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Answered OTA v Airline v TA

RooFlyer

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Can I just supplement this thread and add one other question.

I am booking three tickets (one for a child). I have read that SQ is not as free in allowing transfers to other accounts.

I am the only SQ FF member. Should I just join my partner and our child or would SQ just credit the points for the entire booking to me (as I will be the one booking and processing payment)? I assume that it is the usual requirement for individual accounts for individual credits but it would be useful if there is a workaround on this so that the points can credit to me (as I need a top up to qualify for an Award).
Maybe better in the SQ 'tips and tricks' thread.
 

AIRwin

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I am the only SQ FF member. Should I just join my partner and our child or would SQ just credit the points for the entire booking to me (as I will be the one booking and processing payment)? I assume that it is the usual requirement for individual accounts for individual credits but it would be useful if there is a workaround on this so that the points can credit to me (as I need a top up to qualify for an Award).
Usual requirement applies
 

laffer

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Just to close out the thread. SQ website still showed about a $1500 PP difference. OTA actually moved up in price. I ventured into a high street TA. Asked my questions. They were able to offer a great price. Much better than SQ direct. For some reason SQ direct wanted to add a huge premium for the stop in SIN. The TA was able to navigate that. Very pleased.

I did ring SQ by the way. Asked about the fare difference. Told it was taxes. Pretty hopeless really. $1500 in taxes are some taxes just to stop in SIN.

Thanks to all who contributed and hopefully someone will find some use in the thread in the times ahead.
 

ozbeachbabe

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Just to close out the thread. SQ website still showed about a $1500 PP difference. OTA actually moved up in price. I ventured into a high street TA. Asked my questions. They were able to offer a great price. Much better than SQ direct. For some reason SQ direct wanted to add a huge premium for the stop in SIN. The TA was able to navigate that. Very pleased.

I did ring SQ by the way. Asked about the fare difference. Told it was taxes. Pretty hopeless really. $1500 in taxes are some taxes just to stop in SIN.

Thanks to all who contributed and hopefully someone will find some use in the thread in the times ahead.
Thanks for posting the outcome laffer glad you had a win in the end.

IMHO it's the clunky SQ website pricing incorrectly as sector fares on the homeward leg instead of a through fare with a permitted stopover in SIN.
 

agentgerko

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What about regular travel agents? We offer service, unlike these websites, can fix problems when they occur and an experienced consultant can often be cheapest on price.
There is no way an OTA should beat the airline on a domestic fare. As for international fares, many OTA's are subtly cheating by issuing your eticket in whichever country happens to be offering the cheapest fare on a route. Most airlines offer different fares for the same route, depending on which country its bought in. For example, a Sydney - Los Angeles ticket bought in Sydney may have a totally different fare if bought in the USA. You can do the same with an airline by using a VPN to disguise your location, but be prepared for problems if the airline finds out. I'm constantly surprised about people who buy online and then complain when something goes wrong that there's no service. Of course there's not, 'cos you're buying off a machine. An experienced travel agent, and I'm not talking about those chains that hire kids on retainer and commission, offers competitive fares, expert knowledge and service at the times you really need it. You wouldn't buy from Kmart and expect David Jones, so if you buy el-cheapo from a website then expect what you get.
 

p--and--t

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Thanks for posting the outcome laffer glad you had a win in the end.

IMHO it's the clunky SQ website pricing incorrectly as sector fares on the homeward leg instead of a through fare with a permitted stopover in SIN.

Glad to see someone else refer to the SQ website as being "clunky".

I've not yet been able to successfully book a multisector without issues on that site. Even been quoted $32,000 on the site for a y fare that was actually around $1,200

I resolved not to use their site again and only use OTA or Shopfront TA for SQ unless it is a simple there and back or a points booking.
 
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What about regular travel agents? We offer service, unlike these websites, can fix problems when they occur and an experienced consultant can often be cheapest on price.
There is no way an OTA should beat the airline on a domestic fare. As for international fares, many OTA's are subtly cheating by issuing your eticket in whichever country happens to be offering the cheapest fare on a route. Most airlines offer different fares for the same route, depending on which country its bought in. For example, a Sydney - Los Angeles ticket bought in Sydney may have a totally different fare if bought in the USA. You can do the same with an airline by using a VPN to disguise your location, but be prepared for problems if the airline finds out. I'm constantly surprised about people who buy online and then complain when something goes wrong that there's no service. Of course there's not, 'cos you're buying off a machine. An experienced travel agent, and I'm not talking about those chains that hire kids on retainer and commission, offers competitive fares, expert knowledge and service at the times you really need it. You wouldn't buy from Kmart and expect David Jones, so if you buy el-cheapo from a website then expect what you get.
I hear what you say but booking direct with airlines seems so much easier and gives peace of mind. It's a pain having to ring an airline for a simple change to be told they don't have control of the booking and you have to go back to the agent. Sort of OK if you are in Australia, and during business hours. But if you're overseas this can cause additional expense with phone calls, and out of hours you have to wait (and potentially miss out on alternative flights. (It's a sort of stupid rule anyway these days to have to go back to the agent.)

It would be great if we could all find agents as good as you are!
 

Lynda2475

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OTA's are subtly cheating by issuing your eticket in whichever country happens to be offering the cheapest fare on a route.
A couple of years ago a friend realised that Expedia Brazil always had the cheapest flights from Sydney to Vietnam, so she would buy all her xmas travel to visit the relatives from then and use use google translate to navigate the booking process which was in Portuguese - not sure if this still holds true.
 

