since February and they've been consistently high.

I've always booked my flights directly through the airlines, but...I've been playing around on third party websites, just out of curiosity. I've discovered that Expedia is offering airfare (the exact flights I want) and three nights in a Munich hotel for considerably less than just the flights.

I'm very tempted, but also reluctant. What's the catch?

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 10:22 AM

Questions about Expedia
 
I'm hoping to take my niece to Germany in December.

I've been researching fares since February and they've been consistently high.

I've always booked my flights directly through the airlines, but...I've been playing around on third party websites, just out of curiosity. I've discovered that Expedia is offering airfare (the exact flights I want) and three nights in a Munich hotel for considerably less than just the flights.

I'm very tempted, but also reluctant. What's the catch?

travelgourmet Jun 30th, 2019 10:31 AM

Aside from some possibility of less flexibility should plans change, there isnít really a catch. They are simply using their purchasing power to cut better deals with the airline and hotel.

starrs Jun 30th, 2019 10:34 AM

I don't know what the catch is, but I still book directly.
My theory = if something goes wrong, I'm not going to waste valuable vacation time being low man on the totem pole for fixes.
If nothing goes wrong, I've paid more money.
Purely anecdotal, but when I read friends grumbling about sitting in the airport for hours because there was something wrong with the flight, they always seem to have booked on a 3rd party website. Missing an entire day of vacation is something I don't want to deal with.
But I have ZERO evidence that that "low man on the totem pole" theory is reality. I just know that it hasn't happened to me (yet). I still book directly.

fourfortravel Jun 30th, 2019 10:34 AM

Just my experience, but I played the Expedia versus direct booking game so many times when planning our outings from Vienna. What I found is that with many of the flights, the options on Expedia do not exist to reserve seats; include checked baggage; modify the reservation without penalty, and so forth (translation: extra $$$). And often, while the hotels have been perfectly fine, the rooms were generally the less desirable: near the lift or with a street view; and sometimes without the free breakfast, as well--little things like that. When all was said and done it was more straightforward and usually more cost-efficient to book directly.

Gardyloo Jun 30th, 2019 10:42 AM

It's not uncommon at all for fly/hotel packages to be quite a lot less than even just the flights alone. Using AA Vacations, for example, the cost of two people flying in business class from Chicago to Paris for a week in April with three nights' (3-star) hotel is over $2000 cheaper than the cost of two business class round trips without the hotel. Expedia can put the same deals together, and other airlines' fly/stay programs offer similar savings.

mlgb Jun 30th, 2019 10:43 AM


Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 16945056)
I've also posted this on the Air Tavel forum, but thought I might get more responses here.

I'm hoping to take my niece to Germany in December.

I've been researching fares since February and they've been consistently high.

I've always booked my flights directly through the airlines, but...I've been playing around on third party websites, just out of curiosity. I've discovered that Expedia is offering airfare (the exact flights I want) and three nights in a Munich hotel for considerably less than just the flights.

I'm very tempted, but also reluctant. What's the catch?

Probably nonrefundable hotels, perhaps bought through one of their "partners". Possibly no choice on seats, extra luggage charges. Just be sure it's apples to apples.

I haven't had any problems when buying air tickets via Expedia, but have had problems with hotel purchases when a hotel didn't honor the advertised "breakfast included" and found out more about Expedia and their hotel "partners" and passing the buck than I care to know.


J62 Jun 30th, 2019 10:44 AM

My experience with expedia is similar to 4ft, and that when you actually try to click through & book the flights you want, something is amiss.

- the fare you see is basic, basic, basic economy. Group 42 boarding, no checked bag, no carry on, only a brown bag sized personal item, can't reserve a seat, etc.

- the fare you see isn't actually available when you try to book.

Since if have either FF status or a credit card with several preferred airlines, I prefer to book directly through the airline and get the perks, earn FF miles, etc.

