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Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

Denmark
Level Contributor
84 posts
10 reviews
Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

Hi guys when reading this forum i often come upon people recommending to book at the airline directly instead of trough a OTA. I was thinking if there is some sort of cultural difference between US where many posters are from and Europe (Denmark) where i’m from. Personally i have been using OTA’s almost exclusively the last 13-15 years, as the offline agencies always have shown to be way more expensive and the airlines even more so (this has gotten better in recent years, now airlines are only 10-15% more expensive).

I know that many of the OTA’s have very bad review on review sites, but when you read them most seem to be related to the fact that people dont understand what they bought or they do not pay attention to the costs that are added (not really a problem in Denmark as they have to show all costs).

So are there any other reason for this intense dislike for saving money, because in at least 9 out of 10 cases the OTA seem to be a cheaper than the airline directly.

London, United...
Level Contributor
2,777 posts
330 reviews
1. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

"So are there any other reason for this intense dislike for saving money, because in at least 9 out of 10 cases the OTA seem to be a cheaper than the airline directly."

Not true at all, based on the sample of complaints against OTAs on this forum - it may be that people do not understand or notice extra charges, or that the final fare will be higher - but I'd say that the overwhelming majority of price-related posts about OTAs involve people ending up paying more than the airline price.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
22,889 posts
36 reviews
2. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

I've never found OTAs to be significantly cheaper and having a middleman between me and the supplier adds no value in my opinion.

OTAs are quick to sell you a ticket but if you need to sort something out following a schedule change or cancellation you'll find in most cases their after sales service is very poor.

When booking direct with the airlines you know the price you see is the price you pay which isn't the case with many OTAs - the stories of them coming back asking for more money or even cancelling the "booking" are numerous.

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds, Bradford
Level Contributor
23,798 posts
377 reviews
3. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

People are free to use whoever they wish to book tickets, but using an OTA you have to understand what you are buying. Often there are no live prices so the price you see on screen isn't what you end up paying. And when you require a change why have the hassle of having to go through an extra link in the chain (with additional charges). When booking direct with the airline means you are then in direct contact with who you have booked with.

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds, Bradford
Level Contributor
23,798 posts
377 reviews
4. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

Just to add, withing a few minutes of you creating this thread there has been two different posts on separate threads lambasting a couple of different OTA's; one with an impossible connection and another who has a second duplicate booking. That wouldn't happen when you're booking direct with the airline.

Macau, China
Level Contributor
7,140 posts
21 reviews
5. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

Good things do not go out; bad things spread thousands of miles. People tend to share negative experiences but not the positive one, making the image of OTA being worse and worse...

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
10,299 posts
149 reviews
6. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

OP, which agencies are you using? There are the old established ones that can work out well and are able to access cheaper fares. Then there are all the others, edreams, Bravofly etc, who don't have live fares and use a bait and switch technique. So its important to know where you are buying from. I would not call most OTAs all they are are ticket resellers.

Even fares from the such as Expedia may sell you even more restrictive fares than direct from the airline, less FF points, difficulty booking seats etc. It's important to compare like with like. Booking direct at least means you deal directly with the airline if there are problems.

Do tell us who you book with?

UK
Level Contributor
9,165 posts
26 reviews
7. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

The OP is in Denmark - the Danish market may be different from the UK market.

I use Expedia if it saves me a lot of money - as is sometimes the case with long-haul Business Class fares (klm.com - £3000. Expedia - £2000. No brainer!) If it's a case of saving £10 on a short-haul ticket I'd rather pay the extra £10 and book with the airline because that makes me the airline's customer rather than Expedia's which means I can deal with the airline direct if there are any issues.

Denmark
Level Contributor
84 posts
10 reviews
8. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

Hi guys, thanks for your fast replies, i understand what most of you are saying, there might be limitations in the tickets you buy from a OTA compared to the ones you buy from the airline directly. But are those limitations worth the extra money? Well if you are a frequent flyer and collect miles or change the flights often. Then i agree book with the airline directly or a busniess travel agency that offer better service. Also when traveling with low cost carriers i d perfer to book directly as they have so many adons that can be hard to get trough a OTA.

But if you are like the wast majority of people you might fly 1-3 times a year and not accumulate any significant number of bonus miles. Also most people i know might be flexible in the day they travel, at the time of booking, but once booked they dont change it. So that leads me back to people not understanding what they bought.

Regarding the hidden costs i do agree that booking trough american and UK sites is a bit of a hassel as they have a tendency not to show the complete fare. However i use momondo.dk and since the laws in denmark says that complete fare must be shown i get a quick overview. Right now i’m looking af tickets for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas /Los Angeles and for example an economy ticket on BA was 40$ cheaper trough a OTA than at BA. I agree 40$ is not that much but i also seen way bigger diffrences, especially to asia where the airlines dont offer so good prices on their website.

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
45,290 posts
80 reviews
9. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

People don't hate OTA's on here, they hate bad OTA's like Cheapoair and especially Edreams. I would have no issue booking through Expedia but only if it saved me enough money to justify the extra layer of admin between me and the airline.

If something goes wrong e.g. flights are cancelled for weather delays and have to be re-booked then the airline will direct you to the booking agent whereas if you book direct with them they can sort it out at a ticket office in the airport.

This has happened to me at SChiphol with KLM before and there are many examples on this forum of the same.

Hey it is your money so if OTA's are your thing then go for it.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
16,105 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: Why do so many people ”hate” OTA’s here?

There's nothing wrong with booking from a 3rd party as long as one understands the downsides of doing so (which most people don't). I don't agree that 3rd party sites are invariably cheaper than booking direct. I rarely find there's a difference.