Sunday, February 20, 2011

Discounted Travel Sites

Beware, Friends, of booking flights at discounted travel sites!

My dad is hands down the smartest person I know.  He reads three newspapers cover to cover most days and keeps up with a couple others online.  He completes the New York Times crossword in minutes and stops answering questions on Jeopardy! just to let others have a chance.  If you need a trivia partner, he's your man!  If you are playing Trivial Pursuit, make sure he is on your team!  So why didn't I listen to him before I booked my travel online?  Because I am cheap of course...

Dear old dad warned me that unless you book with the actual airline you are in danger of loosing your seats.  Apparently when passengers book through the airline and fill up the seats, you and your discounted fair are bumped.  Hopefully, you are notified and a new reservation is confirmed.  That is what happened to my parents.  They booked on Travelocity and the little gnome found them a new flight.

I booked on CheapOair (really, that's its name) and unless I had called them when I discovered that our flights no longer existed, I wouldn't be any the wiser.  I received no updated flight itinerary.  I received no phone call notification.  The only emails that I have received from them are for their weekday car rental specials in San Francisco and New Delhi.  Like I travel to India most Tuesdays! 

So I spent 20 minutes on hold, while my happy accented rep confirmed nothing.  We are booked in cyberspace and the travel site is trying to contact the airline to get some sort of confirmation as to our travel arrangements.  Super!  And I thought that traveling with a 9 month old was our biggest challenge.

"Just give us 24 hours," they said.  "Thanks for your patience," they said.

"Funny, you already charged my credit card for flights that no longer exist,"  I said...

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