Friday, October 07, 2011

Listen to the Expert

Just the other day, I replied to a reader wanting to know why I had "recommended" using for hotel booking, in a column in which I compared rates for various levels of hotels in New York.

Actually, I pointed out, I quoted the Expedia data only for easy-to-compute rate comparisons among the different New York City hotels, because at least it meant comparing apples to apples.

Myself, I always book specific hotels directly on the hotel's own Web site, or directly with the hotel by phone. Years ago, I learned that third-party booking sometimes means the hotel treats you like a second-class citizen -- and besides, the hotel industry wised up a long time ago and its rates on its own booking system are usually the best available. Sometimes better by phone.

Some expert I am. Today I needed to book a flight from Las Vegas to Kennedy next week. As I sometimes do, I went to Orbitz to easily compare fares, times and connections. Voila! There was JetBlue, higher than some of the others, but with a very convenient non-stop. And JetBlue is known for comfort.

The phone rang and distracted me. Then I went back to my screen and booked through ... forgetting that I was not booking directly with JetBlue, but with Orbitz. That explains why I was so annoyed by the long scrolls of up-sells for hotels, rental cars, theater tickets, etc.

And why I was so annoyed to be told, after I had paid, that I couldn't have my choice of seat.

And also told, erroneously, that I would be charged to check a bag. Sorry, Orbitz, but you're giving out bad information. The first bag is free on JetBlue.

Anyway, live and learn. That's the last time even accidentally that I book on a third-party site. I'll stick with the airlines, thank you.


No comments: