Over There (in the UK)

October 27, 2000 at 12 PM

One of the grandly hyped

One of the grandly hyped benefits of the Internet is online travel. Sites like Travelocity and Expedia offer you the consumer the chance to sit patiently in front of your screen for hours combing through the endless variety of fares, dates and times offered by the airline industry only to find that the only tickets available are the same regular price tickets you can get at the counter at the airport. Huh? This is progress?

As anyone who's tried to book a fare online can attest, booking on the Web is an exercise in frustration. I have managed to figure out some tricks to make Expedia give me cheap tickets, but only through a convoluted process of finding the lowest possible fares offered and then trying to match an itinerary to them — a rather backwards approach involving endless clicking and page-turning ("Is this ticket available on this date? No? How about this date? No? In January 2006? No...")

My most recent experience was illuminating. I found a flight to Vancouver on Canadi>n/Air Canada in December for $580 tax included, a pretty good deal for the exorbitant holiday season. Mind you, don't ask me to find it again, because I tried, and I can't. I lucked out once. I decided afterwards though, to phone Canadi>n's reservation office by phone. At first the agent gave me a price of $670 as the cheapest she "could possibly find." I told her about my online find. At first she didn't believe me, but after a lengthy session of tapping keys on her computer, announced that, in fact, she could beat the price and get me to Vancouver for $545.

So the Internet was useful in a sense, but I still ended up buying a ticket through a real, live, breathing travel agent. And why not? Why not let someone else do the monotonous job of sifting through reams of slop to find that one gem? That's what they're there for! Yes, their are some nefarious travel agents out there, but ultimately most know how to beat the system better than you or I could ever hope to.

One side note for Canadians looking for cheap fares: lists cheap discount charter flights, books them online, and has recently revamped their interface to be much easier and faster to use. Good on 'em. All that said, a quick check revealed they still couldn't beat my $545 ticket.



Previously: More than you ever wanted

Subsequently: Afternoon! It was a long,

October 2000
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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In Frame

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