I'm trying to book a flight to London later this year and the lowest fares I'm finding are secret fares on Vayama and Cheapoair. Both appear to have non stop flights, they give you a decent range of time but they are mystery airlines until you book (you can cancel for about an hour after you book in case it ends up being something horrible). The difference in rates is about250 per person so it's not just a nominal amount BUT while my arrival is a little more flexible, my husband's is not as we are picking up a cruise later in the day from Southampton. I've seen some of the complaints about both companies and a lot of it involves fees regarding changing your ticket (which all airlines assess on non refundable tickets) and changing flight times which is most likely the airline changing the time, not Vayama or Cheapoair. Most people don't bother going to post when they've had a good or even mediocre experience, I'm pretty sure I'd find the same thing if I searched Orbitz or Expedia which I use frequently. Has anyone used either of these companies to book air?
Can't you get the same/very similar price directly from an airline? I always try to book direct on flights...that's just me, because it can be an extra layer of pain when dealing with the external sources.
In this case Expedia and Orbitz are exactly the same as United and American so I would book directly with them. But Cheapoair's mystery fare (which says nonstop and gives an hour window for the flight) it260 cheaper and Vayama's mystery fare is230 cheaper per person. I'm guessing based on the times that it's a combination of United and Virgin but I could be wrong.
Hmmm...quite a conundrum. I have used Cheapoair, but not the mystery fare. I can't remember if it was cheapoair, but I recall needed to changes some things or get on another flight and it being harder to do because of using an OTA. Sorry I don't have more info, but my bias now is to not use these guys for real tight bookings. 90% you'd be ok.
I have used both Cheapoair and Vayama. I have no problem with the mystery tickets once I recognize the airlines and confirm that they are comparable - in this case especially with the promise of being non-stop. (More stops, more chance of delays.) In your case I might have a little more worry if the airlines are small with few flights, because a mechanical problem could delay you too much to make your cruise departure. I think that this is less likely with a larger airline, but I have no facts to back up this opinion. The problem you have is the high cost and inconvenience you would face if you miss your cruise departure. Obtaining a refund is extremely unlikely, and catching up with your cruise (Going to the first port of call?) will not be cheap. In one example I know of a friend and his wife who had a flight cancelled and were offered a next day flight. This would have cost them two days of their cruise so they purchased a later same day flight causing them to only lose one day. They then had to take a powerboat to catch up with the cruise. Even though the man kept complete records and contacted his travel insurance company immediately, they got no re-imbursement for any of their additional costs or for the lost cruise day. The airline claimed that they had offered them a adequate alternative, the insurance company claimed that the airline was responsible.
The cruise is the real worry I have otherwise I might try one of them. And I'd like to be on the same flight home since we are not flying over together and that's hard to do with a mystery ticket. Guess I will stick with booking directly with the airline, of course if they are delayed you can have the same problem with missing the cruise but I might have a slight bit more leverage if I book direct
What i think can be the problem with these airlines is that they buy seats on flights that are quite empty and then get them cheap. If the flight you booked suddenly gets a lot of bookings then they might move you to a flight a little later or earlier that is not so full.
Someone I knew used Cheapair from Chicago to London and it was a disaster. Yes, they changed the flights on them at the last minute, but the change in time meant they would miss connections and have to stay overnight both ways! When they tried to cancel it was hours and hours of phone calls back to customer service.
I've used Vayama, with no problem.