Book air travel directly with the airline

We arrived back in Vancouver last Friday, August 12. The trip home was easy, but arranging it took hours on the phone and was frustrating.

The problems we had result from booking our flights through Expedia, a travel company, rather directly with the airline. Lesson learned: book air travel directly with the airline.

Once a flight is booked via an agent, customer service is the responsibility of the agent. That makes sense; the airline has paid the agent a commission in exchange for the agent handling customer service. But it becomes a problem if the agent is lazy, incompetent, or in this case, both.

Expedia told me that since travel had commenced (we were trying to change a return flight) their job was finished and everything after departure was the responsibility of the airline (Air Transat). The airline was very helpful but very firm. Expedia resisted, finally gave in, but quoted change fees $600 higher than they should be. Back to the airline, then back to Expedia, and on it went. It took most of a day to resolve.

Once home, I needed a receipt for the change fees. We hope to claim them from travel insurance. The saga began again. This time the airline provided exceptional service, even setting up a three way phone call with Expedia. It got sorted, but another half day of my life disappeared.

Chatting with a person at Air Transat, I was told that travel companies constantly try to push responsibility back to the airline. The only reason we used Expedia is a slight discount through TD Visa when using Expedia for travel. Never again.

The small difference in price to book directly with the airline is rewarded with much better customer service.

3 thoughts on “Book air travel directly with the airline”

  1. Glad to hear you’re home safely after such adventures with hospitals and airlines. Inge, how is the wrist coming along?

  2. I had the same problems booking a travel package through expedia, and then trying to arrange seats on the airlines so the kids weren’t sitting by themselves. I agree with your lesson learned – expedia as a middle man isn’t worth any price savings.

    Glad you are home – sorry to hear about Inge’s accident!

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