TTT: Booking airfare

June 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm 2 comments

Today’s travel tip is based upon my friend’s recent experience as well as my own.

The tip: When possible, book your airfare directly with the airline providing your flights.

K’s story, part 1: Over a month ago, K, whose boyfriend flies Continental regularly enough to have accrued a fair number of frequent flier miles, was pleased to find great flights available for booking with his miles on Continental’s website.  Interestingly, the flights were operated by Delta.  She was surprised when she was unable to reserve their seats, but she wrote it off as a computer glitch that she’d check back on later.  She tried to select seats a couple more times over the next couple of weeks but kept receiving the error.

A little frustrated, she telephoned Continental to see check on the issue.  She was advised, after a 20 minute wait, that Delta would automatically assigned the seats and that, if she wanted to have some input, she would have to contact Delta.  Since her Continental reservation code wouldn’t work on Delta’s website, she then suffered through another long wait to speak with someone from Delta.  They initially advised her that only Continental could select their seats.  She knew that wasn’t right, so a supervisor became involved and eventually helped select the seats.  Unfortunately, by this time, most of the seats were taken, so they did not get ideal seats.

K’s story, part 2: K always likes to check in online, so, 24 hours before the flights, she hops online to do so.  Foiled again!  She couldn’t check in through Continental or Delta’s websites or over the phone, so they ended up standing in line at the airport – twice (once on either end of the trip).  What a pain!

I’ve run into a similar issue myself with my upcoming Baltic cruise.  I booked through Expedia, and we’re flying on a couple different airlines to get to Copenhagen.  For one of the airlines, my husband and I got assigned middle seats a couple rows apart.  Since I booked the tickets ~9 months before the trip, I knew there was no way the flights were that full.  Fortunately Expedia isn’t as tricky as Delta and Continental!  I emailed them my complaint, along with some seating preferences, and they took care of it in a timely fashion.  Let’s just hope we don’t have any check in issues!

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Entry filed under: Planes, trains, autos, boats, Travel Tips.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. K  |  June 2, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Just one minor clarification – we weren’t cashing in miles with Continental. My bf does often fly Continental and we booked with them in order to accrue *more* miles. And given this disappointing experience with Delta, I’m glad we’re not stuck with miles with them!

    I hope your readers take this tip to heart and don’t have the same experience I did! 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. K  |  June 3, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Update: got an email this morning from Delta (no response yet from Continental) with profuse apologies and a $50 credit voucher for each of us, good for 1 year. So much for my not flying Delta again!!

    Reply

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