Pepper_von_snoot Jun 30th, 2019 11:12 AM

I am an Expedia Silver + member. I have the Expedia app on my phone.

I have been booking flights and hotel rooms on Expedia for the last 15 years.

I think you have to be daft not to book through Expedia.

Thin⛑

Pepper_von_snoot Jun 30th, 2019 11:14 AM

I have NEVER had a problem getting my breakfast at any hotel I have booked through Expedia. Your itin. should say Breakfast Included.

Thin🤳

sassy27 Jun 30th, 2019 11:15 AM

I've not used expedia to buy airfare due to what problems people have had with using sites like Expedia. I'm not saying Expedia issues just problems when people don't buy direct have had. That just scares me so I don't however I always use them to book hotels if possible. I have had no issues in doing so. I also collect expedia dollars to use toward future bookings.

sassy27 Jun 30th, 2019 11:21 AM

Oh also if you book expedia VIP hotels you get free upgrades and something extra like coffee and cake. I've never had an issue not getting something like breakfast if included. I did notice in Scotland at this one hotel, I always get the same room. I don't think coincidence and it's always handicap which I don't need.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 11:27 AM

I've read the fine print regarding luggage as well as refundable vs non-refundable hotels, and I've been reading non Expedia reviews for some of the hotels. I am looking at those with breakfast, so that's good to know mlgb (although that's happened to me when booking directly with hotels using points, then finding out later they were wrong).

The price difference between flights alone (upwards of $1,300 each - DEN-MUC on Lufthansa) and the same flights with a hotel on Expedia (some options well under $900 each) is definitely tempting me. But my inner voice is nagging me. Dealing with the airlines is bad enough if something goes wrong, adding another layer of potential grief? Dunno. But maybe.

Thanks Thin, that's encouraging.

travelgourmet Jun 30th, 2019 11:40 AM

I donít think there is that much risk if something goes wrong. Unless you have elite status, youíll be so far down the pecking order anyway that it doesnít matter.

Also, if the flight is with Lufthansa, you are protected by the EU rules both coming and going.

starrs Jun 30th, 2019 11:50 AM


Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 16945129)
Dealing with the airlines is bad enough if something goes wrong, adding another layer of potential grief? Dunno. But maybe.
.

Here's my theory. If a plane with a 300 pp capacity is cancelled and they have to rebook 300 passengers on other available flights, what are they going to do?

Rebook the frequent fliers with that airline first.
After they have new flights, who is next? Those will no status but booked directly? That's my guess.
I just don't think they are going to book those who booked via a 3rd party discount site ahead of those who booked directly.
And when they are down to 3rd party site passsengers, who gets priority? Expedia over Travelocity? I have no idea.
I had friends who spent an entire day in the airport recently, after a flight to their beach vacation was cancelled. I didn't ask but they are known for booking "deals".

I DO know that my flight was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties one time and it was a flight from Orlando to Atlanta. Flights go almost hourly. It was a corporate ticket. No discounts. No deals. I waited all day to get on a flight, and I have been a Delta FF for 30 years - although little corporate travel in the preceding few years. I was shocked. I have no no idea when the other passengers got out of Orlando. I should have booked a rental car and driven home.

Again, I have no proof of anything. But unless I build in a "cushion" day for the first day of the trip, I want to be sure I get on a plane in a timely fashion. And of course, that first night's hotel reservation is a loss.

Thousands (millions?) fly with nothing going wrong with their flights. That's a success.
But what if?

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 11:51 AM

That's reassuring too TG. I do have elite status, but not sure if that applies if I book through Expedia?

I've gone through it again - the baggage allowance seems pretty clear.

