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I will not use orbitz (or any other booking service) again

I will not use orbitz (or any other booking service) again

Old Dec 1st, 2008, 10:00 AM
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I will not use orbitz (or any other booking service) again

We recently flew to Los Cabos from Chicago. I booked the flight though Orbitz. They set us up through US Airways, going from Chicago to Mexico City and then from Mexico City to Los Cabos, which was fine and what I agreed to. However, US Airways kept changing itineraries on me. By the time it was all said and done, I was suppposed to go from Chicago to Phoenix and then from Mexico City to Los Cabos! There was no mention of a flight from Phoenix to Mexico City! After much calling, we were stuck with an added leg (Chicago to Phoenix, Phoenix to Mexico City, and Mexico City to Los Cabos). In addition, we get to Phoenix and there was a US Airways flight from Phoenix to Los Cabos. I asked if we could get on that flight but the US Airways represntative told us since we had booked through Orbitz that was not possible. She said if I had booked with US Airways directly, I would have been able to take the direct flight to Los Cabos. Instead we had to fly to Mexico City first! From now on I will only book through an airline directly. The same goes for hotels, etc.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 10:37 AM
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I always wonder why people book with a 3rd party agent instead of directly with the airline.

when you booked your ticket from Chicago to Los Cabos, why did you go through Orbitz instead of booking with USAirways?

When you found out you had to fly Chicago-Phoenix-Mexico City-Los Cabos, did you check on USAirways' website to see if there were a Phoenix-Los Cabos nonstop?

From what I gather, most people use the 3rd party agent because those agents offered a lower fare than the airline's website. Was that your case here?
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 11:44 AM
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I *always* book direct with the airlines.

I have never understood any benefit to using this type of middleman booking service.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 01:31 PM
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I check Orbitz and the like as part of my research - to see what airlines and routings there are. Then I check the airlines themselves. In most cases, prices directly through the airline are comprarable to what is offered through the 3rd party. If the price through the 3rd party was significantly lower, then I would consider buying my tickets through them. I never have though, and given the issues I have heard about, I think the difference in price would have to be pretty big.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 01:45 PM
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I think for complicated itineraries, Orbitz or Expedia will usually have lower fares. First I think they offer airline combos (so the trip involves more than one airline) that are hard to book with a specific airline.

If the trip is straightforward and involves just one airline, then of ocurse it's worthwhile checking with the airline directly.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 12:15 AM
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Me too, I always booked my flight directly to the airlines.

They know better...

http://www.route66place.com
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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 08:43 PM
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I have used third-party services whenever I get a better price, whether for airlines or hotels. The important thing is to keep a watch on your itinerary yourself. Most recently, I saved about $300 on a flight with Orbitz, and I saved about 40-60 Euros per night by using other third-party services for my hotels.

I am doubtful that the US Airways rep was being truthful. She could have put you on the direct flight. Orbitz provided a convenient excuse. It may or may not have been the case that you would have been treated better if you booked directly.

I will book directly if the cost is essentially the same, but I won't throw hundreds of dollars away for a supposed benefit that has never yet been significant to me.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 03:07 PM
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I booked one leg of my recent trip through Expedia, the first time I've used them. I wouldn't have done it this time, but it was half the price the airline (TAP) was charging, and the only rival, Royal Air Maroc, was no better. I was nervous about it, though, and certainly wouldn't use them for anything complex. I have had good results with third party hotel agencies.
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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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Are you sure this is an error on orbitz or could it be your airline...
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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I currently have a booking through Orbitz that involves one airline, but the sale fare disappeared from the airline's site while Orbitz still honored it--$500 savings per ticket--so that is why I sometimes purchase through a third-party rather than the airline. I prefer direct from airline, but not always cheapest.

Also, as mentioned, it is often the only way to get tickets that mix airlines on segments.

I have received an email update from Orbitz one month in advance of flight telling me of time change--the estimated arrival time of one leg is now 5 minutes different than before.

I have had agents not want to put me on a different direct flight if not booked with airline. I have also had agents not want to put me on direct flight even though I booked with the airline because I got a cheaper fare by booking a connecting flight. They didn't want me "beating" the system.
Other times I've been put on the direct flight.
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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I've booked flights with Orbitz and Hotels.com for the rates. I've never had a problem with either of THEM. I did have a difficult time with US Airways when I missed my flight due to a power outage in St. Thomas. (I was not alone-eleven travelers ran into the same circumstance.) My family and I managed to fly from NC to Washington, DC after a night in NC and waiting standby on multiple flights in NC and DC (we made the 9th flight out). I really think it's the representatives of the airlines that have the power. The people in NC were difficult to deal with and the people in Washington, DC got me on as quickly as they could. I wrote to US Airways and never received a response. I vowed never to fly them again, but they tend to be the "go to" airline for many of my destinations. While I've had to sprint for my next connection, I've had very good results with them subsequent to my St. Thomas trip.
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I always book directly. Many airlines, hotels, etc... will tell you that they have the lowest fare.

