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dealra
02-13-2006, 09:52 AM
I am so unsatisfied with expedia.com. I booked airline tickets for my daughter and myself. My mother decided to join us so I went back to add her...well that cost me an addditional $60 over and above the ticket cost. expedia told me that when I cancel I get charged, I explained I did not cancel I added someone instead but it showed up on screen as a double booking, doesn't matter I get the charge anyway, totally wrong.....watch out for these thiefs.

Debbie in VT

Sancha
02-13-2006, 11:24 AM
First off, I'm sorry that you had a negative experience, it's always disappointing to start a trip off that way.

To make sure I follow what happened, did you complete a booking for yourself and your daughter, then go back at a later time to add your mother? If that's the case you would incur change fees from the airline, regardless of where the booking was done. Depending on the circumstances, you may have been able to avoid the change fee by booking your mother separately, on the same flights as you and your daughter but on her own itinerary, rather than adding her to yours.

joyceandrews
02-13-2006, 12:26 PM
Sancha is right. You should have booke your mother separately on the same flights, but her own booking. Then in comments you can say you are traveling together.

anniep
02-13-2006, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by joyceandrews@Feb 13 2006, 01:26 PM
Sancha is right. You should have booke your mother separately on the same flights, but her own booking. Then in comments you can say you are traveling together.
20142


Or...booked through a real live travel professional who would have given you that advice in the first place!

Sancha
02-13-2006, 07:27 PM
?? Just to buy plane tickets??
I'm surprised to hear that recommendation.

I believe that, in most cases, consumers can manage their own air ticket purchase, it just may take a little research to ensure you're aware of the ticket restrictions. Same goes for any high-dollar purchase.

Seems like there are a lot of professional (in both senses of the word) travel agents on this forum, I'd be curious to hear some other opinions. Would you recommend that people use an agent for an air-only purchase? Or, more accurately, under what circumstances? With apologies for straying a little off topic...

NW CTC
02-13-2006, 08:22 PM
?? Just to buy plane tickets??
I'm surprised to hear that recommendation.

I believe that, in most cases, consumers can manage their own air ticket purchase, it just may take a little research to ensure you're aware of the ticket restrictions. Same goes for any high-dollar purchase.


The woman just shelled out $60 more than she needed to - minimum. (I often have better fares than are available on line.) I'd say this is an open and shut case that she should have used a travel agent.

Kairho
02-13-2006, 09:24 PM
And whenever a flight itinerary goes beyond a simple roundtrip between major cities, agents often have not only advanced expertise but access to fares not available to the public. As an example we routinely sell $1500-$1800 tickets that all the online sites want well over $5000 for. The consumer saves a lot and we make two or three times what we could make on the more expensive ticket.

TravelGal30
02-13-2006, 11:09 PM
I don't know that we have enough information on this to make a judgment. Once tickets are issued, a passenger can't add another party, a new reservation has to be made. When doing a new booking you are subject to current fare, and we all know that price is driven by availability, the fare that she had booked for herself and her daughter may no longer have been available.

jfrenaye
02-14-2006, 07:16 AM
I took it to mean she did pay the current fare PLUS $60. Maybe I mis-read.

Eileen Sellers
02-14-2006, 07:35 AM
well that cost me an addditional $60 over and above the ticket cost. expedia told me that when I cancel I get charged, I explained I did not cancel I added someone

You can't increase the number of pax on a record..so I'm not sure about "adding" a person. I don't think that the change could have been done on-line, so perhaps the passenger had to call Expedia to make the change. In doing so, Expedia is charging for the change.

weblet
02-14-2006, 08:56 AM
I wasn't quite sure what the OP was saying since she referred to 'canceling' and 'adding' and 'double-booking'. All of which can have different results. I'm thinking that when she went to book the 3rd person she actually made a new reservation for 3 (since we know you can't add a person to an existing reservation), saw something that didn't make sense to her and called Expedia. Expedia saw the double-booking, voided out the original tickets and charged her $60 to fix this. Who knows, we don't really have enough information.

