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Old 09-13-2012, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,955 posts, read 83,597,281 times
Reputation: 41753

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasW View Post
I dunno. I've only found booking directly to be cheaper once or twice. It's usually a lot more. My last flight was $350 through a 3rd party and $850 booked directly. So I'm not sure what others are seeing/finding. I can always pick my seat through the 3rd party as well. Not that it matters a lot as the airlines bump people out of reserved seats all the time. Last time I booked directly through Delta my 'reserved' window seat over the wing became a middle seat dead last row.

I will agree that handling problems with the 3rd party bookings can be a task - but not impossible. I mean airlines are no happy dreamland of unicorns and rainbows when flights get cancelled or overbooked. Agents get cranky and tend to disappear from gates.
Rarely is it cheaper to book directly,whether you are talking air, cruises, hotels, whatever. There are exceptions, yes, sometimes you save a few dollars...
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:57 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
Rarely is it cheaper to book directly,whether you are talking air, cruises, hotels, whatever. There are exceptions, yes, sometimes you save a few dollars...
I totally disagree. I book direct everytime ALL the time and ALWAYS come out ahead over what a TA is offering. I don't care about the little trinkets or fruit basket or cheap bottle of wine they might leave in your cruise cabin, they charge to book airfare, and I've got a corporate rental car rate that will knock the socks off anyting a TA could come up with. Most hotels offer a low price guarantee and their serious about it.

I don't do packaged tours (yuck!), and am an experienced traveler. So tell me, how would a travel agent save me money? And in case of Ir Ops I can be on the phone with my airline and be rebooked before I could get my TA to call me back on a Sunday afternoon--in fact my carrier of choice answers the phone with my name, as their caller ID picks up my cell number and brings up my profile with them as they answer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:13 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,162,577 times
Reputation: 35902
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb at sea View Post
I do that, too....browse available flights, but then, I book with the airline (or hotel, or whatever...) that I will be using. I prefer dealing directly with those who are taking my money!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mels View Post
I don't understand why people don't book directly. Go ahead, book a flight on Expedia. If your flight gets seriously delayed or cancelled and you need to reconfigure your flight, you will quickly see how better off the rest of us are who booked directly.

It is a matter of time before the majority of the average casual travelers catch on to the fact that booking 3rd party isn't a great idea.
I totally agree ... I used to book through Expedia but found out the benefits of booking directly with the airline when I booked a trip to Seattle. I booked directly with Alaskan Airlines for this trip and found out after booking that I needed an earlier outbound flight into Seattle. I called Alaskan and explained my dilemma and inquired as to what my options were and the helpful rep advised me that since it was less than 24 hours since I booked (although it was the next day), she was able to get me on an earlier flight and all I had to pay was the $35 price difference. I shudder to think of how much money I'd have to shell out to change the flight had I booked through Expedia.

I try to fly Southwest whenever I can as they don't charge for the first 2 bags, have great customer service and comfy seats (at least in my opinion). I don't usually see Southwest on the travel sites and they often have cheap fares (along with Jet Blue and Virgin America). When you use Expedia or other third party sites, you are only viewing results from a limited number of carriers and may not be getting the best price. Also, if you book a non-refundable fare and need to cancel the flight, some airlines even give you airline credits that you can apply to future flight (Southwest for example does this).

Finally, you cannot take advantage of airline reward programs or accrue points if you are booking third party. Many people are frequent flyers and would be short-changing themselves if they only use sites like Expedia versus booking direct with the airlines.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:34 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,329,100 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
Rarely is it cheaper to book directly,whether you are talking air, cruises, hotels, whatever. There are exceptions, yes, sometimes you save a few dollars...
I think it depends.

For cruises you are 100% correct. Far better to book through a good travel agent.

For hotels, I use different sites. I have had very good results with hotels dot com and with Amex but will usually check the hotel's own site as well. If there is no price differential I book direct.