Estimated bag fees
Carry on:No fee
1st checked bag:No fee
2nd checked bag:$100.00

As does the hotel info:
Munich
Superior Room
Breakfast Buffet Free WiFi
Free cancellation until Fri, Dec 13

As does the optional insurance coverage:Package insurance options

Yes, add Change for ANY reason
$54 per person

You can change for ANY reason before your trip starts
  • No fees for one-time flight change
  • Cancel and use your airline credit later
  • Receive 100% refund of hotels and activities

Odin Jun 30th, 2019 11:54 AM

<<I'm very tempted, but also reluctant. What's the catch? >> There isn't a catch but there are differences between booking direct and booking via an online travel agent. I don't have the same issues as the other posters, I can see where I can add checked luggage and I can see where you can select a different fare to the basic one, once you select your flight you are offered the choice of economy light/standard/flex or business class. When you click on Show More it tells you what is included in your fare (hand luggage/checked luggage etc). The issue where a fare isn't available when you try to book is extremely rare and can happen on airline's own websites.

If you create an account on Expedia, you can add your FF card info, this will be added to your airline booking. You can also book seat assignments, if the airline you are booking allows it, eg BA only allows seat reservation 24 hours before departure.

Rules on modifying airline tickets are set by the airline, not Expedia. They might charge an admin fee over and above the fee set by the airline for processing the amendment and re-issuing your etickets.

If you have a good deal, I would not hesitate to book it. As Gardyloo says, airfare + hotel is very often cheaper as the fare that is used to combine air+hotel is much lower than published fares and the rule of that fare is that it must be combined with accommodation to make it into a package. I would consider anything booked as non changeable, non refundable, non anything and have travel insurance in case something unforeseen happens.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 12:01 PM

Thank you Odin. That's reassuring.

It seems pretty clear to me - luggage is included in the flight I've selected, breakfast is included in the hotel, and the hotel has free cancellation until one day prior. It seems you can also purchase cancellation insurance.

What is confusing to me though - under CHOOSE YOUR FLIGHT Expedia lists the same flight multiple times - operated by United and Lufthansa. The United listing shows its included in the original quote, but the Lufthansa listing, although the same flight, has an upcharge of $43.

Not sure what this is about.

Odin Jun 30th, 2019 12:09 PM

Your Elite status applies if you book through Expedia, if by Elite status you are referring to a FF membership. Just make sure you introduce your FF card into your account before you make the booking ie sign up for an account and fill in the profile details inc FF membership.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 12:27 PM

Thanks Odin, I just set up an account.

I also asked you a question on the other thread - sorry, starting two threads on two forums seems to have confused matters, but I have gotten some great comments.

kybourbon Jun 30th, 2019 12:31 PM

>>>The price difference between flights alone (upwards of $1,300 each - DEN-MUC on Lufthansa) and the same flights with a hotel on Expedia (some options well under $900 each) is definitely tempting me<<<

It's possible your airline is offering the deal too. Does it have a vacation link (on Delta's website there is a link to Delta Vacations)? Often you do save if you are just staying a few days and book Delta's package. Another reason is sometimes a specific hotel can be under remodel and they cut deals to OTC's.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 12:38 PM

kybourbon - I just checked Lufthansa's site again - there's an option to add a car to the booking, not a hotel. Weird. There's a hotel tab, but can't add it to the flight for some reason. Two tickets now up to $2,932. The hotel tab sends me to Booking.com.

mlgb Jun 30th, 2019 01:11 PM

Do print out paper copies of your hotel reservations and don't rely on what is sent electronically (btw this was with Hotels.com, which is an Expedia company and the booking was not part of a package).. the hotel clerk at checkin read the title of the booking which said "Room Only" despite the details including breakfast which I could have shown them if I had a paper copy. The electronic invoice is misleading. I discovered that Hotels.com is part of Expedia and that Expedia uses "partners" for hotel bookings so there was a lot of phone BS... our partner isn't open, we have to contact the hotel, yada yada yada. Eventually a Hotels.com supervisor gave me a credit card refund for the breakfast charge (after requiring copies of the hotel invoice, Hotels.com booking, forwarding to different office, promising a call back that never came, yada yada yada).

