Biggest gripe about India- the UK bucket shop

#1 Mar 20th, 2007, 19:07
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#1
It was my first safe guard and easiest- perhaps most enjoyable part of the booking procedure to have looked at BA flights online 3 calender months ahead of the planned trip. I had heard that flights are much cheaper outside of the time window, so I planned my flights and watched for any changes in price until I was also ready to book the rest of the tour and hotels.

I used a Wembley based compnay whose offices told me 'no'- when I did visit on one midweek day- the day I got my visa, so popping in during the lunchtime Visa office closure hour my visit to SEDL or SD Enterprises http://www.indiarail.co.uk t/a SD Air Enterprises. The offices I realised on seeing India later, were very much the budget standard, drab and gloomy looking type. beware this is a bucket shop, who care more about JETAIR flights than train travel. THEY APPEAR GREAT ONLINE, CARING FOR TRAIN TRAVELLERS AND SO ON, BUT THE SERVICE IS GRIM. However I thought because I was able to do most of the booking online and by telephone with them, my arrangements were quite bespoken by myself; it did not matter and gave me a better price, at least my train tickets- I WOULD NOT TRUST THEM AGAIN AS SO CALLED 'RAIL AGENTS IN THE UK'
They offered me the opportunity to either book my own flight or have them do it. Well, on the day I wanted to go ahead, I settled for them, doing it for me online with BA- so I thought, since I handed over our proposal and details, I thought that they might see the flight I wanted and be able to bargain a better rate as a tour operator, at least do what i would have.
It seems the flight with BA (such a simple matter with the online booking procedure-highly recommended as it later transpired I had to change the booking because of the strikes) which should have cost me 381 return on the second last day of the month, was not to be.
Two days later I was called by the tour operator and told they could not get the ticket at that price I had had, and had held ticket anyhow at a greater price of 50 (another 100 for 2) and asked if I would be interested still, or told I could do it myself. I checked online, note: this is 2 days after my request and indeeed it did cost more; we were now in the new month of course.
The operator admitted holding her booking the day before- but did not call me, why ? She waited until the new calender month to call, 2 days later!
I had to agree because of the dates we had chosen for our tour by then, costing an extra 100.
I recieved an email confirmation of the flight booking and it did not show the price. I could not obtain the price in writing anywhere. There was no record of it on my e-ticket; which had in fact been booked through ANOTHER tour operator, who do a whole set of different India tours- surely I thought costs are being incurred here- and for what? Where was the proof that my ticket cost even the extra 50.
When I was at the airport on departure the BA ticketing desk told me the cost of the ticket was 381- There, I was shafted by the tour company who used another booking firm to hide the facts and each pocketed 25 I suppose, per ticket.
I was lied to and there came a complete denial and insult about our choice to have used the SD Enterprise company in the first place -If we didn't like their attitude she wrote why did we bother them! An attitude which mixes Indian business with the City of London.
No thanks.
#2 Mar 20th, 2007, 19:23
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  • moo is offline
#2
Which brings to mind that old-school phrase 'If you want it doing properly, do it yourself' (if only it was always true). I booked with BA online and it was simple beyond my wildest dreams, just one problem though - during the 'strike' period they locked us out of the website and were only re-scheduling flights for travel agencies, luckily an agent helped us out and didn't charge us the 25 fee . . .
#3 Mar 20th, 2007, 20:04
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#3
Some travel agents, especially the Indian ones in Indian areas used to be able to give very worthwhile discounts on air tickets.

My experience of the last couple of years is that the BA site is as cheap if not cheaper than the agents.

Is the agent obliged to sell at the BA price? I don't know that they are. BA do offers that may not be available through agents...

What surprises me is that the agents that you chose to use did not give you the prices, off the computer, with availability, at the very first. Perhaps they are not BA agents.
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#4 Mar 20th, 2007, 20:13
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I flew with B.A. the week before christmas when all direct flights were around 600+ but i managed to get it for 421 through Expedia i checked the same flight on B.A.s site & it was 620.What the Indian bucket shops tend to do is take your booking & money then put your seats on reserve, they don't have to confirm until about 2-3wks before the flight, this way they get to play with your money for a while, in your case you didn't pay but they reserved it for you anyway, then when you confirmed 2 days later & they saw the price had increased they saw an opportunity to make a few extra bucks & took it. KK
#5 Mar 20th, 2007, 20:39
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post then when you confirmed 2 days later & they saw the price had increased they saw an opportunity to make a few extra bucks & took it. KK
I anticipated that the price would increase in the new month and asked the agent to book right away. That was 2 days before they rang to say it had gone up; which was not true (BA showed me the price paid later)- and why did they not call when she said she had held the ticket, on the day in between, to tell me?

