Calle Lanzarote
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Posts Tagged ‘Booking’

Booking flights can be complicated

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I have been booking flights to Lanzarote recently, and it was not an easy thing to do.

Firstly, of course, I have to explain that I want flights from Frankfurt am Main in Germany, so my search was concentrated on German sites.  I am also booking several months in advance.  It is amazing what price difference there is at the moment, and what sort of strange options I was being offered.

As is often the case, flights during the school holidays tend to be more expensive than during term time.  I started by looking at Expedia.de, which offered me a selection of flights ranging from 290EUR to 1478EUR per person.

Flights with Iberia tended to be the cheapest, and I have flown with them on previous trips, only to disappointed with the on-board serivce.  Normally flying with them means changing planes in Madrid.  This time I was being offered flights that would take me to Madrid, then on to Las Palmas, and finally a short hop with Binter Canarias to Arrecife.  A few days later, the same search did not show this option, but instead a wait of 14 hours (overnight) in Madrid.

The most expensive option was with KLM (codesharing with Air Europa), changing in Madrid and Amsterdam!

So I decided to search online for alternatives.  After going through various search engines and travel agents, only to discover that even direct flights with charter airlines were not going make much difference to the price, I finally settled for an offer from SpanAir – booked directly via their website.  I flew with them last year to Madrid, and although the crews did not speak much English on board, the rest of the onboard service was better.  Plus, the price was good and the times were approximately what were were looking for.  There was also the additional bonus of changing planes in Terminal 2 in Madrid, thus avoiding the long walk and underground ride between Terminals 4 and 4S.

I booked the flights and was ready to pay for them online with my credit card, as I had done previously and would expect to do on other booking sites.  But no!  At the last stage of the booking, I had to fill out a form with my credit card details and fax it to a Spanish number.  Then I either had to call the SpanAir call centre (in Spain) to confirm them or go in person to a SpanAir agent in Germany within 24 hours.  And this was Saturday night at 11pm.

As I didn’t really want to have to find an agent on Sunday morning – probably at Frankfurt airport – I decided to call the call centre (yes, at 11pm on a Saturday night).  For such international calls I usually use Skype, but Skype would not let me call the number.  So I had to resort to using a normal land line – something I had not done for international calls for a long time.

I told the agent in my best Spanish why I was calling, and she answered in good English!  The whole call lasted only a few minutes, and by the end of it I had my eTickets in my Inbox!

I have to admit to being a little bit annoyed, that I wasn’t told in advance that I was going to have to do this.  But I have to admit that the call centre agent was efficient.  Actually, I think she spoke better English than a  lot of the cabin crews!



Booking holidays online

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

This week the Monday Podcast discussed how to book holidays – in particular online. Maria has just booked flights to Japan and Graham has just come back from holiday in Lanzarote.

Find out how we booked and whether online was the best option by listening to the podcast:

lanzarote-strand.jpg

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