Booking From an Online Travel Company May Actually Cost You More

You probably never thought you would be reading this right now, that booking your travel online would be actually costing you more money, but in many cases it is true, and I can prove it.

But first let me explain that there’s no question in my mind that using the Internet to find great deals is convenient and growing rapidly, and jumping on that last minute vacation package online is exciting and good for your pocket book. The only problem is that you never hear about the aftermath, the disasters, or the irreversible mistakes that arise from those great online deals. However, I do!

I hear about it from past travel clients, I hear it from new clients that swear they will not book another flight or package online, even if their life depended on it! Why, because unlike the majority that enjoy reserving their travel online, and have not had a major issue yet, the ones that do feel the pinch quickly see the true reality.

Now You May Be Thinking That I’m Telling You This Because I’m A Travel Agent!

That may be partly correct, but not for the reasons you may be thinking. As a travel agent I believe it’s my responsibility to educate you on the pros and cons. I get asked on many occasions by potential clients why they should book through a travel agent versus booking their travel online. In response to that question, all I can do is give a few examples of why you should deal with an agent, and normally the message gets through loud and clear. If at that point it doesn’t, I wish that person all the best, and tell them that my door is always open if they need my services in the future.

A Man Walked In to My Wife’s Travel Office At The Airport, Claiming He Missed His Flight!

OK, you probably think there’s a joke to transpire here, but this issue my wife experienced that day was no laughing matter. This upset and confused man walked into her office located at the airport one day and claimed he missed his flight, and didn’t understand why. My wife asked him where he booked his flight, and he said online through one of those travel websites.

When Maria proceeded to take a look at the print out copy of his flight itinerary, she quickly asked him, what time did you check in for his flight? He said 1pm, the exact time that states on his itinerary. Unfortunately at that time, Maria needed to give him the bad news. The bad news was that the print out had said 0100, which if you know military time is 1:00 am in the morning. This client assumed it was 1:00 pm and proceeded to take his flight.

Imagine his eyes popping out of his head when the person at the airline counter just told him his flight left this morning, and guess what? He’s not on it!

I can picture what you’re thinking now, but contrary to what you believe, this man is one of many victims of online travel bookings. You see, at one time he may have booked all his flights and vacations through a travel agent, and when he did, the travel agent took the liberty to explain all the rules and conditions, and go over the Itinerary with him to make sure he fully understood what he booked.

When this gentleman booked his flight online through the travel website, he assumed that he was booking the 1pm flight. However, because he didn’t understand military time, he booked the 1am flight.

Mistakes happen, and trust me I have made my fair share of them. But the one huge and major difference between someone booking with me versus over the Internet, is that if I make the error I normally catch it quickly and fix it, or while I’m talking with the client and going over the itinerary prior to booking the flight, we go over all the details, and at that time can avoid any errors all together if caught in time.

When this fellow booked his flight online, he had no one to go over the booking with him, or to reassure him that all was okay. Even if this guy was a veteran traveller and booked all his flights online, this could have been a simple oversight that he missed, but without a little bit of checking and consulting, this man was destine to pay the price.

He Paid The Price For Booking Online, Alright!

Because the moment he sat down at my wife’s desk, he knew that he needed to book another flight to where he was going, and that it was not going to be cheap!

Maria asked this upset man if he called the online travel company, and he said he did not, and this is where he received more valuable advice that more than likely saved this man thousands of dollars.

You see the fact that he did not show up for his flight in the morning, constitutes a “No Show” in the airlines systems, Maria explained to him. What that means is that if he had a return flight booked as well, and he didn’t contact the airlines to notify that he missed his departure flight, the airlines would cancel his entire itinerary.

So Maria advised him that he needed to contact the airline he was supposed to be flying with and advise them not to cancel the return portion of his flight. This yet again was something this guy was not aware of, and thankfully consulting a professional travel agent, he was given the proper information to avoid additional financial loss.

The moral of this unfortunate story is that even though you think you’re getting the best deal booking your travel online, if you don’t fully understand the fine print, or may be slightly confused on the details listed on many of the online travel companies, we always recommend that you call or visit a travel professional to assist you. You will truly have peace-of-mind, and you can’t put a ticket price on that!