Diane

Flights - Beware Price Match promises! (Warning LONG RANT!)

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    Oh when will I learn??

     

    Took an online flight quote for our trip back to the UK into a well known local agent with a "Price Match Promise" policy. Printed the quote off my screen, made sure OH's credit card had sufficient credit (4 adult fares back = scary total price!), and went in to sit on one of the agents stools while she did the booking.

     

    Well, firstly she checked availability of the flight times, and told me one of the legs of the trip I wanted wasn't available any more ("must have got booked out in the gap between you looking on screen and me checking now") so I then suggested a slightly later connecting flight (which luckily I'd also taken a printed quote for in with me), which she was able to find availability on.

     

    Then she told me she had to verify my quote, but hey ho, for some reason the website Australian Travel Agent : Best Flights Online Travel Agency Australia wasn't available on her computer ("some of these online sites are really dodgy, I wouldn't ever book with an online site, so many things can go wrong") When I suggested the onscreen message she was getting ('You are not authorised to view this site') might mean her employers had blocked access to competitors' sites, I was told that absolutely wasn't the case and the implication was that the Bestflights site wasn't genuine, or that I'd made it up.

     

    So then she gets on the phone to her boss - with me sitting in front of her listening to her end of the conversation ("Yes, she's brought a print-out in but there's no telling how genuine it is, and she hasn't gone and tried to book the flights at these prices.....no, not taking insurance or anything else...only a tiny price difference between our price and hers - about $200...ok, and we include the Bestflights booking fee?.. right, thanks")

     

    So I'm left there being subtly accused of not being honest, thinking '$200 might only be a tiny amount to you girlie, but to me it's a few days car hire/a dinner in Hong Kong for the family and a harbour cruise' and having first checked whether this particular agent charged a booking fee and being told they didn't, now knowing they are in fact going to take advantage of Bestflights charging one and keep it for themselves!

     

    Ok, so they offer to beat the price I have by $1 a person (woooooo!) and she starts the payment process, only to find when I give her OH's credit card details, that she can't do the booking without him being there in person to sign, and won't guarantee the price until payment is fully confirmed (ok, understandable, even though I offer to get him on the phone and authorise the transaction - we have merchant banking facilities where I work - I'm sure an agent such as this must have the same and be able to take transactions over the phone! But apparently not.)

     

    So I pick up my printed quote, come home, get online and within seconds book the flights (the original timed ones I wanted in the first place which are still available), and - and this is where the price match thing is a complete load of b****cks - save about $180 on the total travel agent's price (even after their measly $1 per person discount) because they would have charged 1.98% credit card fee on top, and the online site doesn't!

     

    Ok, there is still a faint chance I'll turn up at the airport to be told my Bestflights ticket is worthless and there is no trace of my booking (I have booked with them before though, and it's been ok, but I won't know this time till I go) but honestly, surely if a high street agent wants to compete with the online companies they really need to sort themselves out and really give some decent service? Even offer that little bit extra? I mentioned doing a sunset cruise during our stopover in Hong Kong, even found one in one of their brochures while I was sat there with times that suited, but did she offer to book that for me? No - she said "oh you probably won't have time to do that" (we did have 9 hours in Hong Kong even with the later flight time!) and "they don't include transfers from the airport to the cruise and back so you couldn't do it in the time" (hello? Hong Kong has a great public transport system, and taxis - and I think they may even speak English there a little!)

     

    Anyway, sorry for ranting and going on but the moral of my tale is.... don't believe a price match promise and if you don't want your honesty to be questioned, your wanting to save $200 being treated like the request of a pauper, hidden charges to mean you end up paying more anyway, and to waste 45 minutes of your life, book online instead!!

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    Thanks Stevo - have replied to your PM. Place I'm ranting about is not the place you recommend in your sig - they were actually really helpful and a more traditional helpful travel agent than just a flight booking centre - probably why they employ better staff than the place I went to!

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    I'll never book with a travel agent again. The best deals are most always with the airlines on their own websites and book direct, if you need to make any changes whilst you are in the UK, you only need to contact the airline direct to make your changes and pay a small admin fee, however, if you make your booking with a travel agent and you want to make any changes whilst you are away, you have to contact that travel agent and pay a hefty admin fee.

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    Guest kangomik

    Never used an agent, have always booked on line. Make sure the credit card has either the VISA or MASTERCARD logo, your insured then if things go wrong. Using American express cards does not carry the same type of insurance if things go wrong.

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    When we lived here in the 90's we found the travel agents to be useless (much worse than UK ones), they never did what you wanted, always tried to get you to go a via a route or flight you didn't want, and generally wasted a lot of your time.

     

    I vowed to never use them again and never have. They obviously haven't improved... We do everything online (usually direct with the airline) and so far have never had any problems.

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    Guest Guest5035
    When we lived here in the 90's we found the travel agents to be useless (much worse than UK ones), they never did what you wanted, always tried to get you to go a via a route or flight you didn't want, and generally wasted a lot of your time.