That is why the term bucket shop is so appropriate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucket_shop Applied to tour operators, creaming from someone's train of thought the risk of disappointment; i would like to add.

Where the hole came from showed itself to be within BA, convincing and good as the service online is, the leeky bucket of cheap airline competition proved that even before I left BA, were having a last minute sale; which could have saved my lost 100, but then I was beeing hit by the strike too. That came to good however, an extra day than as planned originally, and free ticket change to econonmy ticket, although indeed lock-out from online check-in. This is the way forward, and I don't really see it as economising. My view on aircost is that it should be kept high, to keep up standards.
#6 Mar 20th, 2007, 21:13
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#6
I'm afraid I don't regard BA's standards as high.

As it is the only airline to fly direct between the two cities in my life I have not tried any other for the past three years, but food, service, etc is not what it was.

Now they are clamping down on baggage. Oh well, at least I don't have to fly very often these days...

Just about to cancel my currently-held return half of a BA ticket. They won't let me change the return date to more than a year after the outward date. I'm not grumbling, really: they have to draw the line on validity somewhere, and a single would have cost three times as much!
#7 Mar 20th, 2007, 23:38
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#7
The first half of your post makes absolutely no sense to me, you seem to be having 3 conversations with yourself all at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leopd View Post I WOULD NOT TRUST THEM AGAIN AS SO CALLED 'RAIL AGENTS IN THE UK'
They made their reputation as the 'Rail Agents in the UK', so I expect you to back-up the above statements with some facts to do with rail bookings.

The man (they have a staff of two, occasionally 3) has a knowledge of Indian Railways like no other I'm ever likely to meet.

There offices are not smart, there are a very small and VERY busy company, they are not the most polite either, they absolutely don't suffer fools (that's not a dig at you, I've used this sentence many times about this company), they are very busy and have no time for people changing their minds, or questioning their advised routes.

I can't remember how many Indrail passes they sell each year, but it's in the 100,000's range, so again, please give more specific reasons why you say they don't care about rail sales.

This kind of post is unfair; we are getting only one side of the argument.

Do travel agents benefit from an airline sale? I thought travel agents pre-booked clusters of tickets.
#8 Mar 20th, 2007, 23:59
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post The first half of your post makes absolutely no sense to me, you seem to be having 3 conversations with yourself all at the same time.
the whole post did not make sense to me. But, figured out a little bit after reading thr replies (I assume they understood the OP)

IMHO, the BA website offers deals on BA flights that are cheaper than any other internet sites or travel agents. The past two years, I have booked through the BA website for LAX to BLR. My only complaint is that they don't give an BA miles on the cheap fares and gave only 25% of the miles (on my American Airlines FF number) but never mentioned that any where on their website. I think I'll be flying Lufthansa this year.
Last edited by crvlvr; Mar 21st, 2007 at 01:17..
#9 Mar 21st, 2007, 00:27
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#9
I understood that the OP felt he had been overcharged for a BA ticket.

But I don't think that any agent is obliged to sell for the same or less than BA.

I also think that the OP should have agreed the price before agreeing to buy the ticket.
#10 Mar 21st, 2007, 00:47
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#10
I went into a Bangladesh airline office (Biman Air I think) a couple of years ago to ask about the price of a flight too Dhaka, I was quoted about 600, when I said that I could book it on the net, through an agent for 420 the assistant said "Thats right"

He went on to explain that these agents/companies block book loads of seats in advance at a set price, the gamble for the agent is that they must sell the seats.
#11 Mar 21st, 2007, 02:59
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post The first half of your post makes absolutely no sense to me, you seem to be having 3 conversations with yourself all at the same time.
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#12 Mar 23rd, 2007, 01:06
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#12
I just flew to and from India on BA and in my opinion they were pretty poor. I used to be a travel consultant so have flown on quite a few airlines, and BA are near the bottom of the pile for me.

Food awful (and I'm not even fussy!) and seats cramped. At least they were good with the gins!

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