Since Sancha asked, I will say that I have no problem with passengers doing their own thing online for simple point-to-point domestic tickets as what I can do is usually very similar to what you get online. (And don't think I don't know a 'shopping call' when I get one.) But they need to understand that when 'doing your own thing' you are also on your own if you have a problem. Do not call me to fix it when you weren't willing to pay me for my advice in the first place, because in most cases I am not going to be able to help you. What you said is key, it just may take a little research to ensure you're aware of the ticket restrictions. Most consumers do not take the time to 'read the fine print,' and more to the point, the 'fine print' is confusing. Fare rules that include minimum stay/maximum stay, advance purchase, refundable/non-refundable, change fees that can vary from $40-$200 per ticket (and that's on top of any fare change)... There are an estimated 25,000 fare changes every day! There are times that even we professionals are confused, but at least we know who to call when we don't understand something! So, when you start getting into more complicated domestic itineraries and international tickets, an agent can be invaluable in suggesting alternate routings, date changes, low-cost vs legacy carriers, bulk vs published fares, charter vs scheduled air, different ticketing arrangements.... Are we always going to come up with the absolute lowest cost for doing what you ask? Never going to make a mistake? No. We're human. But I would bet you dollars to donuts (preferably Dunkin' Donuts), that we come up on top more times than not. And when you deal with me you have my home phone :) .

Annette
02-14-2006, 09:45 AM
I know it's not the kind of response the OP was hoping for, but frankly I'm surprised that she didn't incur greater charges than she did!

LadyMac
02-15-2006, 11:10 AM
I've made several point-to-point airline reservations through my travel agent. Why not? If there's a problem, I have someone to advocate for me rather than a nameless, faceless customer service agent who already has my money but who wouldn't know me if I came up and bit her. :P (I have read enough of Christopher Elliot's columns!).

As far as I can tell, I don't pay significantly more for my tickets: I bought 3 to Amsterdam through my agent for roughly $785 each late last year. The same flights on nwa.com are about $780 at this point!

What can I say, you get what you pay for!

drwong
02-15-2006, 12:03 PM
Moreover, Expedia now tacks on an additional service fee for every ticket purchased on line. I have yet to see a travel agent do that!

bravestar
06-14-2006, 01:44 PM
Yeah, I know this thing is from waaaaaay back in February, but I still wanted to say something. :)

The question was, would I recommend that people use an agent for an air-only purchase? Or, more accurately, under what circumstances?

It all depends, really. If a person knows EXACTLY where they want to depart, where they want to go, and either know how they want to get there or don't really care, I don't see a need for a travel agent's services. Hop online, do comparisons, find the best deal for you (not always the cheapest deal) and go to town.

However, my agency gets calls many times that are something similar to the following:

Agent: Where would you like to fly to?
Customer: Weeeelllll. See, I don't know. I live in Springfield, Missouri, and there's an airport right here. I want to fly out of there to Orlando.

Quotes are given.

Customer: Hmmmm. Man, that's rather 'spensive. How 'bout flyin' out of Kansas City?

Quotes are given.

Customer: Hmmmmm. Can you try St. Louis?

Quotes are given.

Customer: Hmmmmmm. Are there any other airports near here?
Agent: Tulsa is about a three hour drive by car, sir.
Customer: Ahhh, okay. Check that, too.

Quotes are given.

Ad nauseum. Many of our agents get customers who are simply trying to find the cheapest airfare, with the minimum of 'sacrifice' on their part (like having to drive 3 hours to the airport). These folks are usually older, and have no clue what they're doing on the Internet, let alone attempting to price compare itineraries with slightly different details.

So...

how 'bout those Mets?

mercwyn
06-14-2006, 03:19 PM
I think one point that should be mentioned and probably shouted out repeatedly is the terms and conditions imposed by the web site. If you do read the fine print you will discover that on most, if not, all the online booking engines, the consumer is responsible for everything and the online company isn't responsible for anything. Sure, the consumer only pays a $5.00 booking fee but what does that fee buy them, no guaranteed service, no legal recourse and potentially a lot of headaches.

I think we can all agree that on simple roundtrips that booking online isn't a big deal, although if something goes wrong the consumer can get in hot water in short order, as the OP discovered.

