Travelocity -- bait and switch?

So I’m trying to book a trip to Stockholm this September. I choose “Flight Only”, not “Flight + Hotel” on the home page.

Travelocity tells me the cheapest fare is $492.50 on Icelandair. The next page comes up, with a choice of hotels (all really expensive). I pick None, then – surprise! – the airfare has magically skyrocketed to $652.50! I repeated this on two different days and got the same fares each time, so Icelandair didn’t just happen to hike their prices in the 10-second interval.

Gee, how about either being honest (nowhere on the flight selection page did it say “This fare only valid with purchase of an overpriced hotel room”) or give me some hotels to choose from that you don’t have to be a goddamn millionaire to stay at?

I suspect the increase is due to taxes and fees, which aren’t reported in the initial price on Travelocity. On Orbitz, you would have been seen the full price up front. I’ve noticed the difference in the two sites, but the final prices seem to be pretty much the same.

Yeah, i think Telemark is on the money. Taxes and fees, especially on international flights, can add substantially to the cost of an airfare. My wife is flying to Montreal in a few weeks, and those extra fees added about $100 to her ticket from Baltimore.

Did you ever wonder how they’re able to offer such good deals on airfare? My suspicion is that they’re subsidized by hotel companies, businesses, and other entities that want you to travel to their region to spend money, just like those “Fly to Orlando cross-country for $99!!!” offers before Travelocity and Orbitz came along.

Nobody ever said that cheap air travel came without conditions.

No, it specifically said “$492.50 including taxes and fees.” The higher fare was broken down, with the airfare itself being only $567 and the rest being taxes and such.

Personally, I think it’s because Travelocity is a wad of shysters. Back in 2001, I booked a trip to australia through them because their website had a special offer for “preferred members”, and once I paid my $79 to be a preferred member, the website wouldn’t actually let me place the order for the special offer. When I called them to try to order over the phone, they told me that was a web-only special, and basically jerked me around for three days while the price of my plane tickets steadily rose to the point where I could have gotten a better deal elsewhere.

And on top of it all, I got screwed by the fact that I explicitly asked whether my ticket and my “companion ticket” (that was the special deal) would be allowed to have seperate return dates, and they said it was no problem as long as I paid the $125 change fee, and I’d have to make this change after the tickets were purchased. Later, when I called to do this, they said it wasn’t allowed.

Oh, and one year later they automatically charged my credit card to renew the $79 membership, even though it was not supposed to auto-renew. I disputed the charge, got my money back, and will never go there again.

I just walked through a few orders on Travelocity and indeed it behaves as described by Neidhart. You go through the order, pick your flights, goes through the hotel screen, then often gives you the message “the cost of your flight has changed”. Unsurprisingly, the new price is never lower.

However, I suspect that it has nothing to do with the hotels, but more likely they don’t scan the current open spots on the specific flights until the final step. They’re offering you the lowest code on those dates, whether it’s available or not. They only check if there are seats on that flight at the lowest fare at the final step. At least that’s my guess. It’s a bit of bait and switch, understandable in some ways but somewhat dishonest in others. I seriously doubt it has anything to do with the hotels.

I’ve seen similar things on Orbitz, but not as often as I’ve just experience on Travelocity. I haven’t tried Orbitz to compare, maybe with fewer flights being offered these days it’s more common to run out of the cheapest fares. This could be a result of the lousy state of the airline industry.

Or Travelocity is screwing us. But I’d pick the former until I have some evidence otherwise.

I’ve gotten the “your price has changed” message from them too, and it pissed me off enough that I’ll never buy from them again. Every time I think I’m getting a better fare than Expedia, and I try to buy the tickets, I get hit with the message of a sudden price increase of up to $150.

Screw that.

Yeah, seems i was wrong about the taxes thing.

My wife said that this happened to her when trying to book a Travelocity flight last week.

I think i’ll avoid them from now on, if they’re going to operate like that.

Expedia’s done the same thing to me. I got all the way to the purchase screen, bought tickets, got a confirmation e-mail of the price I had purchased the tickets at, and all was fine. THEN I discover an e-mail 2 days later, saying that “due to circumstances beyond our control” (and even though this was 2004 , they actually blamed “9/11” for it too!), “the cost of your tickets has been increased by $248 each. Your credit card has been automatically billed for this increase…blah blah blah”. Needless to say, I was furious, and upon calling them, they said “well, we’ll cheerfully refund your money and won’t charge you a ‘change fee’ (!WTF!), but in the future you need to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you click ‘purchase’.” Of course I yelled at them that I had a confirmation e-mail showing the original lower price, and the e-mail saying it was being increased ex post facto, and I asked how they could legally do this. Their answer was “no one forces you to fly.” :rolleyes:

At work this happens too with my own corporate travel department. I can get a “guaranteed reserved locked-in rate of X” while finishing filling in my trip details, then when it’s time to buy the ticket, I get some bullshit message saying “your reserved locked-in cast-in-stone unalterable-will-of-God-rate of X has been increased to 1.2X for reasons beyond our control…” Since when is a confirmed locked-in rate not a confirmed locked-in rate?

Of course, my corporate travel people are showing themselves more and more idiots anyhow. Last week I tried to book tickets from KC to Chicago, 2-week advance, typically $150-$300. Somehow, the cretin they force me to use rather than trusting me to make my own goddamn reservations (“We trust you to manage $5M in engineering projects, but not to buy tickets online…”) gave me a rate of $1808 round-trip from KC to Midway, with 1 connection out and 2 connections on the way back (let’s see…Chicago to Minneapolis, Minnealpolis to Baltimore, Baltimore to KC…WTFH???), requiring an overnight stay between flights 2 and 3. So I get online and find a Southwest flight for $129, and have to spoon-feed the “official corporate travel agent” the itinerary. Their excuse for the fuckup? They had none! :rolleyes:

Neidhart- perhaps if you give us the dates you want to travel on, and your departure airport, we can find you a better deal?

Or am I being too helpful for the Pit?

Too helpful? No such thing!

I want to arrive in Stockholm on September 6 (already made reservations at a hostel for the first six nights), preferably following an overnight flight originating from IAD or BWI. And I want to return on the 20th.

If you, irishgirl, or anyone else can find a legitimate fare under $500 I will be eternally grateful.

(Just don’t expect me to name my kids after you, because I’m not having any.)

Or even National, if I can connect with a transatlantic departure from some other city.

The price can’t change AFTER you reserve the ticket, can it?

Apparently it can.

Look at the posts above for examples.

I’ve looked on both and The cheapest is on Icelandic for about $650. Both kayak and sidestep seem to do a pretty good job of giving legitimate prices, with no strings attached.

Yeah, that was the cheapest deal i could find, too.

To tell you the truth, i think that hoping for a sub-$500 return flight to Sweden in the middle of the peak summer season is a bit unrealistic, especially now that airlines are having to factor ever-increasing fuel costs into their ticket prices.

But if I’m reading correctly, it sounds like the price is changing after they go through the hotel options but before they make their final purchase. Although that sounds unethical, it still gives them a chance to bail out before completing their purchase.

Welll, I checked on all the sites in this thread, and the cheapest I could find was $618 on Priceline, for the same Icelandair flight on which Travelocity hiked up the price. I guess I might as well book that one.