Flight Centre Flights Review
Ease of Use>
Flight Centre is Australia’s largest offline travel agency, owning more than 5,000 physical stores in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more. In recent years they’ve slowly been improving their online offering to work in tandem with their physical stores with good results. Their online flights offering is quite similar overall, not as feature packed as some of the main competitors, but at the same time is very smooth and easy to use.
Their online search support both one-way and return flights, however if you’re looking to book something more complicated like a multi-leg or around-the-world flight, you’re still going to need to call them or go into a store. The search functionality works nicely, allowing you to search for cities, countries and airports, but unfortunately doesn’t allow you to search by state/province or by a particular landmark which some competitors can offer. By default, Flight Centre sorts its flight by placing the Non-stop flights at the top, and then by order of price which is nice. Generally speaking, Flight Centre’s filtering options are fairly basic – there’s no options like sorting by airport, transfer airport, flights with/without baggage included, flights with free cancellation/changes, are many more.. The basic choice like airline and departure time are there though. Their system allows you to book both the outbound and inbound leg of flight at the same time which is probably the most user-friendly, but doesn’t allow you to mix and match whichever flights you want. Finding the change and cancellation conditions on Flight Centre’s website is almost impossible. While it does give you the option to find these, they are displayed in the raw form. In essence this means you need to read through pages and pages of almost non-understandable text to find what is relevant for you. Other OTAs clearly state the charges for changes and cancellation up front. Similarly, the site tells you that baggage is permitted, but doesn’t actually tell you how much in included making it barely useful (this is only the case for some flights, not all).
Pricing tends to be on the high side, however Flight Centre does offer very good deals from time-to-time, and airlines only deals are also normally visible on their website. While they don’t charge any online booking fee which is important, there is a “merchant fee” depending on which payment method you use. Only PoLi Pay is available without any fees.
We generally found Flight Centre’s availability to be fairly poor when it came to non-Australian flights. Also, due to the fact that Fight Centre matches the inbound and outbound legs of your return flight automatically, users don’t also get the same level of choices that they might on other sites.
Flight Centre offers a mobile app, mobile website and desktop website, much like most of the competition. The platform however is only available in English, so it’s offerings are very much localized to English-speaking audiences.
For flight booking, Flight Centre offers a quite reasonable selection of credit/debit card options, with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners all accepted. Besides this they also offer PayPal, as well of PoLi Pay for those in Australia. Unfortunately they don’t appear to offer Google Pay or Apple Pay for people who prefer those.
In Australia at least, Flight Center generally has a fairly good reputation, with real, local customer service representatives who are able to assist when things go wrong.
Flight Centre prefers communication by phone, so what you’ll find on their website is a series of easy-to-find phone numbers for assistance. They don’t, however, offer any kind of online chat system or email which is somewhat disappointing. This could potentially be an issue is you’re stuck overseas and only have a Wi-Fi connection.
If you happen to be in Australia then Flight Centre is a reasonable option worth checking out. While their online offering isn’t amazing, they’re a time-tested brand which isn’t going anywhere quickly. Despite the website being basic compared to the competition we found it somewhat refreshing and easy to use, as long as you already know what you’re looking for.