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Travellers Beware of Online Tricks!

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Sep 15th, 2014, 08:48 PM
  #1
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Travellers Beware of Online Tricks!

TRAVELLER BEWARE OF CHEAPOAIR!!
They trick you into their web by offering lower prices, but when you go to book, you end up paying more than the competition. Cheapoair reflects the “service” you get, not the ticket price! I booked 2 flights from Saskatoon to Raratonga; ticket price showed $3,532.58. Once I confirmed the flight & pressed Book it, a window pops up indicating that the price has been changed and the new price is $4,270.58. (an increase of $738.00) I then had the choice to accept or pick a different flight. I tried 2 more times with the same results so I called Cheapoair directly. I got a call center in Delhi, India. I explained what had happened during my on-line booking process , so he offered me a $20.00 booking credit for my inconvenience and told me to write down the code number. He then told me that the flights I wanted were no longer available & selected other flights costing an additional $314.00 with ridiculous flight connections. He was emotionless & obvious NOT working with our best interest at heart. He kept pushing me to book at this price because, he said, they have millions of customers & each second that passes gives us less opportunity to secure a flight. I thought I would take my chances & try the booking process again. My original selection was still available for $4,270.58. Frustrated & fearful that I had to secure my flights before there were no seats available, I booked. A confirmation e-mail was sent to me but did not show e-ticket numbers.
The next day, unfortunately a Saturday, I tried to call Cheapoair to find out how to go about applying the credit code since there was no opportunity to do that when initially booking. I sat on hold for 58 min. Finally I am able to explain my problem and was told that I had the wrong dept. and was put back on hold. I waited another 38 min. for the next available agent…(to be born, I thought) I explain my problem once again & am put back on hold. When she returns, she says, “ so you want to cancel your reservation.” Shocked beyond belief after all that I went through to book seats in the first place, I said, “NO! I DO NOT want to cancel these non-refundable tickets!” & told her once again that all I wanted was to have a credit code applied to my booking. She now tells me I have the wrong dept. and gives me another number to call. I called and get a message that the office is open Mon. to Fri. only. GREAT! They are doing everything in their power to avoid applying my credit.
Later that Saturday afternoon, we get an e-mail from Cheapoair advising us that our flights have been changed and to contact them immediately to secure our reservation. Here we go again! This time I poured myself a drink, and proceeded to wait for the next available agent. During this time another e-mail comes in showing the flight change made to our itinerary. Apparently, our original flight from Saskatoon to L.A. via Calgary at 9:00AM was cancelled. This resulted in Cheapoair booking us 1 day earlier on a flight to Toronto where we would have to overnight (Hotel, Taxi, Meals) before catching a flight to Los Angeles for a 12 hour layover! I was livid when I saw this. Do they know anything about geography? I immediately called Air Canada on another line, to see what other options were available. I was told that we could simply fly 90 minutes earlier than originally planned; avoiding a lost day of salaries, the extremely long layover, as well as the additional expenses to overnight in Toronto. BRILLIANT! This re-confirmed my belief that Cheapoair did not have the slightest interest in their customers. While I have Air Canada on one phone, Cheapoair finally takes my call after 52 min. Air Canada has agreed to stay on the line while I try to sort out the reservation with Cheapoair, and listens in while I explain the better flight option that is available. I get cut off with Cheapoair. I thank A/C for the flight info and call Cheapoair AGAIN! Another 62 min. later, I have given the agent the recommended flight details from A/C & I am then sent out an e-mail confirmation with the revised itinerary , including the e-ticket numbers this time.
FYI, on Monday, when I call the number I was given to have my credit code applied, it turns out that it was actually for the travel rewards department and they were unable to help me. I was sent on another goose chase. I called Cheapoair again & finally got through to someone who helped me get the credit applied to my credit card. Apparently, transferring calls and putting you on hold is quite a popular game with call centers when they don’t want to deal with a problem.
After this nightmare, I did what I should have done in the first place. I called Air New Zealand and Air Canada for the prices based on my selected route, and found out that I would have saved myself over $400.00; not to mention all of the stress & aggravation that I endured! I will NEVER make this mistake again and I hope that you are not about to!
BarbsWORLDtravels is offline  
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Sep 16th, 2014, 12:40 AM
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ok
sparkchaser is offline  
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Sep 16th, 2014, 06:36 AM
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I think your mistake was booking with someone you obviously knew was not acting in your best interest to begin with. You should have found another way to book your tickets.
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Sep 16th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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The mistake was not abandoning the booking once the final price was calculated. Normally you shop around esp for tickets of that price order. No one should book because they feel obliged and then complain afterwards.
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Sep 16th, 2014, 03:33 PM
  #5
TC
 
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Your mistake was in not dealing directly with the airline in the first place. It never fails to surprise me what people will put up with when they "think" something is "cheap".

