Flight Centre and Webjet, two of Australia’s largest online travel booking sites, are engaged in a race to the bottom – and cruisers are among the winners.
Both are comparison sites, but have taken different approaches to air sales.
Webjet customers search for a flight, then get a range of different options ranked by price. They then book directly through the site.
Flight Centre, however, advertised deals and then direct people to leave their details so they can be contacted by an agent and book over the phone. The company also did not deal with budget carriers (like Scoot, Air Asia and Tiger).
But all that has changed – making flights a great place to save on cruise packages.
While the Webjet model remains largely unchanged, Flight Centre is moving towards a more online-focused sales process. Domestic flights can now be booked directly through the site, though Cruise Passenger found that we were still directed to an agent for international bookings.
Flight Centre’s managing director Graham Turner said that the company was looking to provide a blended online and offline offering to help customer in key areas where mistakes are most commonly made and to reinforce the message that ‘you are never on your own when you book with us’.
Flight Centre also offers a lowest airfare guarantee whereby it will beat any genuine, available fare by $1 or fly you to your destination for free.
We found both websites easy to use and were able to access the lowest fares for popular destinations quickly.
So how do the fares stack up? We researched some of the top cruising destinations on both websites.
Flight Centre – $1,435
Webjet – $1,157
Flight Centre – $1,252
Webjet – $1,292
Flight Centre – $1,279
Webjet – $1,154
Flight Centre – $1,399
Webjet – $1,214
Flight Centre – $416
Webjet – $792
Flight Centre – $496
Webjet – $618
Pricing is correct as at 10am Wednesday November 12 and based on lowest advertised fare departing Sydney. Additional booking fees may apply.
It’s also worth noting that both sites charge significant booking fees.
Webjet is transparent, listing its fees clearly at the bottom of the deals page. The service fee ranges from $21.95 for domestic flights to $32.95 for international flights plus an additional booking guarantee fee (which guarantees the price of your flight for 30 minutes even if that deal sells out) from $12.95 for domestic flights to $21.95 for international flights.
Flight Centre does not reveal its fees on the website, though a CHOICE article from 2015 quotes it at $39 per person for international flights.