Plane Ticket Booking Resource: Boots N All

It's day two (for me) in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels to Canada – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter is B for Boots N All a company that acts as a travel agency and sells round-the-world plane tickets or, in my case, helps you find the plane tickets you want for the price you want. :) Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month!

Did you miss yesterday's post? If so, you should go back and read it. Today's post will make a lot more sense if you do.

And I realize you probably won't go back and read yesterday's post…

Here's a recap:
+ I decided to go to Canada, specifically Montréal and Québec City, between Christmas and New Years.
+ We waited until I had been approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve with the hope that the $300 travel reimbursement would make the trip more affordable for us. But I wanted to apply late enough in December so that I would have until mid-February (when we were planning on visiting Hawai'i) to finish my total necessary new credit card spend for obtaining the 100,000 Ultimate Reward Points.
+ I was accepted for the Chase Sapphire Reserve mid-December, which is when we began travel planning.
+ We knew we wanted to take Amtrak from some location (we looked at DC and NYC) to Montréal, take Via Rail Canada from Montréal to Québec City and back, then fly out from Montréal back home, but we needed the cheapest plane tickets possible to make all of this work.
+ Google flights helped me pin down the cheapest flights from Montréal home, but when I went to book, American Airlines website gave me an error. All of the other airlines were hundreds of dollars more expensive.
+ So I called American Airlines multiple times and they kept bait and switching me. The price would still be available online, but they would tell me that it wasn't. We even allowed them to see our computer screen, and they still wouldn't give me the price shown on the website! It was infuriating!

Enter: Boots N All.

I was about to give up. I could find the same American Airlines price sometimes on other websites like Expedia or ChapOAir, but I just wasn't comfortable purchasing my airline tickets through their websites. Reviews online were terrible. What if something went wrong? And with this particular purchase something could easily go wrong.

You see, we were booking tickets with a layover in Chicago. Originally I was aiming for an eight-hour layover to give us some time to see the city, but with all of the trouble I found booking on American Airlines website, inevitably those tickets went up in price and I had to settle for a two-hour layover instead. The idea was that potentially a travel agency website could book our layover as two separate flights, so if we missed one, we would have to book another ticket entirely. That is if Plane A from Montréal to Chicago ran late and we missed Plane B, we would need another ticket because Plane B wouldn't know we were connecting from Montréal. The goal was to book our layover in such a way that if Plane A ran late, American Airlines would be responsible for the cost of getting us on Plane B, no matter what time we arrived at the airport.

And layovers are Boots N All's specialty!

Seriously, go look at their website!

Boots N All booking

Well technically if you click over to RTW tickets from their website, they initially direct you to Indie, a sister company to Boots N All.

So, say you are connecting from Montréal to Chicago before going home to Atlanta. You are aware that this is the cheapest way to get from Montréal to Atlanta because flying direct costs you a few hundred more. So you search…

Obviously, this isn't the exact search I did for my trip, but it gives you an idea.

When you search, you have the option to make the trip a round trip flight, use alternative airports, use suggested (flexible) dates (but be sure you to pay attention to the dates and make sure they work for you if you use this option!), as well as list the number of travelers.

After your search is completed and you get to the screen I have above, Indie allows you to be even more specific in your search criteria. You can tell Indie which airline carrier you'd prefer, which cabin you want (first, business, economy), and what your currency is.

Sign in to favorite searches and make them easier to pull up later. (Keep in mind that the price may change so you will want to book asap if you find a particularly good price!)

All along in the searching and booking processes, you can message Indie or call them to get help. Before booking my trip to Canada, I did both. After messaging with an agent on Indie's website, I still wasn't confident enough to book, so I called. The call center answers quickly and is helpful. In fact, during my call, I was told that before every purchase is completed, a person from Indie looks at the flights individually to make sure everything is in order, the tickets are available for the price listed on Indie's website, and any connections can be made. Indie is incredibly thorough! They told me they didn't know why American Airlines wasn't booking my flight for me, but if it was possible and available on their website, they would try to book it for me.

So, I booked.

Boots N All booking

After you press "book flights", it brings you to this screen where you input the flyer's name (full name as is on your driver's license or passport), payment information, billing address, contact email and phone number, etc…

Please note that after you fill out this information and submit, the process is still not complete. I mean it might be for you, but it definitely wasn't for me.

Occasionally you might receive an email that looks a bit like this…

Boots N All email

Then, shortly after I received this…

Boots N All email

So yay that they are trying to be fully forthcoming and open with me about my tickets! Boo that my price went up.

Well, I kept watching and attempted to book again when the price temporarily went back down… This required me to keep refreshing Indie… over and over and over again at all hours of the day. (Desperate means call for desperate measures?)

Boots N All email

When I received this email, I realized that maybe my emails weren't being automated? I emailed Elena back with my AAdvantage numbers which she promptly added to the order. I also called Boots N All customer service (again) and confirmed that our flights (A and B) would be counted as a layover connection rather than two separate flights. If one flight was late, the airline would schedule us on another flight to accommodate for their screwed up schedule. Another thing worthy of mentioning, my second booking had my husband and I connecting through two cities, NYC and Chicago. Luckily, Boots N All knew what our end goal was and found us a better route with only the one connection in Chicago. Seriously, contacting and working with Boots N All was like having my own personal assistant. They knew what I wanted and worked with me to help me get the price I wanted on the date I wanted effectively making my life easier. :)

Shortly after my confirmation call and email I received my itinerary with flight numbers in an email from Indie. I took the flight numbers, entered them into my AAdvantage account (which essentially were already there because Elena had booked my tickets under my numbers) and we were ready for our flight!

A few notes about Boots N All:

+ They are particularly good for Round the World travel. If you are planning a trip from NYC to Portugal to Shanghai to San Francisco and then on to New York City again, these are your people! They will help you do it, and they will help you do it right!
+ Boots N All offers forums for travelers helping them with travel plans.
+ They also offer informative articles helping to inspire your travel adventures and help you make the most out of your time exploring.
+ If you book through Boots N All, they do take a separate amount beyond the plane ticket cost as a booking fee. In our case, it was still cheaper than booking with another airline…
+ Finally, they claim there are no cancellations or changes allowed without charge. I didn't dare attempt this, but you are suppose to be given a 24 hour window if you book within the US. So, technically, if you need to make a change or cancel within 24 hours, they should be able to do it for you. HOWEVER, I would not recommend going into a booking with Boots N All with that mindset. Given that their terms of service say "no cancellations" book like you mean it and only ask about cancellations/changes as necessary.

Figuring out where you want to travel to should be the hardest part!

What did I think about Boots N All and the Indie booking service?

I LOVED it. Obviously, it is best to start with Google Flights and find the cheapest flight available. If you can book direct, you should. However, if booking direct is not an option, I would almost always attempt to book with Boots N All before using any other third party source. I liked the quick response and easy to use customer service, the option to search for flights before contacting an agent, and all of the free and helpful information about travel that Boots N All provides! Plus, we didn't run into any problems with our tickets on our return trip home from Montréal! Yay!

After reading about Boots N All and Indie, would you consider booking with them in the future?

April A-Z Challenge: B

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