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There is a wide world of airlines that are exceedingly difficult to ticket remotely, whether from the airlines’ website or major travel booking websites. The airlines’ own website may reject credit cards not from that country or have onerous booking processes that require doing things in-country, faxing copies of credit cards, and other that I do not want to do. Listing on major websites presumably comes down to technology and money.
Traditional travel agents often can issue tickets on these airlines, however my goal is no-hassle online booking with no or minimal fees. At times I have found some websites, Vayama and Lastminute’s UK site (for some reason the US site has fewer airlines) are two examples, that can issue tickets I need but with exorbitant charges.
This week I needed tickets on Rossiya and Estonian Air that failed in Priceline and aggregators like Hipmunk and Kayak had no alternative recommendations, except a few to ticket Rossiya as Aeroflot codeshares for double the price. Rossiya’s own website does not support multi-city bookings and from what I read, it typically rejects non-Russian cards.
Gliding past a couple hours of pain that involved failed attempts at every site I knew and even a Russian site that similarly did not like my credit cards, I eventually landed on Las Vegas-based OneTravel that boasts ticketing on 450+ airlines.
The booking engine works well and ticket issuance is a hybrid of online and offline. They issue tickets within a couple hours with disclaimers that nothing is guaranteed 100% until issued. So essentially they are a traditional travel agent with a great website. There were no fees on my Rossiya ticket and a few dollars on Estonian that were mostly offset by an automatic coupon code. They email once issued and then it is best to go back to the reservation and print it out with the ticket number and record locator.
Easy and a relief. I wish I knew about them long ago. I would have been spared some choice encounters with the likes of Solomon Airlines, Air Algerie, and more.