Why rely on some Joe Schmoe from Kokomoe to book your flight for you?

suze knows what she's saying, and a trusted voice (for the most part, lol) on Fodors.

I've used her advice many times on many forums.
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Old Dec 21st, 2008, 03:40 PM
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I haven't used orbitz, but I agree w/the sentiment: I will never again use a third-party agent. We used Priceline for a hotel in London in October. Not a disaster, but not worth it either.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 06:58 PM
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Have you tried telling Orbitz that this new itinerary will not work for you & asking for a full refund? Sometimes Continental will change a flight time, and if it leaves me in a bind, they have no problem giving me a refund. It's worth a try....
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 05:07 AM
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I hate to say this, but Expedia, has really come through for me...many times. The biggest deal was when a Mexican airlines that we were booked on three years ago went belly-up. It was a within Mexico flight and the ticket was about $100. The airlines left thousands of ticket holders stranded and without a refund. Expedia tried their best to get us a refund, for months...and when they exhausted all possibilties, they gave each of us that had booked with them a $100 voucher that we all used later on.

Another great way to use these third party agents is to check and see what they are offering and when you see a price and an airline that looks good, go to that airline's web-site. Many times, but not always, the airline web-site will be cheaper.

But wait! There's more! I recently booked a flight on Expedia and for the first time bought their $50 travel insurance...and what do you know..I needed it! It is an ordeal to get the refund, but I should get it. You really can't do that through an airline's website, can you?
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 06:07 PM
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I don't understand why seeksocean hates to say that he/she has experienced good service from a third party online agent. They aren't inherently evil and there is no embarrassment is using one. They are essential for mixed airline tickets.

Sometimes they offer a better deal; sometimes not. They may or may be easier to deal with before a trip than the airline or hotel directly. They do tend to be more difficult to work with to handle flight changes enroute because the airline rep may be there with you in person versus the agent is online or via phone and the airline rep may have more control.

I sometimes think we treat this issue on this board similar to the packing light topic. I am one of those pack light/carryon types, but there are times I need to check a bag and I don't think doing carryon is the only way to travel in all situations. I hope we go skiing this winter and I can never go carryon for a ski trip just as I can't always book with an airline to get a multi-airline plane ticket.


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Old Dec 24th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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Kay, You are right. I take back my 'hate to say...' It was just an expression. I love to say something positive!

Also, I checked my mail yesterday and the Expedia travel insurance(Berkley) refund check was already there...in the same mail as my USPS certified return receipt for the paperwork that I sent to them! That was fast!
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Old Dec 27th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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In the early days of Internet booking, I found I could get some good deals from using certain 3rd parties like Orbitz, Expedia,... but now I find that the price they quote is usually the same as what you can get from the airlines directly. So I will use the 3rd party sites and other price searches to see which airline is offering the best price, then go to the airlines website to book at that price. I recently used AMEX to book a complicated flight because of freq fly miles and it was a fiasco.
However, I have had the same problems with changed routings even when I booked with the airlines. IT may actually help to have somebody like Expedia to complain to when the airlines screw around or flat out lie to you. It would have been interesting to hear Orbitz's response to what the airline said. Can't remember the last time an airline told me the truth, oh wait, it was Continental about 10 years ago when a bad storm hit Houston and delayed our flight from the UK.
(So far I have found that these 3rd party bookings still work for some hotels, I guess the hotels aren't trying to compete with them online for bookings yet)
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Old Jan 1st, 2009, 07:07 AM
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I just had a terrible experience with my client who booked on his own with Travelocity. He needed to change his flight and we found that the change fee was $180. If he had booked directly with Delta, it would have been *only* $150. When I called to make the change directly with Delta, they said they would charge $50 extra since the reservation was made through a 3rd party. I was on hold for several minutes with Travelocity when they had to verify the change fee cost, then wanted to put me on hold again to verify the flight changes. Unfortunately, he could have avoided the change fees if he had booked direct as Delta has a 24 hour refund policy if booked online. I believe it's the same with Continental if you are logged into your account.

I do agree that sometimes it's cheaper to book with 3rd party suppliers because they can chose different airlines to complete a flight with connections. However, I prefer to book my clients with one airline because if there is a missed connection, they will accommodate them without charging a fee and is less of a hassle.

As far as finding the best airfare prices, I suggest using either Kayak, SideStep or FareCast for information. I hope this helps!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2009, 05:14 AM
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I don't think the problem is booking with a third party. The key is to know your options and know what the cost of the different options are. You can then choose the options you think are a good value (i.e. flying a leg through Mexico D.F. to get to Los Cabos).

I use Sidestep.com for searching. Before I book anything, I also search the airlines and check multiple departure dates, times and nearby airports.

I've had some issues with changing schedules but those are driven by the airline changes, not the booking agent.
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