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Buying airfares over internet?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
This may seem like a very silly question to some of you, but I am concerned about buying air tickets over the net. Not in the sense of security of my credit cards, I buy all manner of things over the net and have never had any problems. What I am worried about is turning up at the checkin counter and finding that although I've paid for it, there is no booking for me! I've always used paper tickets in the past but my upcoming USA/Canada trip will be entirely booked by me, over the net.

I'd be grateful for any comforting stories etc, and especially for advice on what I can do to protect myself. e.g. when you've paid for a ticket on the web, is there a page you can print out that shows a nice long booking code or something like that? or do they send you a receipt to your email address? or....?

TIA folks,
post #2 of 29
Low cost airlines like Ryanair or Easyjet are ticketless. You do get a reference number.

You just print a page off from your PC.

British Airways sends you an email and the tickets arrive by post later.
post #3 of 29
I use Trailfinders, Expedia, Opodo, Easyjet, Ryanair, German Wings, Air Berlin...
Never had any problems. Most of my recent flights, I just hand them my passport at check-in and tell them which flight. They get my details that way.
Depending on who you booked through, you should either get an email confirmation, or be able to access a printable page, if it makes you feel better!

One thing to note: due to the new US "security" measures, you have to know the address of where you are staying in the US when you check in, as well as when filling out the immigration forms (I-94?), so, make sure you have the address somewhere easy to get at when you're checking in - I just write it on a bit of paper and carry it in my passport.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1
This may seem like a very silly question to some of you, but I am concerned about buying air tickets over the net. Not in the sense of security of my credit cards, I buy all manner of things over the net and have never had any problems. What I am worried about is turning up at the checkin counter and finding that although I've paid for it, there is no booking for me! I've always used paper tickets in the past but my upcoming USA/Canada trip will be entirely booked by me, over the net.

I'd be grateful for any comforting stories etc, and especially for advice on what I can do to protect myself. e.g. when you've paid for a ticket on the web, is there a page you can print out that shows a nice long booking code or something like that? or do they send you a receipt to your email address? or....?

TIA folks,
Yes, after you book your flight, you will get a page that, if you have a printer, you can print and use as your receipt. If you don't have a printer, look for a confirmation number, and write it down for your reference later. As a double-check, you can call the airline to confirm the reservation. You can also (usually) check in for your flights 24 hours in advance online. If you have a printer, you can print your boarding passes then too. It saves having to go to the ticket counter at the airport unless you need to check baggage.

Online reservations are reliable...I do this a lot (almost always when I fly domestically and sometimes internationally) and have never had a problem. Just make sure to write down your itinerary, confirmation numbers, and you'll be good to go!
post #5 of 29
I have purchased my Air fare over the internet for the past 6 years, Is there any other way? I prefer to purchase direct from Airline websites.
I travel for a living (Road Warrior)? I fly allot.
post #6 of 29
I have booked airlines over the internet for the last six years or so and never a problem.

The boarding passes you can print out don't work at every airport. I've had to get new ones issued when I got there.
post #7 of 29
I've booked flights thru both Expedia and Travelocity a number of times without any problems with either one. Both have a receipt that you print out at the end with confirmation #'s.
post #8 of 29
The only way I book is on the internet. I usually do all my flight research on Expedia and then book through the airline directly. Booking directly with the airline will save you $5 as that is the service charge Expedia doles out for airline ticket purchases. Also I think they have a $20 service charge for Frontier Airlines.
post #9 of 29
I ONLY buy my tickets online and have NEVER had a problem. As long as you get a confirmation number and deal with a major airline, there is no need for worry.
post #10 of 29

Online Purchase + Paper Ticket

As your travel involves a cross border flight you will be issued a paper ticket by the airline even if you book online. The airline will mail it to you. Paper tickets are required on all cross border travel.
post #11 of 29
The only real drawback to eticketing is not having a paper coupon that, in the event of flight problems/cancelations, can be taken to another carrier to book a flight. the coupons are essentially script with a value, and they make getting another carrier to honor the reservation, easier.

And if you're traveling overseas, keep in mind not every location is set up to take them.

David
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski-Dad
Paper tickets are required on all cross border travel.
No they are not.

Ryanair, Easyjet etc, you just print the details off your pc.

The airlines do not post separate tickets.
post #13 of 29
Most Oz travel has been on e tickets for a while now. Our flights to the US are paperless. I also buy my US connections on Travelocity (because the airlines usually won't let you buy them with a foreign addressed credit card) and haven't had a problem (other than the domestic US airlines are really unimpressive).
post #14 of 29
you don't need to be so careful in life
post #15 of 29
We just got a great deal on tickets to Denver via ATA/Southwest airlines.

However, SW doesn't fly out of Chicago O'Hare, which was open today, but instead flies out of Chicago MIDWAY, which wasn't. Consequently, we couldn't get home today. We're stuck in Chicago tonight.

