Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Joyce36

Fuming over HA air travel service

Recommended Posts

I will be cruising to Alaska on Sept. 4. I book my air through HA (Boston > Vancouver with change in Toronto). I want to select seats for the trip to Vancouver (seats were already selected for Vancouver > Boston). The Delta web site said to call WestJet to book the seats, so I called WestJet. After being on hold for 35 minutes, they said that HA had not yet ticketed my flight, so they can't book the seats. The seats are "reserved" but not ticketed. I reserved back in March. WestJet said to call HA and find out why it's not ticketed. So I called HA and again waited for 30 minutes on hold. Finally someone said she will transfer me to the flight department. Then I got a recording that said the flight department is **closed**, please call within operating hours (it's 1:30 pm EST where I am). This is so ridiculous. I just want to select a seat on an airplane. 

 

I have never traveled with Holland America before, and I really, really want to like them, but this is not a good experience. Any guidance, suggestions? I will call HA back later after I have calmed down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HAL doesn’t “ticket” the flights until close out. (I think it’s 30 days but I could be in error).   Very frustrating, I know.

 

I’ve called and requested them ticket me (and your TA can do that too) and in a just a few minutes I could book my seats 🙂 

 

I feel your pain - I’ve been going through some with Air Canada and it took a LOT of time to get fixed (and they aren’t flight ease tickets).

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick question, have you paid HAL for your tickets.  If so, there certainly is no reason why they should not ticket you immediately.  If you call again, before you let them transfer you to the air department ask for a direct number.  I can't imagine why you got a "closed" recording at 10:30AM Seattle time; my best guess is that the line was busy and they forgot to update the holding message.  At least if you get a direct number you won't need to sit on hold waiting for a silly message.

 

I went through much of the same pain with Royal Caribbean a few days ago but at least the air department actually accepted the transferred call.

 

If you used a TA be sure to get them involved.

 

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Joyce36 said:

I will be cruising to Alaska on Sept. 4. I book my air through HA (Boston > Vancouver with change in Toronto). I want to select seats for the trip to Vancouver (seats were already selected for Vancouver > Boston). The Delta web site said to call WestJet to book the seats, so I called WestJet. After being on hold for 35 minutes, they said that HA had not yet ticketed my flight, so they can't book the seats. The seats are "reserved" but not ticketed. I reserved back in March. WestJet said to call HA and find out why it's not ticketed. So I called HA and again waited for 30 minutes on hold. Finally someone said she will transfer me to the flight department. Then I got a recording that said the flight department is **closed**, please call within operating hours (it's 1:30 pm EST where I am). This is so ridiculous. I just want to select a seat on an airplane. 

 

I have never traveled with Holland America before, and I really, really want to like them, but this is not a good experience. Any guidance, suggestions? I will call HA back later after I have calmed down.

 

Yes..... book with the airline and not through a 3rd party. ....it can only lead to problems  if you do.  

By the way HA  is Hawaiian Airlines...  HAL  is Holland America Lines..to avoid confusion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 2 upcoming cruises with flights booked through HAL, (one was promo $600 off, the other is one way transatlantic - both of which are prices I could not beat anywhere else)

 

I was told that flights are tickets 45 days out (this is pretty much the standard with river cruise lines also).

 

I was able to select seats for all my flights,  just using the airline locator number.

 

I also notice that all my flights (Sept. and Oct)  have e-ticket numbers associated with them - 

 

If you are flying beginning of September, I would think  ticketing should be this week?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

 

Yes..... book with the airline and not through a 3rd party. ....it can only lead to problems  if you do.  

By the way HA  is Hawaiian Airlines...  HAL  is Holland America Lines..to avoid confusion

Sure, book directly with the airline and pay up front.

 

Book with flight ease and don't pay until final payment is due. Many airlines will let you select seats immediately (Delta and American for sure) even if the flight is not ticketed. You can cancel without penalty. In some cases you save significant money.

 

On another note, I had a problem with WestJet a few years ago. The ticket was booked as part of a complete trip on another airline site. WestJet would not assign a seat until maybe 30 days out even tho the ticket was paid.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, CJcruzer said:

I have 2 upcoming cruises with flights booked through HAL, (one was promo $600 off, the other is one way transatlantic - both of which are prices I could not beat anywhere else)

 

I was told that flights are tickets 45 days out (this is pretty much the standard with river cruise lines also).

 

I was able to select seats for all my flights,  just using the airline locator number.

 

I also notice that all my flights (Sept. and Oct)  have e-ticket numbers associated with them - 

 

If you are flying beginning of September, I would think  ticketing should be this week?