Mattg

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A couple of years ago a friend realised that Expedia Brazil always had the cheapest flights from Sydney to Vietnam, so she would buy all her xmas travel to visit the relatives from then and use use google translate to navigate the booking process which was in Portuguese - not sure if this still holds true.
Ah yes, the old Expedia Brazil trick... sadly this ended in around 2015.
 

ozbeachbabe

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I hear what you say but booking direct with airlines seems so much easier and gives peace of mind. It's a pain having to ring an airline for a simple change to be told they don't have control of the booking and you have to go back to the agent. Sort of OK if you are in Australia, and during business hours. But if you're overseas this can cause additional expense with phone calls, and out of hours you have to wait (and potentially miss out on alternative flights. (It's a sort of stupid rule anyway these days to have to go back to the agent.)

It would be great if we could all find agents as good as you are!
There are some awesome TA's out there who provide their mobile number or are very responsive to messaging or email. Try doing that with an airline.

Glad to see someone else refer to the SQ website as being "clunky".

I've not yet been able to successfully book a multisector without issues on that site. Even been quoted $32,000 on the site for a y fare that was actually around $1,200

I resolved not to use their site again and only use OTA or Shopfront TA for SQ unless it is a simple there and back or a points booking.
That's an absolute shocker. The options Expedia gave to Europe on QF were all around AUD1,500.00 in whY except for one option which was AUD7,000.00 plus still in economy the whole way.

All because the SYD/SIN sector on a QF flight was booked in the Y fare bucket whereas all the other SYD/SIN were on another QF flight in Q class. Don't know why Expedia even bothered to show that or in the words of John McEnroe "you cannot be serious"!
 
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albatross710

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All because the SYD/SIN sector on a QF flight was booked in the Y fare bucket whereas all the other SYD/SIN were on another QF flight in Q class. Don't know why Expedia even bothered to show that or in the words of John McEnroe "you cannot be serious"!
They show the stupid fares as part of consumer psychology. It makes people believe that they could be paying >$7k, so the $1,700 fare looks reasonable. Of course, the $1,700 could be had for less.

You have also seen this on most restaurant menus where an exotic item tops out the menu (ie the hand-raised,organic Qld mud crab for $150) will increase the price expectation and apparent consumer value of all the other menu items. Consumer studies show that without the high priced item the overall prices are lower.
 
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RooFlyer

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It's a pain having to ring an airline for a simple change to be told they don't have control of the booking and you have to go back to the agent.
That furphy :) ... its only until you take the first flight that the agent 'owns' the booking ... or at least in my very long experience in using a real TA for hundreds of flights overseas. After that, I did my own thing if I wanted, but given that the TA (or the one 'on call' after hours) was available 24/7, I usually just shot them an e-mail or a text. Sorted. Other problem? Their job to fix it.
 

laffer

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As a post script. I dodged an absolute bullet here. Best jet went into administration. People having their flights cancelled left right and centre according to threads on whirlpool
 
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doctau

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IIRC we had a thread recently where someone found availability through one of these OTAs that wasn't available through the airline (Cathay Pacific I think). In the end we worked out the OTA was using married segment flights and only ticketing the passenger on the first of the two required flights. Somethig similar might be happening here where the through fare is cheaper but the agent is only ticketing one part? Who knows.

I can't imagine bestjet bulk buying tickets, it could be a very costly exercise for them, and why wouldn't all major OTAs do the same (and be able to offer the same fare?)
Usually trying to sell only one of a married segment will end up as in UnConfirmed status, or fail to ticket, but if you find a way to do it so the airlines don't reject it and don't do it enough that they notice...

If you've got AAA-CCC-DDD as a pair of married segments, and BBB-CCC-EEE as another pair of married segments, I've never thought about what happens if you try to sell AAA-CCC and CCC-EEE together end-on-end. In Sabre (at least from the OTA point of view) segments just indicate whether they are married, not what they are married to.


There are plenty of tricks an (O)TA can do to get cheaper fares, however a lot of them do carry risk (primarily to the TA).

Once a fare has been booked, there is a certain period (depending on the fare) until the tickets have to be issued. If the TA thinks that the fare will get cheaper in the near future (before the TTL) they could not ticket them until closer to the deadline, and if the fare price drops cancel the booking and re-book at the cheaper price. Obviously airlines don't like that, but as long as it's low volume it won't be an issue. Due to bad airline test environments, OTA need to do certain tests against production inventory which does exactly that (although usually cancelled quickly).

If their info suggests that a sale is about to occur, they could choose to not even book the fare with the airline at all when they sell it to you and the instant the price drops when the sale starts they book it. That of course carries the risk that it won't drop and they will need to pay more - but as long as they predict correctly often enough, it will work out for them.


Do enough of those tricks that don't work out, or end up with a pile of ADMs from the airlines for doing things you shouldn't, and that could certainly lead to a collapse.
 

RooFlyer

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Once a fare has been booked, there is a certain period (depending on the fare) until the tickets have to be issued. If the TA thinks that the fare will get cheaper in the near future (before the TTL) they could not ticket them until closer to the deadline, and if the fare price drops cancel the booking and re-book at the cheaper price.
My TA used to do this for me, but not looking for a sale fare. We would book something that had to be ticketed ( paid for) within say 30 days, but for flying say 7-10 months away.

As the 30 day period came up, they would check inventory and if OK, cancel and rebook, to kick the payment can down the road. Allowed me to defer payment and gave me options along the way.

From about 2015 they were reporting more red flags from the airlines over this, until ultimately we had to stop. :(

Of course the airlines were free to keep playing their own games. On something like a DONE4, legitimately not payable for many months, one airline would suddenly pop up and demand ( early) payment for their sector, which of course would crystallise payment of the entire ticket. Sometimes the TA could beat them off, other times not.
 

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