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Booking Airfare through Uniworld


JPH814
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I thought this would be of interest to some river-cruisers.

 

I always book my airfare directly. I want to be sure of airline, the day and the time and select my seats etc. I am very type A!). Plus, past research showed me the cost when booking through cruise lines was much more expensive than booking on your own.

 

I saw a promotion on Uniworld for $2000 per person credit on the cruise cost when booking business class air through Uniworld. I had already picked out my flights but not booked them. So I called Uniworld and asked how it would work.

 

The agent at Uniworld asked if I had an airline preference. I told her I did, and also the exact flight, date and times. She checked and the price she quoted for those flights was exactly the same as what I got if I booked directly. But - as a result of the promotion, our cruise fare was reduced $2000 per person. The only concession: you could not combine this promotion with a discount for paying in full at booking. Not a big deal to me.

 

So I did book my air with Uniworld when I booked the cruise. Bottom line, in essence - my wife and I are flying Business Class Philadelphia to Amsterdam for $700 per person.

 

So I would advise you to do your homework when considering how to book your airfare. Sometimes it is better on your own; sometimes it is better through the cruiseline.

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As long as you are getting "published fare" tickets from the cruiseline (and that is a technical term in the airline industry that does NOT mean what you think), you likely will have tickets with significantly different fare rules than ones bought through the airline directly. Though you may find a price savings, know that you are not buying the same ticket. It's not apples to apples, but rather apples to oranges.

 

If price is your only consideration, go right ahead and act on that. But know the differences. If all goes well, you won't notice the difference. It's when you have irops or other issues when the differences rear the ugly head.

 

Caveat emptor.

Edited by FlyerTalker
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It's when you have irops or other issues when the differences rear the ugly head.

 

This keeps getting repeated, but has anyone actually had a problem with such a ticket during irregular operations (IROP)?

 

In my experience when there are major impacts on the airline operations that is precisely when they tend to ignore the detailed fare rules and focus on just getting people out as soon as they possibly can regardless of what it says on the ticket...

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I'm taking my first Uniworld cruise in November, and booked my air thru them. I was shocked at the very reasonable price, and I got decent routings too. Couldn't have done better on my own.

 

Roz

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What are the differences?

The differences completely depend on the specific fare rules attached to your ticket. They can go so far as to be only applicable for the flight number and date of your ticket, regardless of any time change that might occur. In addition, your ticket may specify a designated routing. Which means that if the ticket is written XXX to ATL to YYY and the ATL-YYY flight is cancelled, they can't reroute you through JFK or elsewhere.

 

The ticket may also not be endorsable, which means that it cannot be transfered to another airline. Let's say that DL has a mechanical. You will not be eligible to be rerouted using a different airline.

 

Finally, there is a "pecking order" by which reroutes are handled. Bulk tickets are at the bottom of the list - others will be rerouted and given available seats before you.

 

There was a case here on CC where a couple was on a flight that got diverted on their way to PHL, where they were to make a connection. But even though they were now in IND, their fare rules specified a connection in PHL. Even though there were other options to their eventual destination, their ticket was not valid for them. They had to go to PHL and then to the destination.

 

There was another time when you could not fly into Santiago. Those with cruiseline tickets were stuck, as the tickets required flights to SCL. Others on the same cruise with airline-issued tickets were able to fly to Buenos Aires and bus to Chile. Because their tickets could be rerouted and endorsed to another carrier.

 

As mentioned, if all goes well, you won't notice a thing. It's when things go pear-shaped that the differences come to the fore. Caveat emptor.

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Just my 2 cents, but I now DO LISTEN to advice from Flyer Talker,

 

I learned the hard way on2 oversea flights, had booked them thru cruise company and 2nd one thru online agency. Both times I confirmed my flights, got my seats, and somehow computers did NOT have the connecting flights.Don t ask me how it happened, and was on way home from Vietnam using Asiana air and US partners.

 

Sure I thought I saved money,but ended up paying more in long run and such a hassle.Now rather book my own,worth the extra cost(sometimes)and no hassles.

Edited by alexandra cruiser
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Interesting conversation

 

I am not sure i am concerned. the cruise line sold me a flight home and i would expect them to make any alternate arrangements and cover any additional cost. Similar to a ship excursion that gets you back after the ship leaves port.

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Interesting conversation

 

I am not sure i am concerned. the cruise line sold me a flight home and i would expect them to make any alternate arrangements and cover any additional cost. Similar to a ship excursion that gets you back after the ship leaves port.

Three dangerous words. Vastly different situation than a shorex. But feel free to make assumptions.
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Interesting conversation

 

I am not sure i am concerned. the cruise line sold me a flight home and i would expect them to make any alternate arrangements and cover any additional cost. Similar to a ship excursion that gets you back after the ship leaves port.

 

Have you read your contract and found anything telling you that they will do this?

