Sunday, February 25, 2007

Online Travel Sites Exposed!!




As mentioned in a recent post, my parents are coming to England for a 4 week visit, starting in March. We've been discussing travel plans for two months now, trying to decide whether or not to go to somewhere warm (like Greece, Italy, or Spain) for a week-long holiday, or if it would be better to do a few short breaks to Paris, Dublin, etc.

I have been searching for decently-priced holidays for several weeks now. Sites like Ryanair, Lastminute.com, etc., who all claim to have super-cheap flights and super-cheap deals. Yes, some of the deals are fantastic, but you have to leave on a Wednesday at 9am, a Sunday morning at 6am for two nights, or any time other than a school break. We had found several promising leads for half-board holidays in Portugal and Greece, but I had questions and emailed online help, since the phone number for Lastminute.com costs 10p per minute (and when I have called, I've been transferred all over the place, and put on hold, THEN told I've called the wrong number. Twice.). After sending two or three seperate requests for information, including the statement "we would like to book this holiday as soon as possible", after 11 days, I have not received any response.

The customer service is terrible, and every agent I have spoken to has either been non-english speaking or just not paying attention - I've had to repeat myself so many times that during one call, I finally gave up and told one I was going to book with Easyjet instead.

No response.

Apparently they could care less if customers go with a competitor.

Today, I saw an advertisement on Lastminute.com's website for flights on the London Eye for as little as 0.01p. After clicking on this, I discovered those prices were for children, and the adult tickets cost 22.35. I can buy tickets for the London Eye for 12.50 at the hotel around the corner, and the most expensive tickets in our neighbourhood have been 15 pounds for that particular attraction. So unless you're traveling with a family, this is not a deal at all.

I have seen some good deals for plays and other nights out on this website and others, but the lack of service and expense / annoyance that accompanies their phone "service" (not to mention non-existent online help) has pushed me towards other providers.

The final straw came this morning, when I saw "Great deals to Paris for as low as 70 pound per person". I clicked on it, and came to this page:



See anything for 70 pound? I don't. So, I clicked on the one that said 82 (even though it's for 3 nights and you leave on a Saturday), and got to this page, where I sorted trips by price. The first holiday is the one that cost the least.


So much for that deal...


Ordinarly, I'd roll my eyes and ignore this, but after going through this exact scenario about 40 times and recieving abysmal service to no service at all, I have definitely had enough.

The worst part about this is that I honestly don't believe that the deals are bad ones. Being able to have your hotel and flight booked for 140 per person for 3 nights in a fancy hotel in Paris is a great deal. I just wish these companies would advertise the REAL prices rather than misleading their potential customers.


I've always hated this quote, but it's so true when dealing with "super deals online!"

If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.

2 Comments:

  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Beechball said…

    I'm sorry to hear you're having such a hard time with your search. I personally SUCK at doing this kinda research and give up taking possibly the worst deal out of frustration. You hang in there and find something that is good, decent and affordable, obviously. I hope your trip/visit with you parents is fantastic, what a great experience it'll be for all of you!

     
  • At 11:40 AM, Blogger Suldog said…

    That sort of thing always bothers the hell out of me. I try to deal in a straightforward manner with everybody. I would always prefer to be dealt with in the same way. Good luck!

     

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