We all know that the internet and technology in general makes our lives easier and brings the world closer – into our homes, on our laptops, tablets and even into the palm of our hand on our smart phones. It makes our working lives much easier, enable us to check the weather, football scores and pay bills but probably the biggest single change in recent years is how we shop online – whether it is our groceries, mobile phones or our holidays and travel requirements. There is no need to visit shops or travel agents, no waiting in long queues, now that everything is available with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Buying flight tickets online is no exception and can save you significant time and money as well as enabling you at a glance to compare the best fares on different websites. But with such ease and choice it is all the more important to make sure that the website from which you are buying tickets is genuine and that your money is safe. Here we bring you a few tips that help you to identify trusted and reliable websites where you can book your flights with confidence.
Check the company and website’s history:
With so much choice, it is important to know how long the company has been operating, the longevity of a company gives a good indication of the likely reliability given that companies that last tends to be ones that are trustworthy and provide good customer service. Always check the “about us” page on their website or do a search on the company on the internet. One good resource for this is to visit whois.com and check their registration date which is the date when their domain (site) name was registered. If the company has a long enough history, it is a good indication that it is safe to buy from them.
Check for customer service and support:
After sale services is of course very important because as with any purchase sometimes you might have a problem online and require the assistance of their customer care team. Companies that do not have a telephone number may be one man operations and will not offer the support you need. In addition to this, sometimes a well trained customer representative may be able to find a better fare for you. Check whether the company provides after sales support and if they have 24X7 support. If not, makes sure that it is available in the day time in your time zone.
Check for an ATOL No.:
ATOL (Air Travel Organizers License) is the scheme run by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) which is in place to protect the traveller when buying tickets from travel agents in case of airline failure. If a company holds an ATOL license it can sell flights tickets and hotels legally in the United Kingdom. If you buy your flights tickets from a company that has an ATOL license, you are safe in the knowledge that if the agency fails to provide your tickets, the full amount would be refunded. It also allows for repatriation if you are stuck abroad in case the airline goes bust. It is very important to check that the company or website is ATOL protected and has an ATOL number. For example www.ticketstoindia.co.uk has an ATOL no 5092, so you can book your flights and hotels confidently with them. To check if a company is ATOL protected or not visit www.caa.co.uk and search for a specific ATOL number or company name.
Check Customer Reviews:
There are a number of review websites available these days that will give you a good idea about consumer experiences and the good and bad points of any given company. For example, websites like https://www.trustpilot.co.uk and http://www.reviewcentre.com allow customers to write about their specific experience of a particular company/website from where they have purchased. Reading reviews will give you a good idea about the company’s behavior and service quality and help you to decide if it is a good idea to buy tickets from a particular website.
Compare the Fares:
As with any product, different flight booking websites have different fares so it is always worth comparing fares to ensure that the website you have chosen is giving you the cheapest fare. To compare fares, you can visit various fare comparison websites like skyscanner.co.uk, or cheapflights.co.uk etc. A brief guide to finding the cheapest online fares is available here
Check that your money will be safe when you pay:
These days online financial security is a major concern. When taking payments, websites should provide information on the security measures that they employ so that you can be secure with your purchase. Most sites will use the website protocol “https” rather than just “http” which indicates that the site uses encryption to protect your data and money. In addition, many sites will ask for further verification from the card merchant which provides an additional layer of security. Remember that as inconvenient as it seems, these measures are there to protect your money and your online security.
By following the above tips, you can book you next flights confidently and avoid post booking stress and worries.