Having just spent the best part of an hour researching the best prices
for some long haul flight tickets (2 returns), I feel like I've had a
fairly remarkable experience.

I was price comparing between eBookers, Opodo and Netflights. We are
all very used to price comparison sites (this was done via
SkyScanner), but for me the real clincher was the credit card booking
charge which requires you to go through the whole effort of filling in
all your details. Given that I'm using an American Express, this is
often pretty high, and for the total cost of tickets and taxes I was
faced with:

  • Opodo: £44.15
  • eBookers: £25
  • Netflights: £49

Bit of an easy decision eh? But no, the story doesn't finish there.

Having just selected "Yes, I agree to your terms and conditions,
ebookers" and with my finger hovering over the irreversible "Book Now"
button, my phone rang. Expecting another round of payment
authorisation on the website, I thought I'd answer it first.

It was a chap from Netflights, who had noticed my session was about to
timeout and wanted to see if he could be of any assistance.

A few moments later he had price matched and knocked off two quid from
the price offered by ebookers, leaving a very impressed and somewhat
startled customer. They were within half a second of losing a sizable
booking to a competitor, and rescued it with a remarkably well timed
phone call.

A note on payment methods

After the recent spate of failing airlines, I'm still shocked that
companies charge such a premium for credit card bookings, given that
CCs are the only reliable way for consumers to protect themselves.
Even though these long haul flights are a pretty significant chunk of
cash, it does not imply that customers are willing to pay such an
exorbitant fee on top of them. Whilst Netflights should be chastised
for their high fees, they should simultaneously be rewarded for
customer service and getting one over on the competition.

P.S. Netflights: If you made your postcode input box
case-insensitive, you'd be a real winner.