As I said, never had a problem with airline booking using them, although never had a cancelled flight booked via Expedia. It isn't unusual that I see airfares on Expedia that are lower than direct with the airlines after figuring all the extras.

laurieco Jun 30th, 2019 01:20 PM

Iíve booked flight and hotel packages through Expedia many times and never had a problem. In many cases, Iíve saved hundreds of dollars doing so. When a flight to Lisbon was cancelled that was booked through Expedia, American Airlines got me rebooked on an even better flight with our preferred seats. Iíve had airlines treat me much worse when booking directly with them. It depends on the agent you get, not with whom you book.

travelgourmet Jun 30th, 2019 01:51 PM


Originally Posted by kybourbon (Post 16945175)
>>>The price difference between flights alone (upwards of $1,300 each - DEN-MUC on Lufthansa) and the same flights with a hotel on Expedia (some options well under $900 each) is definitely tempting me<<<

It's possible your airline is offering the deal too. Does it have a vacation link (on Delta's website there is a link to Delta Vacations)? Often you do save if you are just staying a few days and book Delta's package. Another reason is sometimes a specific hotel can be under remodel and they cut deals to OTC's.

Just an FYI, Delta Vacations is a separate company and not actually part of Delta.

mrwunrfl Jun 30th, 2019 02:08 PM

Mel, I didn't see you mention the airfare-only price at Expedia. I saw the comparison of Expedia air+hotel package with Lufthansa air-only. With the $800 savings with the package I would consider the hotel to be a throw-away option.

Is the hotel where you want to stay or is it the lowest price package (or both)? You could figure out which hotel you actually want and see if there an Expedia package for it.

I would not have the same concern about the 3rd party booking that others mentioned. That was "what if there is an issue with the flight", i.e. a mechanical or other delay caused by the airline.

I would think about two things: the possibility that I would want to change the ticket and my assumption that I would be stuck in a center seat in the last row of the plane.

mlgb Jun 30th, 2019 02:17 PM

I'd want to buy tickets where I get to pick the seat in advance on those long flights.

When I last bought international airfare on Expedia, they had a window after the purchase where they offered discounted hotels. In many cases they were nonrefundable, and not necessarily better than I could have found on my own. So as mentioned you may want to run those numbers or consider them "throwaways".

BTW I often find airfare sales around the holidays, maybe there will be some on 4July...

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 02:52 PM


Originally Posted by mrwunrfl (Post 16945234)
Mel, I didn't see you mention the airfare-only price at Expedia. I saw the comparison of Expedia air+hotel package with Lufthansa air-only. With the $800 savings with the package I would consider the hotel to be a throw-away option.

Is the hotel where you want to stay or is it the lowest price package (or both)? You could figure out which hotel you actually want and see if there an Expedia package for it.

I would not have the same concern about the 3rd party booking that others mentioned. That was "what if there is an issue with the flight", i.e. a mechanical or other delay caused by the airline.

I would think about two things: the possibility that I would want to change the ticket and my assumption that I would be stuck in a center seat in the last row of the plane.

The airfare only price through Expedia is $1,334 each.

The flight/hotel packages on Expedia are numerous - loads of hotels to choose from, some for the same basic price (~$2,000 for both tickets, plus three nights in a hotel) others with a slight surcharge, several of which will work well for our three nights in Munich. I've spent the afternoon researching some of them. They even have a few that I'd already zeroed in on before I checked Expedia.

It looks as if I can reserve seats when I book. They offer insurance for possible changes too, so it's looking better and better. Unless of course, I'm missing something, which is a distinct possibility.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 02:54 PM


Originally Posted by mlgb (Post 16945237)
I'd want to buy tickets where I get to pick the seat in advance on those long flights.

When I last bought international airfare on Expedia, they had a window after the purchase where they offered discounted hotels. In many cases they were nonrefundable, and not necessarily better than I could have found on my own. So as mentioned you may want to run those numbers or consider them "throwaways".

