So the flights for my 2022 Med sailing on Regal Princess finally opened up, and I figured I would book the flights through Princess' EZAir service to get the group rate pricing and lock in a flight with no payment due until final payment. Just like Air2Sea or Flights By Celebrity, right? HA!!!
First off, "EZAir" fails to live up to that name in one gigantic way -- You cannot book a flight for your cabin and another linked cabin at the same time!!!!
That's right -- if you want to fly with someone booked in another cabin that is already linked on your cruise reservation (like, y'know, your kids) you must first book your own flight and make note of the flight booking number. Then, you have to log in separately for the second cabin, start its own flight booking in EZAir, and then enter the first flight booking number in a "fly with friends" part of the form to actually try to get on the same flight. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
I had found a British Airways non-stop flight from JFK to Athens for the flight out and it only had 5 seats left in Premium Economy. So I wanted to grab that for the four of us, but every time I went back to that "Fly With Friends" field and entered the kids' cruise booking number; because funnily enough, this is exactly how Air2Sea and Flights by Celebrity works. But all I would get was "Booking not found".
So I emailed my TA and asked if she was familiar with EZAir, and if maybe our cruise reservations weren't linked and that's why I was getting "not found". This was on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, so I figured I might not hear back quickly. But I didn't get a call from her until Wednesday, because Princess had the EZAir service shut down for the entire Labor Day weekend, and then when she started calling them on Tuesday it would pick up but be dead.
In any event, she had an EZAir rep on the phone with her, and asked the rep to explain to me how I go about booking the flights for both of our cabins. The rep flat-out refused to do that, and said that she would have to book the flights for me. And what followed was something straight out of my worst car purchasing nightmares. It was 20 minutes of high-pressure sales push, barely any time to register the details of the flight and figure out if it lined up with our planned schedule well enough, and absolute disdain every time I tried to ask a reasonable question like "with that flight time, do you have an idea of when I'd need to be at the Rome airport?"
The rep found the same British Airways flight I'd found, and amazingly it still had 5 seats available and was still the least-expensive flight option. She booked that one from JFK to Athens and the return flight from Rome back to JFK, and so far so OK. But then she proceeded to set up the kids' flight -- and the price came back different than the final price for my wife and I. I asked why it was different and was literally told, "I don't know, I just get the pricing as I'm going through the booking. Do you want this flight or no? I need to know now."
For clarity -- My own booking started at $1,600-ish per person but bumped to $1,900-ish because one leg of our return flight was going to be in Business Class instead of Premium Economy. I had no idea at this point if the price I was quoted for my kids was the starting price, or the price after factoring in whatever class that first leg of the return flight was going to be for them (if it wasn't also Business Class). And this woman from EZAir would not tell me!!! It was simply accept the flight and let her move on, or bail. So I accepted it.
It actually turned out to be a lower final price than what my wife and I paid, by about $200 pp; but the confirmation emails don't make it any more clear why than the rep did. I don't see the class of airfare purchased on any leg, nor the seats the rep says were booked for the outbound flight. All I see are the flight numbers, the departure and arrival times, and that all of those match up for all four of us.
And here's the icing on the cake. The rep sent the confirmation email for my kids' booking to the TA and was trying to drop the call before my TA even got the email to confirm she saw all the right info!! This woman was basically telling us she had no more time for us, her work with us was done, and she had to drop. The second my TA said she got the email, the rep disconnected and left us high and dry.
The whole experience left both of us feeling appalled. My TA said she has NEVER had anything like that with any other flight booking service from a cruise line. It certainly didn't line up with my Flights by Celebrity experience, where I had a rep spend a very pleasant and patient 30 minutes with me reviewing my flights and offering alternatives after my original booking was changed by more than 2 hours from its originally scheduled time. Our only guess is that the rep is on some kind of time clock that affects their job rating, and/or that they are earning a commission for each booking. (would explain the high-pressure "book now or get off my line" attitude)
I haven't logged into my Princess booking since then, but I really should so I can confirm there if the seat bookings are showing or if there's some other way to verify everything. Meanwhile, I'll begin looking for other flights and just try to confirm that we did get a solid rate and that I don't need to cancel this EZAir booking.
I'll definitely be more appreciative of my future Air2Sea or Flights By Celebrity bookings, web site glitchiness and all!!