The Misery of Booking Trips

Christina Farina and Bettina Aizzi book a flight to Rome. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr.

Sometimes the hardest part of a trip is simply booking it. Finding the best deals, avoiding hidden fees, tracking down a place to print out reservations, and dealing with electronic glitches can be incredibly frustrating.

The NY Times has an article on this issue, Worst Part of a Trip May Be Booking It on the Web. The article notes that while retail and even banking websites have become more user-friendly, travel websites have mostly stayed the same.

From personal experience, I was trying to book a flight from Taipei to Hong Kong on EVA Air. After I filled out the online form, I hit “confirm.” But an error message popped up, saying, “Do not put symbols or numbers in the name box.”  I hadn’t done that!  Finally, I gave up and booked a flight on Cathay Pacific. Their website was much better, you could even choose from a wide variety of in-flight meals and select your seat.

Do you have any horror stories about booking trips? How did you solve the problem?

Posted by | Comments (3)  | August 28, 2009
Category: General, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel News

3 Responses to “The Misery of Booking Trips”

  1. Lauren Says:

    The hidden fees are edging into nightmare. I don’t want to have to pack weeks ahead and weigh my bag to know how much the flight will actually cost. This often makes comparing flight prices near impossible.

    But, there’s one miraculous feature of online booking: no need for paper tickets. My man and I were in Bangkok, and when we tried to renew our visas, we found out that in-country renewals were 1900 Bhat each for only a 1 week extension. Ugh. We quickly hopped into an internet cafe, and booked a cheap flight to Hong Kong for the next morning.

    In the age of paper tickets, we would have paid a huge travel agent fee and needed days notice. So for this reason, airline carrier’s hidden fees and buggy websites haven’t made me hate online booking. Yet.

    I keep telling myself that no matter how inconvenient, it’s never going to be as bad as the buses in Laos (

  2. Says:

    Totally agree that the worst part about traveling can be booking your trip. There are many travel sites on the internet and some of them are “affiliates” of each other. You may think you’re booking with a particular travel site, but you actually book with their “sister” site. It can be confusing. Plus, you could score a better deal if you book with the airline versus using a travel site (you know who they are). Luckily, if you want to cancel a trip because you found a better deal (I’ve done this), the fees you pay are not too bad. It beats paying for a higher ticket.

  3. Fred Sigman Says:

    Sitting on my sailboat in San Diego, I have been trying to book flights in Asia for the Fall through

    No success. Their site will not process my credit card, any credit card. I have read discussion groups where people have said that unless you book through their website from one of the countries listed on their homepage, you cannot book with them.

    Has anyone had this problem and found a way to overcome it?