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The pitfalls to avoid when reserving your plane for Thailand

The prices of some flights to Thailand are sometimes incredibly low. But pay attention to the clauses when booking, because the offers are sometimes misleading and can end up being expensive

It is always tempting to be seduced by the lowest prices for a plane ticket, whether to go to France, Thailand or elsewhere in the world. Often written in lowercase or hidden in obscure sales conditions, travel clauses are sometimes deliberately misleading and therefore deserve to be deciphered. asked Olivier Rymer, director of the agency Les Voyages d’Angèle, based in Chiang Mai to explain to us why some plane tickets are so inexpensive and why it is important to ask the right questions before Reserve.

Angélique Labrune and Olivier Rymer, founders of the agency Les Voyages d’Angèle based in Chiang Mai. Photo Catherine VANESSE

LEPETITJOURNAL.COM: What explains the price difference for plane tickets?

Olivier Rymer: Overall, the prices of plane tickets have only fallen since the beginning of the appearance of mass tourism and this goes hand in hand with a drop in the services associated with a plane ticket: quantity of luggage, the ticket is it cancellable, changeable, refundable, etc.

Today, when you buy a plane ticket, you have to take the time to look at the conditions, which is not always easy, in order to know if your flight can for example be canceled or modified. If so, with what penalty? Often it is cheaper to buy a new plane ticket than to change the dates of departures or arrivals.

According to the resellers, some services are unchecked. For example, there is no obligation to warn passengers of changes in the hours of their return flight, it is up to the traveler to obtain their information and check.

I have already had clients who had bought their plane tickets themselves, they had to do Phuket – Bangkok – Paris, except that their plane departed from Bangkok for Paris had already taken off when they arrived from Phuket. They had no choice but to buy a simple flight, at the last moment, at an airport. These three conditions are the worst for buying a plane ticket, in the end they paid more than a round trip in the Business category! They could have avoided this charge by booking on another website.

Often, travelers don’t notice these differences in terms of sale because the flight is going well and they don’t see why they should pay more. On the other hand, as soon as there is a problem, it necessarily has a cost.

Therefore, is it better to go through the sites recommended by the flight comparators or the sites of the airlines?

There are several answers because not all sites are created equal. Comparators like Skyscanner work very well, they allow you to have an idea of ​​prices and then they refer to other sites: GoVoyage, Kayak, Gotogate. The latter is one of the cheapest sites, but it is also the one with the least services and they are nowhere to be found! On their website, there is no phone number or address of the headquarters. This is information to check before booking a flight, because at the slightest problem, it means that they will not be reachable. Other sites even charge for the service to access a Hotline in the event of a problem.

Besides that, there are airline ticket sites that have an office and an address in France, with a phone number. Option Way is a travel agency subject to French regulations and registered with the IATA (International Air Transport Association), at the slightest problem, they have the obligation to respond.

For me, it is important to compare via comparison platforms, the sites they recommend and the airlines in order to see what services are offered. Airlines usually put next to the cheapest fare, other options including cancellation, extra baggage, etc.

Do you see a trend not to include baggage in bookings?

There are indeed sites that sell tickets for long haul flights without checked baggage! And here too, you have to be careful because it is not always clearly displayed at the time of booking.

Air France, Swiss Air or even Lufthansa practice this policy of not including baggage. So people book their tickets thinking that it includes suitcases and when they arrive at boarding they are sent to another counter where they have to pay an extra charge of around 100 euros for 20 kilos of luggage.

Today, the public is more aware of this practice which has become widespread. They understand because they have paid the price, because their neighbour, their friend or themselves have been had!

No possibility of cancellation, no warning in the event of a change in flight schedules and no luggage, this is what makes plane tickets cheaper on one site compared to another. Yes it’s the same flight, but it’s not the same plane ticket.

Does travel insurance cover some of these inconveniences?

In terms of plane tickets, you should check with your insurance. Often, travel insurance covers the service on site and excludes international flights. Some websites offer flight insurance when booking tickets, such as OptionWay. However, this insurance must be purchased at the time of booking, it is impossible to do so later. So at the time of purchase, you have to think about it.

What should be taken into account when booking a plane ticket from Thailand or to travel to Thailand at the moment?

In some international airports in Thailand such as Chiang Mai, immigration services are no longer the same. When you book a Chiang Mai – Paris itinerary, you have to go through Bangkok and therefore go through immigration in Bangkok and no longer in Chiang Mai. Before the Covid-19 epidemic, a 2-hour stopover in Bangkok was more than enough, today, it is better to plan 3 or 3.5 hours.

This scenario is linked to the current regulations. Gradually, things should change and return to normal.

There are also other concerns. At the moment, when flying with Thai Airways, regional connections are provided by Thai Smile, although it is the same group, it is not the same company and there may be differences between both flights. For example, if you buy a business class ticket Paris – Phuket with a connection in Phuket, the connection will be provided by Thai Smile which does not have business class. In terms of comfort it’s not too bad yet, but it’s not what you have chosen and paid for. In addition, between Paris and Bangkok you are entitled to 35 kilos of luggage while you can only have 20 kilos between Bangkok and Phuket.

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