So I spent some of this weekend helping my aunt book domestic flights in the U.S. for her and my uncles trip in December/January to catch up with my cousin who’s over there at the moment. The travel agent had quoted a particular price, but based on my travel research last year for the big trip I was sure we could do a fair bit better.

So after doing some searches on we began the adventure of booking the tickets. Except since we wanted to pick seating too, we went through the airline and not as Priceline doesn’t let you specify exact seats.

Now I thought it would be pretty straight forward except for the technology issues we came across. Continental Airlines booking was pretty straight forward, but US Airways and United were a somewhat nightmare effort to get the booking completed. Perhaps coincidental, but maybe not seeing they most likely share the same booking system as they have codesharing agreements.

US Airways has a site where Purchase does not work if you have multiple tabs open to their site. Except they don’t tell you before you buy, only after you click and sit there for ages… so not trusting airline sites when their systems fail (had an experience with Singapore Airlines a few years back), it was time for a Skype call to the US. Another failed attempt later, another phone call deciding to do it over the phone for an extra $25 per passenger… Poo to all the US airlines that charge you extra $$$ for everything – bags, baggage etc! Eventually got those tickets sorted… getting names etc right was funny what with American versus Australian accents…

As for the United booking experience… it tanked as well, but at least when I rang they had record of all passengers and payment details etc so it was on hold and all I had to do was verify some info. And since I had like a another 3 sectors to book I did it over the phone, as since they already had the details correct I didn’t have to freak that they might get the spelling wrong. On the up note at least they didn’t charge any reservation fees like US Airways.

Meh and along the way Verified by Visa… argh I can’t stand it. Read Wikipedia article section on criticism. It looks totally fake/phishing style and it’s a pain to have to enter details + remember yet another password.

A cool thing though in the whole process is Skype is awesome. Freecall US numbers are free to call… so convenient!