We use Google Flights to research flight possibilities, but book directly with the airline. Here is a a story that reinforces that thought: https://www.abcactionnews.com/money/consumer/taking-action-for-you/florida-family-bound-for-europe-kicked-off-flight-by-united-airlines#:~:text=TAMPA%2C%20Fla.,bucket%20list%20tour%20of%20Europe. I gotta think that the Wholesale Flights website is similar to the Skiplagging website that was discussed on this forum in the last week.
Reading that and looking at that website....
They are probably brokering frequent flyer miles...
("The secret to our deeply discounted fares lies in our relationships with consolidators and contracts we negotiated directly with major airlines" FANTASY. Maybe before the internet this was true but airlines don't use consolidators anymore and they don't do contracts with ticket brokers... maybe with Fortune 500 companies or the government who can drive a lot of business but not "bubba's discount air" )
I wonder how they chose this outfit to book their flights? Random google search, or recommended by a friend? I had never heard of this bunch, but I don't look at any of the "cheap flights" kinds of sites...I always book through the airline website after researching flights on google flights.
People are always looking for the "cheap airfare fairy" (She doesn't exist) so they go to places like TripAdvisor or Skyscanner and then get directed to these shoddy agencies. There's probably a post a week on TripAdvisor's air travel forum where someone is crying that they got ripped off by one of these places.....
Actually, they may have found Wholesale Flights by using Google Flights. If you go all the way through selecting an outbound and return flight on GF, you will get to the screen where links are offered to the actual sites selling the tickets, usually at a range of fares. While sometimes the actual airline sites are listed, in other cases it's only a list of portals that you've most likely never heard of before. This is especially the case where it's a combination of airlines outside of a codeshare arrangement.
How does Google Flights determine who to link to outside of the airline? Most likely because Google is paid to display the link. While a seasoned traveler may know to go to the airline site, or to a legitimate online travel agency, others may just see a good fare and go with it, especially if it's too good to be true. We know that people don't always read thoroughly, so it's possible that the mantra of "I always look at Google Flights" is enough encouragement for the uninformed.
I never used Google Flights until seeing the incessant references here on the RS forum. After taking a deep dive, I've determined that you get much more relevant and complete information looking for flights on Expedia. But that's another topic, for another day.
I use google fights to research flights to our desired destination. We will only book with the actual carrier at their website. That way if there is an issue we deal with the carrier, not a third party website. Yes, google flights comes up with a lot of websites like Wholesale Flights, Kiwi.com, Book with EBookTrip, Book with eDreams et., ad nauseam. I don't use them.
Great point about booking directly with airlines. I've had similar experiences where booking directly provided me better customer service and more flexibility in case of any issues. Your shared story only reinforces the thought; it's a lesson learned the hard way for that unfortunate family.
If anyone here is looking for a completely different experience, have you ever considered private jet rentals? Especially for special occasions or important business trips, it's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Check out aerialjets.com; they offer private jet rentals out of Fort Lauderdale. With amenities like gourmet catering and custom flight scheduling, it adds a new layer of comfort and convenience to your journey.
Mama said you get what you pay for ..... or less.
Interesting article. What I'm not understanding is why the family is not mad at Wholesale Flights who sold them a ticket they were not allowed to, but at United instead.
I remember when I was dreaming of going to Europe and my co-workers were all recommending these different third party sites to save money. Most of my traveling took place during the covid years, so instead of using those third party sites, I booked directly with the airlines since they were offering really cheap tickets to get business. And now I've learned to always book directly for airfare. But to a new individual traveling, I think it would be very easy to try and save money and not be aware of the potential consequences.
and they would never fly United Airlines again.
Yeah yeah... until they find an itinerary on United that is $50 cheaper than the competition.