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When we cruised last year on Uniworld we booked our flights thru them. I looked up the flights I wanted on Delta's website & when we booked our trip we just gave them the airline & flight #'s/times we wanted & got a lower price than on Delta's website. We have always done this on our land based trips w/ Tauck (9 & counting) & now w/ Uniworld as well and haven't had any problems. We fly out of JFK (we live on Long Island) so most of our flights to Europe have been direct but even on the connecting ones involving 2 different airlines we haven't had any problems. Fingers crossed of course:)

Edited by need2travel1
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I bought travel insurance that covers trip interruption, so wouldn't that cover me if I were delayed or missed a connection due to circumstances beyond my control?

 

Will report back mid-November after I've taken my river cruise as to how Uniworld performed as far as air arrangements. By the way, I've trying reading the details on buying airline tickets thru various means, and now I'm cross-eyed. I honestly don't understand the language on any of it. I just buy a ticket and let it take me where I want to go. Guess I'm a stupid idiot.

 

Roz

Edited by Roz
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Way too much unwarranted negativity on this thread.

 

If you want to completely avoid all risks of travel disruption then the only thing you can do is not travel...

 

Thousands are flying each week using cruise line booked tickets and by far the vast majority do not suffer huge problems as a result.

 

Booking your own air provides no certainty of perfection either.

 

I book our own flights only because I have a large amount of air miles and I can fly us in F/J at little or no cost, not because of an irrational fear of cruise line air travel.

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I bought travel insurance that covers trip interruption, so wouldn't that cover me if I were delayed or missed a connection due to circumstances beyond my control?
Yes, good travel insurance will make good the FINANCIAL loss involved. However, that doesn't mitigate the fact that you may end up missing some or all of your cruise due to your fare rules. Travel insurance is for the money side, not the operational side.
Will report back mid-November after I've taken my river cruise as to how Uniworld performed as far as air arrangements. By the way, I've trying reading the details on buying airline tickets thru various means, and now I'm cross-eyed. I honestly don't understand the language on any of it. I just buy a ticket and let it take me where I want to go. Guess I'm a stupid idiot.
No, you are not. It's a complex subject and to be blunt, I have 40+ some years of commercial flying under my belt. Millions of actual BIS (butt in seat) miles. I've learned from experts as well as the school of hard knocks. So I try to help others to not get burned through misinformation or misassumptions about airline travel. And yes, there is a language all its own - just like every industry. The main thing to remember is....if the ticket is priced less than what you would pay from the airline directly, it is most likely a bulk/negotiated/consolidator ticket with different fare rules from what you would get on a ticket direct from XYZ Airline.

 

It's not that they are bad - just that they are different, and you shouldn't assume that just because it is on the same flight that it is the same ticket. Air tickets are NOT like baseball game or theater tickets - they have rules that vary from ticket to ticket.

 

If you have questions, head over to Cruise Air where a bunch of folks can help you out. We just want informed consumers.

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Way too much unwarranted negativity on this thread.
Not negativity, just presenting facts. Or do you just want sunshine, rainbows and unicorns - everything will be just fine, don't worry!!

 

If you want to completely avoid all risks of travel disruption then the only thing you can do is not travel...
There are always "risks". The question is whether you want to be in a bad situations if something does happen.
Thousands are flying each week using cruise line booked tickets and by far the vast majority do not suffer huge problems as a result.

Never said anything that most have problems. It's just so that not so vast minority of folks who do have problems are aware of what they bought.

Booking your own air provides no certainty of perfection either.
Completely agree. But that's a red herring.
I book our own flights only because I have a large amount of air miles and I can fly us in F/J at little or no cost, not because of an irrational fear of cruise line air travel.
Irrational fears are bad. However, rational ones are valid and should be considered. That's all I say - please don't put words into my mouth.
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Life is a crapshoot. Walking out to get the morning paper i can get hit by a truck.

 

Every purchase is a risk / reward decision . A car can be a lemon. A steak can be tough. It can rain on my vacation

 

I saved $4000 by buying air through the cruise line. I never knew it was a lower class ticket. Thanks to Flyer Talker I now know.

 

But if I had known, I still would have taken the risk. A $4000 bird in hand vs the small possibility of a problem that the cruise line would not fix and would cause me a day's delay and maybe a few bucks. I judge that risk to be pretty small. Not worth $4000.

Edited by JPH814
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Not negativity, just presenting facts. Or do you just want sunshine, rainbows and unicorns - everything will be just fine, don't worry!!

 

Maybe it's your signature that makes ALL your posts seem so negative. Have you looked at them as they are published? The first thing the eye is drawn to is a shouting face. That affects how the text above it is perceived. Just sayin'

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Not negativity, just presenting facts. Or do you just want sunshine, rainbows and unicorns - everything will be just fine, don't worry!!

