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Here's Why Booking Flights Through Third-Party Sites Isn't A Good Idea
Scammers were exposed posing as Expedia last month after stealing thousands of dollars from travelers by luring them into changing their booking over the phone.
However, booking flights with Expedia and other third-party travel sites come with their own legal risks.
For example, you may or may not receive a refund if your travel plans happen to change.
Here are the risks you’re taking when booking through third-party travel sites:
Changing Or Cancelling Your Flight Can Be Complicated
If something comes up, leaving you with no choice but to change your travel plans, you could be in for a major headache.
In order to change your plans when booked through a third-party, you have to contact the site’s customer support line which only handles requests on a case-by-case basis.
You should definitely expect to pay fees to change your flight for the third-party website and the airline.
The bottom line is: it’s more expensive to change your flight through a third-party flight than booking directly through an airline.
If you’re changing your flight within 24 hours of booking, however, it will most likely be free.
Expedia, for example, allows cancellations and changes within 24-hours of booking.
Canceling with a third-party site is a bit tricky because you most likely won’t be entitled to a refund unless your bank steps in and helps to negate the charges.
Mercury News writer Christopher Elliott says if an airline cancels your trip, they “should refund the fare and your third-party site should step in to pride you with a refund.”
You will most likely have to do a lot of following up before seeing any results.
Notices Of Changes Or Updates May Not Be Communicated
There is a chance you may or may not be notified of any updates on your itinerary when booking through a third-party site.
Booking through an airline’s site means they will reach out to you via text or email if there any status updates to your flight.
When booking through a third-party site, it is important to download the airline’s app and track your flight’s status to avoid any surprises.
You Could Miss Out On Sales Or Special Prices
Airlines prefer travelers to book directly through them because referral fees are given to third-party sites. In order to attract more travelers to book directly through airlines, they may provide extra points or miles.
According to Travel + Leisure, “third-party sites may not account for flight sales or promotional offers in their results. And when you book, you’re not given the option to reserve seats, you’ll have to contact your airline instead, making the overall booking process more annoying than you’d like if you just want to reserve an aisle seat and be done with it.”
It is important to compare prices that you find directly through an airline with prices on third-party sites before booking.