We couldn't land at Midway, so we circled and landed at O'Hare. It took 6 hours to get our luggage (it was "lost" and showed up at Midway), sat waiting on a bus to drive us to Midway for over 2 hours, got there and the ticket window said, No flights out today, try tomorrow, got a $120 hotel room (and lucky to get it because ALL flights are cancelled), got here by 9 pm, ordered lunch since all we had all day was breakfast (see note below), and meanwhile.....

My daughter was meeting us in Albany at the same time, but her flights were routed through Denver and Dallas instead of Chicago, so she just arrived in Albany 2 hours late, at 11pm, and we're not there to take her home, so Jeff's sister made a reservation for her at a hotel near the airport where we can pick her up tomorrow if we can get out of here....

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to work at 10:30 tomorrow and I called the boss as soon as I could and left phone messages.........who will open the store, I have no idea.........

Yes, internet reservations can work well. It's Mother Nature that fouls it up!

ps. One of the fellows on the bus with us whose luggage was "lost" was heading back home......to Ireland. I hope he gets his bags and gets home ok!

PPS. There is never a loss of kindness in the world. Two teenagers and their mom were on the bus listening to us grumble about things, and they heard Jeff say he was thirsty, and I said I was hungry. They left the bus (we had to sit on it and wait for another plane to arrive with more folks), and they came back with a bottle of water and a Big Mac and some fries for us. We didn't ask and they didn't want to accept money. It made me cry, they were so selfless. They were going to Florida.....they were going to miss Grandma's funeral tomorrow!!!!!!
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni
We just got a great deal on tickets to Denver via ATA/Southwest airlines.

However, SW doesn't fly out of Chicago O'Hare, which was open today, but instead flies out of Chicago MIDWAY, which wasn't. Consequently, we couldn't get home today. We're stuck in Chicago tonight.

We couldn't land at Midway, so we circled and landed at O'Hare. It took 6 hours to get our luggage (it was "lost" and showed up at Midway), sat waiting on a bus to drive us to Midway for over 2 hours, got there and the ticket window said, No flights out today, try tomorrow, got a $120 hotel room (and lucky to get it because ALL flights are cancelled), got here by 9 pm, ordered lunch since all we had all day was breakfast, and meanwhile.....

My daughter was meeting us in Albany at the same time, but her flights were routed through Denver and Dallas instead of Chicago, so she just arrived in Albany 2 hours late, at 11pm, and we're not there to take her home, so Jeff's sister made a reservation for her at a hotel near the airport where we can pick her up tomorrow if we can get out of here....

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to work at 10:30 tomorrow and I called the boss as soon as I could and left phone messages.........who will open the store, I have no idea.........

Yes, internet reservations can work well. It's Mother Nature that fouls it up!

ps. One of the fellows on the bus with us whose luggage was "lost" was heading back home......to Ireland. I hope he gets his bags and gets home ok!
You do know why Midway was shut down, don't you? Very rare and sad for one family. I am surprised they even let you go down there?
I fly SWA allot and will continue to do so. Its just strange that they even attempted to make that connection? Maybe they thought the plane would be removed by the afternoon??
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the replies!

Firstly, thanks for so many comforting replies so soon. I know, I'm a worrier, but that's who I am...I prepare, and worry
Secondly, sorry for any confusion, I ought to have specified the particular flights I'm concerned about. I already have my trans-Pacific flights booked, through a travel agent here in NZ. It's the flights Sacramento-SLC, SLC-Calgary, and Calgary-SFO that I'll be booking via internet, probably via Travelocity and flying with Delta and United most probably. So, there is a border crossing, but I wonder if perhaps a paper ticket won't be required?
Thanks Wear the Fox Hat for the warning about address requirements at checkin. I usually have an address/ph list on me when I travel, but I'll make sure it has all the necessary details this time!
Thanks also SugarCube for the idea about confirming with the airline. I'm in CA visiting friends for the first two weeks, so I can do that during that time. It'll put my mind at rest a lot
post #18 of 29
You don't need a paper ticket to cross borders!
(not just in Europe, but also to the US)

For the last 5+ years I have flown without a ticket. The main company I book through post me out a confirmation of flight times and numbers, but that is all.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1
Firstly, thanks for so many comforting replies so soon. I know, I'm a worrier, but that's who I am...I prepare, and worry
Secondly, sorry for any confusion, I ought to have specified the particular flights I'm concerned about. I already have my trans-Pacific flights booked, through a travel agent here in NZ. It's the flights Sacramento-SLC, SLC-Calgary, and Calgary-SFO that I'll be booking via internet, probably via Travelocity and flying with Delta and United most probably. So, there is a border crossing, but I wonder if perhaps a paper ticket won't be required?
Thanks Wear the Fox Hat for the warning about address requirements at checkin. I usually have an address/ph list on me when I travel, but I'll make sure it has all the necessary details this time!
Thanks also SugarCube for the idea about confirming with the airline. I'm in CA visiting friends for the first two weeks, so I can do that during that time. It'll put my mind at rest a lot
One other tip for you: when you book your travel, make sure that you put in your frequent flyer number (Delta Sky Miles, etc.). Borrow your friend's computer in SF, and go online to the airlines' websites. There's usually a place on their home pages to check your itinerary. Enter your frequent flyer number (you may have to set up an account and password first), and then you can see your itinerary online. I do this a lot when booking through Expedia--just nice to know that what Expedia says I have is what the airlines say I have too.

