Questions about airline reservations

I hope there are people here who’ve worked in airline reservations/travel agencies who can answer these questions, so when I call up the agency screaming on Monday I’ll know exactly how much leverage I have:

  1. Does a travel agency have a right to decide to put me on a flight other than the one I reserved (when according to the airline itself, my original flight still exists and there are still seats available on it)?

  2. Can I insist upon being put back on my original flight, given the facts in the parentheses above?

  3. If for whatever reason the agency is not able to put me back on that flight, and the flight they have bumped me on to has an unacceptable arrival time, can I insist they find me some other flight, even if it’s with a different airline?

  4. If the answer to #3 is “yes”, would I be responsible for any difference in fares?

  5. Why would this problem have arisen in the first place, if the original flight wasn’t canceled or full?

  6. Is there any logical reason why the agency should have changed my itinerary on this flight three times, or am I just dealing with an incredibly incompetent agency?


In short, know that you really do not need to get a travel agency involved at all nowadays to get tickets. Most major airlines will let you buy dircetly from them, on the Web. I have had great success using Delta this way, and had had incredibly cheap tickets, mega-bonus frequent flyer miles for using their website and my Delta credit card, and I get a little Java map to click exactly on the seat assignment I want on each flight.

Your travel agent has the “right”, I guess, but why on Earth would they do this to you? Unless you bought into a fixed-price package, it makes no sense at all what you have described, and sounds incredibly suspicious. I have been on more than 200 flights in the last few years, and have never had something like that happen.

Unless you are buying a package, ditch them. Buy from the Web - direct from the airline.

It would depend on the agency & there are too many.

Read your contract fine print. It should say what they can do & what your rights are.

Thanks, Anthracite. I actually did look at the website for this airline (Lufthansa), and the price they were charging was about £40 higher than the one the booking agency was charging, so that wouldn’t have worked in this case. I certainly don’t intend using this agency again (E-Bookers), but I still would like to know, for when I phone them on Monday, what exactly my rights are. And the “terms and conditions” page doesn’t really tell me.