Replies: 38 - Last Post: Mar 14, 2013 8:42 AM Last Post By: max_mexico
Mar 1, 2013 6:31 AM
Mar 1, 2013 7:14 AM
31Skyscanner is a very interesting site in that it is able to combine multiple separate budget flights. It also has very powerful search options such as find me the cheapest flights from Bangkok to anywhere in the world anytime during the year.
However, their prices are cached and not always reliable. Especially if you search for some route that is not very mainstream.
And yes, they definitely send you off to online travel agencies in addition to the airline directly; exploretrip, Farestore, vayama, SmartFares, TravelPapa, faregeek, Budgetair.com, Webjet, FareDepot, ebookers etc.
I would not book through an agent that takes my money without having access to live flight data. Which agents are that? Do you have examples? You should post them here so we can stay away. It has happened to me a few times in the past, but I find this very rare. Much more common is that skyscanner (or some other agent) tells you that a ticket exists, but once you reach the booking screen you're told it doesn't anymore. This happens all the time, and is a reason I dislike Skyscanner.
Truth is, in many parts of the world, it is still cheaper to go through travel agents. Many airlines don't even sell tickets online, or sell them for a higher price. Some airlines don't sell tickets in certain classes online, or don't sell cheap one-way tickets online, but you can still get these through an agent. I can give you many many examples if you want.
Yes, if I can book through an airline directly, I prefer to do that. It should nevertheless be noted that booking with a reliable travel agent can be safer than booking through an airline, since if the airline goes bankrupt -- which seems to happen to every other airline these days -- you'd have someone to claim your money from.
Mar 1, 2013 7:27 AM
Mar 1, 2013 7:57 AM
33Max, re safer for getting your money in the event an airline goes bankrupt, the answer is and always has been to pay with your credit card. If you pay a travel agent by cash or cheque and the airline goes bust, good luck with trying to get your money back from the travel agent. They simply say your money went to the airline and you have to claim from the airline. That puts you at the bottom of the list of the airline's creditors and you will be lucky to see 5 cents on the dollar after a long long wait.
If you pay by Visa or MC, you claim from Visa or MC (they send you a simple form to fill in, I've had to do it twice) and they pay you the full amount. This is a form of free insurance they provide on all purchases that many people are not aware of.
This applies equally of course to whoever you pay using your card, airline direct or agent.
Mar 12, 2013 8:46 AM
34Is it possible to give me a few examples of where it is cheaper/better to book with an agent? (I'm not trying to catch anyone out, just want to know for personal reference!)
Every time that I have considered using an agent, the routing that they come up with always seems to be cheaper (or the same price as) the airline.
Perhaps the routes that I have looked at are just too mainstream!
Mar 12, 2013 11:02 AM
35Sure, I can give you a few examples specific to Expedia.
I was looking at buying a one-way ticket from San Francisco to Milwaukee, when the flight suddenly greatly increased in price from one day to another. The airline, itasoftware, kayak, priceline, they all showed the price as much more expensive. Except Expedia, who still sold me the ticket for the cheap price.
Another time I was looking for a one-way ticket from Stockholm to Toronto, and the particular flight I wanted was only sold in business class for $2000+. So I looked around, and found that Expedia (and only Expedia among all the places I searched) sold the ticket in economy class for ~$500. None of the two airlines involved in this flight sold that ticket, and when I arrived at my connection point and had to print my next boarding pass, the airline staff were surprised and told me that the combination I had bought should not exist.
And another time I was looking for a one-way between Suriname and French Guyana and had a hard time finding cheap options online. I don't remember if the airline even sold these tickets online. Anyway, Expedia sold it to me for much cheaper than anyone else I searched.
Yet another time, I was looking for a one-way from Antalya to Odessa. This was a fairly straightforward flight with a major carrier (Turkish), yet Expedia sold me the ticket considerably cheaper than through Turkish Airlines' website!
So, my conclusion is to always always check with agents/consolidators before you buy your ticket.
Mar 12, 2013 3:33 PM
36Bottom line has always been you have to check ALL possible ways to find the lowest price and even after you find it, someone will find a cheaper price tomorrow or got one yesterday.
I though Peregrinef was asking for examples of cheaper prices from an agent at a travel agency Max as that is what you wrote, ( "it is still cheaper to go through travel agents" ). Expedia is an online booking agency but not a bricks and mortar agency.
I suppose we should now expand the definition of a 'travel agency' to include online 'shops' but I still think of a travel agency has having bricks and mortar. No doubt they are going to go the way of the Dodo as well.
Mar 14, 2013 8:30 AM
Mar 14, 2013 8:42 AM
This happens in many other industries; you can book hotels cheaper at Priceline and Hotwire than through the hotel itself, rental cars are cheaper through Costco, Priceline, Hotwire and sites like Carhire3000. Event tickets, ski lift tickets, Disneyland tickets etc, all of them you can often find cheaper through 3rd party than through the organizers themselves.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$217.70 per night
Cape TownBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$17.17 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$62.91 per night