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Booking thru 3rd Party websites

Hi, If I were to book an airline ticket via third party such as expedia or priceline and I miss a connecting flight due to delay, would I have to contact the third party, or will the airline put me on the next flight

Posted by
737 posts

Can depend on the cause of the delay- third parties can mix/match airlines on connecting flights. You are playing with fire. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF DOING IT. Book directly with the airline you are flying.

Posted by
7252 posts

If the 3rd party site is selling for less than the airline, something seems fishy.

Call the airline.

Most/many airlines advertise ' lowest price on our site' assurance.

Are the itineraries identical?

Posted by
62 posts

The airline has a contract with the 3rd party - not with you. They won't even talk to you- as you are not their customer. Always books direct

Posted by
9329 posts

Third party booking sites are different.

Sites like Booking.com act like travel agents and get a commission from your booking through them. You are booking directly with the airline so if there is a problem or you need to make a change, you work with the airline.

Sites like Expedia and Priceline work differently. They negotiate a price with the airlines and then sell to you. They are booking the seat with the airline. You are booking the seat with the third party site. If there is a problem, you have to deal with the third party site. (Their profit is the amount they charge you minus their cost.)

If you miss a connection that is not your fault, and there is seat availability, then the airline may just put you on the next available flight. . However, if they need to seat numerous people, and don't have enough seats, those loyal to the airline by booking with them directly will get the seat over you.

In Europe if you are delayed over a certain amount of time, you are entitled to compensation. Only the compensation will go to the third party and not you since you didn't book the ticket with the airline.

The same holds true for hotels, car rentals, etc. Any problems and you have to go through the third party site. And, if there is an overbooking, chances are people who book through the third party get walked first.

An example....a hotel I stay in frequently in London has two bunk bed rooms. They are technically the cheapest double. An elderly couple (in their 80's) showed up with a booking through Expedia they thought was a double. Expedia booked the bunk bed room because is was the cheapest double. Luckily, the hotel had some vacant rooms and let them have a real double.

If everything works out, you could save money. If there is a problem, it could be a big headache.

Posted by
1914 posts

Short answer: It depends, read the fine print.

Some 3rd parties book tickets, so the airline has no contract with you. In case of trouble you need to speak to the company you bought the ticket from. Others will by the tickets for you. In other cases there are those that will add different one way tickets in a package, so if you miss a connecting flight you are on your own. Others offer some kind of insurance against missed flights.

If you read the threads from last year there are many people complaining that the airlines won't help them when they have bought tickets from e.g. Expedia.

Posted by
1645 posts

you don't have to read much about travel to find horror stories where people have a problem and the third party site and the vendor (airline, hotel, car) just plug their ears and point to the other one saying you fix it, it's your problem.

Buyer beware. As noted, if there's a significant price difference, you should wonder why and also give the vendor a chance to match it.

Posted by
7252 posts

It was part of a vacation package

So you already bought something and now the transfer time looks scary?

I miss a connecting flight due to delay, would , or will the airline put me on the next flight

There are so many variables that a definitive answer is not possible.

I would plan on "I have to contact the third party" and be elated if "the airline put me on the next flight"

Posted by
8092 posts

Is your vacation package through the airline?

Posted by
17 posts
  1. I have not booked anything yet, which is why I am asking
  2. Since it seems like booking thru expedia or priceline seems risky, would booking a package thru an airline like delta vacations or united vacations be any different?
Posted by
1633 posts

I will "ditto" others - it is usually best to book directly with an airline. They can be much more helpful with "logistics."

Booking with a third party can be riskier. Travelers have reported "headaches" about getting third-party vendors to help if things go wrong - for any reason. It's a gamble.

For your question, try to call each airline rep directly for the best answer about their responsibilities with their "own vacation packages."

Good luck :)

*revised

Posted by
2013 posts

Regarding Delta Vacations, a company I am very familiar with, they're a great partner! They still offer CFAR insurance - which is impressive in these COVID times. Pre-Covid, I probably booked 30-40 trips annually through Delta Vacations and attended their annual conference a few times.

Delta Vacations is managed by MLT Vacations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Previously based in Minneapolis, their HQ is now in Atlanta. I've had tremendous support from Delta Vacations over the years. Their relationship with Delta (and thus Delta partners) is far different than Expedia, Travelocity, and other third-party booking sites.

The big problem these days is there are INCREDIBLY busy. They do offer some great packages - especially DISCOUNTED Air. In Economy Class, you can often save $100-$300 per person. In Business Class, sometimes more than $1, 000pp

Sorry, not as familiar with United Vacations - I know they are part of the Apple Leisure Group, as we worked with FunJets often (which, like United Vacations, is part of that group). I believe that United Vacations is regarded as a Preferred Partner of United Airlines --- so a different relationship than Delta Vacations has with Delta Airlines.

Posted by
1633 posts

Delta Vacations is managed by MLT Vacations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Previously based in Minneapolis, their HQ is now in Atlanta. I've had tremendous support from Delta Vacations over the years. Their relationship with Delta (and thus Delta partners) is far different than Expedia, Travelocity, and other third-party booking sites......They do offer some great packages - especially DISCOUNTED Air. In Economy Class, you can often save $100-$300 per person. In Business Class, sometimes more than $1, 000pp

Good to know! Always learn something.

