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Answered Booking engines

jb747

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I've always been curious about some of the seemingly silly transit times that some passengers have. Bookings that don't make any allowance for any possibility of delay are pretty common. Now that I'm looking at using the booking systems myself, I guess I'm starting to see why.

Some of the airlines (QF is one) offer multiple flight options, generally with varying prices. So, if you want to go to Las Vegas from Melbourne, you can find a mix flights across the Pacific, but also a range of transits on arrival. This makes sense to me.

But others (ANZ for instance), don't seem to offer any choice on the flight you join to get from your landing in the USA to final destination.

So, is there any way around this? Do I need to use the phone, or are there better engines to use than the airlines?
 

MEL_Traveller

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I've always been curious about some of the seemingly silly transit times that some passengers have. Bookings that don't make any allowance for any possibility of delay are pretty common. Now that I'm looking at using the booking systems myself, I guess I'm starting to see why.

Some of the airlines (QF is one) offer multiple flight options, generally with varying prices. So, if you want to go to Las Vegas from Melbourne, you can find a mix flights across the Pacific, but also a range of transits on arrival. This makes sense to me.

But others (ANZ for instance), don't seem to offer any choice on the flight you join to get from your landing in the USA to final destination.

So, is there any way around this? Do I need to use the phone, or are there better engines to use than the airlines?
With some airlines and booking engines you can use the 'multi-city' function to force a range of flight options for connecting services. With some booking engines different connecting times might apear further down the listing if they are more expensive.

Generally I don't have an issue with short connections on arrival - if it's all on the one ticket you will be protected (usually on the next service).

Short connections on departure are more problematic... QF's 1 hour connections in SYD for example might usually be fine, but they are somewhat stress inducing. Sometimes there's a range of connecting flight options via SYD, but sometimes if the cheaper seats have gone you might be limited to those 1 hour connections.
 

OATEK

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I test the market by using ITA Matrix and one or two of the other online TAs (eg Expedia) to see what is thrown up. Then if I see an option I like it is possible to get on the blowerr to QF and say it isn't coming up in their search, and that way if they can book it you can argue for no online booking fee.

The shortest connections I get are with AY on XXX-HEL-XXX where transit times under 60 mins are common at HEL, but with their smallish terminal and short immigration queues all have been successfully navigated so far.
 

flyer89

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Lately I’ve had some success getting some great deals with Expedia. On both occasions they were to Europe and were mixed class fares which seem to be difficult to get (i.e business class the long leg, economy the short leg). I’d recommend playing around on there.
 

jb747

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I found some better fares and transits when looking there yesterday.

Are the tickets bought via engines such as Expedia on the same PNR?
 
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“Married” sectors are flights marketed together to enable a passenger to travel from A to C via B.

The question is always the transit time in B. Often 2 flights are married based on Minimum connection times MCT. These are airline determined but often do not have any contingency for delays. Sometimes there are very long transit times and these are often sold at a discount.

I used to get SYD-MEL-LAX and the MCT would be 1 hour which is quite ridiculous. This was the old QF93 on the Airbus

The problem that arises often is married sectors with reasonable CT are often not sold even though flights are available separately which would give the more reasonable CT

I used to have to book the 1hr MCT SYD-MEL-LAX on QF but then have to ring up the airline to move the first sector so I get a CT of 2 hours. This is especially important when the 2nd sector is a once a day like MEL-LAX when QF93 airbus was operating and QF7 SYD-DFW

At LAX my CT is 4 hours
I don’t do 1 hr CT at any airport or less than 3 hr MCT at a transiting airport where I have to clear immigration and recheck luggage

I once did a SYD-MEL-SIN-KUL QF/MH. No married flights were available except for QF/3K, so I booked QF SYD-MEL-SIN and MH SIN-KUL separately. CT I think was around 2 hrs. As it turned out I had only 15min. Luckily SIN ground had a golf cart waiting for me at the gate. Luggage made it too!!

Then buying separate tickets creates the problem of luggage interline. Mostly now unless it’s on the one PNR you have to transfer the luggage yourself.
 
Last edited:

flyer89

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I did something similar last year. SYD-JNB-CPT. The tickets to CPT were issued in SYD and seen as one flight however we had to manually transfer our bags in JNB.

The end result was although we allowed for the minimum transit time we got to the gate with just 5 minutes before boarding was called. Hyper efficient way of traveling but I would never do it again as QF63 is rarely on time but perhaps more to the point JNB immigration seems to have perpetual lunch breaks. Two immigration officers processing a 747 and an A380 load of people makes for a grating welcome.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I found some better fares and transits when looking there yesterday.

Are the tickets bought via engines such as Expedia on the same PNR?
Generally speaking, yes. If a booking engine shows a flight connection you can assume it’s all on the one ticket.

There are some exceptions... but these will usually be clearly marked by the words ‘separate tickets’ (or something similar). You might see this for an itinerary arriving from a legacy carrier and going to a low cost carrier (or v.v.), or connecting between two low cost carriers.

But if your itinerary is all on the one alliance, or all legacy carriers, it’s likely all on the one ticket.
 
Last edited:
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Cross alliance, mainline with LCC, subsequent flights at a different airport, subsequent flights the next day...

Lots of traps requiring closer examination.
 

williamsf1

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Jun 1, 2010
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All booking engines are configured with many business rules and sometimes they are overcomplicated and can restrict what is returned in a negative way.

For a flight and connection to be returned online, it needs to fit into a lot of conditions.

Basic ones are
1- minimum connection time (varies with the airport and I-I I-D D-D etc 30mins - 3 hrs)
2- maximum connection time ( normally around 8 hours)
3- a published fare
4- available RBD (booking class)
5- valid routing for that fare
6- if a combination airfare - valid end on end
7- married segment control

If it fails any of the above, it will not be displayed.

Some of the above (ie no2) can be tricked by using a multi-city option, but the rest will not allow override even over the phone.

A lot of 3rd party sites can throw up some up some crazy connections, especially in a city that has multiple airports LHR LGW LCY LTN etc or 23hour stopovers etc.

If you want to allow a longer transfer time in a city, and you meet 1-7 above, the only way to book is via a travel agent or phone.
 

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