Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Few suggestions to online travel sites

I had a bad time searching for flight information last day, and here goes some suggestions.

1)For flight search, have an option to show flights available in chosen date +/-3 days. yatra.com and makemytrip.com has this feature , but cleartrip.com does not have it.
Additionaly if there is an option like "shift dates by 'n' days", in the search result, it would be really helpful. Silkair has this facility.

2) A frequent error encountered after selecting a flight from search results is the message: "sorry flight not available." If flight is not available why do they even come up in search results? A very irritating feature found in cleartrip.com is that, this error message comes up after we fill in all passenger information, and if we chose a different flight, then all the passenger information needs to be typed in again. This wastes a lot of time especially for people who are not that quick with keyboard. yatra.com also has this error message coming up very frequently, but the message pops up immediately after clicking book button, so there is no need to waste time entering passenger information.

3) All sites require us to type the passenger names exactly as per passport. But these sites has a limit of 28 characters for name fields. So what do people with long names do ? Most people who encounter this issue will call up customer care and the reply they get is, type in only as many letter as would fit in the space. The best solution would have been to increase the character limit or at least write down the message ("type in as many letters as would fit in the space given") near the name field itself, so as to avoid a expensive 5 minutes traffic to customer care.

4) Have a toll free customer care number which is available 24/7. Do not always expect customers to make calls to paid lines and that too during your office hours. (cleartrip.com doesn't show any toll free numbers to their customer care in any of the search results page and out of frustration I tweeted about this. ClearTrip replied saying that toll free number is available under the link http://www.cleartrip.com/support/. Why don't they just display the toll free number in search results as well, as done by other sites? You just lost a customer because of this.

5) Make a flexible payment option. For international travels, the total amount may be higher than the credit card limit for most users. And while booking via phone, only credit cards are accepted. yatra.com has a superb offer under which we only need to pay 35% of total amount upfront and the rest can be paid before flight dates. This is really helpful if one is booking flights too advance.
Also Emirates has an option for not paying any amount while making online reservation! The full amount can be paid in cash/dd to a Emirates offer within 3 days of online booking.

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