Downside to using travelocity?

Mar 28th, 2005, 04:03 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 600
Downside to using travelocity?

Greetings--

Are there any downsides to using travelocity to book tix from US to Athens? Are the any unexpected problems in case of strike, delays, etc. that one would not have if one books directly with the airline?

Athens tix are $50 less that way but don't want additional problems if there should be changes. Thanks.

Take care,
Robyn France
RobynFrance is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:13 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,069
I find the flight on Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz,etc. and then try to book direct with the airline. Many times they will have the same flight minus the booking fee that Travelocity charges.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:59 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Assuming you are booking in the US I would NOT limit my choices to Travelocity, Orbitz, and Expedia. I would at least check fares on the following sites:

www.Onetravel.com
www.mobissimo.com (which, unfortunately doesn't seem to allow open jaw searches)
www.itasoftware.com
www.kayak.com

Then, and only then, would I be satisfied that I had found the lowest fare.

In terms of "problems" ...once you have an e-ticket or a paer ticket you have a contract of carriage with the airline, not the booking agent. One advantage of booking with the airline is elimination of any booking fees PROVIDED you book through the airline's website in many cases since many airlines are now charging their own "booking fee" for flights booked over the phone.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:19 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 600
For some reason the Travelocity fare is less than the carrier--only $25 but if there is no downside, I thought I would. Thanks for the other web sites.
RobynFrance is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:41 AM
  #5  
HKP
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,601
Problems have been known to arise when misconnections put you at the mercy of the carrier to rebook and get you to your destination, or when there's an issue of refund/credit for uncompleted trip, etc. etc. Sometimes the airline will treat you no differently from those they ticketed themselves; but sometimes they will tell you you have to deal with Travelocity.

Consider Travelocity the same as a travel agent, except you may have a much easier time getting in touch with a travel agent than with T'city's "Customer Service" dept. to help fix things that have gone wrong.
HKP is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
I don't want to be read as picking on travelocity; there are a number of similar sites that share certain disadvantages.

First, they sometimes seem to cobble together connecting flights that have challenging connection times. If you don't make one of these connections,

Second, the airlines seem to want to treat these services as travel agents, so the airline will often insist that you resolve problems by contacting the service. For example, if you fly airline A on the first leg, and miss a connection to airline B, where do you go to get the problem fixed. Many report that airline A says its not our problem; airline B says its not our problem, both point to the service, and you are stuck in a strange airport trying to contact the service (whose number you forgot to bring).

Third, if you are playing the miles game, some of the tickets sold by the services do not qualify for frequent flyer miles.

Fourth, they serve a large number of customers with a very limited inventory of seats. That means bargains can disappear in the midst of your booking them, not to mention in the few minutes it takes to call you companion and confirm that you will buy. For example, they may have one ticket at $450, two tickets at $500, and four tickets at $550. If they quote two tickets for $950 (thats one at $450 and one at $500), but someone buys the $450 while you are purchasing, they will tell you the fare quoted is no longer available, and offer to sell you two tickets for $1000 ($500 each).

Fifth is the matter of taxes and fees. Some sites may offer a ticket for $450, but in the fine print it says this does not include taxes and fees; when you get to the end of the purchase process, they reveal the taxes and fees, which could make their overall price higher than at another site. So you have to be very careful when comparison shopping that you are comparing full price against full price.

I once bought a pair of international tickets from one of the services. The end price was a little more than twice the single ticket price that had first enticed me (see third and fourth above, but I didn't know it at the time). We were on pins and needles for two months, as the service seemed to have difficulty coordinating with the airline that was doing our second leg, so we got frequent emails from the service telling us our flight was cancelled, but when we called they said it was go, only to repeat the process a week later. We had very short connection times, but were fortunate that our first flights arrived on time, we had no delays at immigration, and were still young enough to run between gates. Actually the flights went well, and the price was unbelievable, but after we returned and tried to get our frequent flyer miles credited, my wife's account was credited but mine was not. I contacted the airline, and they insisted that my ticket did not earn FF miles (apparently the service sold us two tickets, one that earned miles and one that didn't). It took a couple of months of incessant whining for the airline to finally have mercy on me and credit my miles.

Since that experience, I use the services to monitor prices and see which airlines fly where I want to go, but I buy my tickets at the airline site, most often at slightly less than the service offers (the difference being the small commission the services charge).

I'm not saying you can't run into problems with a ticket purchased from the airline, but when you do, you don't have to go through a third party to solve the problem.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 08:05 AM
  #7  
pat
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,461
My travelocity ticket had a too short connection, like just under one hour, and since I was changing carriers, AA said I couldn`t do it that way, that I needed at least an hour. It would have worked out if I had had carry on luggage only. AA changed my ticket on Delta after calling them, to a later flight. (I was at the airport)) So I arrived later than I should have, and my sister didn`t know what had happened to me. Those sites do charge a fee. When I got back, I did call travelocity, and they basically said it was my fault. I followed one of their iteneraries though.
pat is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 09:04 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,198
I think since I have gone from full-service travel agents taking care of everything to being my own travel agent I have learned one thing from the school of hard knocks. It is up to me to read the fine print.

I used to take it for granted that my travel agent would know that the ticket price did not include taxes and service fees or that the connection would be too short. Now that I book my own I have learned to take the time to search all the sites I can think of, compare them, read the fine print and then cross my fingers before I poke in the credit card numbers.

I saw an article in Budget Travel recently that Expedia was gigging people for more taxes than they were paying out to the tax man. The city of LA had a large suit against all the sites that they weren't passing the collected taxes on to them. I think some full-service travel agency would have a lot of success advertising that they will worry about all this, find you the lowest fare, and only charge you a small amount for the trouble. Maybe I'm dreaming. Until then :buyer beware".
AisleSeat is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 09:13 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
It would also be well to see this from the point of view of the sites and the airlines.

The airlines love offloading their reservation activity to third-party sites, because it saves them BIG money in wages, benefits, and overhead.

The sites love it because it gets their finger in the pie.

But the first thing the airlines noticed when the sites were tacking on fees and they weren't was that people would use the sites to find availability and then call the airline to make the reservation, thereby avoiding the fee.

So the airlines are gradually wising up to the economic realities of this brave new world, and tacking on fees of their own so that calling them will be less desirable.

The sites like this arrangement, too, since it removes the incentive to go around them.

The airlines and booking sites get the uranium mine; the consumer gets the shaft.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 09:28 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
There are also often frequent flyer mileage bonuses for booking directly with the airline's website
elaine is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
sandyy
Air Travel
22
Apr 30th, 2009 01:46 PM
closer52
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
19
Jan 2nd, 2009 06:14 AM
birds4us
Air Travel
4
Dec 30th, 2008 09:09 AM
cruisin_tigger
United States
6
Apr 26th, 2008 02:36 PM
hotticket
United States
18
Jun 17th, 2007 03:35 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:39 PM.