REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Traveling during the pandemic is complicated, or how to book a flight

(Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series of three.)

To find the best deal on a flight, someone should search multiple booking websites and compare the prices.

For example, I was searching a round-trip flight from Tulsa, Okla., to Kazakhstan (the republic of the former Soviet Union) in July 2021. The cheapest price was approximately $1,800 for the ticket, on Lufthansa (German airlines) at the time of purchase.

I also checked CheapoAir and two other online travel agencies’ (OTA) websites. Their prices were slightly higher than Lufthansa’s.

In 2020, when Expedia.com (OTA) refused to refund me money for the canceled flight, I made a conclusion and promised myself to not deal with online travel agencies anymore, but I would buy directly from the airlines and hotels. As a matter of fact, many other passengers could not get refunds from online travel agencies for the canceled flights last year, and some individuals filed class action lawsuits toward the companies.

So, I reopened Lufthasa.com and researched the airline’s conditions on booking flights, refunds, etc. I discovered that Lufthansa’s website was more user friendly than OTA’s websites. Lufthansa stated that a booking could be canceled or changed without an extra fee, which is a great policy during the pandemic because of possible lockdowns, border closures, etc.

It is a good idea to purchase a travel insurance with an airline ticket, it makes the ticket refundable. In my case, the cost of the insurance was an extra $127, and it was offered on Lufthansa.com.

When buying an airline ticket, a passenger should have enough time to go through customs, passport control, etc, between flights. For instance, I was flying from Tulsa, Okla., to Kazakhstan through Frankfurt, Germany. I had to go through customs in Frankfurt. My luggage and other passengers’ bags were screened with an x-ray in Germany.

However, booking a flight is not everything a person needs to know to travel abroad during the pandemic.  There are other aspects involved, which make traveling complicated. Follow me for more traveling tips on www.tccconnection.com.

An individual can fly from Tulsa international airport to any country of the world. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.