Good journeys!
post #20 of 29
I haven't flown in years until last week....I went through all the stuff you are thinking now...I don't even have a printer ! So I had a confirmation and a charge on my card and that's it !

With the help of a friend I had the ticket printed and she mailed it to me...on the way back she even printed my boarding pass....so I didn't even know I was holding a ticket.

The airline people at the gate THANKED me for doing it this way....go figure...

She also told me about this Kiosk thing....sorry I just ski. Way to complicated for me....I like holding some paper. I really hope I sound like a "Fly Idiot" here. Because I am.

The moral is this....do what you are worried about. It's easy and the latest thing.

btw. TSA singled me out for that intensive search thing they do....I'm driving again next trip (no pressure)
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latchigo
No they are not.

Ryanair, Easyjet etc, you just print the details off your pc.

The airlines do not post separate tickets.
Read - "Cross Border" As far as I am aware, neither of the airlines you refrenced fly to Canada from the US. To do so, you need a paper ticket. Have booked cross border flights on three diffferent airlines and each sent me a paper ticket.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski-Dad
Read - "Cross Border" As far as I am aware, neither of the airlines you refrenced fly to Canada from the US. To do so, you need a paper ticket. Have booked cross border flights on three diffferent airlines and each sent me a paper ticket.
See my post above about flying to the US/Canada.
THERE IS NO NEED FOR A PAPER TICKET.
post #23 of 29
I'm unsure whether this is comforting or not but I've got my documentation for my upcoming Canadian ski trip (leaving in 2 weeks w00t!) which was booked through a large Australian travel company (Value Tours) and I have e-tickets. Am I worried? no, I've used e-tickets for both business and pleasure over the last 10 or more years without a hitch. Just ensure you have photo identity documentation with you when you check in (assuming you're going OS, you should have your passport with you - yes?).
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the tips and help, folks. I guess if a paper ticket is required then Travelocity will tell me when I book. And BTW, yes Delta do fly into Canada, direct SLC-Calgary even! How's that for convenience? And United fly Calgary-SFO direct too, so I guess they also fly into Canada...
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski-Dad
Read - "Cross Border" As far as I am aware, neither of the airlines you refrenced fly to Canada from the US. To do so, you need a paper ticket. Have booked cross border flights on three diffferent airlines and each sent me a paper ticket.
How odd. Evidently when one flies from Australia to the US, one does not cross the border as I've not had a paper ticket in several years now.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1
Thanks again for the tips and help, folks. I guess if a paper ticket is required then Travelocity will tell me when I book. And BTW, yes Delta do fly into Canada, direct SLC-Calgary even! How's that for convenience? And United fly Calgary-SFO direct too, so I guess they also fly into Canada...
Paperless tickets are the norm for Air Canada, and a number of their partners in the Star Alliance including United. You do receive a boarding pass when you check in at the Calgary airport (make sure you have your booking identifier number), and then you will have to go through customs and immigration when returning to the states (pre-clearance in Calgary). Coming up there is no pre-clearance so you will have to do the immigration and customs thing when you land. Our trips on Delta have always gone pretty smoothly, United on the other hand.....:
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by migibs
The only way I book is on the internet. I usually do all my flight research on Expedia and then book through the airline directly. Booking directly with the airline will save you $5 as that is the service charge Expedia doles out for airline ticket purchases. Also I think they have a $20 service charge for Frontier Airlines.
I do the same thing and will add that with most carriers you get a booking bonus for buying online through them. This is usually 1000 extra flier miles added to your account.
post #28 of 29
I just flew from Denver to LA to Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. No paper tickets...just the boarding passes the nice folks in Denver issued me. When I checked in in KL, the agent asked to see my ticket, and I told her I had none. She just shrugged, checked my passport, and let me through. This was on United and Singapore Airlines (perhaps the most gracious airline I've ever experienced--wow!!).
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
You do know why Midway was shut down, don't you? Very rare and sad for one family. I am surprised they even let you go down there?
I fly SWA allot and will continue to do so. Its just strange that they even attempted to make that connection? Maybe they thought the plane would be removed by the afternoon??
Sorry to be late to respond MTT, but, yes we did know why. And yes, that was the thought---however it didn't happen in time. Maybe later I'll write about this trips travel problems, which by any standard were relatively minor but way too frequent---most have to do with not being straight with the customer---and some scheduling we did that back fired (which is not any of the airlines fault).

Gotta catch up on some work now tho!

If the fare is good, I'd give SWA another shot.
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