Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Traveling? Click to Continue

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand

Between the plethora of online booking agencies and airline websites, travel consumers have never had so many choices at their fingertips. But is so much choice too much? When dozens of options pop up on your screen, how do you navigate them all, and who do you talk to when a complication arises? When you need a refund? For those still bewildered by all that information hitting you at once, here are some navigating tips — and the notion that maybe the traditional travel agent isn’t so bad after all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

plane flyingSince the introduction of the first online booking agencies in the late 1990s, do-it-yourself flight arrangements have become so popular that today, online travel bookings represent a full third of worldwide travel business.

And indeed, the big names, such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz, are billion-dollar business. Expedia inc. sites have over 54 million visits a month and quarterly revenue of $1 billion. Orbitz hosts 1.5 million flight searches and a million hotel searches a day. One of the most compelling features of online booking is the control the customer assumes he has, as well as the convenience.

“We’ve spun around the screen so you’re the one sitting in front of it. You’re the one in control,” says Jill Lloyd, senior PR manager for Expedia.

If you’re even just a little computer proficient, you can find a flight that suits you, book it on the spot, choose your seat, order special meals, and print out your own e-ticket, all in the comfort of your own home. For many hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers, the online booking process is smooth and simple.

But for many others, it’s not as easy as pushing a few buttons. Not everyone is so computer savvy — and even those who are have to deal with the fact that neither computers nor the people who use them are infallible.

“Do you know how many people who book over the Internet book themselves on the wrong date?” asks Esther Salomon, senior travel consultant at Zion Tours, Israel’s largest American-owned travel agency. “People make lots of mistakes in booking — dates, connections, etc. — because they’re not so familiar with the technicalities. And it winds up costing them a lot.”



To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”