12 On Your Side: Discount travel websites may collect extra charges

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A discount travel site may seem like the place to get a deal if your purse strings are tight this holiday season. But before you book, make sure you read the fine print.

What may seem like a great steal may end up not being such a great deal after all.

Neilia Trimmingham booked a flight with Expedia a few weeks ago.

"They actually had the best deal, surprisingly," she said.

Unfortunately Trimmingham's trip wasn't for holiday cheer. Her brother died and she needed to get back home. She, her sister and father booked their flights through Expedia.

Her father the first to book and the first to get the call.

"Then a day before he was set to leave, they said it would be an extra $150 on his flight," Trimmingham said.

Expedia said the extra cost was because the airline upped their price. Her father paid it.

Trimmingham and her sister were hesitant to book their own tickets after their father's experience but they say an agent assured them the cost would not go up. They booked, paid and had a confirmation number.

Then, the night before their flight, they received a call from Expedia.

"He told me it's going to be about $1,200 more for our tickets," she said.

Expedia told them each would have to pay around $500 extra.

Expedia sent News 12 this statement:
"... due to change in fare by US Airways, Expedia was unable to ticket at original price ... schedule changes affect all travel companies and situations like this arise in a small percentage of all agencies."

Expedia's terms and use states you should be in "compliance with the supplier's rules and restrictions regarding availability and use of fares."

Needless to say, Trimmingham ended up booking with another site.

If you are planning to use a discount travel site and you are traveling with children, then you need to make sure to pay special attention to the children's policy. A News 12 viewer says she booked with Priceline and was told her 2-year-old could fly for free. She was later charged by the airline for her child.

Age limits vary by airline so you will want to check with the carrier, not the discount travel site, on the policy.

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