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Airline ticket brokers - like Cheapoair - are rip offs

We were going from Britain to Western France. We booked through cheapoair. We got a Ryan Air flight. It was 69 GBP, Ryanair.

Here is the warning: DO NOT ACCEPT THE CHEAPOAIR PRICE. Go directly to RyanAir and price the same ticket. We did not know that Cheapoair builds in a 25 GBP fee. That's about 35% of the entire ticket.

DO NOT simply buy your ticket. Go to the airline website to check the price.

Posted by
2310 posts

Several years ago I made the mistake of booking three RT flights to Europe through that terrible company. Shortly after purchase (about 15 minutes) I got a notice that I had exceeded the limit on my pretty high limit American Express card. Lo and behold, Cheapo submitted charges X3-in other words charged for 9 tickets! After weeks of multiple calls to customer service and emails, all unanswered, I let Amex handle it, which they did. Never use this company!!

Posted by
11495 posts

Annoying, for sure, but not technically a rip-off as booking transaction fees are clearly stated on their website, along with a host of other extra costs.

"Online Air Transaction Service Fees
On most airfares a service fee up to $35◊ is charged on a per-passenger, per-ticket basis. **

Check the "Taxes and Fees" tab under "Legal" at the bottom of this page:

https://www.cheapoair.com/?fpaffiliate=google&fpsub=cheapoair&utm_campaign=brand-top&utm_term=cheapoair&utm_source=%7Bgoogle%7D&utm_medium=%7Bcpc%7D&device=c&fpprice=&gclid=CLit5tvgtNYCFdu2wAodm5gCBA

But I agree with you: it's almost always best to book directly with an airline unless a 3rd-party booker can beat the price by enough to bite.

Posted by
1097 posts

Buyer beware applies to airline tickets, hotels, car services, rental cars, and a host of other services offered to travelers. We once stayed at a hotel that advertised free wifi. Turns out the company that charges and provides wifi is named Free Wifi. Gotcha!! We always book directly with airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc after learning a few hard lessons.

Posted by
1915 posts

The process of educating the public, even somewhat savvy ones like my wife and myself, is on-going. Getting snookered by a name like "Cheapoair" is not the same as getting a cheapo-deal. I admit that we should have looked for fees, but most will admit that fees are not always well-described or easily found. Thus, I put out this to hopefully prevent a few others from getting ripped off. For a big ticket like an international flight, the fee might be OK. For a short hop flight, which cost 34 GBP, we got ripped off major league. I hope to cut into their business, because they are a bunch of thieves, even if the fee is stated somewhere on their website.

Posted by
3435 posts

www.skyscanner.com has a more comprehensive list of European no-frills airlines. It will bounce you to the supplier's own website for purchases.

I have used Cheapoair several times and found it easy and reliable. There is some live-agent support although I learned to avoid the seat-selection option. For that, go straight to the airline once Cheapo issues your ticket.
I admit I do shake my head at the cheapo name, but not at its usefulness.

And I agree your experience was nowhere near "rip off". More like "consumer beware", since Cheapo fees are easy to find.

Posted by
3316 posts

Agree with George's statement about booking directly. No third party booking company is doing anything just to give you a break. They are doing it to make money -- and there is nothing wrong with that. Like all business, some are very ethical, some are less ethical, and some, unfortunately, are just plain dishonest. I may be old fashioned, but I strongly believe it's best to deal directly with the airlines, hotels, and etc. If something goes awry, one is much better off being able to go straight to the "horse's mouth" to resolve a problem. We only make an exception when booking cruises as we have a great travel agent with whom we've worked for many years and she can handle those details much better than we can.

Posted by
3133 posts

www.skyscanner.com has a more comprehensive list of European no-frills
airlines. It will bounce you to the supplier's own website for
purchases.

I'm unsure what you mean by "supplier" but skyscanner can both direct the buyer to an airline website AND to a 3rd party vendor. Be careful when using skyscanner that you buy from the airline directly.

Posted by
11613 posts

If the fee is stated, they are not thieves.

