CAMPAIGN DIRECT: SHOPPING WITH CAMPAIGN - Internet flight booking/In the series in which Direct editor, Eleanor Trickett, pits rival companies against each other, she decides that it’s time for a romantic break in Prague, acquired via the web

Sigh - I need a holiday. Everyone keeps telling me that Prague is the place to go, so it’s on the internet I hop.

Sigh - I need a holiday. Everyone keeps telling me that Prague is

the place to go, so it’s on the internet I hop.



EasyJet first - ’the web’s favourite airline’ (geddit?). The front page

was straightforward, and I decided to view a few of the information bits

before I tried to book. I discovered that I save one whole pound by

booking over the internet and, having had the fare structure explained

to me, I clicked on ’reservations’.



Ah. EasyJet doesn’t actually go to Prague. I didn’t pay attention to the

advertising - but it’s a nifty site anyhow.



So the Prague flights I’ve seen advertised must have been from Go

(www.go-fly.com). What a pretty site! Elegant, yet incredibly

informative. And the first words that flash up on the front page?

’Prague for pounds 100 return.’ Perfect.



Once I’ve had the five types of fare explained, however, I’m told no

flight is available when I want to travel.



I try for the following weekend and am offered a ’flexible’ fare (the

most expensive). But scrolling down, I find that only one outbound

flight is available - so do I go alone, then? Scrolling further, it

appears that there is no return flight available and I’m offered no

alternative. Sorry, Campaign, I’m moving to Prague.



OK, forget the airlines, let’s go to the online travel agents. I

remember a colleague waxing lyrical about www.flightbookers.com, so I

gave it a try.



My computer didn’t like that one and it crashed (not a good omen). I

tried again ... crash. OK, I’m superstitious. Third time lucky? Nope.

Crashed again.



On the fourth attempt, the site sprang to life. I entered my query and

it gave me four options, the cheapest, at pounds 132, was British

Midland. It seemed like a flexible fare as well, so if I am beguiled by

the place, I can stay a while. Let’s do it.



Unfortunately, the reservation system was ’temporarily down’. Sigh.



Back to my internet search engine. As I hit the ’travel’ section, a BA

banner ad proclaimed ’easier online booking’. It certainly seemed simple

enough once I entered the site, but as I submitted my query it sternly

admonished me for making ’several errors’. Goodness - I do

apologise.



Tried again: success. The price? pounds 539.20. Eek! OK, that’s for two,

but it’s still pounds 269.60 each.



Flightbookers may have pipped the others on price and options, but the

site was slow and tricky, with no way of checking availability while the

system was down. So perhaps I should be more flexible with my timing and

go back to the lovely Go site.



Now the problem is: who do I Go with?



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