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If there are problems, do airlines treat you differently if you don't book directly from them?

If there are problems, do airlines treat you differently if you don't book directly from them?

Old Jun 1st, 2004, 01:52 PM
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If there are problems, do airlines treat you differently if you don't book directly from them?

What do you know? We are looking at consolidators tickets because they are so much cheaper for when we want to go. We have had so many trips with glitches--emergency landing and evacuation of sick passenger which delayed trip, cancelled flights, weather delays, mechanical problems, overbooked flights, missed connections because airline didn't make its own connection time etc. If there is a problem like one of these, will we be screwed in terms of getting comparable service as other passengers? Are the airline's services any different than if I booked through something like Expedia or Travelocity? If I am on an airline and I am a member of their ff club, but using a consolidator for ticket purchase, would that make any difference in treatment? I am curious especially in light of an experience we had in March when we did not book directly with an airline. Continental was offering very good fares because they had bought seats on a Northwest flight Minneapolis to Charleston. So we bought the Continental tickets because they were a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the NWA tickets on the same flight. When Noirthwest cancelled the 1st leg of the flight (after departure time) we were told to call Continental because we had bought the tickets through them. What has your experience been? Or if you are an airline employee, what are the general guidelines?
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 02:26 PM
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I don't quite understand your question. In the example you gave, it's simple: You bought the tickets from Continental, so it would seem logical that you would be referred back to them to solve any problem(s) with the flight.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Yes, you will be treated differently depending on where you bought the tickets (since whoever you bought them from will have to fix any problems) and what type/class/price of tickets they are - since they all have different types of restricitons. that;s one of the major reasons the tickets are different prices to begin with.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Hi julies,

Airlines treat everyone on board equally. The FA's don't know where your ticket came from.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 03:53 PM
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On board, I'm sure you will be treated, or mistreated, equally with everyone else. Your ticket may, however, not qualify for frequent flyer miles.

My biggest problem with such tickets, however, is what happens when you have to make a connection. If you have a ticket from A to B to C bought from an airline, they will have arrangements in case you miss your connection in B. If, however, a consolidator, or even you, has cobbled together a flight from A to B on one airline, and a flight from B to C on another, and you miss the connection, the B to C airline is likely to treat you as they would someone who just got to the airport late, and if you have bought a highly restricted low priced ticket, you are about as far down the list as you can get.

I don't think you faced that situation with your Continental/NWA ticket, at least recently, as they code share, so there is a relationship between the airlines. NWA merely told you to take the problem to Continental, as possibly Continental would have its own flight available for you.

It seems so many of us are plotting our own flights, or using third parties, and buying highly restricted tickets without reading the fine print, that more and more problems are likely to crop up.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Consolidators do one thing: they move tickets on behalf of the airlines just as Expedia, etc., does. You are essentially buying the ticket from the airline...the price you paid is basically irrelevant; there will be other people on YOUR flight who bought their tickets at various prices, from the airline, through Expedia, etc.
If you have ongoing connections on the same airline and you miss that connection because of the airline's miscalculation, etc., etc., they have to move you just as they would anyone else who "missed."
If you bought tickets on two different airlines and missed a connection, airline one does not have any further obligation than to get you to the destination...if you get there late and miss your ongoing flight on another carrier that's your tough luck...this is not new and it is not "different" regardless of how you got your ticket.
 
Old Jun 1st, 2004, 04:43 PM
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Since it was unclear, I guess my real question is if those who purchase from consolidators are literally and figuratively the last in line for favorable re-ticketing/ booking and free meal and hotel room vouchers if the flight can't depart at all because there is a problem that is clearly the airline's fault--cancelled flights, late arrivals that cause a missed connection (as part of the ticket purchased from the consolidator). These are the types of things I am wondering about. I think the gate agents do know who purchased consolidator's tickets because they can tell which class ticket you have. In my experience, many times the gate agents are the ones with the power to do or not do something.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 05:00 PM
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I've been posting this on Fodors for a long time. Everybody get around the campfire and listen again.

When and if you buy from consolidator, travel agent, etc. the airline can't touch the ticket till you take you first flight. It's that simple. Once the airline gets you to the first connect, it does not matter who booked the ticket. At that point the ailine will accomodate you anyway they can, regardless where you bought the ticket.

So, if you buy a ticket from Expedia, Orbitz or JoeBlow Agency, these agents will have to adjust the ticket if the first flight did not happen. Once the first flight did happen, then the airline will be able to adjust the ticket.

There are few exceptions, but basically that's the way it works. End of story.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 05:59 PM
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Sorry - I believe that's way too simplistic. Your class of travel, your FF status and how you purchased your ticket can definitely change how you are treated. Last summer we were caught in a travel disaster in Chicao with flights being cancelled all over the place and folks who had most inexpensive tickets had to stand on line forever to get things sorted out. Those with Frist Class tickets or premium FF status or a good corporate travel agent can use special ticket windows or a simple pnone call to get way preferential treatment in terms of first choice of rescheduled flights and willingness to sort out emergency hotel reservations

Perhaps a consolidator ticket gets the same treatment as an economy ticket bought from the airline - but there are definitely groups with preferred status.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 06:20 PM
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nytraveler,

the question was not about preferential treatment. That does happen all the time. Having Executive Platinum status(top tier) with AA gives me a huge advantage when the so called sh*t hits the fan.

But, this question is about who sold you the ticket, and who do you turn to when the first flight goes bad. Once again, it has to be whoever sold you the ticket. The airlines will not touch it before the first flight takes place.
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