My incredible adventure on a Price Comparison. Or how to become a goat in 3 minutes

Fasten your seatbelts, take a deep breath, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

I was interviewed by a journalist who wanted to know my opinion on price comparison websites in the airline industry.

I was fairly comfortable with the subject, but I did a few simulations, particularly on one of them, which is probably the best known of all. And then the horror….

First of all, once I’d made my choice, they suggested a flexible ticket, which was €198.52 more expensive. It’s not just suggested, it’s pre-selected by default. No, thanks. I click on « standard ticket ».

Luggage supplement? No, thank you. If I’d wanted it, I would have asked for it on page 1, because I had the choice.

I’m asked again to choose, this time using a drop-down menu, if I want a flexible ticket, for €198.52. I think I’ve already said « no ». I say no again, it’s fine, thank you.

New Pop Up: Flexible ticket for just €198.52? No, are you joking? I’ve already said NOOOO THANK YOU!!! Third time! I’ve just said it too, it’s not like we haven’t seen each other for 6 months !!!

Choice of seat, €19.00? No, thank you. By the way, the « yes » and « no » buttons are reversed compared to the previous question. Good thinking. But I cleverly avoided this little trap, just like in a video game.

Premium support level, at €33.30? (checked by default). They claim that 56% of their customers choose this level of support. Good for them, but no, thank you.

Next page (I wonder how long this will last…): Are you sure you don’t want support for just €33.30? We’ve just talked about it! And I said N-O.

Once again, the « Add a service » button for Premium Support is highlighted in green. The ‘I don’t use it’ button is greyed out, as if it couldn’t be clicked. I reply « I’m not taking advantage ». Pitfall avoided. If there had been a « you’re starting to piss me off » button, I would have clicked it.

Then a new window, presented as very useful when you’re going to the USA: would you like an application for your ESTA (visa waiver programme) at €39, with the words « ESTA is compulsory for all travellers going to the USA » . The words « mandatory »  don’t scare me, I’ve worked out what the deception is. I clicked on « no » .

Compensation for AirHelp delays, for €7.90? No, thanks.

Cancellation insurance for €85.08? No, no, no, thank you. We’ve already talked about this.

Luggage insurance? €19.90. No, I’m fine. You’re not going to do them all? Passport insurance, lost charger insurance…

Booking information by text message? €2.90. No, thanks. I’m booking right now…

A Mobile Travel Programme for €3.50? No, thank you.

New page: « We’ve noticed that you haven’t selected cancellation insurance for your flight. €85.08. Please add ». Yes, that’s right, you’re very perceptive, I didn’t select any insurance.

For a moment I thought it was a bug. I think I’ve already said NO 3 times, but I’ll say it again: Noooo, I don’t want any insurance. I DON’T WANT ANY INSURANCE!!! I’m going crazy.

Finally, the ordeal comes to an end and I land on the payment page. Even the website is relieved: it says at the top of the page « we’re almost there » with the « thumbs up » icon. What an obstacle course! Those who are still on the site at this stage deserve a lot of credit. I feel like I’ve reached level 2 of the game.

A small €25 administration fee and that’s it, you can proceed to payment. This time I can’t say « no, thank you ». There’s no button for that. Help! I’m out of the game, game over. This is one of the best-known comparators on the market. I’ll never set foot on it again, and I’ll never use it again. Despite everything, I’ve reached level 2 of the game.

And you, will you do better?

Keywords: Price comparator, Airline, flexible ticketing, assistance, insurance, reservation