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Old 01-27-2015, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
5,188 posts, read 13,363,030 times
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I will look at travel sites, like Priceline or travelocity, but I ALWAYS book directly through the airline.....I do NOT want to have to deal with a 3rd party!!!
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:15 PM
 
2,286 posts, read 1,511,805 times
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If the price happens to be lower through a 3rd party, what is there to deal with? They send you an email with a link to check in, you click it and print out your pass. Lol.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:17 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,607,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rarog View Post
If the price happens to be lower through a 3rd party, what is there to deal with? They send you an email with a link to check in, you click it and print out your pass. Lol.
If there is ir ops you would have a lot to deal with. If you book with the carrier directly while the line of 200 people in front of you trying to get rebooked is moving at a snails pace, you can be on the phone with the call center getting yourself rebooked. If you book through a third party, they will tell you there is nothing you can do but wait in line.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,683 posts, read 16,109,576 times
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And if your IRROPS is caused by a Major Weather Event, every person ahead of you in line is getting one of the scarce seats that could have gone to you in order to get you out of DDC.

Sometimes you're also told you have to rebook with the 3rd party site's customer service instead of the airline itself, and they are typically not going to have the same options for you that going direct with the airline does. In the event of another dread ground stop at Atlanta shutting down the flight grid for the Southeast, I trust Delta's third level customer service ninjas to force a fare class change that puts me onto the last seat on the plane, no matter what the fare class or class of service is, or to put me on another airline for part of the trip to minimize travel disruptions. Because they've done such things for me a number of times.

Accounts of dealing with Expedia on IRROPS lead me to think that the same level of service during trouble just isn't there.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:57 PM
 
2,291 posts, read 3,935,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rarog View Post
Sometimes you should go through the airlines directly, sometimes Priceline or wherever. I've probably lost a few bucks here and there booking through Priceline in the past, but I don't travel much, and it's pretty convenient. For hotels, sometimes they can be cheaper. For flights I'm not sure.

But I got a rental earlier this month for 6 days for a Chevy Cruze for $160. Through Priceline. That includes taxes and fees. The only other fee I had was filling up the gas tank at the end of the week for $15 or so. It would have cost me probably $200 more if I had gone to the rental counter directly and asked them how much it would cost.

That said, I will start looking at the airline websites directly in the future to see if I can get significant savings.
Flights are different than hotels and rental cars -- there's just too much that can go wrong with flights (delays, cancellations, etc.). With hotels and rental cars, the reservation goes through regardless of whether you use Priceline/booking.com/Hotwire or go directly with the hotel or car rental company. Worst case scenario -- there's almost always one available car of a similar type or one available room, not getting _exactly_ what you booked is not such a big deal, especially if you saved significant money by booking with a third party. But with airlines, I don't want to be stuck 10+ hours away from home, having to deal with someone in a call center whose main job seems to be to keep answering "are you sure you can't solve the problem yourself?"
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:36 PM
 
1,128 posts, read 1,522,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Use Matrix (link given above) and then use the web site of the airline you decide on to book the flights directly for the reasons ScoobySnacks gives.
Also, keep in mind that Southwest isn't listed on ITA Matrix or the other services, you'll have to check them manually.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:09 AM
 
2,286 posts, read 1,511,805 times
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Well I've never had any issues thus far. I don't fly much anyway, I prefer to drive most places.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,316 posts, read 6,975,343 times
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You've received great advice here (imo)!! So, to recap:

1) Search for pricing using ITA Matrix or kayak (I prefer ITA because for a few reasons, but kayak is fine for domestic flights)
2) Generally speaking it will be best to purchase the tickets on a Tues, Wed, or early Thu, and about 4-5 weeks before flying.
3) Cheapest days to fly are usually Tues, Wed and Sat.
4) When you're done with the initial researching, you can set price alerts on kayak to notify you of price drops. (Only if you have plenty of time before the travel dates)
5) When you decide to purchase just use the particular airlines website, unless you want to get extra points with some kind of shopping portalt through an OTA***
6) Remember to check southwest.com because its prices are not included in the kayak or ITA Matrix search. Southwest has direct flights to SJC and OAK from AUS...non direct to SFO.
7) I'll occasionally check priceline or hotwire*** as they might contain lower-priced seating than the airlines offer if you are willing to gamble on which airline, exact flight times, and number of stops. I've never actually gone through with it because the price difference even on the best occasions weren't worth my potential inconvenience, but sometimes I still look just in case. Honestly, if you plan properly then you aren't gonna get a better deal this way...it's pretty much just a good savings for last-minute (i.e., expensive) flights.

***This would go against the warnings of several posters who have expressed bad experiences using online travel agents (OTAs) when things go awry. I personally have never had an issue with any OTA, even when flights are delayed/canceled or I miss them...I have always been able to deal directly with the airline with no extra hassle. That said, beware of non-reputable OTAs that at best create hassle and at worst are outright scams (like eDreams, cheapoair, etc) If you go the OTA route, stick with priceline, hotwire, expedia, orbitz, travelocity. I've used them all but use the first three most often.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:43 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,607,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm277 View Post
Also, keep in mind that Southwest isn't listed on ITA Matrix or the other services, you'll have to check them manually.
True. I don't think Jet Blue is listed, either. I'm not sure about Virgin America.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,683 posts, read 16,109,576 times
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Just did a test search for LAX-NYC (all) on ITA Matrix and both Jet Blue and Virgin American showed up as possible carriers. Frontier showed up on ITA when I searched a route I know they did, as does Allegiant if anyone can tolerate their schedule.
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