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Rules for booking OS travel


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#1 FluffyOscar

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

We're in the process of getting our holiday organised. We're looking at 3 weeks in Canada to visit DH's family and a week in New York. I want to book our tickets now for travel in December/January, but only DH and I have our passports.
  • Can I book tickets for the 4 of us, even though the girls won't have their passports yet?
  • Do I just leave a deposit on the airfares? How long do I have to pay for the tickets in full?
  • What level of flexibility can I expect with a ticket bought in Feb? What if something happens in March and we need to re-schedule?
  • If we would like to go at the end of the year, have I left it too late?
  • Do I just go to a travel agent? We will need transfers and accommodation and travel across the border to Toronto (train?) - will a travel agent organise all of this for us?

Thanks for any help. I haven't travelled in around 10 years, and then I would just book everything myself over the net (such as it was at the time!).

Edited by FluffyOscar, 24 February 2013 - 01:16 PM.


#2 Madeline's Mum

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

Hi,

You'll need the children's passports to book the tickets. For international fares they take your passport number at the time of booking. You'll also need to get ESTA visas for you and your husband (possibly children depending on age). Be careful of fake sites, they are only $14 each but fake sites will charge about $40.

You need to pay the balance of the flights within about 24 hours if you book them yourself, it might be different if you do it via a travel agent but I would never use an agent, I think you can do it all yourself these days.

Depending on airline, they'll charge between $200-500 to change the flights.

Definitely not, you can't book a flight more than 12 months in advance so now's a great time.

Like I said, I wouldn't use a travel agent, I reckon you can do it all yourself, but if you're worried about go with an agent.

New York that time of year will be pretty busy so I would book accom ASAP once I knew my flight details.

Have fun original.gif

#3 blackcat20

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE (Madeline's Mum @ 24/02/2013, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Depending on airline, they'll charge between $200-500 to change the flights.


There will be a change fee, plus any fare difference between what you paid and what is available.
I didn't need my passport to book, but you do need to fill in that info (at least on the Qantas website) before you travel.

#4 Jo_P

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

Are there sale airfares now for Dec/Jan? If not I'd wait until they go on sale, generally it's about 6 months beforehand.
You can purchase flexible airfares but they cost so much more then the sale fares that it's not even worth it most of the time, normally you just pay a change fee (around $200 pp I think) and then the difference in the airfare cost.
You can definitely book everything yourself, and from experience we've found booking ourselves a better option as USA hotels have really good cancellation policies with no fees if you cancel some even to 24hrs before check in, whereas a travel agent will charge you a fee whenever you cancel or change.
Pop on over to the USA travel thread if you want to ask all the ladies in there more questions original.gif


#5 eachschoolholidays

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

QUOTE (Madeline's Mum @ 24/02/2013, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You'll need the children's passports to book the tickets. For international fares they take your passport number at the time of booking. You'll also need to get ESTA visas for you and your husband (possibly children depending on age). Be careful of fake sites, they are only $14 each but fake sites will charge about $40.


This is not correct - not all airlines / agents collect passport numbers.  We booked flights for both DD and DS before we had their passports (in 2011 and 2009).  Don't book before a child is born though as you do need a date of birth!!

In terms of cancellation / reschedule fees, the more discounted the ticket is, the more you are likely to be charged.  In some cases, all you may receive back is the taxes.  I would not book until I was 100% of my dates.  If you are committed to booking but want the ability to change you flights, book a fully flexible fare.

Most airlines haven't released their Dec/Jan specials yet - I know 'cause I am waiting for them!!

#6 FeralBob!

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

I've never had to provide passport details at the time of booking, just had to make sure I provide them before we get the tickets.

#7 naturalgoodness

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

You can book before birth, you just give your EDD as the date and when they are born you contact the airline and they will update the record free of charge (we have booked o/s tickets for our yet to be born baby).

In addition, the specials are never as good for peak period travel as others. If you can get a price that you are happy with now, on the dates you want I would suggest taking them to make sure you are not disappointed later original.gif

#8 lamarque

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:36 PM

[*] Can I book tickets for the 4 of us, even though the girls won't have their passports yet?

Yes you can.  Have never had to provide passport numbers at time of booking.