 

 

 

Forgot to mention that none of my flights are with WestJet ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This usually depends on the airline involved. And it is the airline being flown, not the one that ticketed the flight that controls the seats. (Example--Delta ticket for a Westjet flight)

 

We were able to choose seats via the airline website using the airline confirmation number given to us on the FlightEase confirmation page at that time (10 months out). A ticket number showed up on the United site about 40 days before the flights, and the Delta ticket numbers showed up about 35 days before the flight to Europe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I booked air through HAL back in January for flights this fall.  Air Canada to Rome, and Westjet from FLL back to Toronto.  We got to pick our seats at the time of booking - the flight ease people did for us while we were on the phone with them. 

The same thing the last time we booked with them.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very sorry that this is happening to you.

 

This is why we book our own flights directly with the airlines.

 

Hope you get things straightened out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 34 days out and my flights were just ticketed today.  I had no trouble choosing seats on this reservation even though two flights are operated by Go Jet.  

 

Two years ago I had a devil of a time with seat selection and obtaining a boarding pass with an American/British Airways code share.   Flight Ease went in and chose my seat, but even the airport gate agent couldn't bring up the boarding pass.  Fortunately, I was rerouted at the airport and didn't need it in the end.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Booking your own tickets does give you full control.  But trying to book a one-way international flight on your own will cost you double or more.  Some people will book a round trip to save money and throw away the return.  The airlines are getting wise to this tactic and can charge you for a one-way.   Domestic flight prices are about the same as those booked on Flight Ease.   

The big advantage by booking with flight ease, (other than the huge savings on one-way international flights) is that you don't pay for the ticket until you also pay for the cruise, usually 75 days out, occasionally 90 days.   If you book your own air, and your boss all of a sudden says you can't leave, or you develop a medical problem, you can cancel the cruise if you are outside final payment date, but you have to eat the self-booked air travel.   If you do book your own air, make sure you also buy travel insurance that covers "cancel for any reason" or if your credit card for the air has a cancellation provision that doesn't require you to be dead to collect.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We typically book our own.  We have booked one way air for transatlantic and transpacific flights several times.   Only once has cruise air been advantageous.  We have always been able to find one way tickets at a fair price.  It does take some work but those tickets are out there.  You need to be aware that they may be consolidator fare code tickets....but there is a very good chance that the cruise air tickets will be issued under the same fare code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Joyce36 said:

I will be cruising to Alaska on Sept. 4. I book my air through HA (Boston > Vancouver with change in Toronto). I want to select seats for the trip to Vancouver (seats were already selected for Vancouver > Boston). The Delta web site said to call WestJet to book the seats, so I called WestJet. After being on hold for 35 minutes, they said that HA had not yet ticketed my flight, so they can't book the seats. The seats are "reserved" but not ticketed. I reserved back in March. WestJet said to call HA and find out why it's not ticketed. So I called HA and again waited for 30 minutes on hold. Finally someone said she will transfer me to the flight department. Then I got a recording that said the flight department is **closed**, please call within operating hours (it's 1:30 pm EST where I am). This is so ridiculous. I just want to select a seat on an airplane. 

 

I have never traveled with Holland America before, and I really, really want to like them, but this is not a good experience. Any guidance, suggestions? I will call HA back later after I have calmed down.

HAL likes to wait because once your air ticket is ticketed you are locked in at that price, if you prefer to have your air flight ticketed just call to let them know you would like it ticketed now so that you can select your seat on the plane.  Personally I like to have it ticketed early as well knowing I can get the seat I want I don’t care if the price goes down as I wouldn’t have booked with HAL if the price wasn’t competitive to begin with.  Just give them a call in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My guess is the motivation was a cheaper ticket. Yep..pay less, but expect all the same service and perks for people who pay normal prices. Doesn't usually work that way...

 

Book direct with the airline for full benefits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We booked our flights for our Alaska cruise leaving next Sunday though HAL Flight Ease and saved over $600pp over what we could do ourselves. We booked the seats back in January. We fly from Dallas to Vancouver on American and back to Dallas from Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines, in both cases the seats we chose on HAL showed up when we checked the seats on both Airline's website. American changed aircraft type after we booked and I was able to change our seats on the American web site in under a few minutes. Our tickets were not paid by us until the final payment date with HAL in June and ticket prices were higher at that time than when we booked, so we were happy we booked early.

 

When you booked with Flight Ease you should have a confirmation with the flight locater code for all airlines involved, use that code to check or change seats on the airline web site. The only thing we couldn't do with the airline was upgrade to American Main Cabin extra until after the tickets were paid by HAL, by the time that happened there were not seats in that category left that we wanted.

Edited by terrydtx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, TAD2005 said:

Booking your own tickets does give you full control.  But trying to book a one-way international flight on your own will cost you double or more.  Some people will book a round trip to save money and throw away the return.  The airlines are getting wise to this tactic and can charge you for a one-way.   Domestic flight prices are about the same as those booked on Flight Ease.   

