HELP - Swiss Air cancelled our flight!

Old May 19th, 2010, 09:04 AM
  #21  
 
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<<I don't think they are a totally bogus company>>

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/trave...e_dot_com.html

http://www.dc.bbb.org/report.html?na...y&compid=20055
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Old May 19th, 2010, 10:24 AM
  #22  
 
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TaraMom, thank you so much for telling us your bad experience with airfare.com

Lessons learned:

1) Book directly with the airline if possible.

2) If a consolidator is significantly cheaper (at least 20%), then

- do some research on the soundness of the consolidator (djkbooks posted two most useful links),

- make sure that you get an e-ticket number of the airline (not of the consolidator),

- log into the airline's computer system with the e-ticket number and verify your booking.

I am telling this because I had a similar issue. Via internet research I found a travel agency that offered a certain transatlantic flight at a rate that was below every other offering. I did some web research on this travel agency and found no complaints. I booked and they told me that they would issue the ticket not before three weeks prior to departure date. I insisted to get the e-ticket number and I got an e-ticket number. Then I used this e-ticket number to communicate with the airline directly.

What I found out: The travel agency told me that they had reserved seats for our party. When I logged into the airline's computer system, I found there was no reservation of seats. Since I had got the e-ticket number, I reserved seats and everything worked out fine.

Conclusion: The e-ticket number is crucial. Always double check with the airline.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #23  
 
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They don't sound like something I'd deal with, but I do notice that the consumeraffairs website appears to just be a sounding board for people to write complaints, and so don't know the accuracy of them. Also, I've read similar complaints about Orbitz, and any travel agency website (and I used Orbitz and was fully satisfied, but I've read many similar complainta about them). At least the BBB numbers are more factual, but I will admit that probably 30 complaints in a year for a company that size isn't really that many (and some are not that serious). Given they show up on kayak, I imagine they have a lot of sales.

However, I noticed one of the complaints on the consumeraffairs website was someone who didn't believe they were in Bethesda, etc., and I knew they were. Some people are shocked that foreigners work in places in a big city, I guess.

Well, as I said, I wouldn't use them now, but those complaints do not show them as a totally bogus company to me.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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Another thanks for posting about airfare.com. Not only will we not use them, we'll warn our friends and relatives not to either.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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Whenever you book flights, you can always check that the reservation exists by confirming with the airline directly. Whether or not airfare.com is a bad site, it is easy to find out in short order whether or not your ticket is confirmed shortly after purchase. I've booked with some third-party sites before and saved thousands of dollars, and had no problems with them, although it's true that the airline sometimes has the cheapest fare.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Another good reason for booking directly with an airline is if something like the volcano ash situation arises.
If you booked with the airline they will look after you (at least if it is a EU airline), book through a consolidator and the airline not only won't but do not have to provide anything for you. They sold the ticket to the consolidator, not to you, so have no duty of care for you.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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The OP purchased and paid for tickets, and discovered only inadvertently that she did not actually have tickets, and received NO customer service whatsoever.

That ONE complaint is enough for me.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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So sorry to hear of your distress.
I did buy a ticket through airfare.com once a few years ago. It was much cheaper than other outlets for that trip. I think it was an international one-way. I'm always very cautious with using a new (to me) site, double checking that the final amount is what I expected, going back after a few days to get the airline locator number, etc. I guess I expect the worst after hearing so many stories like this.
Mine experience was fine and I'm sure I looked around for complaints before I booked. It must be going downhill.
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