STA.com: Why hast thou forsaken me?

Although it took them two months to get me my student discount card, I really wanted to buy my flight through the STA site. Their customer service is impeccable, they have great reviews, with an easy to use layout, and customizable flights/trips. PLUS (my favorite): their website has a lot of information geared specifically towards people wanting to do an around-the-world trip.

That was all fine and dandy…until I got my airfare quote yesterday evening: $2821.00

What’s more, this didn’t even include my final flight home (which my agent guessed would be in the $800 range), thereby bringing my STA quote to: $3621.00

Honestly, it’s not the price that is shocking; I’ve done plenty of research and expected a cost somewhere in this vicinity. What’s really bugging me is that in twenty minutes (using AirBerlin and Expedia), I was able to find a price quote (for the exact same flight days and airports) that was $468.4 cheaper than the STA.com quote.

$468.4 is a lot of money to people like me (backpackers). That’s 1.5 netbooks, or a snazzy website design, or heck…several awesome massages (and I sure need one of those!).

Some of you might be thinking: Not so fast! What about the STA.com “price beat guarantee“?

Unfortunately, two of the three legs in my trip do not qualify because my cheaper price was found using different airlines carriers (the terms and conditions on the “price beat guarantee” stipulate that the flight carriers must be identical). I am unable to determine whether the third part of my flight itinerary is eligible for a discount, because I was not sent a price itemization for the individual parts of my RTW flight.

Anyway, in the spirit of trying to support a good travel company, I am going to call my STA agent on Monday and try to get a cheaper deal on my tickets. I felt I had to post this because I want to be able to write about my good and my bad experiences with travel companies. I want other travelers in my boat to make sure that they aren’t getting the raw end of a deal.

It makes me wonder whether using a travel agent is really saving me money, or even that much time.

OK, enough of this! My backpack arrived in the mail today and I can’t wait to play with it! :-)