airfare consolidators

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Oct 14, 2019
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#1
My wife and I are planning a 50th anniversary trip to Provence, May 2020. I am negotiating fares with airfare consolidators. What should I beware of? Any pitfalls? Any and all advice welcomed.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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#2
Generally, you are not going to save much, and will be the lowest class of passenger on the flight. While that may be OK if things go right, if not, you would be at the end of the queue for rebooking, etc.

Try looking at the various airlines fares. You may find a fare at the airline's web site that is competitive.
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#3
This is a consumer advocacy forum that provides assistance after a problem has occurred. I don't know anything about airfare consolidators, but if you read some threads on this forum, you will find a plethora of people seeking assistance in minimizing the damages following a travel disaster that involved air travel and a third party travel booking agency. Most of the regular posters on this forum do not recommended using third party booking sites(especially for airline travel) because if something bad happens there will be an extra layer of complexity in trying to resolve the matter; you must deal with the 3rd party, not the airline itself. Instead, book directly with the airline, hotel, car rental, etc.

Personally, if I am lucky enough to celebrate my golden wedding anniversary, I would not take any risks and book my special trip with a bonafide travel agent; yes they are out there!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Some consolidators are actually mileage brokers and buying such tickets is not allowed by the airlines and you risk losing money and having ticket cancelled.

I am not sure what is meant by “negotiating”. Usually one is offered a price and itinerary and one chooses to buy it or not.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#5
They may combine one way tickets to garner the lowest fares which could have you on different airlines with no interline agreements (ie. your baggage could end up in the proverbial black hole if lost). If one flight is severely delayed or cancelled it could have profound effects on the rest of your flights. In my opinion, book directly with the airline and forgo the middleman.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
I agree with my colleagues. Since your question seems to be restricted to air travel, I will add:
  • Include a lot of margin in your flight selections. Travelers frequently come to us with stories of missed connections. The reasons vary, but generally if you allow at least 3 hours between flights you can avoid most problems.
  • Book airfare on one reservation (PNR) where possible. Doing so means the airline through which you book will work with you if you miss a connection. Again, stories abound of travelers paying for new flights because segments were booked separately and a connection is missed.
  • Assure that your passports have at least 6 months remaining and that they are in good condition. Similarly, check the related government sites for all stops (including the USA) for visa and vaccination requirements.
  • Pack carefully. Cross pack your checked bags in case one is delayed/lost. Use carry-ons for immediate needs, and place all medicines and valuables in a small bag that will fit under the seat(s) in front of you.
  • Be sure to inform your credit card provider of your travel dates and destinations. Carry some cash for emergencies.
These are my thoughts and practices. And congratulations on your golden anniversary . . .
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#7
I agree with my colleagues. Since your question seems to be restricted to air travel, I will add:
  • Include a lot of margin in your flight selections. Travelers frequently come to us with stories of missed connections. The reasons vary, but generally if you allow at least 3 hours between flights you can avoid most problems.
  • Book airfare on one reservation (PNR) where possible. Doing so means the airline through which you book will work with you if you miss a connection. Again, stories abound of travelers paying for new flights because segments were booked separately and a connection is missed.
  • Assure that your passports have at least 6 months remaining and that they are in good condition. Similarly, check the related government sites for all stops (including the USA) for visa and vaccination requirements.
  • Pack carefully. Cross pack your checked bags in case one is delayed/lost. Use carry-ons for immediate needs, and place all medicines and valuables in a small bag that will fit under the seat(s) in front of you.
  • Be sure to inform your credit card provider of your travel dates and destinations. Carry some cash for emergencies.
These are my thoughts and practices. And congratulations on your golden anniversary . . .
Well said!
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#9
Just don't go there. You have no idea who you're dealing with and how reputable they are ... and no way to really find out. Why jeopardize a wonderful experience to save a little money? Save it some other way, skip a couple of dinners. Have a picnic instead. Provence is where I learned to love pears & cheese, gherkins & pate with a baguette for dinner ... we sat in the little French car on the side of a country road looking at some French cows. It was entrancing. AND it was 30+ years ago! Celebrate your 50 years and create some new memories ... you'll be glad you can savor the trip and don't have to deal with problems.

I look at these tix sources as "cocktail party fodder". Just like "making a killing in the stock market". People brag about the positive experiences ... and say not a word about the negatives. Do your research online. Book your trip directly with the airline. Hotels as well.
 
