01.06.2021

Is it safe to book flights through a third-party travel site?

More and more people use flight search sites looking for cheap flights.

They allow you to compare the prices, and most importantly — help you to find great deals. However, booking a flight through a third-party website always comes with certain risks. It’s important to understand those risks, and know how these things work, how flight search engines work. So, you know also what to do if something doesn’t go as planned.

Who’s gonna be held responsible if something goes wrong?

What if your flight gets cancelled or is heavily delayed?

Laptop on the table

Booking flights through third-party travel sites

You have found a great deal.

You want to book the flight, but the flight search engine takes you to some other page you don’t recognise. Either you notice that or not, but that’s how it works in most of the situations. Flight search engines such as Momondo, Kayak or Skyscanner are just flight search engines that take you to other booking sites.

They themselves don’t sell flights.

They also don’t take any responsibility if there are problems with a flight.

While you may trust a particular flight search website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can trust all third-party travel sites selling cheap flights. Booking flights via third-party websites comes with certain risks.

So, remember this — do your research first. Firstly, find out if the travel site in question is trustworthy. Secondly, find out if there’s a booking fee, and what are the conditions in case you wish to change or cancel your flight. Find out also what happens if the flight is cancelled or delayed.

Finnair airplane at the airport

What if your flight gets cancelled or delayed?

Who’s gonna be held responsible?

As long as the flight falls under the EU flight compensation regulation, you still have a right to care, and you may also be entitled to EU flight cancellation compensation / EU flight delay compensation, when that happens. For this it doesn’t matter how did you book a flight.

However, if you want to change something it may get complicated.

Your flight is cancelled, delayed or you want to change something.

First, contact the third-party ticket seller you’ve booked your flights from. Maybe they have a solution, and will be able to help you. If you can’t find a way to contact them, or they are not cooperating, contact the airline you’re flying with.

Sometimes it will work out just fine, other times — not so much, as you may be asked to deal through the company you booked the flight from.

Most of third-party ticket sellers are putting all the responsibility on you in case there are problems with your flight, and you want to make some changes. Apart from that, the changes may also cost you much more than if done directly through the airline. It’s better not to expect assistance from the third-party ticket seller. Not all of them are professional and willing to help in case of flight disruptions and other problems.

That’s the biggest inconvenience with these sellers.

Other possible inconveniences:

  • Getting a refund may take "forever";
  • Making changes costs more than directly;
  • Booking additional luggage may be more expensive;
  • There might be additional booking fees or card processing fees;
  • You may also not be notified of changes or updates. When booking directly from the airline, they keep you informed about all the changes to your itinerary.

Could you be entitled to compensation?

Here we are talking about flights from or to the EU.

If a flight falls under the EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004, you will be entitled to compensation from your airline. A fact that you’ve booked a flight from a third-party site won’t affect your chances of getting a compensation in any way. The only thing you should remember is to make a compensation claim.

You can deal with that all on your own, or you can work with us.

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When working with us, here is all you will have to do:

  1. Go to this page;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight;
  3. Upload your boarding pass and passport copy;
  4. Sign the claim online.

One form, and that’s it from you.

If we can’t get your compensation, it will cost you nothing.

Using Kiwi to book your flights

kiwi.com is a reliable third-party travel site.

Most third-party ticket sellers are putting all the responsibility on you in case your flights is delayed or cancelled, and your plans are destroyed.

However, it’s not the case with kiwi.com.

Kiwi Guarantee protects its customers from flight delays, flight cancellations and schedule changes. If you have booked a trip with Kiwi, and the trip has been affected, contact the company for assistance. You should do it within 24 hours of the disruption.

Learn more about Kiwi Guarantee on kiwi.com.

Person using a mobile phone

Things to take into account when booking a flight through a third-party travel site

1. Compare your options well

Skyscanner, Kayak and Momondo are search engines, not booking sites.

These sites offer you several booking options, including a possibility to book directly from the airline. By comparing all the options, and the sellers, you'll make the best possible decision. You may also find out that the same flight, if booked directly from the airline, costs about the same. If that’s the case with your flight, we would recommend booking directly from the airline. It’s just the safest and most convenient options in most situations.

2. Read the fine print carefully

Read the fine print before you hit that "Book a flight” button.

Find out:

  • If there’s a booking fee;
  • If you can change or cancel your flight, and if yes, on what terms;
  • If you can change the name;
  • If checked baggage is included in the price;
  • If you can add more luggage to your booking;
  • What happens if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

3. You may not get the same service and perks as when booking directly from the airline

Take this into account when looking for a flight.

You might be missing out on points or miles.

You might miss exclusive fares and promotions.

You might not be able to travel with your pet, as third-party booking sites may not offer a possibility to book a plane ticket for your pet, etc.

4. Poor service

Be prepared for that, if it’s a site you have never heard of.

Third-party booking sites may lack professional staff and knowledgeable managers. Some third-party booking sites may even be scammy and deceptive. There have been numerous complaints from travellers booking flights from third-party travel sites, whose complaints have been continuously disregarded.

Remember — always compare what you’re getting for your money!