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Choosing travel options ..

.. do you check reviews?

Female
Judance  Female  Berkshire 10-Apr-2019 22:30 Message #4738404
I've been looking at flights for my next trip to Australia at the end of the year. It's complicated because I want to fly to Sydney and return from Melbourne.

I did my usual checking online but found it all so much more confusing than when I used to fly over there regularly. I decided to go to a local independent travel agent who were really helpful.
I had various options, each having some plus and minus points so I decided to go on to Trip Advisor to read the reviews.

I am aware that more people complain than praise but, all the same, I thought it would be useful. I came away more confused than ever!!
One flight was with Etihad and the TA reviews were mixed, a lot saying the service was bad and cited problems with getting the seats they had booked and paid for. I emailed a relative who is a frequent flyer with them for another opinion. He has never had any trouble so I thought I might try them. He then came back saying that he had noticed the service wasn't as good as it used to be …. more confusion!

Eventually I've booked with Cathay Pacific, as I've flown with them before and the timings are better.

Do you read the reviews when booking travel and hotels? Do you find them useful / accurate? Do you ask friends for their recommendations?

I'd be interested to hear your experiences
Female
Gilpin  Female  Middlesex 10-Apr-2019 23:53 Message #4738419
If at all possible, I fly with British Airways. I trust them completely and I like the service. I also find they will avoid at all costs flying near any air space that is involved in conflict, eg the Ukraine, middle east hot spots, even if it isn't on the veto list.

For holidays I follow the brochure, and ask the company if I have any questions. As long as they go where I want I will consider them.
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 11-Apr-2019 00:07 Message #4738420
Never having flown, I'm probably the wrong person to comment, however, since retirement I've taken a different attitude to travel and now treat each journey as an adventure, whether that's a journey to see friends in Wales, attending a meeting in London or catching the bus to town.
I'm not sure what time restraints you have for your journey, from what I've heard or read about air travel it's either a mad rush or long stopovers, there seem to be few in betweens to that.
To answer your question though, I would ask friends or people in the industry then make a decision, I would never reproach those friends if the journey wasn't as planned. I doubt very much I would use any online reviews.

Whatever you choose, have a pleasant and safe journey.
Female
Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire 11-Apr-2019 02:13 Message #4738424
I always look at reviews online, eg Trustpilot and TripAdvisor...like you, Judance, I come away indecisive and more confused!
Rationally it makes sense to look, but it's perplexing as to how the evaluations can vary so much. You expect a few bad reviews from people who had the misfortune for things to go wrong and from those with an ulterior motive, and shining reviews from those with totally opposite experiences and motives, but there never seems to be an obvious middle ground of any majority.
I don't do it so much for flights, but I do for hotels. For instance, with one place the reviews for one hotel varied from, "It's nowhere near the beach; don't believe the pictures" to, "Great views over the sea, and the beach, though pebbly, is only a few steps away"! For another hotel, one said "...avoid, avoid, avoid ", another review for the same hotel said, "We had wonderful stay for 7 days, only wish it could have been longer"!
I have to say with flights I found Seat Guru (I think) helpful. The reviews seemed genuine and more consolidated but it also gives you a factual rundown of each airline from seat dimensions and reasons to book certain flights and even certain seats; and it gives specifications for make and model of plane.
It's what I used when booking flights to Australia and how I came to choose Emirates, which turned out to be a brilliant choice.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia 11-Apr-2019 07:44 Message #4738427
I find reviews, whether for travel or a new television, need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt - you really wonder how people's views and experiences can vary so much. I'm amazed what some people expect for their money.

