Reserving flights through Road Scholar

Do you prefer to book your program flights through Road Scholar or on your own?

  • I am taking my first trip through RS in Jan. It has included airfare from JFK but when I called today for them to book my flight from my hometown to JFK they wanted to book me direct to my overseas destination and charge me for the whole fight otherwise I can wait an additional 2 weeks and they can try to book me to JFK to catch whatever their booked overseas flight is - it already seems like they are making it difficult.
  • I booked my first Road Scholar trip to Athens Greece thru RS, but they only gave me 2 hours to make connection at Charles De Gaulle which was barely enough time to from Air France E to F concourses much less to L or M. There are bottlenecks everywhere, at passport control, at elevators, for busses, and if you use the train you go through Security again. In future I will not let anyone give me that little time for transfers at CDG. Seems much worse than my last trip to Paris. I will research before I let RS book the flights.
  • On my first RS trip, to Alaska, I booked with RS. Turns out there was a typo on the website and the flight had to be rescheduled a day later. Didn't cost me a thing, RS took care of it. Since then I research flights on my own, then go to RS travel. I have been pleased with their service and the prices. I have sometimes spent over an hour on the phone with RS to figure out which combination of flights works best.
  • I have booked twice with RS and doubt I will do it again. Both times I have had nightmare connections. Both times the airlines have not allowed me to pre select seats and stuck me in the middle of 5-across seats on trans Atlantic and trans Pacific flights. The airlines will not let me upgrade.
    I’ve had to make my own transfer arrangements each time — unless you come in when the majority of the other folks do they consider you independent. This time the first representative told me she could help me only when I had confirmed reservations and to call back (I was coming in 2 days early). When I called back I was told “We don’t do that.” Three days before I was due to leave I got a call from RS asking if I would like assistance with anything and I asked about the transfer again since the tour hotel offers shuttle service. He promised to get back with me but never did.
  • We are considering booking our own flights since we have flight miles and wish to extend our trip a day or two to experience the country and culture of Equador perhaps before/and after the excursion of the Galapagos. What is the advantages or disadvantages of each?
  • I prefer to have someone else do as much of the preparation as possible so I don't have to do it. Also, it helps to have Road Scholar handle international flights because they know exactly when I should arrive at my final destination in order to be included in the transfer transportation.
  • In reply to vyoung5678010548:

    I totally agree. Having taken a number of group trips, I find this method most suits me.
  • I let RS book international travel but I research prices and routes first. I've found that RS prices are usually $200-400 less than airline's published prices. I am amazed at the number of people on this board who are complaining about inconvenient airline routing by RS. If you don't like the routing, tell them and they'll find you something more to your liking although it may cost a few dollars more.
  • In reply to Mary_A:

    Exactly! Why would you accept something you didn’t like? RS has always been very open to my flight preferences.
  • I, too, research first and even let them know what I've found. When we first went to Africa, RS wanted to send us to a US hub, the Amsterdam....etc. I told them no, that there was a nonstop to Johannesburg out of Atlanta. They were happy to book it for us, and several others on our trip as well.
    Both Holbrook Travel (Central and S Am) and RS have been very flexible on allowing us input on our travel plans. They tend to be a bit cheaper, and the pickup/transfers are greatly appreciated.
  • In reply to vyoung5678010548:

    It is not difficult to do it yourself. That way you have the control. We have been to Europe several times recently and did our own arrangements. Never a glitch. Also, you can check the seating arrangement and select your own seats. Since we like to come in at least, a day early, you can control when you will be arriving at your destination. Arriving a day early gives you peace of mind that you are there where you should be and have the opportunity to see the city, if you like. Having a third party do your reservations can be a nightmare, however, I guess it works for a lot of people.
  • In reply to mscribner45062921:

    I do lots of trips myself and, as you say, it is not difficult. What I do with Road Scholar is research on my own first, then look into what they would charge to book what I want. It can include extra days before and after, and any other variation I want. They sometimes have better prices than I can get, and if they cancel the trip I can cancel without charge. However, they do not work with some lower cost airlines, so if that's what I want, I do it myself. In October I did a trip in which Road Scholar booked the expensive trip to Europe for me, but I did the internal European parts myself. It worked great and saved me quite a bit of money.
  • Since I posted earlier about multiple problems with booking and then actually flying on a trip booked through the Road Scholar travel agency, I want to post that I am very satisfied with the booking process for my upcoming trip. The agent checked my travel profile before calling so knew our seat preferences and airport preferences. This trip had free airfare from JFK, but we would of course have to get to JFK. She researched other options to the destination, said she would apply the credit if we tranferred through another airport and found a very good set of flights. Just before booking she said she wanted to try something else and ended up saving us several hundred dollars on an alternate booking that was only slightly less convenient. She then booked with our preferred seats. She was professional and courteous throughout. I did research options beforehand, but at least in this particular case would not have needed to.
  • In reply to mscribner45062921:

    Not true per my experience buying 7 international flights from RS- RS books whatever flights I tell them to, confirms them immediately (even 6 months prior to departure) and is usually anywhere from $300 to $600 cheaper than I can get on my own using Delta or Expedia website. However, if RS ever was more expensive or couldn't give me the routing I wanted, I would, of course, book on my own. It's also nice that RS takes care of all the transfers when you book with them.
  • In reply to Mary_A:

    In the past, booking international flights through RS has been good, but for my upcoming program to New Zealand and Australia, their flights were $12,000 whereas I was able to book through Expedia for $6,000.