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Booking directly with airlines

Canterbury, United...
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Booking directly with airlines

Hi,

I have been reading the forums and see that people recommend booking directly with the airline as it is generally cheaper.

We are planning to go to Thailand (London to Phuket) next December and I am already looking round for prices.

I went to the Thai Air web site and the flight search didn't work, so I rang them. When they failed to answer the phone after 15min I hang up.

Austrian Airlines did not produce a result and told me to ring them, on a Vienna phone number! BA produced a price that was more expensive than i could have booked through a third party and EVA's search was down.

So my question is, what is the best way to get a good price directly from an airline? and is it best to do it in Feb when the flights come out or wait till later?

Chris

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Maybe the search didn't work, as flights aren't available for booking yet. Most airlines don't open their schedules until ~330 days out.

No one can tell you the best time to book.

People recommend booking directly with the airline, as it's much easier to deal with problems that way.

Edited: 23 January 2013, 18:47
Canterbury, United...
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16 posts
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2. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Thanks gracie-boo

I do know the flight aren't out yet I was just making a comparison on dates that have been released and to check the process. When booking with an airline what is the best way to do it?

chris

Norfolk England
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5,825 posts
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3. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Hi

I agree, I think you are too early for prices. You may get a quote off www.kayak.com (redirect you to airlines) but this far out, if you get a price at all it will possibly be a silly price.

Clive

Edited: 23 January 2013, 18:53
Italy
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39,487 posts
214 reviews
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4. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Check out the Matrix fare comparison website for the various schedules and prices, I check it daily then when a price comes down I go over to the airlines website and book it there.

We do recommend booking directly with the airline to avoid all the problems we see on here daily, it doesn't mean to say they're cheaper but there's usually only a very small difference booking directly or with a 3rd party. You don't need to ring the airlines you can get the prices on their websites.

http://matrix.itasoftware.com

Italy
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39,487 posts
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5. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Also be careful when you check the price on a 3rd party website as sometimes you only see the final amount just before you give your credit card details.

UK
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49,561 posts
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6. Re: Booking directly with airlines

<<I have been reading the forums and see that people recommend booking directly with the airline as it is generally cheaper>>

..... and SAFER ! And not full of scams, incompetents, rip offs.

<<I went to the Thai Air web site and the flight search didn't work>>

Its working for me, gives me a very nice matrix of flight prices for departure and return dates.

<<Austrian Airlines did not produce a result>>

OK ... not the first company I'd think of to get to Thailand but .....

<<BA produced a price that was more expensive than i could have booked through a third party >>

Supposedly. According to the adverts from whoever you were looking at. You dont actually KNOW you could have got that price.

And its not ALL about price, if you've read those threads as you say you have then you'd also have seen the endless tales of woe that occurred when a third party gets in the way and soemthing changes and needs to be dealt with. People literally saving £10 on a £500 flight and then losing it all because of a rubbish third party.

<<and EVA's search was down.>>

yep, it appears to be rubbish, "please try again later"

Look on http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ and see who goes there. Do some legwork. So far you've been on 4 websites in I guess 10 minutes and seemingly given up. Pretty poor when you are looking at spending what, £1500 or so? You have tons of time its way too early to be looking, I wouldnt start for another month or two. I might even be leaving it until after the summer unless you are looking at staying over Christmas time or flying Christmas dates.

Edited: 23 January 2013, 19:00
Canterbury, United...
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7. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Thanks guys lots of useful info there.

My wife has been researching this for the last couple of months and, based mainly on the TA Thai Forum has chosen where we are staying.

We will be going for three weeks either over the Christmas period or just after, so i guess we need to book soonsih.

The cheapest price we have found so far is Austrian Air which we found on Opodo, Matrix does not list the flight although it does have some good prices.

The best price from Matrix is Emirates at £704 per person, the same dates on Emirates own site is £1516 more than £100 difference.

can you see why i am a bit confused?

chris

San Diego
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for San Diego
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8. Re: Booking directly with airlines

Most of us book on the airline web sites directly because when there is a problem it is better to deal directly than to have to go through a 3rd party.

I have not generally found less expensive prices on 3rd party sites UNLESS you are booking a pkg that includes hotels.

Only twice in the last 10 years have I found a 3rd party site that saved me enough money to make it seem worthwhile to book with them!

At that time their ticket price was about $300 less than the airline so THAT made it worth while(to me).

Prices change all the time so when you do book the flight try not to look back at the prices!

Cala d'Or, Spain
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4,254 posts
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9. Re: Booking directly with airlines

You are just way to early to be booking for next December.

Give it 2-3 months and start checking prices directly with the airlines. Bear in mind if you use a 3rd party agent and anything goes wrong with your flight arrangements the airline involved will direct you back to the agent.

Some times easier said then done as most agents don't seem to have contact numbers.

Edited: 23 January 2013, 20:01
UK
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10. Re: Booking directly with airlines

The best price from Matrix is Emirates at £704 per person, the same dates on Emirates own site is £1516 more than £100 difference.

can you see why i am a bit confused?

======

Yes, first of all because you are confusing me.

£1516 is certainly "more than £100 difference from £704", I make it more than £800 !

So, did you actually mean that its £100 more than £704 for two people? eg Emirates is £758 each, via some other company, its £704?

So, assuming thats what you mean, there are 4 possibilities for the price difference (and you are missing the BIG point, which I'll get to later)

- You have mistaken a "too good to be true" offer, with an actual price. ITA matrix is just reporting what companies told it. Many of them lie. Did you go to the third party site... did you go all the way through to the end of the booking process, including adding names in... if so, i bet you there will be other additions, and when you get to that point, and it will end up more like £754 or more.

-The third party is doing something underhand - excluding luggage or something else with an extra charge thats in the Emirates price already taht you have to buy.

-Or, even if its "really" £704 when you click "buy" you haven't bought yet, because its two stage process and they need to confirm. What will likely happen is, a couple of days later, you get an email saying either that that price is no longer available, or there was a credit car error, and now that price is no longer available. And the new price is £754 or £764 or £784 or £804 .....

-Or, even if its really £704 and you do get it at that price, any changes over the next 10 months, lets say a schedule change, a name mistake, a passport detail wrong, good luck getting through on the phone to the third party and getting a satisfactory change.

And, getting back to "you are missing the BIG point" its NOT just about price.

When you are in the position above, or you are at the airport and there is a ticket problem, or any other glitch occurs, you will really really REALLY wish you'd paid that "extra" £100.