For some airlines (e.g. Southwest) you have to book direct. For others, I usually check Expedia, etc. but also the airline's own site. If there is no price differential, I book direct.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
2,986 posts, read 3,320,081 times
Reputation: 5622
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
I don't understand why everyone doesn't just get a travel agent.
They research the best prices, the best packages, volume deals, and THEY book direct.
I have travelled extensively across the U.S. and Europe, never used a travel agent and never had a problem. Last May, my wife and I decided to have our honeymoon in Cuba and used a travel agent for the first time. It was the worst trip I had ever been on... and not because of the resort. The agent forgot to inform the resort that it was a honeymoon and the "first class service" she sold us as a $260 upgrade was mishandled (ie. forgotten) on our flight home. There were numerous other issues that contributed to this being a less-than-memorable honeymoon, but the bottom line is that the agent did not do her job and I could have done a far better job if I booked it myself. Everything that would have made the trip special were simply not done and I seriously wondered what she does to earn her paycheck. We got half the refunded, but neither the tavel agency nor the tour operator did anything more than say "sorry". My wife is still upset about the entire ordeal.

I would NEVER use a travel agent again!

I have, on the other hand, use Expedia quite extensively and never had an issue with their service whatsoever.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:07 AM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,258,672 times
Reputation: 3490
I have learned that the online travel agents cannot compete with the fares offered by the airlines on their own websites. Fares have been less or at least the same when purchased directly from the airline. I have no problem with an airline penalizing someone for buying from an agent ... as long as the fares don't rise as a result.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:15 AM
 
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
623 posts, read 1,046,800 times
Reputation: 472
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
I don't understand why everyone doesn't just get a travel agent.
They research the best prices, the best packages, volume deals, and THEY book direct.
I worked at a travel agency for a couple years, and if you knew what went on behind the scenes you wouldn't use one either. None of those points are accurate, except booking direct (sort of.)
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Orlando
8,178 posts, read 16,546,639 times
Reputation: 49780
I've booked many a flight over the years and every time found it cheaper to book directly.
It's also better to have booked directly if and when you have to change or cancel.
We had to change a flight and not only had to pay the airline $75.00 we then had to pay the booking site $100.00.
Our very 1st cruise was also booked directly and I got more bennies from the cruiseline that I would have with a travel agent.

I got burned by Travelosity once and won't use those sites again.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,039 posts, read 2,321,887 times
Reputation: 1153
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
Rarely is it cheaper to book directly,whether you are talking air, cruises, hotels, whatever. There are exceptions, yes, sometimes you save a few dollars...
My experience is the opposite. I have never seen something booked cheaper through a third party that I couldn't find myself.

Sometimes by booking one leg on one carrier and the return on another it's actually cheaper.

I have never once booked a flight through a third party.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,475,820 times
Reputation: 3814
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb at sea View Post
I do that, too....browse available flights, but then, I book with the airline (or hotel, or whatever...) that I will be using. I prefer dealing directly with those who are taking my money!
Same here. Because if there is a problem, you are more likely to be able to get a resolution if you have booked directly with the airline or hotel. As far as hotels go, I know a few people who work in the hotel industry and they have told me that, at least at the more upscale hotels, they know which guests booked directly and which ones got a deep discount from a third-party website. If there is a problem, they direct those guests back to the third party. And there tends to be some difference in how full-paying, directly-booked guests are treated (the third-party booker is more likely to have the room on the ground floor by the ice machine, while the full-rate customer is going to get that room on the 21st floor with the incredible view).

Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
I don't understand why everyone doesn't just get a travel agent.
They research the best prices, the best packages, volume deals, and THEY book direct.
And they charge you a fee for doing something that most people can easily do themselves. Unlike, say 20 years ago, anyone with an internet connection can see all of the same information that any travel agent can. Unless you are going to some remote, out-of-the-way places or have a fairly complicated itinerary (say you want to island hop through Tahiti or the Greek isles for a couple of weeks) it is fairly easy to book your own travel. For any domestic travel in the US and simple flights to or from most major cities / regions anywhere in the world, it simply is not that complicated. I've traveled all over North America, western Europe and the Caribbean and have always booked my own itinerary with little effort.
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