     

    I vowed to never use them again and never have. They obviously haven't improved... We do everything online (usually direct with the airline) and so far have never had any problems.

    If you are just booking a flight i agree, but anything more,you should really try Jetset at Golden Grove, very professional as per Dianes second thread. As the saying goes "without a travel agent you are on your own"

    FC are just a sell shop, they don't print the tickets etc etc, they just sell and get you out the door

     

    Stevo

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    FC are just a sell shop, they don't print the tickets etc etc, they just sell and get you out the door

     

    LOL Well they got me out the door alright!

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    Guest kangomik
    As the saying goes "without a travel agent you are on your own"

     

     

    Stevo

     

    I wonder how many people use a travel agent to arrive here on a visa?

    Your on your own once you get here:biglaugh:

     

    Booking everything yourself is far easier, I imagine that when you go to a travel agents you already know where you want to go, when you want to go and how much you want to spend. When armed with this info they are only going to search the same sites that you do, and probably look for the best commission based places to stay.

     

    Before tinternet there used to be a wonderfull thing on your TV called TELETEXT or Cefax. Thats all the travel agents used then too! they just used to know which pages to get to faster.

    Infact my last trip to america while still in the UK i used Teletext to get the info off as the prices were cheaper than searching on the net.

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    Guest guest3462

    Oooh I used to love teletext holidays...... Booked it, packed it, f****d off!!!:biglaugh:

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    Ah teletext, those were the days..... used to find a place on there I'd hardly heard of, book the deal, then go look it up! Had some great cheapies to Sardinia, Corsica, Zante and Mombasa. On the last one, left a note for husband on the kitchen table "Booked holiday to here - take these dates off work" - not realising I'd left it on top of the newspaper whose headline that day was "British Tourist Axed to death in Kenya"! He thought it was a sick joke.....:biglaugh: We had a lovely time though!

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    Guest moonraker1959

    Hi Diane,really sorry to hear what happened!So much for customer service right?And how rude of the lady to talk about you like you were'nt there!:shocked:As for teletext,yes they are still operating.Unfortunately when I recently enquired about booking a holiday with them,the lady I spoke to was quite rude and stressy!Customer service in some area's need a swift kick up the behind!

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    I've never come across ONE person who has had their flight free if they cant beat it, as they say in the TV commercials!! To beat a price by $1 is an insult to peoples intellegence & on principle, would rather book online myself!

     

    I had the same experience when I went in with online quotes for flights to USA. They told me they were no longer available & could only find flights at different times which were more expensive. She said as the flight wasn't exactly the same, they couldnt price match.. I got up & left, bored with how long she was taking (wasting my time!) Funny that when I got home & relooked online, it WAS still available AND cheaper than before!!!!

     

    If you book flights direct with the airlines, you have full access to the online check in, seat allocation etc... so much easier.

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    Guest Guest5035
    I've never come across ONE person who has had their flight free if they cant beat it, as they say in the TV commercials!! To beat a price by $1 is an insult to peoples intellegence & on principle, would rather book online myself!

     

    I had the same experience when I went in with online quotes for flights to USA. They told me they were no longer available & could only find flights at different times which were more expensive. She said as the flight wasn't exactly the same, they couldnt price match.. I got up & left, bored with how long she was taking (wasting my time!) Funny that when I got home & relooked online, it WAS still available AND cheaper than before!!!!

     

    If you book flights direct with the airlines, you have full access to the online check in, seat allocation etc... so much easier.

     

    Yet you still went in for a quote. FC are a in out business, they want you in booked and out asap to get the next sale. If only booking flights FC are pretty good, but if booking extras they can be a waste of time, no personal service. They use a completely different booking system to other TA's.,

     

    Stevo

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    Yes, I went in for a quote.. I hadn't been here long & didnt know any better!! They didnt get my business so a waste of time really!!

    I know better now! lol

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    I have just booked and paid for a flight to the UK through Flight Centre for the third time and had no problems at all, as usual. Got by far the cheapest price, much better than expedia, zuji, bestflight or jetabout AND the only place that could get me the times, days and transfers I wanted. Flight prices change throughout the day, I got a cheaper price than was on Flight Centre website (or any other website either). The service I got was exemplary. Flight Centre Woodcroft!

     

    Just wanted to put an alternative perspective ........... Sharon

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    I find it incredible that people think they can treat you rudely and that you will accept it. I think the online purchasing experience has really upset a lot of the traditional shop front sales. Harvey Norman was on tele a little while ago complaining about it but they don't do anything to compete with it do they? And to boot they have this attitude when you have done your homework. Good on you Diane for leaving and taking your business elsewhere, I would be fuming too if someone treated me like that. And $200 isn't anything to sneeze at, it's better in your pocket than theirs. Having said that tho, I have used FC at Rundle Street a couple of years ago and they were really helpful, I had done my homework and they were able to match the price.

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