Whatever you do, for your own sanity, do not use cheaptickets.com.
A few days ago, I booked a complicated itinerary on cheaptickets.com, because United's website blows for multi-city itineraries. Yesterday, I decided to change the routing a bit, and after being told by United that I needed to make any changes through the purchasing agents, I called cheaptickets' customer service hotline.
The first agent I spoke to was friendly, but left me on hold for approximately 30 minutes, after which point she told me the only fare she could find with the changes I wanted was, no joke, $18,000. Note the roundtrip flight I was looking for was available on cheaptickets.com for $350. She said she'd be happy to keep looking for better fares. I had an appointment, and had to run. I asked if there were a way to get re-connected to her later so that I wouldn't have to go through another half hour. She said no.
Later that day, I called back. Another agent spent another good hour having me on hold, checking in every fifteen minutes or so (I was told 3-5 minutes, alas!) after which she told me that she was having difficulty changing my reservation. The reason she gave was that my itinerary, with the changes requested, ended up having ten flight segments, more than the maximum nine possible with United. I said, well, that's reasonable enough. How about we just cancel the first two segments that I was trying to change, and I'll book them separately later?
Ok, please hold. Twenty minutes later: "Ok sir, your new flight itinerary is $64 more expensive, plus the $150 United flight change fee, plus the $50 flight change fee."
Q: "I'm sorry? How is it possible that taking two fewer flights costs $64 more?"
A: "Well, sir, you asked to change the first flight from the 4th to the 5th, and that date costs more."
Q: "Um, no. As I said, I would like you to _cancel_ the first two segments."
A: "Please hold."
Twenty minutes later, the agent returns to tell me that she's still having problems because my current itinerary still has more than nine segments. I literally count the segments out to her. The original itinerary had eight segments. The proposed itinerary has six segments. How is it possible that your system believes that either itinerary has more than nine segments?
A: "Well, sir, In our system there's another segment reserved as a 'reservation' segment. I understand that you don't understand."
Q: "You're right. I don't understand how your system believes that six segments are more than nine segments. That makes absolutely no sense. I have only six segments."
A: "Please hold."
(ten minutes hold)
A: "Ok, you're right sir, you only have six segments, I checked."
Q: "Yes. I'm aware of that."
A: "So, your proposed itinerary actually costs $140 less than before."
Q: "That would make sense that taking fewer flights would cost less, yes."
A: "Ok, but if you make the change through us, you're going to forfeit the $140, and you'd still be charged the $200 for the United and Cheap Tickets change fees. But if you call United they might be able to apply that to your ticket."
Q: "I'm sorry? I called United first, and they told me that i have to make any changes through Cheap Tickets. Now you're saying that I can call United and make these changes directly? Which is it?"
A: "Please finish sir."
Q: "Look, if I call United again they're just going to tell me that I have to make any changes through you. But you're saying I"m allowed to change the ticket with them. That would save me almost $200 - the forfeited $140 and the $50 Cheap Tickets change fee. So when I call them, what exactly do I have to tell them so that they allow me to make the change through them?"
A: (ten seconds of silence). "Um, sir I would recommend that you just go ahead and make the change through us, because I can't guarantee you that you'll be able to get this fare through them."
Q: (on the verge of suicide): "Just do it."
TOTAL TIME ON PHONE WITH CHEAP TICKETS: 2.5 hours
TOTAL MONEY SPENT ON CHANGE FEES, WHICH APPARENTLY WASN'T REQUIRED: $190
MORAL: Do not ever, ever, ever use Cheaptickets.com to book anything.