Airline booking troubles

Aaaargh ... I'm just about ready to give up.

This is our plan for the summer holidays. I fly to India, with the kids. After a month with my parents, I go to Helsinki (work) and then back home. The wife flies over to join me in Helsinki and then flies on to India. The kids come back home with her.

Now, to price the tickets. I went to -- American and British Airways are partners and British Airways flies direct from London to Madras. My ticket would be around $1600, the kids would be around $1500 and the wife's would be around $1800.

Okay, now to book the tickets. Unfortunately, the website will not let me book the kids' tickets separate from ours -- unaccompanied minors, and all that.

Called the American Airlines reservations desk.

"Book them as adults and call us back and we'll change it to children's fares and do the cross-linking," I was advised.

Back to the site. Plugged in the travel dates. The fares are still there, with several potential itineraries for each fare. But here's the thing. My itinerary and the kids' never matches into Chicago or into Dallas. From Chicago/Dallas to Madras, everything is the same. For example, if I get a fare for the 4pm flight out of Oklahoma City to Dallas, the kids' itinerary involves a 1.40pm flight. Both connect to the same flight to London. But of course, no way the kids are flying alone.

Called up American Airlines again. Told him the problem. He plugged in the details, and said that he couldn't price the ticket. He could only offer me a ticket with an overnight stay in Delhi, and he had to send it to their tariff department for pricing. "No thanks," I told him.

Then called an Indian consolidator I've bought tickets from before. The one big problem is that his tickets all involve stop-overs in Europe and in the Middle East. Two stops. No fun. But, hey my back's to the wall at this point.

"Where is Helsinki?," he wanted to know. He listened to me like I was an idiot. "I don't have consolidator fares to Helsinki," he told me, "the best I can do is to give you a stopover in London or Frankfurt. Buy the Helsinki tickets yourself."

Maybe, I thought, I can book one way tickets but the one-way tickets price out at around $3000 a leg!

Any bright ideas?

UPDATE: Figured out how to solve the problem ...


  1. Try; I have been told it is a pretty nifty site for travel bookings. I have not done so myself but maybe you can check your luck.

  2. I tried kayak. It's a prettier interface, but doesn't have any functionality beyond the airline's website.

    Update: I called AA and read out the two adults' flight details. They booked the kids' flights on those same routes and agreed to hold the tickets for 24 hours. And wouldn't you know it? ... When I went to book our tickets on those routes, the routes were no longer available! So, more aaargh!