Commentary

Not a fan of online travel reservations

Prior to my spring break trip I booked my reservations online. I had always been a skeptic about online reservations in the past, but after witnessing my friend do it with no problems at all, I was finally a believer and vowed to give it a try. So I went to the Greyhound site and completed the necessary information. I submitted my information and I received an ERROR?! I went back and looked over my info just to make sure that I didn't make any silly mistakes. Once again, an error message. I was totally befuddled at this point. I repeated this four more times, but every time I got the same result. By that time, I was infuriated.

My instincts told me to go ahead and call a Greyhound representative to get everything settled. But then I was forced to endure the infamous automated prompt, wasting my precious minutes...GRRR. It took at least 3 minutes until I received an option to speak with a human. After the brief, yet friendly phone call, I found out that I had been charged 5 times and was instructed to talk to my bank to get it cleared. Needless to say, my bank had closed and it was the start of the weekend. It was a nightmare.

I can honestly say that I will never book online travel reservations ever again. Give me a human any day.

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4 comments about "Not a fan of online travel reservations".
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  1. Elliot Benn, March 24, 2008 at 10:16 a.m.

    Melinda- I think he was talking about Greyhound bus lines......:)

  2. Henry Harteveldt, March 24, 2008 at 10:29 a.m.

    I am Forrester Research's VP/Principal Analyst leading our travel industry research.

    Greyhound is the largest US national bus line. What happened to Kenny -- in terms of the repeated errors in the purchase process, his difficulty getting human assistance, and Greyhound's inability (or unwillingness) to cancel the duplicate reservations and refund those -- is inexcusable.

    Sadly, Kenny is not alone. Our research shows growing frustration with online travel and buying. In 2007, we saw, for the first time, a decline in the number of online consumers who said they used the Web to buy leisure travel. 30% of online travelers said they're so frustrated that they'd use a good offline travel agency if they could find one. After reading Kenny's story, it's easy to see why. Even in today's uncertain economy, it's critical that travel sellers maintain efforts to improve their online shopping, purchase, and customer support capabilities.

  3. Darius Banks, March 24, 2008 at 10:58 a.m.

    its easy man. you are behind the times

  4. Mark Laurence from Greater Media, March 24, 2008 at 9:14 p.m.

    Intercity buses are no more an "antiquated mode of transport" than airlines. Why would I pay $300 to go 200 miles on a plane when I could take a Greyhound for less than a third of that price? When you figure the trips to and from the airports, waiting around for security and boarding delays, those 4 hour bus trips are often shorter than flying.

    But there is no advantage to buying your bus ticket online. Unlike airlines, Greyhound charges you extra to mail the ticket or even to pick it up at the ticket counter, after you paid for it online. You don't get a better seat, you don't get on the bus faster, and you do run the risk of online system screw-ups. I don't know why they even offer online ticketing.

    Buy your Greyhound ticket at the ticket counter. You'll get the best deal if you do it 2 weeks or more before you travel.

    And by the way, major airlines' fleets are old. Delta's MD80's, for example, average more than 17 years in service. That's antiquated!

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