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Fuming over HA air travel service

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So how do you know if you are buying consolidator tickets from the cruiseline?

And how do you book a consolidator ticket directly? (Who are the consolidators?

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The only way that I do is to look at the fare code on the ticket.  Then look google the fare codes for that specific airline.  The airline will list the conditions attached to each fare code.  Our experience is that those fare codes are typically at the far end of the alphabet.  So if we get, say an ‘m’ fare code it is an indication that we are at the back of the line when it comes to  flight cancelation re-schedules.

 

The first time we travelled to Bangkok a number of years ago we had the choice of two airlines.   Delta or United.  Same price.  We selected Delta.   Their ticket had a fare code that allowed for changes (with a fee).  The United ticket did not.  As luck would have it we did have to make a change.  We learned of this fare code issue from a contributor on the cruise air forum.  Prior to that we always thought a ticket was a ticket and everyone in, say economy, had the same priority and privileges.  Not so.   We have booked low cost highly restrictive/ low priority tickets direct through the airline, through on line TA’s and through cruise air.  The issue is that sometimes the fare code is not provided until after one hits the buy button.  This was certainly the case on our last cruise air buy from RCI.  Fortunately it did not matter.

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1 hour ago, TiogaCruiser said:

So how do you know if you are buying consolidator tickets from the cruiseline?

And how do you book a consolidator ticket directly? (Who are the consolidators?

 

I very recently helped a friend book air via HAL Flight Ease. The ticket was on United. I looked up the booking on the UA website and saw where I could request the ticket receipt to be emailed to me. Upon receipt of the email, the fare breakdown said BULK instead of dollar amounts. 

 

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1 hour ago, BEAV said:

 

I very recently helped a friend book air via HAL Flight Ease. The ticket was on United. I looked up the booking on the UA website and saw where I could request the ticket receipt to be emailed to me. Upon receipt of the email, the fare breakdown said BULK instead of dollar amounts. 

 

And I just got a Delta ticket receipt that had the dollar amounts all listed including the base ticket price plus a multitude of taxes and fees.

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33 minutes ago, oceanmom said:

And I just got a Delta ticket receipt that had the dollar amounts all listed including the base ticket price plus a multitude of taxes and fees.

 

I wonder, then, if yours wasn’t a bulk consilodator fare?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that are a host of expert, experienced all-things-airline/airfare gurus over on the Cruise Air forum!  

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Posted (edited)

We use itmatrix to understand what fare codes are attached to the ticket.  We have found that Orbitz and I also think Cheopoair display the fare code attached to the quote PRIOR to you hitting the buy button.   On some other sites this is a mystery until you have actually paid for the ticket and get to see the reservation details.  We like to know exactly what we are paying for.....especially if we are flying in the winter months or have one or two connections to make.

 

We also had a routing, price, and fare code on itmatrix two years ago.  Called the airline to book.  It was available (identical routing, fare codes)  but a price of 50 percent more.  Tried Travelocity and another site.  No luck.  One had the routing but at the same AC price of $1500.  The other did not have it.  As a last resort I tried Orbitz.  They were the only vendor that had the identical routing, fare codes, and price (1050). All this done within about 15 minutes of the itmatrix search.

Edited by iancal

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The ITA matrix is a wonderful tool. Have been using it for several years. Besides identifying fare codes, it’s also a great tool to see what airline(s) fly a particular route.

 

https://matrix.itasoftware.com/

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Posted (edited)

Yes.  We use skyscanner for air  within  Europe and Asia.  Particularly good for the low cost airline options.  Last time we needed a one way to Rome we managed to find an inexpensive one way ticket to Porto, Portugal.  With the help of skyscanner we identifed a low cost fare on TAP from Porto-Rome.   And we very much enjoyed our time in Porto and the Douro Valley.  Two weeks ago we used skyscanner to identify an attractive flight from Athens to Ioannina in northern Greece.

