In a World of information, not all is as transparent as it should be, so I offer my official blog in the search of some clarification when booking Airline tickets

by Barry Kirk

An incident that dropped on my desk and one that deserves an airing in public
In this world of so much information digitally flying round the circumference of the planet, it is perhaps not too much of a surprise when things go wrong. But there is wrong and wrong, so I will tell a little story regarding one of those occasional upsets when booking flights for a working holiday in Italy.
Are you sitting comfortably?
As a Freelance Editor and working Photojournalist, I travel freely in Italy and on my bookshelf I have three A4 48-page Travelogues of my travels in Florence. Milan and Rome, the latter will be completed in October 2018.
The idea is to give new and old tourists to those cities an in-hand guide to the best bits with directions and any pitfalls; the description of the publications has a mantra 'warts and all' giving an idea of the information contained in the pages that not only save a lot of searching time but come with how to get there instructions.
In trying to achieve the above I came across a practice that is apparently common. quite legal in law but possibly questionable in morality, where the only losers are the customers.
Simply put, go to a search engine like Google, type in a holiday destination and even a particular airline and stand back for the explosion on the computer screen containing lists of possibilities.
After years of good service from Ryanair for instance, I typed in Ryanair and Rome flights and up came the full screen and top of the list was the title:
 Book Ryanair Flights - 1 Step Booking for Ryanair.
In a rush and click, flights were booked on a screen menu. Thinking I had booked a return flight with Ryanair to Rome and back on specific dates; it turned that was actually what I had done, of sorts. It later transpired that, out of the blue, the Google listing of ' Book Ryanair Flights - 1 Step Booking for Ryanair. was the opening to a website for a booking agency who had taken my booking and commission rich £57.31 fee.
The Booking Agency called Directline-Flights used the listing:
Book Ryanair Flights - 1 Step Booking for Ryanair
www.directline-flights.co.uk/Ryanair/Flights
It was top of the list and a quick glance at the opening line seemed to fit the required boxes. Realisation that it was not what I had intended came when I questioned the price and later discovered there were no refunds and I could have got exactly the same tickets on the same plane on the same dates for £42.64 direct from Ryanair. The fact that was what I thought I had done was  annoying as the difference was commission charged by the Booking Agency.
The correct airline site is:  
Official Ryanair website | Cheap flights in Europe | Ryanair
https://www.ryanair.com/us/en/check-inBook Cheap Flights direct at the official Ryanair website for Europe's lowest fares . Fully allocated seating and much more now available online.
So a £14.67 lesson learned all because I had not carried on reading.
The Airline got their normal ticket price, the booking agency took their commission and I, as the consumer, paid 20% more than I needed to.
I only describe this to emphasise how careful you have to be even booking flight tickets today.
This is an issue that needs addressing because consumers are paying the price for others to profit where there is no need.
Had the Ryanair site been obvious and not way down a search engine long list of possibilities, I would have paid £42.64 for the same package. Instead I paid a commercial booking agency £57.31 because they bought an advert on top the large list on Google.
Their response to my interest was to vehemently deny anything other than proper business practice in making a charge for services rendered. And I would not argue with that, but I would make the comment that my intention was to book tickets with Ryanair and not  some commercial company I have never heard of or one that I would have favoured with my business in the first place, particularly at an extra £14. 67 for the privilege.
So as a professional journalist I pass this episode into the public domain via my website in the same manner as another similar pricing difference I came across with the Dartford Crossing in Essex and Kent and shown on my website. In this case the private company used the same headline picture and title as the official Department for Transport site where motorists book online, but this was £4 instead of £2.50. So be careful and aware, as even a trusted name can innocently come with unwanted luggage.
 
 
  







Though this is an annoying episode it also gives the opportunity to observe just what the service by Directline-Flights is like for the extra money. The first thing was an email advising  I only use the different email address [email protected] to access my details for extra luggage etc. I could not go on the official Ryanair site as these were blocked, so the booking Agency had taken over everything and even officials at Ryanair could not access my full details. Which leaves a problem as I appear to be booked in as only hand luggage. Having paid the non returnable money for the ticket, i am left with no alternative, but be assured, I  will  follow this up and report on  the trip very carefully.