Flight booking: Opodo Prime

Opodo is an online intermediary for flights, hotels, rental cars and package travels, situated in England and Spain. We are currently receiving a lot of complaints about the company, regarding non-transparent pricing on the German website.

 

On opodo.de, Opodo offers a membership called "Opodo Prime" for 74.99  Euro per year. With it, consumers can book flights at a cheaper price. As we made a test booking, a flight from Vienna to Eindhoven (NL) cost only 41.72 Euro for members, instead of 70.89 Euro.

 

The problem: The booking process and the declaration of the different prices are not clear, in our opinion. It's hard to tell what price actually applies and how much will be deducted in the end.

 

Some consumers without a "Prime" membership told us that they weren't aware that only the cheaper "Opodo Prime" price was shown and that they booked their flight at that rate. It's only after the booking that Opodo checks whether you're actually a member. If not, they charge the more expensive standard price - without any further notice or warning.

 

From a legal point of view, this procedure is very questionable. We already talked to Opodo about it, but they haven't changed it so far.

 

Austria: Cheaper price without "Prime" membership

 

After further research, we also found that it makes a difference where you want to make a booking. The problem described above applies to opodo.de.

 

On Opodo.at, "Opodo Prime" is not provided. When we made a test booking on both sites at the same time, for identical flights, the standard price offered on the Austrian website was much more similar to the "Prime" price on the German website. On opodo.at, the flight Vienna-Eindhoven and back regularly cost 47.72 Euro.

 

Step by step: Flight booking on opodo.de

 

For better understanding and to show what you have to look out for when booking there, we made screenshots of our test booking on opodo.de.

Step 1

Once the consumer has entered his flight details, he will see several options. Next to the "Select" ("Auswählen") button is a price, which gives the impression that this would be the only available fare.

 

Opodo.de Prime Step 1

Opodo.de Prime Step 1

 

On the left stands "Opodo Prime Price" and "Show all prices". Only when you click on the latter, the prices that apply to passengers without a "Prime" membership are displayed.

 

Opodo.de Prime: Alle Preise

Opodo.de Prime: Alle Preise

 

However, in our opinion, this is ambiguous. The consumer could also think that only by clicking on the hint the "Prime" price is displayed to him. Many customers do not notice the small hint, but concentrate only on the price shown on the right and click "Select". Therefore, for better understanding, the regular price should first be displayed and the "Prime" price only by clicking on a corresponding button.

Step 2

After you had the opportunity to book a hotel in addition, you get a first overview of the booking and must provide your personal information.

 

This page is also designed as if the discounted "Prime" price was the only one available. You can only give your details and select a seat, if desired, but no information about "Opodo Prime" is offered before clicking on "Next".

 

Opodo.de Prime Step 2

Opodo.de Prime Step 2

Step 3

On the last page of the order, Opodo starts to - in a very reserved way - mention the "Prime" service. As you can see on the screenshot below, there is a small hint just below the price (green box), but without any further explanation. Thus, it remains unclear to the consumer that it is a discount that is subject to certain conditions (paid membership).

 

Opodo.de Prime Step 3

Opodo.de Prime Step 3

On the same page, five optional additional services are offered, e.g. insurances and flexible travel dates. Such offers are often ignored by consumers because they are not interested and do not want to incur additional costs.


At the bottom of the page, some information about "Opodo Prime" is provided. In fact, this is the first detailed explanation that it is a paid membership for the price of 74.99 euros per year.

 

Opodo.de Prime Step 4

Opodo.de Prime Step 4

 

The fine print states that the consumer has to become a "Prime" member in order to receive the reduced fare. However, it is not mentioned here that the displayed price already includes the discount.

Step 4

Here you can see the bottom of the last booking page. Opodo shows the total price and again there is no information about the discount, nor that the consumer has to pay more if he accepts this offer without having a "Prime" membership. It is possible to complete the booking without a membership. There is no warning about the debit of a higher price.

 

Opodo.de Prime Step 5

Opodo.de Prime Step 5

Tips from the ECC on flight bookings

We generally advise you to document the individual booking steps of an online flight booking with screenshots. This will allow you to prove, in the event of a dispute, how the particular website was designed at the time of booking, what price was displayed to you and what information was available.

 

In addition, experience has shown that it is advisable to book directly with the airline instead of going through an intermediary.

 

If you are affected by the problem described above and Opodo is not responding to your claims, you can contact us. You can find our contact here: Complaint submission

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version