Find out which portal offers the best deals
High potential for savingsFlights that need just a few clicks to complete the booking offer the best prices. The survey revealed that customers can save about 25 percent by selecting the right portal, perhaps as much as 34.9 percent for European flights. According to Bianca Möller, Managing Director of DISQ, the price comparisons are especially noticeable for expensive long-haul flights; for instance, the Frankfurt-New York flight, which showed a difference of nearly 100 Euros among the different portals.
Although the online portals are legally obliged to display the total price, there have been instances where the booking prices increase as one progresses further into the booking process. This comes in the form of sudden fare changes or additional costs.
While online portals offer free payment facilities, one often needs a special (and unusual) credit card to use it. As a result, some customers are forced to use other conventional payment methods like other credit cards or cash, and these may cause them to incur drastic monetary penalties, said Möller.
He cited the example of the cheapest Hamburg-London-Hamburg route in early October, which starts at 94 Euros per person. On the booking page, the price is already 98.88 Euros if payment is made via a MasterCard Gold Flight portal. However, if the customer pays via Visa, the price is 130.84 Euros. Hence, the initial advertised price would have increased by almost 40 percent.
A considerable performance gap also exists among the different flights, reflected in the overall results. Only one of the airline portals has achieved the quality rating of “Very Good”, while seven of the portals were rated “Satisfactory”. On the other end of the scale, two other portals only received a “Sufficient” rating.
The top three portalsThe top portal is Flugladen.de, which achieved a “Very Good” rating. It has the best website and offers the best deals for air travel. Any necessary price increase is clearly shown during the booking process. It also offers a free payment option (direct bank transfer), and scores “Very Good” in the price analysis, with eight out of ten routes being the cheapest in the survey.
Bravofly.de is in second place, with the quality rating of “Good”. Its relatively attractive prices, which are invariably lower than the rest of the portals analysed. The portal also scores high with its extensive flight and travel information, which includes details on the baggage and cancellation terms of individual airlines. Its website is rated as “satisfactory”.
In all, the German Institute for Service Quality surveyed twelve major online portals that offered direct flight bookings. The service quality was calculated based on a detailed content analysis of the site and the booking process. In addition, the internet analysis focused on the portal’s informational value, ease of use, price transparency and security. Another aspect of the analysis included the evaluation of ten specific flights (short-haul, medium-haul and long-haul), based on a set of predefined criteria. The prices in the survey were collected on 4th, 7th and 12th August 2015.
Source: German Institute for Service Quality, on behalf of n-tv