I have never, ever, ever found an airline ticket that was cheaper when bought through a consolidator than when bought directly through the airline. Just think how much fun it will be if anything goes wrong along the way!!

Good luck! You may need it.
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Sep 16th, 2014, 08:18 PM
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The OP's entire post is flecked with spittle. I understand nothing of the process it describes.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 03:06 AM
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It looks to me like a classic bait and switch technique, and lousy after sale inefficiency. I hate doing this kind of transaction over the phone as I find it difficult to process the information quickly unless I see it in front of me. Yes, the OP could have been more diligent but that is no excuse for Cheapoair's shoddy business practice. ABarbs world travels has taken the time to vent her frustration and in the process has provided a warning to others.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 03:32 AM
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If it were me, as soon as the price increased by $700, I would have told them to go pound sand.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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eliztravels2: are you a website developer? Just wondered since you seem to know so much about online booking websites and how they function and interact with fares databases and you are quick to conclude this is about shoddy business practices. Most people would have walked away if something increased by $700 - in fact there is no proof that this ever happened anyway. But if it did, why would you purchase it? Why would you ring up and book it over the phone? Why would you not pick another flight option, another date, another time, another website?

I have never, ever, ever found an airline ticket that was cheaper when bought through a consolidator than when bought directly through the airline. I used to believe that too, until I had to travel alot. If it were true, consolidators would be out of business.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 07:24 AM
  #10
TC
 
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Consolidators prey on people who "think" it's true. Hence names like Cheapoair. Consolidators don't own the tickets. They buy them from the airlines...just like I do. Yes, they can put you on some obscure routing (as the OP had happen) to lower the price. However, you could have gotten the same deal on the obscure routing from the airline. Sometimes they bundle air and hotels to give the appearance of a less expensive flight. However, it's the cheap hotels that make the "deals". And, lord help ya, if you need to change anything along the way. The rare exception is a local consolidator who actually purchases "bulk seating" from an airline. In that case they have gotten a slight discount for purchasing in bulk -- a lot of seats on a particular flight. They may or may not pass this savings on to the consumer. It's what one sees when purchasing air to a cruise hub for example, or a group rate to a convention or with a tour group.

And, yes, I travel a lot. I was a travel consultant for many years and now I'm an international air courier.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 10:55 AM
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It seems that caveat emptor is still news to some.
Look, "shoddy business practices" is what people who did not do their due diligence fall back on when it turns out they did not get a good deal. They weren't scammed: they bought a bad deal. No business is responsible for giving you the best deal, that falls on you. Some businesses value your custom enough to save you from your own mistake; others rely on volume and have no pity for you. Also, pie is never free.
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Sep 18th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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Bingo.

But honestly I would never even consider using a company or website called "Cheapoair". I mean seriously???
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Sep 19th, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #13
 
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Unfortunately the majority of people actually believe the ads they see/read. They believe because they want to believe.

Every day you see and hear ads for companies that promise you that they will get you the lowest price. "Compare hundreds of travel sites at once. Find the best deals faster." That's Kayak's line. Cheapoair or any of the others is no different. But consider this, they can't all be right! So WHY do people beleive them? As I said, because they want to.

Whether it is flights, hotels, car rentals, cruise deals, package holidays, etc., all of them say they will get you the best deal, all of them get listened to by someone and all of them can't be right. As always, caveat emptor is the rule.

Now be honest with yourself. If everyone ignored sites suggesting they will find you the cheapest flights and instead did the work themselves to compare prices from the Airlines' own sites, those third party sites would not be in business.

What keeps them in business is everyone wants the cheapest deal and WANTS to believe these sites can find them for them. There is no one to blame but yourself. It's called laziness and greed.

People get what the people deserve, always.
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Sep 19th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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A better warning would be, Do Your Research! Or, perhaps, There Are No Shortcuts!
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Sep 23rd, 2014, 09:08 AM
  #15
 
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A long time ago, someone on Fodor's Forums recommended http://matrix.itasoftware.com. I am eternally grateful and that is one of the reasons I keep coming back here. It gives me a peace of mind to run a search there first.
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Oct 1st, 2014, 11:09 AM
  #16
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Thanks for the info. I will give that a try to at least get names of the airlines who fly the required route, then call the airlines direct just to compare.
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Oct 1st, 2014, 11:49 AM
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You can also check airfares online, it's quick and easy unless your route is really complicated...
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Oct 1st, 2014, 12:30 PM
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then call the airlines direct just to compare

Unless, like NewbE said, it is a convoluted route, just verify the prices online with the airline's website.
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