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Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

London, United...
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Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

This is my first time booking my own travel and flights as I'm travelling alone so needed some advice! I am aware there are many of these threads on here but I'm a bit confused..

I am trying to book to fly to Costa Rica from Heathrow. The cheapest flight I can find is on Opodo, with a 2hr layover in JFK. Both flights are with AA. Unfortunately, exactly the same flights are listed/advertised on the AA website, but are £200 more than the Opodo ones, so although I'd much prefer to book directly through AA I am unsure whether it's worth the extra cash. The advice I have seen on this forum is that you need to make sure it's a single ticket - when it's via a third party, how do I know this? would it just be if i have made a single booking and paid for both flights together?

I'm worried about the connection times so I called AA earlier today and they said 2 hours should be fine to change flights since I think it is the same terminal, but they could only guarantee a later flight if I miss my connection if I book directly through them, and that if I booked through Opodo I wouldn't be covered if there was a delay. Is this true? And if it is - is it worth paying the extra money to have (hopefully) more reliable service with AA and a guaranteed later flight?

I have pretty good travel insurance but I know better than to rely on insurance companies for such things! Any help appreciated..thanks!

Ayr, Scotland
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1. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

Also try and price the flights through BA - can often be price discrepancies (hopefully in your favour ;-). )

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

If you book in one go it should be on one ticket. I've never heard of airlines refusing to rebook you if you booked from a 3rd party. If that was the case I suspect there would be many reported cases of this happening. 2 hours may be enough but I'd say there's a decent risk of missing your connection since you have to clear immigration in JFK.

I wouldn't personally book with Opodo, even to save £200. Many complaints about them in here (do a search). It's also quite possible that the cheaper fare they adverstise isn't actually available.

London, United...
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3. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

Thanks guys. They are the same price on BA :( also according to the AA booking website it is genuinely cheaper for me to get a return ticket Costa Rica rather than a single one way (I'm coming back from Cancun). Why is this?! I am considering buying the return and just not using my return flight!

The other alternative is a different advertised flight from London to Miami with a 5hr stopover, less risk in missing the connection but also having to go via Opodo...

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

If you're flying back from Cancun, look for an open-jaw/multi-city booking, outbound to Costa Rica, inbound from Cancun.

You don't *have* to go through Opodo, that's entirely up to you.

Edited: 03 November 2013, 17:49
San Diego
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5. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

2 hrs. at JFK is barely enough time to make the 2nd flight because you'll have to go through immigration and customs and go through another security check before going on to your 2nd flight. You'll also need an ESTA in place even though you are only "transitting" in the USA.

Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

I have most certainly been forced to buy a second ticket when my connecting flight was late. I flew into SLC on Delta and had a ticket to fly out of SLC to OAK on Southwest. My Delta flight was very late, and we missed the Southwest flight. Southwest's position was that I paid for a ticket on a plane. They reserved a seat for me on that plane. I was not in that seat. The plane left. They had no other obligation to me. I had to purchase a new ticket to fly to SFO later in the day, and it cost five times as much as the original ticket I had purchased with Southwest. No airline has any legal responsibility to you if you miss your flight, unless you are flying with a fully-refundable ticket.

I have also seen this happen with at least two dozen people in the last couple of years, including a seat mate I flew with last month. She missed a connecting flight into LAX, and was forced to purchase a brand new ticket. She could not even purchase a ticket on her original airline, so she had to buy a ticket on Alaskan Air.

When you book a cobbled together itinerary with a third party agent that involves multiple airlines and more than one ticket, you create the perfect situation for finding yourself in the middle of your journey having missed a connecting flight. This is simply a chance that I would never take again. The financial risk is simply too great.

On the rare occasion when I have discovered a third party agent offering exactly the same itinerary as Delta (which is the airline I regularly fly), I call Delta. If they confirm that Opodo or Expedia or whatever is offering the exact same itinerary they are offering for less money they will always price match. That happens about once every ten years, but it is their guarantee.

I realize that millions of people are very happy with the services of a third party agent making their travel plans for them. As long as the itinerary works people can often save both time and money compared to booking with a single airline, or at least a single ticket number with airlines that codeshare. When things go bad, there is no safety net to catch you. No airline will step into the situation and offer to rescue you. The third party agent will certainly not be responsible because all they contracted to do was sell you tickets based on an itinerary they developed and you accepted.

I paid $700 to fly one-way between SLC and OAK, and that was an expensive lesson, which I do not need to learn twice.

Edinburgh, United...
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7. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

"When you book a cobbled together itinerary with a third party agent that involves multiple airlines and more than one ticket, you create the perfect situation for finding yourself in the middle of your journey having missed a connecting flight."

I don't know of any 3rd party booker that would cobble together two tickets and sell it as one. I'm almost certain Opodo does not do that. If you have two separate tickets and you miss a connection you're usually on your own but that's neither here nor there if the OP buys a through-ticket, whether it's from the airline or 3rd party.

Edited: 03 November 2013, 19:16
London, United...
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8. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

Lexexpress, thank you! I had vaguely looked at this for another website and couldn't find it, but have just checked AA and they are offering a multiflight package for cheaper than the single outbound flight...bizarre

I am still worried at the flight times offered by AA on these itineraries...two hours seems to be normal on most of the ones they are selling. Surely they would not sell these flights if travellers frequently miss flights due to security/immigration delays? It is also the UK website, so assuming most people booking would be UK passport holders.

Travelling The World
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9. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

"Surely they would not sell these flights if travellers frequently miss flights due to security/immigration delays?"

Correct. On a bad day it can take longer, but on a normal day if you spend an hour in the immigration queue that's a lot. Your bags are being delivered in the meantime and will be there waiting for you. Then you drop them on the belt just through customs and head for security (again on a bad day half an hour) and you will make your flight.

Obviously some people get stopped at customs, or subjected to additional security etc., or their inbound is late. But under normal circumstances most people make it.

Edinburgh, United...
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10. Re: Booking via Opodo and potential missed flights?!

Can you not simply pick an itinerary with a longer stop-over if you're worried? AA have many flights from London to JFK every day and I'm seeing plenty of connections with 3 hour+ connections to San Juan (assuming that's where you're flying to).