The big advantage by booking with flight ease, (other than the huge savings on one-way international flights) is that you don't pay for the ticket until you also pay for the cruise, usually 75 days out, occasionally 90 days.   If you book your own air, and your boss all of a sudden says you can't leave, or you develop a medical problem, you can cancel the cruise if you are outside final payment date, but you have to eat the self-booked air travel.   If you do book your own air, make sure you also buy travel insurance that covers "cancel for any reason" or if your credit card for the air has a cancellation provision that doesn't require you to be dead to collect.   

If you cancel... an air ticket   you have 1 year to use that $ amount for another ticket  anywhere !    Done it many times...no loss .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

My guess is the motivation was a cheaper ticket. Yep..pay less, but expect all the same service and perks for people who pay normal prices. Doesn't usually work that way...

 

Book direct with the airline for full benefits.

You  get what you pay for......  cheap seats come at a price.      Yup  I book direct  get free baggage,  preferred seating,  and comp up grades  and best route schedule selection ... on and earn credits too..      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We would never buy cancel for any reason insurance. We can self insure for that.  Retired so no employment issues.  Medical reasons cancellation is part of our credit card benefits.

 

In the last ten years of very frequent travel we changed plans three times.  Twice we simply paid the airline change fee.  Once we canceled a China trip for medical reasons. Our credit card insurance paid our claim in full.

 

The ability to change tickets, even for a fee,  is just one of the reasons why we pay close  attention the fare codes when buying air tickets.  We sometimes do buy non refundable, non changeable tickets.  It just depends on how far out the flight is and the price deltas.  It becomes a math exercise more than anything.

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thank you to all who replied! I certainly have more perspective on this now.

Edited by Joyce36
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, iancal said:

We would never buy cancel for any reason insurance. We can self insure for that.  Retired so no employment issues.  Medical reasons cancellation is part of our credit card benefits.

 

In the last ten years of very frequent travel we changed plans three times.  Twice we simply paid the airline change fee.  Once we canceled a China trip for medical reasons. Our credit card insurance paid our claim in full.

 

The ability to change tickets, even for a fee,  is just one of the reasons why we pay close  attention the fare codes when buying air tickets.  We sometimes do buy non refundable, non changeable tickets.  It just depends on how far out the flight is and the price deltas.  It becomes a math exercise more than anything.

Age plays into credit card coverage too. On our cards, after a certain age, you are not covered for medical and cancellation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I was 67 when I we had to cancel for medical reasons.  DW was 65.  No issues with our credit card insurance.  I cannot remember them even asking for her age.   Had we been making a claim for medical rather than cancellation it may have been different.

 

 The credit card insurance company did require a picture of the credit card account statement.  They do no have access to any credit card account holders's data...including the statement where the travel charge is listed.   Canadian MC Aspire cards.   We were astonished that the insurance company made payments within 10 business days of claim submission with no requests for additional data.

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

If you cancel... an air ticket   you have 1 year to use that $ amount for another ticket  anywhere !    Done it many times...no loss .

Yes, the amount you paid for your ticket doesn't disappear.  You have 1 year to re-book on another flight somewhere.  But, you will pay the airline change fee, usually $200 each way, plus the additional cost of the new flight if it exceeds the amount you have as credit with the airline.

As far as using Consolidators for a one-way international, as Iancal suggested, they do work great until they either cancel or delay your departure at the last minute, or even worse, go totally out of business as many have done, stranding their passengers.   If you miss your flight or connection, you are not protected as you are with a regular ticket.  The fine print in many consolidator deals is that the flight, date, aircraft may change at any time.   This is great if you are backpacking through Europe.  But if you need to meet a cruise ship on a specific date, I would rather have a locked in flight using the cruise line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We used consolidator tickets to get to a cruise.  The ticket was a consolidator fare code on BA.  Not much risk.  There were three flights to London a day from Toronto, and then another four flights a day from Heathrow to Istanbul.   We picked the first flight.   Plus we arrived a day early. 

 

 I believe the issue is to only select certain carriers and to understand what the back up options are if things go sideways.  Would be buy a consolidator ticket on Benny Hill airlines?  No. Nor on an airline that just had one or two flights a week to our destination, or a ticket that had us connecting to a second air carrier. .  A certain amount of common sense and judgement needs to be exercised.  We would not, as an example, ever select a consolidator class fare code ticket from a cruise line if we were headed to FLL for a winter cruise.   We are well aware of the potential weather issues.

 

There is a very good chance that the fare code on the cruise air ticket at the same time, for the same flights would have been exactly the same as the ticket and fare code that we obtained from the on line TA.  The cruise air cost for the same airline and routing was an extra $200. on a $500 (CAD ticket).   The following year  came back from BCN on a BA consolidator fare ticket from cruise air.  It was perfect.  The fare codes were identical.

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...