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297 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 201506 21-Aug-2016 21:37
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So maybe I've screwed up here and I have sent a nice 'help me please' message to the folks at Air NZ but given they generally take a few days to reply, thought I'd ask it here.

 

Planning a USA vacation for family next year - last big hurrah before the kids all disappear off.  We'll be doing multi stops in several US location using internal flights.

 

Originally booked through to NYC via Houston on the Air NZ website and all was well until I tried to pay for it using Airmiles. No option to use them - been saving them for 3 years !  Eventually had to call the call centre and after lots of attempts it turned out their star alliance partner wouldn't take airpoints.  Was told to use the airpoints for the houston flights only and then book my own internal US transfers  to NYC which I did. I was also told returning from another airport location wasn't an issue either. 

 

Now sorted the bulk of the internal travel and US cities and went to book us one way flights back from San Francisco - Roughly $7000 Kiwi - ouch...

 

Then used same dates and found I can fly out from and return to NZ for roughly $980 Kiwi each way.  That puts the return leg at roughly $4900.  

 

Any ideas why I'm paying an additional $2000 give or take as a result of splitting my arrival and departure ports?  

 

I've not got much choice other than to shop around for other airlines which I'll try but would prefer to use the local carrier.

 

Cheers for your thoughts


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Mad Scientist
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  Reply # 1615349 21-Aug-2016 21:43
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Have you tried booking from the Air NZ US website? One way flights are ?usually cheaper booked from departing country.




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  Reply # 1615374 21-Aug-2016 22:05
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I'll have a look thanks but didn't think you could book flights from countries unless you were resident in them ? Having now interogated the Air NZ website I can see a nice small little box that says make a multistop booking. On the front page so I missed it.


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  Reply # 1615410 22-Aug-2016 07:32
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To sum it up - that's how the airline industry works, and how it's always worked. Explaining why is really beyond a thread here as I don't have half an hour to write a reply!

 

To answer your Airpoints query though, Airpoints can only be used to pay for an Air NZ flight, and this is made pretty clear on the Airpoints site. The one exception is special alliance partners which include VA on routes to Australia as part of the Trans Tasman partnership, and CX to HKG and SQ to SIN which are both special alliances as well. You can book *A reward flights on *A carriers but these incur a booking fee so would potentially be wasted on a US domestic flight.

 

It's probably too late now but you should have booked your Air NZ flight as an open jaw from AKL->IAH and then SFO to AKL on the single ticket/PNR. Booking it as two different fares will always cost more. You may be able to get Air NZ to do this for you for $150 eqach or so depending on what your change fee is. If you're really lucky they might just charge you the $30 per person call centre booking fee.

 

Unless you really understand how airlines and fares work sometimes it's still best to see a good travel agent if you're booking a complex multi stop itinerary. It's not something you can typically do on the Air NZ website. I often book via the Air NZ call centre and simply pay the booking fee once I know my ininerary, but I've normally validated it via GDS first. There are times were I much prefer to have a single PNR, particularly if flights are connecting. Other times I'm happy with booking standalone flights. Often connecting flights on partner airlines booked via Air NZ will cost a lot more than booking direct on their website due to the booking classes used, but sometimes it can be a lot cheaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1615411 22-Aug-2016 07:39
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gedc:

 

I'll have a look thanks but didn't think you could book flights from countries unless you were resident in them ?

 

 

Nope you can use any site you like but need to be aware other sites will also occur the typical 2.5% credit card foreign conversion fee which needs to be factored in if you see a deal that's cheaper.

 

 


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  Reply # 1615453 22-Aug-2016 08:20
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If you have not booked yet, I also suggest you try expedia or skyscanner. I recently booked flights to ChCh via expedia as it was $15 cheaper (per ticket) on same flights as per Air NZ website and JetStar combined ticket. $30 dollars savings might not seem a lot but it's 6% of total flights cost :)





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  Reply # 1615454 22-Aug-2016 08:26
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Thanks all. Re the airpoints for the US leg.  Person at call centre said I could use the airpoints as it was a star alliance partner . After about 10 minutes of typing away on a keyboard she managed to figure the issue out. The star alliance partner had only allocated a small number of seats available for airpoints use and they had been snapped up previously.

 

All good and a lesson learned if nothing else. Thanks again. Fingers crossed it's an admin fee only !


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  Reply # 1615458 22-Aug-2016 08:43
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gedc:

 

Thanks all. Re the airpoints for the US leg.  Person at call centre said I could use the airpoints as it was a star alliance partner . After about 10 minutes of typing away on a keyboard she managed to figure the issue out. The star alliance partner had only allocated a small number of seats available for airpoints use and they had been snapped up previously.

 

All good and a lesson learned if nothing else. Thanks again. Fingers crossed it's an admin fee only !