My travelers often go to hotspots like Columbia MO. or Kirksville MO. or Frankfort KY. or any number of smaller communities that have limited air service and my agents are expected to know how to get the traveler there for the least amount of money and in the shortest amount of time. We also get the folks flying out of Detroit that we will sometimes send out of Flint or Lansing or even Toledo depending on where they live.

Part of managing travel is booking flights and making suggestions for alternatives and part is managing unused tickets, corporate travel plans like United's Perks Plus or the Delta Sky Bonus program and I don't see any online booking engine providing all of those services.

As my old mentor put it, "You're lucky if you get what you paid for." :blink: :P :rolleyes:

deangreenhoe
06-14-2006, 04:28 PM
An old ghost revisited. B)

This conversation sort of applies to another thead on here somewhere about internet pricing. (Might be in Agents Only.)

Even if you don't want the service bells and whistles (of which there are many) by booking through an agent, it is becoming more and more common to find lower pricing structures quoted via an agency GDS than what the web booking engines are offering. I don't pretend to have a clue why this is (theories abound) but it's just what I'm experiencing when I do regular comparisons. It's also often the case with land (car and hotel) arrangements.

The most glaring differences have been for international travel this summer. I've been regularly able to shave a considerable amount of cost off a lot of a lot of client's air ticket purchases over and above what's being offered on the big web booking engines. Yes, I do compare each trip.

So I would suggest you at least compare cost with a reputable traditional agency. If you're a new customer, I wouldn't expect them to spend hours hunting for a cheap airfare (like the gal who wanted me to check every airline from every Midwest city to every airport in Europe in a two-week window in July :blink: ) but if you have a fairly good idea of what you really want to do, you just might be surprised.

Just a heads up from one who is in the trenches all day, every day, and takes good notes. ;)

travel
06-14-2006, 05:49 PM
I never buy from the online "agencies" (did we ever decide what to call them in that previous thread from months ago?) and I always caution my travelers away from doing so. Some still do, and that's fine, but there's really nowhere to go when there's a problem--and there will be one. I've always said that if you buy a ticket on American Airlines (or whomever) through Expedia (or whomever) and your flight is cancelled, they're rebooking FIRST all those people who bought directly from them or from the agents who are calling on their clients' behalf. The others get left behind. That may not be "the policy," but I've seen it enough times and overheard several conversations that I'm sure I wasn't supposed to hear to support my theory.

If it's a simple point-to-point ticket, I book it through the airlines' websites. If it seems overly expensive (compared to usual fares between those destinations), I have a few agencies I work well with and I will double check with them, telling them what I found online that seemed unreasonable. If it's a multi-city ticket, or overseas, or group tickets, I go directly to one of my agents.

Ned
06-14-2006, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by travel@Jun 14 2006, 06:49 PM
I never buy from the online "agencies" (did we ever decide what to call them in that previous thread from months ago?) and I always caution my travelers away from doing so... I've always said that if you buy a ticket on American Airlines (or whomever) through Expedia (or whomever) and your flight is cancelled, they're rebooking FIRST all those people who bought directly from them or from the agents who are calling on their clients' behalf. The others get left behind. That may not be "the policy," but I've seen it enough times and overheard several conversations that I'm sure I wasn't supposed to hear to support my theory...
28981

I completely agree with your analysis and have seen first hand, the rebooking pecking order you described, on numerous occasions. Normally I make my domestic reservations myself. They're usually easy and related directly to visiting our kids or a convention. Our travel agent makes all the international reservations and out of the ordinary stuff (He makes all our land and cruise reservations with their appropriate plane reservations). He has made so many of our vacations better due to his knowledge and care, we'd be crazy not to use him. We have a great working relationship with him.

mtp51
06-15-2006, 03:05 PM
I agree too. Once again, book directly with the airline or call your travel agent.

bravestar
06-15-2006, 03:09 PM
The only thing that I've found Expedia to be worthy for is to compare itineraries and see what is available.

I'll punch in a flight from ATL to SFO, for example, and see what times and airlines are displayed. Then, I'll decide what is best for me and go to that airline's website and book via there. Sometimes, the cost is higher to do so, but that's becoming less and less common.

Travel agents in my agency HATE HATE HATE Expedia with a passion. Many of the complaints/rants about Expedia are similar to our agents' own complaints.