|12-23-2006, 08:17 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Be wary of discount air fare agencies
I am a seasoned traveler, who relied, perhaps foolishly, on a discount airline site called FlyCheapAbroad.com. I was going to Paris in September and noted that the major carriers were asking coach prices of almost a thousand dollars. I thought this might be too high and delayed buying my ticket in the summer, thinking that the airfares would come down in August as they customarily do.__________________
During this period, I checked out various discount airfare sites and came upon FlyCheapAbroad.com. They listed a fare on an as yet unknown major carrier (until I bought the ticket) for two hundred dollars cheaper. I called the 800 number and asked, among other things, would I receive Frequent Flyer Miles? I was told that I would and that they would put my mileage account number on the reservation once purchased.
A week or so later, I noticed that the flight I was interested in had dropped to $609. Thinking the deal might not last, I called the website again, and before making the purchase repeated the question about the Frequent Flier mileage. Again, I was told that I would receive the miles, so I purchased the ticket.
Indeed, as it turned out to be an American Airlines flight, I saw that my mileage number was affixed on the official AA reservation. However, after I took my flights I noticed that I didn't receive any mileage. Upon requesting same from the AA Help Desk, I received a rude awakening. My flights didn't qualify, as they had been purchased through a discount travel agent.
When I confronted FlyCheapAbroad.com, it was intriguing that the two agents expressed surprise that I hadn't received mileage and said they would call AA to find out why. The next day, after I called them again, the agent said that my flights didn't qualify. It didn't seem to faze her that she'd been surprised the day before that I hadn't received the miles, nor that I had been told by the person who sold me the ticket that I would receive them.
I asked to speak to a supervisor, who called me back and cited a sort of "It's not our responsibility" line. No matter what I said, she kept repeating her mantra. I referred her to the Terms and Conditions page on the website, which had wording still in effect in October where, under the paragraph heading of Frequent Flyer it said, "Once booked and ticketed, it is the responsibility of the passenger to contact the airlines to give Frequent Flyer account information." It didn't say to call the airline to find out whether the flight would accrue miles (which would have been impossible before buying the ticket, because FlyCheapAbroad.com doesn't tell you what airline you will be flying), but encourages you to get your information to the airline. What other reason could there be for this verbiage if the mileage was not expected? That, plus the personal assurances I had been given by the clerk who sold me the ticket, gave me the confidence that I would receive the miles.
After arguing with this supervisor for quite awhile, she said she would look into it and then, upon my nudging, emailed me the next day with "First of all, I want to make it clear that I am sincerely sorry for this situation. Please let me continue trying to get an exception from AA to make possible a mileage credit in your account." She said she'd get back in five business days. To this date, two months later, I have heard nothing from the agency. I note that if she felt that I was in any way wrong or had made a mistake, why would she have even indicated a desire to rectify the situation? Perhaps it was because I threatened to write to American Airlines and the administrators of VISA.
The only satisfaction is that they have since updated their Terms and Conditions page, which now, under the Frequent Flyer paragraph has the wording, "Some flights will not accrue miles." One, of course, wonders if they will be up front with someone who poses the question of mileage eligibility, or if in fact any of their discounted flights do yield miles.
Frequent Flyer miles are worth a considerable amount. Their value is approximately $25 per thousand miles, so for a round-trip flight of over 12,000 miles I was cheated by them of about $300. The amount of the AA fare posted shortly before I took off was a little over $700, so even with the hundred dollars I "saved" using FlyCheap Abroad.com, with the mileage loss, I was out almost $200.
I can only urge that if you use this company insist upon the airline before you buy the ticket and demand whether the flight will accrue miles and get it in writing. I would also, upon learning of the exact flight (which usually happens within an hour or so), contact the airline directly to learn if the flight will get you miles. If it doesn't, you can appeal immediately to VISA or Mastercard to cancel the transaction. In my case, since I didn't know of the fraud until after 60 days of my payment (as I bought the ticket a couple of months in advance and didn't learn of the mileage discrepancy until after the month-long journey was over), VISA cannot refund any of my money.
It is a lesson to be learned about discount airfares. Unless the fare is so very much below what the airline is quoting and/or you fly so seldom that you don't care about the miles (which is silly, as you can give them away), do not risk using FlyCheapAbroad.com or other such websites. It was an expensive lesson for me to learn. I hope that you don't suffer equally.
|12-25-2006, 08:20 AM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Rhode Island, USA
It is a lesson to be learned about discount airfares. Unless the fare is so very much below what the airline is quoting and/or you fly so seldom that you don't care about the miles (which is silly, as you can give them away), do not risk using FlyCheapAbroad.com or other such websites. It was an expensive lesson for me to learn. I hope that you don't suffer equally.[/QUOTE]__________________
I used to hop around finding the "lowest discount fare" for flights overseas. Now I pretty much stick with one airline. Sometimes I pay a whole $50 or even a $100 more over a discounted fare - but my benefits from my regular airline gives me much more in return for loyalty!
I fly to Asia often, long flights, lots of miles. Some airlines that I have used in the past are cheaper and even have a much better schedule! I presently use NWA, I get 125% extra bonus miles with each flight with Platinum and 100% extra with the Gold card. One of my last flights to the Philippines gave me FREE upgrades to busiess class for 5 out of 6 segments!
I get free upgrades, priority seat choices, extra weight allowances, priority standbys, first on the airplane and sometimes free VIP lounges. Every two flights to Asia for me and the third flight could be free using miles. So I put up with the inconvenient departure and arrival time and suck up the perquisites and free flights.
Good luck on your next flight.
|10-27-2009, 01:51 AM||#3|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Finding cheap student airfare is complex - student airfare discounts seem varied but most websites purporting to offer student discount airfare really proffer the same thing - a fare search engine. Enter your departure and destination cities (all sites walk you through the process) and the search engine will return a number of itinerary and price options. You can then choose one and book online. Below is a list of websites that largely do truly cater to student travelers looking for the best student airfare deals.
|11-09-2009, 06:30 AM||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Finding cheap student airfare is complex - student airfare discounts seem varied but most websites purporting to offer student discount airfare really proffer the same thing - a fare search engine. Enter your departure and destination cities (all sites walk you through the process) and the search engine will return a number of itinerary and price options. You can then choose one and book online. Below is a list of websites that largely do truly cater to student travelers looking for the best student airfare deals. (You may have to provide proof that you're a student to get the best student airfares.)
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