 

Only your 'facts' leave out the probability element.

 

It really doesn't help to use the rare extreme examples and present them as a risk for everyone.

 

You can dissect my posts to your hearts content, but it doesn't alter the fact that the extreme situations you describe are rare and will never affect the majority of travelers at any point in their lives.

 

Even if people decide to avoid the cruise lines travel arrangements and give up the positive aspects out of fear of the rare negative outcomes, it does not ensure they avoid the risks you describe.

 

I'm not suggesting that we should only have unrealistically positive posts on here, just that we don't need unrealistically negative ones either :)

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Maybe it's your signature that makes ALL your posts seem so negative. Have you looked at them as they are published? The first thing the eye is drawn to is a shouting face. That affects how the text above it is perceived. Just sayin'

 

 

Diplomacy at its best!

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I, for one, appreciate FlyerTalker's attempt to educate and inform us on the intricacies and possible pitfalls that we could encounter with our air fare purchase. Knowing all the terms of a purchase is always a good thing in my opinion and I just don't see the information imparted as negative. Until I started reading the Cruise Air board, I had no idea that purchasing tickets from sources other than the airline directly could entail different fare rules. What I do with the information is up to me but at least now I know.

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I, for one, appreciate FlyerTalker's attempt to educate and inform us on the intricacies and possible pitfalls that we could encounter with our air fare purchase. Knowing all the terms of a purchase is always a good thing in my opinion and I just don't see the information imparted as negative. Until I started reading the Cruise Air board, I had no idea that purchasing tickets from sources other than the airline directly could entail different fare rules. What I do with the information is up to me but at least now I know.

 

 

There is a sticky on the Cruise Air page written by Greatam. I've been recommending it as a must read for years. After one reads it, then one is equipped to form their own opinion.

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I've had two experiences with attempting to use Uniworld air. The first was going to Europe (Madrid and Portugal) and the second China.

 

For the Europe trip (economy class), their quoted price was essentially the same as buying direct from the airlines. I choose to buy direct.

 

For the China trip we wanted Business Class. Uniworld gave me a price of $2800 each higher than the price for buying direct. One of the other posters here had about the same experience for that trip. We obviously bought the tickets ourselves.

 

I will comment that for neither of these two trips was Uniworld offering any special air-cruise packages. Timing seems to be everything on getting the best deals.

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  • 3 years later...
On 10/27/2015 at 11:41 AM, pinotlover said:

I've had two experiences with attempting to use Uniworld air. The first was going to Europe (Madrid and Portugal) and the second China.

 

For the Europe trip (economy class), their quoted price was essentially the same as buying direct from the airlines. I choose to buy direct.

 

For the China trip we wanted Business Class. Uniworld gave me a price of $2800 each higher than the price for buying direct. One of the other posters here had about the same experience for that trip. We obviously bought the tickets ourselves.

 

I will comment that for neither of these two trips was Uniworld offering any special air-cruise packages. Timing seems to be everything on getting the best deals.

 

Hello pinotlover!  Yes, that was a great trip!  

 

We, too, are back to working RT air for a 15-day European Uniworld cruise through France next Spring.  Somewhat frustrated that Uniworld "hides" their air fares behind the facade of "we are here to help" at a cost pf $95 each while ocean cruise lines have a website on which one can plug in alternatives, to include days and routings.  One would think that Uniworld, which gets most of its European business from the US and is a US company, would provide something similar.  And, after spending $20K for a cruise adding another $190 just to book air is a slap in the face.  Well, it is what it is.

 

Flyertalker is correct about the complexity of air travel and air fares.   Obviously airlines do this to maximize profit and to keep the majority of the flying public, at least those of us who are not "professional travelers" traveling for vacation, in the dark and guessing.  Its a case of house rules, and house wins using their rules.  As they say, each and every seat on a flight has a different price.  Finding the best price for your needs is not a fun game and can be very expensive if you "guess" wrong.

Edited by Ride-The-Waves
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On 10/24/2015 at 9:34 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Maybe it's your signature that makes ALL your posts seem so negative. Have you looked at them as they are published? The first thing the eye is drawn to is a shouting face. That affects how the text above it is perceived. Just sayin'

 

His avatar appears to be a DC-6/7.  I don't get the comment.  Flyertalker has expertise based on decades of travel and millions of miles flown, and offers comments of value to cruisers.  I have been traveling since I was a pup - first cruise I remember was crossing the pond on a Cunard Queen (I think it was Queen Mary) in 1949.  Learned to swim in the pollen SS United States.  Have sailed a lot - 30 years US navy - and flown extensively both for official travel and vacation.  Visited all 7 Continents.  Even a worked a college Summer as a ticket agent for Eastern Airlines!  Those were the days - handwritten tickets.  Easy.  Not so easy today especially when the airlines hold all the cards.

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