More and more, people are beginning to book their flights online, whether it’s with a specific airline’s website, or through an online travel agency like Travelocity or Expedia. First of all, you can usually get cheaper tickets online than with a travel agency. Also, comparing and shopping for the flights you want is usually easier with an online agency, since you can see the different flights and their fares at just one website. You can also save time as well, since you won’t have to wait for somebody to take your call and assist you. Another plus for online agencies is, you can make combinations with different airlines, to get the best possible flights and times. Lastly, most flights booked online usually use electronic ticketing, or e-tickets, so you can even book for somebody else and not have to worry about sending the tickets to them.
But of course, as with anything else, there are some risks to booking online. If it’s difficult enough to plan your trip, imagine creating your entire itinerary with no one to advise you. If you mess up, you’ll have nobody but yourself to blame. So before you book your flight online, here are some tips to help your travel smooth sailing, or rather, flying.
- First tip: Verify dates, times and passenger’s names. You’d be surprised at how often people call to change their flights. Even if the changes are caused by genuine error, it’s still gonna cost you. You’ll have to pay the airline penalty fees which usually cost $50-$100 for domestic US flights, and $100-$200 for international flights. Plus, you’ll have to pay for the fare difference as well if the new flights cost more than your old one. And for name changes, airlines will only allow for typographical changes. Tickets are almost always non-transferable.
- As with any purchase, read all the rules & regulations. Most flights booked online are non-refundable, which means you’ll basically lose money if you cancel or change your flight. If the fare you’re looking at is really cheap, it may mean that no changes are permitted at all.
- Find out what travel documents you’ll need. I once had a caller who found out that she needed a passport just two days before her trip. Naturally, she wasn’t able to get one in time, and ended up having to postpone her trip and paying more to rebook.
Oops, again I’m out of space. Please watch for my next post for the continuation. Till next time!