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Oct 14, 2019
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#10
Thanks to all who have responded. I have done my due diligence and trust the consolidator I am currently working with. However, as our trip is still 7 months off, I believe we will wait to book. The itinerary we have worked out is not doable with any airline directly. A similar itinerary is available directly with the airline for $350 more, which is probably worth it as we're spending over $5000 anyway (all business class-first time ever for us).
Another issue I have a question about is travel insurance. We have never taken it in the past, but probably will this time. My question is: Is there a travel insurance company that will pay even with pre-existing conditions (wife 4 back surgeries, me 2 heart bypass surgeries)?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#11
The issue you might have is that you don't want separate tickets booked. If that happens and you have one flight that leaves late causing you to miss a connection on a separately booked flight - you are on your own and stuck with buying a new ticket. That is why you need to be very careful. Everrything should be on one PNR.

Good luck and hope it all goes well for you.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#12
As you mentioned, you are spending a lot for your tickets so spending just a bit more would be worth it so you have the ability to work directly with the airline should there be a problem. Remember, when you have a company acting as your 'travel agent', the airline will not work with you but require you to contact the agent.

Regarding trip insurance, look for options on a site like insuremytrip.com. You can customize the plans and click a box on the left side that states you want pre-existing conditions included. In my case for a recent trip, the cost was actually the same as not covering pre-existing conditions.
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#15
I hope this works out for you. If the trip is too complex to book directly with an airline, you should consider using an experienced travel agent.
Totally agree! With such a special trip, I wouldn't want to take any risks. If you peruse these forums, there are several heartbreaking stories of milestone anniversary trips that didn't go so well. And absolutely purchase travel insurance! A very high percentage of posts on this forum are folks seeking to minimize the damages from a travel disaster, usually involving an airline.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#17
Regarding Trip Insurance, here are some of the available coverages to consider:

BASIC policies (or "lite" as they are often labeled). These offer limited coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delays, and baggage issues. But too often they fail to meet the needs of travelers due to their restricted coverages (i.e., covered reasons). COMPREHENSIVE policies can cover one or more of the following for a nominal cost:
  • Cancel for Any Reason. Covers 50-75% of your non-refundables depending on the policy
  • Cruise Cancellation. Covers non-refundables not purchased through the cruise line
  • Employment Layoff. Being unemployed is hard enough without a failsafe for trip costs
  • Financial Default. Covers when a travel provider is no longer in business
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation. Costs can be in the tens-of-thousands!
  • Hospital of Choice. Without this you are transported to the nearest facility
  • Pre-existing Medical Waiver. Covers conditions that insurers decide is "pre-existing"
  • Primary Medical. Places the insurer first in line for claims. Eliminates the need to file with your own insurance.

Be aware that no single policy will cover every possible reason for cancellation at 100%, and that there are time restrictions (e.g., signing up, cancellation) with every policy . . .
 
Mar 16, 2019
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#19
Congratulations on your anniversary Buck!

Please, please, please consider what excellent advice you have been given. If you don't wish to use a travel agent, at least consider the vacations department of an airline, such as JetBlue Vacations or Delta Vacations. They can assist you like a travel agent, provide you with delay protection (as you'd be booking directly AND on one reservation), and even sell you insurance. I can't tell you how many heartbreaking stories I've had of delayed travelers with 3rd party and separate itineraries that couldn't be reaccommodated by the airline.
 
Feb 28, 2018
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#20
Mhy wife and I are ovr 70 years old, have multiple pre-existing medical problems. We always buy a complete round trip air ticket from the airline now. Years ago, when we used consolidators, the airline informed the consolidator of a major schedule change, but we were never informed directly. When I called the airline about seat assignment, I learned of the mjor schedule change. Now, when the schedule changes, I am immediately informed. Also, Airlines now easily handle 'open jaw' tickets, with arrival and departure in different cities, on the smae ticket - not wo one -way s. Also, we ALWAYS purchase travel insurance which covers pre-existing condtions. There is a website "Insure may trip" which compares different travel insurance policies and sells them. We currently buy our insurance from the same agency that sells us the travel package. We have had to cancel several trips due to medical problems, and the same insurance company has refunded 100% of what we paid. Some policies require insurance purchase at the same time the trip is booked, or have other conditions. You should be certain that your insurance policy covers EVERYTHING. We has insurance with one company, years ago,that theoretically covered everything, but they kept requesting all sors of documentation ( cancelled checks, copies of credit cvard payments, second letter from cruise line stating no refund would be made, letter trom doctor stting that wife was able to travel when cruise tickets were purchased, etc.). Our current insurance company simply needs a doctor's letter explaining the reason for cancellation, copies of bills.