Posted by
1915 posts

If the fee is stated, but not obvious, they still can be thieves. If the fee is buried several screens down, they can be thieves.

Posted by
6144 posts

Before you click the purchase button, is the grand total not split out in terms of base price, taxes, and then fees? It is on other third-party sites like Hotwire.com.

Posted by
11613 posts

No, Paul, they really can't. The fee info is there. Unless they overcharge you from what the rate is as posted (which can happen), in which case you are absolutely entitled to dispute the charge.

Posted by
1915 posts

Zoe: You are wrong, and it is a scam. I copy the exact bill below. The fee is rolled into the price, and this is both deceptive and a tourist scam. The direct Ryanair fee is about $36. I carefully examined the receipt page and found no fee disclosure of any kind.

We talked to them, and we got a refund of part of the fee. That's an admission of guilt of some kind. Looking online, there are a ton of complaints about this company.

Billing Details (USD)
Method: Credit Card ending in 5580
Phone: 6XX-XXX-XXX1
Email: jXXXXXXXl@gmail.com
Flight Price Details
1 Adult Ticket $64 .10
1 Senior Tickets $64 .10
Subtotal $128 .20
Taxes and Agency Fees $0 .00
Flight Total $128 .20
Total Charge Equivalent in GBP £100 .30
Total Charge: $128 .20

Posted by
11495 posts

I just did a test booking, and the additional taxes and fees were broken out of the total amount.

Vueling airlines - Birmingham (BHX)>Paris Orly (ORY) on Oct.17. Advertised as $68.87 including taxes and fees.

When performing the first part of the booking, this is the breakdown they showed:
Base price - $43.87
Taxes and Fees: - $25.00
Final total price: $68.87
Total charge equivalent in EUR: €57.63

Clicking on "Taxes and Fees" brings up the same page under "legal" I'd referenced before.
So apparently they do call it out on the online booking page itself before entering CC/personal info and committing to the booking.

Posted by
1915 posts

Well, here's an interesting thing. I did that a demo booking as a US passenger. I got your result.

I switched to doing it as from GB, using www.cheapoair.co.uk and using the English designation. No fee information was shown. This is probably a difference in laws between the US and UK.

The fee was not disclosed, and we booked while in Liverpool, using English website and an English network. On the final page, it states "Please also confirm that the dates and times of flight departures are accurate. Tickets are non-transferable and name changes on tickets are not permitted. Tickets cost for most airlines is non-refundable (see Fare Rules) and our service fees are non-refundable. All our services fees and taxes are included in the total ticket cost."

Posted by
440 posts

The name Cheapoair is enough to put me off, always go direct with airline for best prices. Remember the airlines set the prices and any middlemen need to make their money somehow.

Posted by
395 posts

I don't understand 3rd party vendors. I use them for general searches but I go directly to the hotel or airline website. It's almost always the best deal. More importantly if there's a problem I can get it resolve. With 3rd party vendors they say you have to deal with the airline/hotel, and the airline/hotel says you have to deal with the 3rd party vendor.

Posted by
273 posts

Going directly to the provider is almost always a better choice, IMHO.

That is true for airline tickets, train tickets and rooms.

A while back, I found a nice hotel at a good price on the site of a Famous Name hotel reservation company. I emailed the hotel myself and got the same rate, PLUS a free breakfast for two, PLUS I was able to choose a room with a view. All for the same price as the Famous Name hotel booking company,

Posted by
85 posts

My friend got our tickets from some place called Hopper. The flight from Zagreb to Amsterdam did not include checked luggage, so we had to pay 70 euro to check two bags. Always check what is included.

Posted by
2941 posts

The air travel forum at Trip Advisor has hundreds of posts from people warning about cheapo air and other 3rd party agents. The major issues seem to be a lack of live pricing, horrible customer service, and lack of refunds when the advertised price is not really available.

In addition to those challenges, tickets purchased through 3rd party agents require that any changes go through those agents. This adds another layer of challenge to overcome if something comes up while traveling.