[*] Do I just leave a deposit on the airfares? How long do I have to pay for the tickets in full?

If you book your flights yourself you generally have to pay immediately or within three days I think if booking with Qantas.  A travel agent I spoke with said sometimes they can push it out to seven days.

[*] What level of flexibility can I expect with a ticket bought in Feb? What if something happens in March and we need to re-schedule?

Generally you pay a bit more for flexibility.  You'll have to read the fine print when booking as each fare is different.  

[*] If we would like to go at the end of the year, have I left it too late?

Probably not but if you're thinking of New York - I would start looking at accommodation as I'm sure the Christmas / New Year period would get busy.

[*] Do I just go to a travel agent? We will need transfers and accommodation and travel across the border to Toronto (train?) - will a travel agent organise all of this for us?

We went to the travel expo and booked our flights to the US.  I've pretty much arranged the rest myself (accommodation and transfers) as the loading from the agent was just crazy.  They got a great deal at one place that I couldn't beat so I went with them on that.  

The US thread is great for tips on transfer companies and accommodation etc.   original.gif


#9 whale-woman

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:47 PM

QUOTE (nlman @ 24/02/2013, 03:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is not correct - not all airlines / agents collect passport numbers.  We booked flights for both DD and DS before we had their passports (in 2011 and 2009).  Don't book before a child is born though as you do need a date of birth!!


For unborn babies just book your tickets and when then bub is born call the airline and add the bubs name to the ticket.

#10 B.feral3

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

I worked an an international travel agent for 6 years.

We tend to get longer ticketing time limits that what you can get online.

Internet based airlines such as Virgin, Air Asia are instant purchase and seats cannot be held. Qantas tend to be really inflexible and must be paid within a few days of holding seats. Other airlines we can hold seats for months... sometimes the ticketing time limit is not til 30 days prior to departure. This does vary and sale fares can often require payment withint 30 days, 60 days, by end of that month etc. There is no real hard and fast rule for any one airlines as the fare basis of the fare you are booking can be more or less restrictive.

You don't do yourself a disservice booking though a travel agent. They match internet prices anyway costing you no more.

December is peak season so I wouldn't be waiting for a sale personally. You might not get one. You've missed the early birds now by a few months.

Oh, and I've booked plenty of unborn babies in my time. We just add the details at a later date. We also don't need passports to book a fare. That may be different if you book directly online. I can't vouch for that system.

#11 FluffyOscar

Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

Thanks everyone. Will call travel agent I think. Sounds complicated  smile1.gif

#12 adl

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

Actually there is some incorrect information here,

  QANTAS has a book now pay later facility, I know because I used it on our December overseas flights that I booked in September...... And I just checked their website, under flights on the left drop down menu...I knew the dates I wanted but I didn't exactly want to pay that month the flights for a number of reasons...it worked out really well...

You may wish to check out other major airlines as well...the discount airlines won't,

With passport applications, if you follow it precisely it took me about 2 weeks from lodgement to get DS's and basically I got lucky with the photos as randomly chose a place that knew how to take passport photos of a baby!!!

Also the visa process through ETSA was surprisingly simple, and yes beware of fakes....also Tripadvisor is great for accommodation etc, handy hints from others

I book all our travel myself, and found I got the best rates going directly... The last time I attempted a travel agent it wasn't the best, they took forever to get back to us, gave us incorrect info that we couldn't do any boat trips in Hawaii with our son....insurance you know was all poppycock.... They are very accommodating and we did squeeze one day trip in!

I say get surfing and have some fun !!

#13 adl

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

Triple

Edited by adl, 27 February 2013 - 09:06 PM.


#14 adl

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

Dp

Edited by adl, 27 February 2013 - 09:05 PM.


#15 Sal78

Posted 02 March 2013 - 06:19 AM

you don't need your passport to book tickets. only when u travel.

I bought flights for my twins online even before they were born. we decided on their names before they were born and def could not change it since i already bought the flights for travel when they would be around 9 mths old.

When u get the passport you can call the airline to give them the details if u wish.

#16 MegzG

Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:31 AM

i booked tickets online for Vanuatu last year, did not have to provide passport numbers. i booked about 2 weeks before travel.




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