Please excuse my befuddleness. I typically go to an airline's website and purchase my flight. After reading different posts, it seems people aren't doing that. How did I get mixed up?
I've always bought my tickets directly from the airline websites, unless I get a much better price from another site. Hasn't happened in a very long time.
I always purchase tickets directly from the airline. Friends have purchased tickets from aggregator websites like Expedia and then had great trouble getting help when they ran into weather issues/missed flights. The airline told them to talk to the aggregator, and the aggregator told them to talk to the airline. Having said that, I will sometimes use aggregator websites to find the least expensive ticket and then go to the airline‘s website to buy it.
I'm not sure what posts you are reading, but most people here do indeed recommend purchasing flights direct from the airline website.
Maybe you're seeing posts about searching for flights, for which people do indeed use other sites, like Kayak, Google Flights, etc. But having used these to search, it is recommended to try to purchase the flight from the airline directly.
There was a recent post about how some itineraries can't be purchased from the airline directly, and of course sometimes the savings on a non-airline website are so great that some choose to use them. But if there's any problem with your flight (cancellation, change of schedule, etc), you have to contact the entity that sold you the tickets to get resolution. There are lots of reports of third party agents not doing well at this.
I've done both - on airline's website and through a third-party. If there's no price difference between a third-party and the airline's own site, then I use the airline's site...but I take risks I can afford with third-party sites too when they are substantially cheaper or they sell a ticket itinerary I can't replicate on airline sites (this does happen on sites like Priceline, Expedia, etc. - I just came across such a dilemma when looking for some tickets recently)
I've never bought our tickets at anyplace other than the airlines website. I will check Kayak to get a general idea of the flight schedules and airlines available but I don't make our purchases from there. Most of where we fly to is best served by Swiss, Lufthansa, and AirFrance so I usually just start at one of those sites depending where we are going.
What is your source of information concerning ticket purchases? We always buy direct. Often use the various search engines for routing and pricing but then go directly.
laurens, maybe you are mis-reading discussions of air RESEARCH as if tickets are being bought immediately. Particularly with the movement of commerce to the internet, no price for any good or service is firm until it is actually purchased. (And apparently duuuudes like AirBnB providers are allowed to cancel confirmed bookings ... among other complaints we hear.) My point is that many posts here are about "prevailing prices" or "routing" or "open-jaw" or "direct flights". They're not so much about buying tickets today.
I always buy from the airline, either to be sure of getting a seat assignment TODAY, or because of a loyalty program, or because I don't want to have an intermediary who could skim money from the transaction or later cancel because they didn't really have proper status to commit to the flight (I made up that idea, I'm focusing on Silicon Valley entreprenurial merchants as opposed to actual service providers.)
I don't see discounts on air fares from on-line agencies compared to direct purchase. More likely the reverse, in my experience. The one time I use an on-line agency is for an itinerary combining flights on airlines that don't sell each other's flights. So maybe the original poster wasn't befuddled; what he had read was.
My one experience with an aggregator was my last. What a nightmare! Charged my American Express for multiple tickets exceeding my credit limit. Getting someone to reverse that took many, many hours. We search for flights on Kayak and Google Flights and then purchase from the airline.
Check prices at multiple sites and then go to the airline’s site to book your flight. If you run into issues during your actual flight, it’s easier to manage.
Forget reading the various posts.
When I book a flight, I go directly to airline's website, especially flying trans-Atlantic. Likewise, when I fly domestic. If the flight is within Calif, say SFO to San Diego, or Orange County, or LAX, then I either call the airline direct on the phone or book on-line, which is most often the case since I prefer Southwest, if possible. to get any on-line bargain price.
I check third-party sites and compare to what is available directly from the airlines. I take the best fare/route/schedule option, whether found on the third-party site or the airline directly. Often the fare and schedule found on the third-party site is not available directly from the airline, so it has been a good process for me to check both and then go with what is the most attractive option.
We use Expedia to see what is available including schedules etc. and then book directly with the airline. If there is a problem, the airline will resolve, if go through a third party to purchase your ticket you get to deal with them.
I'm not sure what you read, but you should always book your flights directly with the airline. This gives you the most control over your seats and reservations.
You can always research flight routes, times, etc., on other websites, though...
I always go directly to the airline website and book online. I start looking in January or February for our fall trips. Check the websites often as prices can change daily, even hourly. Once you see a good price, BOOK IT!
Thank you, everyone, for your replies.
I booked directly with United and thought I found good flights at good prices, however, I received an advisory about my leg from Dulles on Sunday night to Dublin is a risky connection. All I have to say about that is SWELL.
Although I use third-party sites for research, I always buy my tickets directly from the airline, and it seems that pretty much all posters on this site do the same. So how do third-party sites stay in business?
In my experience with United, if there may be an issue making a connecting flight they will change at no cost to you. I get online and see what other options might work, then give them a call. I always book directly through the airline.
And if I had a possible too-tight connection, I would call United and play the 74-year-old-woman-with-mobility-problems card. Like most other posters, I book directly with the airline, not a third party.
I booked directly with United and thought I found good flights at good
prices, however, I received an advisory about my leg from Dulles on
Sunday night to Dublin is a risky connection.
Did you receive this "advisory" before you booked your flight or after?
Thank you for your question. The advisory comment was on my itinerary and not during the booking of the flights. This is just maddening. In the old days a 45 minute layover was like hitting the jackpot. Now it's cause for concern due to airline delays and what nots.
It is indeed maddening. It's a different world now. Hopefully you were able to make the changes you want.
After a long conversation with United representative, the only option I have is to cancel my entire reservation and book a new one with no guarantee of price. I'm headed back to United's website for another search.
The good news is the typical flight last night was on time both legs. The 45 minute layover was as scheduled and no delays.
Thank you all for your replies.