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Article about reservations made through a travel portal

I thought that this article had some good practical information in it for what to do if a problem comes up with a reservation made through a travel portal or online travel agent. I know the common wisdom on this forum is to book direct, but there are times when using a travel portal can result in significant savings so people do use them.

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/online-travel-agency-cancellation-what-to-do/?utm_source=TPG%20Daily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=5601000&utm_usr=6721d970a25aa6040bd67803c970ad75e0e5a3fd86cae4ef5630547bdf4c5e4c&utm_msg=dca98d40f51d4f72b514f21c0fa0f5b8&utm_date=2022-11-27&utm_medium=email

Posted by
3941 posts

Carol: interesting, common wisdom is that buying from the airline gets you more rights during last minute cancellations and reroutings, this article says there’s no difference after check in.

Posted by
11117 posts

Interesting article. Basically research needs to be done before booking to find out how to resolve issues that may arise due to cancellations and delays. I feel like many who use Online Travel Agencies are novice travelers and don't understand the system/possible pitfalls thus have no idea how to work themselves out of a problem should one occur.

Tom, I thought that statement was interesting too. I've seen people upset both here and on Trip Advisor that things have gone sideways mid-trip and they have difficulties getting someone to take responsibility. The article indicates it's on the airline but I am sure I've seen people complain they've gotten the run-around even after check-in and partial travel.

Thanks for the link!

Posted by
14475 posts

I use to look at the travel portals, but never found a savings so now I just go to the airline.

No doubt who is responsible.

Posted by
292 posts

There is no doubt who is responsible if you book through the airline. However, the airline may take no responsibility or give a runaround. All you had to do was watch the travel chaos this past summer. I did not hear very much good stuff as regards the airline response to missed flights, etc.
Airlines are not your friend when things go right, even less so when they do not.

Posted by
7456 posts

Pay close attention to this article. We purchased tickets through an outside ticket seller to Berlin, and they purchased the tickets thru American Airline--flying via their partner British Airways. Because of the pandemic, British Air cancelled our flight. The U.S. government mandated that in such cases, refunds by the airlines are warranted--even if non-refundable originally.

It took many weeks and a hundred phone calls to get our "ticket seller" on the phone at 3:30 a.m.. Their employees were the most uninformed and downright dishonest people I've ever dealt with. They refused to apply for my refund of the trip because it was "not refundable"--despite government mandates.

I finally found a very nice lady at American Airline that walked me through the refund after I sent her a bunch of B/A documentation. And AA credited the airfare to the "ticket seller's" VISA card. Then the "ticket seller" still wouldn't answer their phone. It took them 4 months before they admitted they had our money.

Then the "ticket seller" demanded charging us "service fees" before they'd pay me. Capital One gave me a $100 courtesy credit and we ate the rest to get paid.

Needless to say that I was very frustrated staying up nght after night fighting for our money. And that "ticket seller" was Ovago Travel. They may even go under some other names. We only buy flights from airlines directly now.

Posted by
14475 posts

20 years of travel, averaging 20 flight legs a year = 400 flight legs. 95% purchases through the airlines. Maybe 10 times i modified my schedule (or canceled a flight) after purchase. 2 issues. One during the pandemic when every service orientated business was short handed and one inexcusable. Both UNITED AIRLINES. Pretty good track record in general.

Posted by
1232 posts

I certainly don't want to champion airlines as a customer friendly business. However, I do believe that they are listening to their customer base. Over and over it is clear that flyers want the lowest, bottom line price. They aren't willing to pay more for better customer service. To be fair, customers want the lowest possible price AND good customer service, but that aint gonna happen.

I have never had a bad experience with an airline in regards to getting the full value of a ticket. I missed a cruise due to a mechanical plane failure once. I can't remember the details, but I know I got my money back. I had a 5 hour delay getting home from an international connection in Detroit this May. Delta gave me 10K skymiles as an apology. By law, they didn't owe me anything.

My current plan is to stick with Delta (flying out of Cleveland). They treated me very well during the pandemic. I was able to change flights to Europe to a later date, then to Iceland plus a credit. I received a free upgrade to first class on that flight also. It can be a challenge to reach a customer agent and the last time I changed something I did it on their chat function. I prepare for the call by asking for something very specific. I haven't been told no yet.

I definitely understand why some folks use the travel portals, but at this stage in my life I would rather pay a little more and get better service.

Posted by
2277 posts

Before you think you found a cheap airfare fairy on one of these portals head over to Trip Advisor's air travel forum and search for the vendor... then RUN!

The article is slightly misleading it's generally not "checkin" that gets some airlines to take over your reservation it's actually getting on a plane. I ran into this a lot using Amex for work (luckily they are actually a good agency, they rescued me standing at airports several times and that was well after check in :) )

Seriously there is no cheap airfare fairy :)

Posted by
9341 posts

Seriously there is no cheap airfare fairy :)

Well now all that's left is Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy