Normally when I buy airplane tickets I search using Kayak and then buy the ticket directly from the airline’s website. However, every once in awhile I will use an online travel agency (like Expedia , Travelocity , or Orbitz) to book the flight. Usually I do this only when I have a multi-city itinerary requiring the use of multiple airlines.
But, when we booked our trip to Buenos Aires, Orbitz was giving us the best price. The price was about $100 less per ticket than the airline website’s price — even with taxes and fees. Even though the airline offered a “low fare guarantee,” I did not have the time that day to risk losing the ticket at Orbitz’s price. Plus I was curious to try out Orbitz’s new Price Assurance which will give you a refund if, after you book your ticket, the price drops. The catch is that someone else has to book the same flight using Orbitz. I thought I’d give it a try.
So, I booked the tickets through Orbitz. It was easy enough. I logged into Orbitz once or twice to see if there was any information in the Price Assurance section that would tell me if I could expect a refund. There wasn’t.
In the end, we didn’t get a price assurance refund. It was a very specific route and probability indicates that few other people would have booked this exact route using Orbitz. I’m not even sure that a lower rate would have been found on any search agent, given the (relatively) low prices we got on the tickets.
Moral of the story? I would use Orbitz again if their prices (including fees) were better than I could find elsewhere or it was one of the only was to get the multi-city itinerary I wanted.
The Price Assurance is a plus. But unless you are on a heavily trafficked route (like Chicago to New York), chances are you won’t see a refund.