web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ticketing woes

It is as if my money smells, the difficulty I am in getting an upcoming side trip ticketed at the moment.

First I hunt around for flights that fit my schedule and have some availability at a reasonable fare (not a trivial amount since I am looking for business class to complete requalification of a frequent flyer status). I found several options, the best being on the airline websites of a couple of airlines that operate the route. So far so good.

I try the more ideal of the two (in terms of schedule, frequent flyer mileage earning and price). This airline website keeps crashing at various stages of the booking process. I was told by someone over on Flyer Talk that their website is flakey. Great - it is an internet only fare. I persevere and manage to get a reservation. Only to find on the confirmation screen a paper ticket is required and I have to both pay for and ticket at the local ticketing office within 72 hours. Local being the start city of this side trip. This is on another continent from where I am now, and I head further away in the meantime. So I rang the local (to me) ticket office to be told they cannot do anything. I would have to either pay an exorbitant amount for a fare that they could ticket, or get it ticketed when I arrive. That isn't practical since availability will be gone by then (there are only a couple of seats left on some flights and none on others), and in any case I have only a few hours between arriving at this city and needing to start the side trip.

Scrub that idea and move on to airline number two. Their website works, but again a paper ticket is required and they will only mail it to addresses in that city. At least I can pay for it online, but there are no guarantees I will get the tickets before I travel.

I then move on to a non-airline booking site. This has the same policy as airline number two.

So three different companies all turning down my money due to some ticketing rule or other. I thought SITI / SOTI / SOTO rules were abolished a year or two ago. This is not an obscure destination I am trying to travel to. Somehow I can't see IATA's aim of 100% e-tickets being achieved any time soon.

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