One of the most important parts of booking travel is the price. Most decisions are made based on the price quoted on screen – do I think this is a good deal? Am I prepared to pay this much? We have all been there.

For airlines it is extremely important as pricing is varied depending on demand. This is why flights are more expensive over school holidays compared to a normal working week. Managing this revenue effectively can make or break an airline so what happens when something goes wrong?

Beware The Wrong Price

I trust the web sites I usually book my travel with. I’m familiar with the web site, I know what to expect and I have made many successful transactions over the years. No cause for alarm.

Recently I was looking up flights for a friend and the pricing looked like this.

Excellent! A competitive price for a 3 hour flight on a full service carrier if I ever saw one. The next step, if you’ve ever used a web site, is to click a button to continue.

Scanning across the page, I felt something was not quite right. Looking again, it became clear. The summary price was much more expensive than what was quoted on the initial screen.

You know, I am fine with an error in my favour but this certainly wasn’t. The total price is in fact the total for the next price level up, so it looks like an IT error. What to do?

Remedies? Or not.

Before doing anything else, I checked to ensure the error wasn’t at my end. I tried it on my work computer, home laptop and even the airlines own app on my mobile. The result was identical so the next step was to call the airline.

Call centre staff are an interesting breed. I should know as I used to work in one and loved every second of it. My call was answered and the agent priced up the flights. Interestingly, she quoted a completely different price again. The lowest her system was throwing up was €163 return.

Needless to say she was not interested in doing anything about the web error. Her suggestion? Wait until the next day as something might happen overnight. The whole thing was blamed on a possible error due to someone doing something with a ticket. Double talk!

Shrove Tuesday arrived and lo and behold – no change whatsoever. It makes you wonder just how much this occurs and how many people have unwittingly paid more than they expected. The error could also result in someone deciding to take their business elsewhere.

Overall Thoughts

Usually I would have no reason to really pay any special attention to the price, especially on a web site I use all the time. When using new web sites I generally run a beady eye over everything just to make sure, but on a regular one, not so much. It is quite surprising that this happened and slightly concerning that the staff at the carrier didn’t really seem to give a hoot.

Have you had an experience like this? What happened? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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Featured image by Steinar Engeland via Unsplash. Hand baggage picture via oneworld