Edited by iancal

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Perhaps this conversation now needs to move to the Cruise Air forum or over to FlyerTalk forums, a cousin of Cruise Critic.

 

 

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9 hours ago, iancal said:

We use itmatrix to understand what fare codes are attached to the ticket.  We have found that Orbitz and I also think Cheopoair display the fare code attached to the quote PRIOR to you hitting the buy button.   On some other sites this is a mystery until you have actually paid for the ticket and get to see the reservation details.  We like to know exactly what we are paying for.....especially if we are flying in the winter months or have one or two connections to make.

 

We also had a routing, price, and fare code on itmatrix two years ago.  Called the airline to book.  It was available (identical routing, fare codes)  but a price of 50 percent more.  Tried Travelocity and another site.  No luck.  One had the routing but at the same AC price of $1500.  The other did not have it.  As a last resort I tried Orbitz.  They were the only vendor that had the identical routing, fare codes, and price (1050). All this done within about 15 minutes of the itmatrix search.

I don't care how low the fare is, I would NEVER buy a ticket from a company called Cheapoair.   If you have a problem anywhere along the way, you have to deal with them, and not the airline.   

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Posted (edited)

Cheapoair is an on line TA.  SImilar to Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.  Come to think of no different than a cruise line that acts as a TA when they provide a ticket.  Simply an agent for the airline.

 

In our case we had a decision. Pay about $500. each for a one way ticket to Istanbul from Cheapo or pay $1200. by buying it directly from BA.  Same flights, same fare code.  The only difference was price.   Same story when we purchased two return tickets to Bangkok on AC from Orbitz.   Their price was $1050 for the exact same flights and fare code that the airline wanted to sell us directly for $1500.  What would you do?  Pay the highter fares for the same product?  This is exactly the reason why people also use cruise air to bay airline tickets.

Edited by iancal

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:07 PM, TAD2005 said:

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.

You can pay a cancel fee...but many times  you can get it waved if you can  re book for an other flight or you have FF status.

A cautionary note on consolidation /Bulk tickets.    Some consolidators use  someones FF miles  that have been hacked  to get the ticket.   Too, There is a black market in stolen FF miles and counterfeit tickets  from stolen stock.     Make sure your consolidator is playing legit. 

By the way,  for transatlantic flights one way... using Iata Matrix you can get  one ways for 1450-2000   not 5600    Look as Condor.... a Lufthansa  brand.    For west coast folks, flying Las vegas or Portland to Frankfurt is  very cheap on Condor.....   get a crummy South west  home then for pennies .   Creativity

Finaly  many times if you buy your ticket say in Europe  it will be cheaper than in the USA....  and pay in Euros or Francs.   You should check that option    Again use Martix and change the currency type and where you purchased it

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Posted (edited)

Absolutely.  We have purchased tickets on Argentine and Turkish sites that were considerably less expensive  for the identical flights than if we purchased them on North American web sites.   And we have done the same for other travel products, including cruises.  All of these sites have an english tab.   You will have to use something like xe.com to determine the cost in your currency and then compare.

Edited by iancal

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I have always booked through HAL (and if a flight is delayed or canceled it has worked out in my favor each time) and as soon as I have the airline locator number I have always been able to pick our seats.  

 

So I have no idea why this is an issue for you - unless it's a WestJet thing.

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We fly Westjet from time to time.  They recently changed their booking categories.  The very bottom tier of their tickets do not include bags nor can you select a seat for free.  

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, iancal said:

We fly Westjet from time to time.  They recently changed their booking categories.  The very bottom tier of their tickets do not include bags nor can you select a seat for free.  

I was thinking the same thing - issue could be with how Westjet handles seat assignments.  I had same issue with them when booking direct with them.  

 

I was not happy with the telephone agent for Westjet (unrelated issue) and will not use them again.

 

Edited by DaveOKC

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Posted (edited)

HA Flight Ease with Air Canada, I'll be able to select my seats before I received the e-tickets ! Wow !

And by the way, I paid lot less money !

Edited by holacanada

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