Mark S. Blackburn, MBA

I Don't Recommend Priceline  -- Here's why:

Friends, I have purchased about 1 round trip reservation per month for the last 5 years.  I have bought all of these tickets from the major online travel retailers:

I find making online reservations very much superior to trying to play phone tag with travel agents.  Getting travel agents out of the picture is a real benefit.  I like dealing directly, viewing available flight times, routes, availability, and booking my own seats.  

Just because I like William Shatner and because I hear so many ads for Priceline, I felt I should give it a try.  My experience was horrible.  I used them for a flight from Sacramento to Miami.   Here are several of the key problems with Priceline's business model:

  • The price I paid was actually higher than what I would have paid through Yahoo Travel.  When you bid $200 on Priceline, it really means you are bidding about $250.  They add on several fees.
  • You lose all choice of when you fly, or through which cities you may fly.  This can be very inconvenient.  You may want to arrive before dark, for instance, but Priceline doesn't care.  
  • On my return flight (Miami to Sacramento, they routed me through Chicago).  Look on a map!  Chicago is way out of the way.  This means I spent more time in an airplane than I should have.  Yahoo Travel would have routed me through Dallas.  (Dallas is much more on the flight path).
  • I wanted to fly the 'red-eye' flight which I found on Yahoo Travel.  I have done this on my other recent flights to Florida.  It works great.   No 'down time.'  You sleep while you fly.  You haven't wasted a day.  With Priceline I had to waste a day.  Days are valuable....

And, if I haven't given you enough reasons to avoid Priceline like the plague it is, let me tell you about the worst part:

  • You cannot change a reserved flight.  Or the return portion!  While in Miami, I decided I wanted to stay 2 more days.  If I had reserved my flight via Yahoo Travel I could have paid $60 or so dollars, and they would have helped me to change my return flight time.  Priceline refused.  They will not change a reservation.  Even if you call the airline, the airline says that they must refuse to change the flight because it was a 'Priceline' flight.   My only option was to buy another entire ticket home.  The price for this was $300.  

Friends, do yourselves a favor & NEVER do business with Priceline!  


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Mark Blackburn

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Mark S. Blackburn, MBA

1310  E  Street Victorian

Sacramento, CA 95814

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Last Updated: February 14, 2010