Why is It so hard to make flight reservations; why doesn't Travelocity didn't say anything about charges to reserve seats?

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Jul 17, 2019
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#1
We're traveling from Boston to Cape Town; Cape Town to Victoria Falls and then home to Boston.

South African Air would let us fly from Boston, but they wouldn't let us fly back - we could only book to JFK. The British Air website wouldn't let us book our itinerary, but Travelocity and other sites let us book the flights for the days we wanted on British Air.

The Travelocity website only said we have to contact British Air to make seat reservations. It didn't say anything that we might have to pay extra for them. Travelocity should make it clear that there extra charges on British Air to make a seat reservations. It cost a few extra hundred dollars that were not expected. If I was able to book the flight directly through British Air I would have seen the seat charges before I booked the flight. I don't mind paying extra for bulkhead seats, but every seat on BA had a charge. We've flown over the past year on Cathay Pacific, Japan Air and El Al without seat reservation charges; how should we know about the British Air charges?

Finally, South African Air and British Air need to improve their websites. Why couldn't I book my flights on their websites?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
US airlines are just about the only ones who don’t charge for advance seat assignments. International airlines almost always charge- you need to check with the airlines before you book so you know the seat policies. And Travelocity tells you that you need to check with the airline- there is no way they can keep up with the policy of every airline. But a real travel agent could have told you,

You should be able to book through BA or South African Air IF they either fly to all the airports you need to go through or they have partners they can do it. You need to do it as a multi city ticket. But you would still have to pay for advance seat assignments. Did you try as a multi city ticket?
 
Jul 17, 2019
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#3
I did try to book it as multi city ticket. As I said, other international airlines I've flown on in the past year did not charge for seat reservations. How was I to know about British Airway's seat reservation charges?

Had I been able to book on British Air, I would have seen that I had to pay for all seat reservations before I paid for the tickets. On Travelocity one has to buy the tickets first before they find out about the added seat reservation costs. Travelocity has to do a better job; they're able to keep up with schedules, etc. This is just another data point. And if they can't do that, why should I use them? I should have known upfront what the additional costs would be. I'll think twice about using Travelocity. or similar sites in the future.

As for travel agents, where do you find them anymore? I asked several friends, who travel more than I do, and they all said they don't know of any now and don't use them. It would have been worth the money and I would have saved two hours trying to book this trip on my own if I knew one.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
For itineraries like this, it's useful to use a real travel agent. Then you'll know what's what before you make any commitments. Online booking services like Travelwhatever are just that. They take your booking online. You do all the work and they collect a commission. They spend their profits on slick advertising, not customer service. There's little extra information or advice for the traveller,. You're expected to know everything, or know how to find out about it yourself. You have to fight for customer serivice.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
South African and BA are not partners which is why one does not show up on the other’s website. Different alliances and all that.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#6
Find a travel agent at Travelsense.org

The drawback of booking your own travel is that you are responsible for doing all the research on flights, seat and baggage fees. Do it yourself is truly do it yourself. OTAS aren’t required to tell you about seat assignments or even baggage fees. All they need to do is refer you to check with the airline.

You couldn’t book a multi city because neither airline works with the other and neither can do a full itinerary to all those cities within their system or code share partners.

Check your tickets carefully. If the
OTA booked separate tickets and you don’t have enough time to make any needed connections , if you miss a connection they aren’t required to rebook you on a new flight. You would have to buy a new ticket.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
You can check with airline before booking .

Travelocity does warn people about BA seat fees under rules and restrictions apply and also under important flight information.

I have attached two screenshots.

All of these warnings are before paying.

One was straight BA flight the second was BA and codeshares to South Africa.

With the OTAs one needs to look at the fees and ticket restrictions. But the warnings are there but one has to look for them.

The airline websites favor their partners — they are not travel agents and do not have to offer flights on non partners.
 

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