I'm planning, if all goes well, to visit Australia in a couple of years time - I am intending to use the Qantas non-stop flight to Perth. Based purely on my experience of flying Qantas before and I like the idea of non-stop.
I tend to trust my own instincts...
Female
RAACH84  Female  Buckinghamshire 11-Apr-2019 09:01 Message #4738431
I always check reviews particularly for holidays and expensive events. I also do so for eating out and buying products in shops. In the past I have asked contributors to Tripadvisor questions and had helpful replies.
Female
Bewildered  Female  Norfolk 11-Apr-2019 09:29 Message #4738432
I also use Tripadvisor. If going on holiday I will look at ( usually TUI if booking a package ) at the hotels they have and then check out the ones I like online for reviews about the accommodation and area.
I have found it very helpful
Male
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 11-Apr-2019 10:20 Message #4738433
i have my own 1 in 5 rule for reviews, that is if the bad reviews exceed this ratio [1 being bad] then i avoid.
Male
OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 11-Apr-2019 10:47 Message #4738437
When it comes to reviews I usually consider the top 2 & bottom 2 because they'll normally reflect the best and worst of the opinions of the voters personal experiences. The one's that love it may well be blinkered and those that don't are likely venting their frustrations about something or were expecting too much.
The people that rate in the middle are usually the one's that are far more objective and realistic in their expectations.
When it comes to flights, law of averages there'll always be a bad one in amongst good ones. If you catch one of those you might just be unlucky. But unless you pay the big money to turn left at the door way you'll just have to hope that most of the time it will be hassle free. That you won't be one row behind a baby that screams non-stop, or one seat in front of someone that continually bangs the back of your seat, or next to someone the size of the incredible hulk who spills over the arm rest into your "limited" personal space, or your entertainment system goes on the fritz etc.etc.
Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 11-Apr-2019 11:54 Message #4738446
About the only reviews I really trust are from Which magazine, I don't travel but I have used them for things like looking for restaurants.
Male
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 11-Apr-2019 17:31 Message #4738455
I rely on the reviews in Which magazine too. I also have Which online so I can quickly reference just about any product and check out their 'best buys'.
I travel with my work so stay at a lot of hotels and have to eat out so I write regular reviews on Tripadvisor.
Male
barney  Male  Surrey 11-Apr-2019 19:35 Message #4738462
my friend flew with Singapore Airlines and said they are really good. She said the stopover in Singapore airport was worth the visit as its state of the art with swimming pools and cinemas etc.

There was a documentary on a couple of weeks ago featuring Quantas flying from Heathrow to Sydney and they looked pretty good as well.
You might be able to find it on catch up.
Male
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 11-Apr-2019 20:06 Message #4738466
I'm very suspicious of some reviews. The things that contribute to and create reviews, especially the bad ones, can be just spite or something similar. The customer isn't always right, contrary to the popular saying.
s
I've seen quite a lot of videos, on youtube for instance, of customers acting like total plonkers, being dishonest, trying to pull a fast one, caught on dashcam or phone cam or whatever, and then screaming 'you are getting a terrible review for this'.

Some of the more reliable reviews have both sides of the story. A response from the hotel, restaurant, airline, uber etc.
Female
Judance  Female  Berkshire 11-Apr-2019 23:25 Message #4738479
Thank you for all your comments

I flew with Singapore Airlines when I went out last year. They were very good but I had an awful flight back from Melbourne, hence I was looking for a different experience this time. Nothing wrong with the flight itself, just me not liking the final leg home being 14hrs and the shortish changeover in Singapore airport where you have to walk for at least a mile from one set of gates to the other.

I've flown with Qantas too when they operated with BA and stopped in Singapore. When my daughter lived in Australia before I mainly travelled with Virgin, but they are so expensive now. The advantage with them (as with Cathay Pacific) is that they go via Hong Kong, so the longest leg is about 12 hrs. I've now booked with CP and got a 2.75hr gap between flights in HK airport which is just enough to head for the showers and stretch my legs. I still have to book my internal flight from Sydney, giving myself enough time to change terminals, but I've done it before.

Maybe I'll write a review when I get back?

Male
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire 15-Apr-2019 15:20 Message #4738674
When it comes to flying any distance I find most of the big names offer a good service.


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