 

 

Airlines only allocate a small number of seats for *A upgrade and award seats and there is no requirement for airlines to allocate these on every flight. Try and book a *A award seat on Air NZ for example between AKL and LAX/SFO/IAH and you'll find they allocate only economy seats in very small numbers and BP award availability is non existent.


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  Reply # 1615460 22-Aug-2016 08:48
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I just bought a $549 seat to Hong Kong. What they dont tell you when they do the sale is that the return ticket is about $850. So it works out about the same as a lot of the other guys.






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  Reply # 1615464 22-Aug-2016 09:02
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darylblake:

 

I just bought a $549 seat to Hong Kong. What they dont tell you when they do the sale is that the return ticket is about $850. So it works out about the same as a lot of the other guys.

 

 

Return special price is just over $600 and there was plenty of availability when I was looking the other day. There is obviously just no availability on the day you want to travel.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1615466 22-Aug-2016 09:06
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Also often forgotten is that the return journey is frequently more expensive not because of the airline, but government and airport charges - which literally are over half the cost of a Trans-Tasman ticket for example.


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  Reply # 1615469 22-Aug-2016 09:07
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sbiddle:

 

darylblake:

 

I just bought a $549 seat to Hong Kong. What they don't tell you when they do the sale is that the return ticket is about $850. So it works out about the same as a lot of the other guys.

 

 

Return special price is just over $600 and there was plenty of availability when I was looking the other day. There is obviously just no availability on the day you want to travel.

 

 

Yeh I wanted a particular flight, which is why it was more. I could have come back another night, but Im paying quite a bit per night for the hotel I am in, so Id rather have the flight I wanted and get back the day I wanted.






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  Reply # 1615477 22-Aug-2016 09:22
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darylblake:

 

sbiddle:

 

darylblake:

 

I just bought a $549 seat to Hong Kong. What they don't tell you when they do the sale is that the return ticket is about $850. So it works out about the same as a lot of the other guys.

 

 

Return special price is just over $600 and there was plenty of availability when I was looking the other day. There is obviously just no availability on the day you want to travel.

 

 

Yeh I wanted a particular flight, which is why it was more. I could have come back another night, but Im paying quite a bit per night for the hotel I am in, so Id rather have the flight I wanted and get back the day I wanted.

 

 

This is one of the reasons airlines have moved away from advertising fares as "return". As sale availability doesn't always cover every flight, and once a sale booking class sells out it's unlikely they'll allocate additional seats on that flight. By splitting the fares up it gives people the flexibility to pay extra if they want to return on a different day, whereas when both fares are tied together a sale fare won't validate unless you have the required booking class on both sectors to meet the fare rules.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1615517 22-Aug-2016 09:50
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sbiddle:

gedc:


I'll have a look thanks but didn't think you could book flights from countries unless you were resident in them ?



Nope you can use any site you like but need to be aware other sites will also occur the typical 2.5% credit card foreign conversion fee which needs to be factored in if you see a deal that's cheaper.


 



The Ts&Cs that I saw recently for a flight I booked from YVR-AKL said I needed to be a Canadian resident and pay with a CA credit card

AirNZ happily took my money FWIW

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  Reply # 1615520 22-Aug-2016 09:58
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SKYSCANNER FTW!

 

 

 

I just did a big family booking for our Christmas in the UK with a couple weeks in the US for Disney and sightseeing around Vegas/Grand Canyon etc. 3 local Travel agents couldn't beat my online prices and it made a HUGE ($2000) difference if I did Open-jaw/Multi-stop selections in the skyscanner site.

 

 

 

Surprisingly, the cheapest option was to book two different return tickets NZ/US and US/UK (with the US/UK dates inside the NZ/US dates).

 

$2000 is about 20-25% saving on the total amount, so Skyscanner's options to fiddle with my dates and separate my flights myself made the hour or so of fiddling with my options well worthwhile.

 

 


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  Reply # 1621731 2-Sep-2016 23:49
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I  rarely fly both ways on the same airline. There's almost a perfect correlation between the airline with the cheapest flight OUT of NZ having an outrageously expensive flight back to NZ. Fortunately there is alot of choice htese days - our last trip to Asia ended up a combo of Jetstar,  Tiger Air and Scoot. 

 

I see no value at all in using the same airline in both directions unless you get an exceptional return price - and rarely see those advertised anymore. 

 

I've never had a problem buying a ticket which originates outside of NZ - but I have had the credit card company check ocaisionally if that particular airline doesn't fly to NZ - which is good anti-fraud protection. 

 

I use Skyscanner and kiwi.com to check flights and deals - but I always book direct with the airline - if anything goes wrong you don't want to be trying to get Expedia to answer the phone! 





I help authors publish their books - DIYPublishing.co.nz

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