BTW I often find airfare sales around the holidays, maybe there will be some on 4July...

Let's hope....regarding a potential sale that is.

tuscanlifeedit Jun 30th, 2019 03:26 PM

Just a few months ago, I helped a friend's daughter book RT ATL <> FCO on Expedia. The packaged very nice hotels in Rome and Milan and both travelers were very happy. Purely anecdotal, based on my one experience with Expedia, but they paid a much lower price with the packaging and all went well.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 03:29 PM

Anecdotal works for me, thanks for that tuscanlifeedit.

mrwunrfl Jun 30th, 2019 05:39 PM

>> They offer insurance for possible changes too

That is for changes before travel starts. My concern is about ticketing changes after departure. If you are in Munich and you want re-ticketed for whatever reason then you are in the right place if it is a Lufthansa ticket. If you go to LH with an Expedia then they tell you to contact Expedia. Nowadays, maybe that is not an issue the way it once was. I guess it isn't now that I consider that "contact Expedia" is just going to their website. Anyway, it is not a major concern.

travelgourmet Jun 30th, 2019 05:50 PM


Originally Posted by mrwunrfl (Post 16945318)
>> They offer insurance for possible changes too

That is for changes before travel starts. My concern is about ticketing changes after departure. If you are in Munich and you want re-ticketed for whatever reason then you are in the right place if it is a Lufthansa ticket. If you go to LH with an Expedia then they tell you to contact Expedia. Nowadays, maybe that is not an issue the way it once was. I guess it isn't now that I consider that "contact Expedia" is just going to their website. Anyway, it is not a major concern.

The fare rules for what looks to be the same fare (the stand-alone fare, not the package) say no refunds and no changes. Not even the $xxx penalty type changes, US carriers usually allow. Zero, zip, nada.

There appears to be no additional flexibility from booking with LH.

Moderator1 Jun 30th, 2019 07:46 PM

Your two threads have been merged in to one.

Melnq8 Jun 30th, 2019 07:57 PM

Figured that would happen.

mlgb Jul 1st, 2019 12:34 PM

I usually buy an inexpensive policy from World Nomads if I'm going somewhere third-world. But for Europe I would just rely on the standard EU flight compensation and airline policies. And I do try to build extra time in to connections.

However EU compensation isn't due if the delay is due to bad weather, which would have been interesting last October when we nearly didn't land in Lisbon due to a hurricane front! Never experienced an aborted landing before.

Melnq8 Jul 1st, 2019 01:50 PM

Never experienced an aborted landing before.

Yeah, those are memorable. I experienced two on the same flight once - flying into Singapore.

The time we experienced wake turbulence on a flight from Houston to Vegas was pretty memorable too. Yowsa.

mlgb Jul 1st, 2019 02:40 PM

IIRC, the second go-round he didn't even try. He came on and said they'd try once more, and if that didn't work, they'd be back on with announcements. We didn't even know what the issue was, when I finally turned on the TV at the hotel around midnight, discovered it was Zombie Hurricane Leslie. I think that some of the diverted RyanAir flights went to Madeira where there wasn't enough hotel space for everyone. Lovely!

https://people.com/home/zombie-hurri...ain-rare-turn/

Melnq8 Jul 1st, 2019 03:01 PM

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss!

Melnq8 Jul 2nd, 2019 06:20 AM

Okay, another possibly dumb question has come up.

I'd planned to drive to Denver and fly direct from there, but now I'm finding flights from COS (which is closer) with a connection in Denver for the same price.

If I book on Expedia on a single ticket, and something goes awry with the first leg of the flight, causing a mishap with the connecting flight in Denver, am I covered as I would be if I book directly with UA/Lufthansa?

I'd probably take an early flight, giving me a back-up for a later flight leaving from COS, just to give us some wiggle room. More time in Denver, but experience tells me if something is going to go wrong, it's going to be on the UA side of things.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:14 AM.