Posted by
9329 posts

Airline package deals are different than sites like Expedia. The airline will go to a hotel and guarantee a certain number of room nights per year. Based on that, they come to a price for the room. (Lower than an individual would get for a few nights.) Expedia doesn't guarantee any number of room nights but hotels feel compelled to allow them to book due to the sheer number of rooms.

Since the airline owns the vacation company you won't have a problem with flights. You'll be treated the same as any other passenger with that airline. In fact, you might actually get a better price and better cancellation policies. The hotels will also work with you since they want to keep the business. It's like a hotel dealing with a tour company. They want those guests happy so the tour company keeps coming back.

Posted by
2013 posts

comeonyouwolves123, we sort of moved away from United Vacations pre-covid because of United Airlines policy that a "delay" must be 6+ hours in order to qualify for cancellation or rescheduling. And during COVID, we struggled most getting refunds with United and their partners (Air Canada, for example). That said - FOR US - Delta was perhaps the best to work with and AA coming in a close second. Certainly, that care during the pandemic builds a better relationship.

Frank makes some great points. Untied Vacations - NOT affiliated with United Airlines - is more like Expedia or Travelocity, a third-party booking partner. Delta Vacations, a subsidiary of Delta Airlines is totally different. Unfortunately, I cannot use Delta Vacations for my flights now because the originating flight has to be from the USA (and I'm flying out of AMS). Yet, when I bring my kids over to Europe, I always price out their itinerary first on Delta Vacations.

When you book Delta Vacations to Europe, you must also either book three hotel nights or five days in a rental car. Those hotel nights can be split up into separate cities, a change they made a couple of years ago which makes their package much more viable. But you must, at a minimum, book a flight and a car -- OR -- a flight and a hotel. NO FLIGHTS ONLY.

But if you can make it work, the flight costs are like working with a consolidator - except you're dealing with Delta. That's a huge win. And one of the reasons they are so popular. Here's an example of the savings you can find (I just picked random dates and flights and DID NO research). This is an example of flight options I've seen bantered about on the RS site.

ATL-CDG 7/15/2021 Deprting at 4.35 PM
AMS-ATL 7/29/2021 departing at 9.15 AM

This open-jaw flight, in economy class for two persons, at www.delta.com would cost you today: $3,020.90 USD
Booking these same flights, through Delta Vacations, these flights would cost $2,631.88 USD
Granted you still have to rent a car for five days OR multiple hotels for three days... but the savings are close to $200 per traveler.
If you look at Business Class, here's a random proposal for a round trip to Paris:

ATL-CDG 7/15/2021 departing at 9.45 PM
CDG - ATL 07/21/2021 departing at 11.05 AM

These roundtrip business class tickets for two persons at www.delta.com today costs $16,705.70 USD.
Booking these same flights, through Delta Vacations today, these flights would cost $10,896.00 USD
Again, you have to do the three nights of hotels or a 5-day car rental, but you're saving almost $3000 PER PERSON.

So yes, Delta Vacations is a great deal. Granted, I am able to see behind the scenes as I am using a different platform. And yes, the public Delta Vacations website is quite cumbersome (and you won't see the air pricing as directly as I can)... but if you work at it, you can find some great deals. (or call a TA to do it for you!)

And their hotel options are far better than they used to be. They will only offer hotels they have "contracts" with, but with the savings, you might yourself booking a different hotel category. Another advantage is, you can book your trip with a minimal deposit, rather than paying for the AIR entirely at time of purchase.

Posted by
18375 posts

RnR, I don't see a way to specify a multi-city rather than round-trip ticket on the public Delta Vacations website. Am I missing something?

As I expected, the hotels are nicer than I choose, so I'd lose more on the unwanted hotel upgrade than I'd save on airfare. I think that would be true even if I were not a solo traveler, but that factor obviously doesn't help.

Posted by
2013 posts

acraven, the public Delta Vacations website is somewhat limited. For open-jaw or multi-destination trips, you'll probably have to call them or contact a travel advisor (TA's login to an entirely different website with many more features and options). I've used Delta Vacations for more than nine years.

Generally, the hotels are familiar to many US travelers (Best Western, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hampton, Hilton, etc.) but they've just recently started adding many upscale properties and expanding all levels of their hotel portfolio. As far as cost, on almost all occasions, the flight savings offset the additional hotel cost - easily. Or we just don't book through them.

Posted by
1744 posts

here’s a few things to consider. After you fly the first flight on a booking as long as you’re not on some kind of bizarre booking (for example your flying to London on Delta and then taking Ryanair to Athens) the airline and then owns the reservation. So if I’m flying Delta from Atlanta to New York and on to Paris, and Delta is delayed out of Atlanta and I miss Paris Delta has to deal with me even if I booked a vacation package with Expedia.

The challenge becomes if after I buy this ticket Delta makes schedule changes. Then you have To call Expedia, try to find a live human there who can help you. It can be a pain. I have used Delta vacations a lot for this kind of thing and it works but there are some times I spent a few hours on hold while we straighten everything out because the airline made a change I don’t like. But I’ll give you an example, I looked at the flight to Paris this fall. I have two options Delta air lines from Atlanta is about $1400, or buy a package on Delta vacations where airfare and hotel are about $1700. There’s no way I’m getting a hotel for 10 days by $300 on my own. So this might be worth booking for me