My husband and I are booked with a well-known, established tour company for our trip to Europe. The trip we booked with them originally was cancelled because of lack of customers. We understand that these things can happen and we booked another trip with this company.

This tour company recently contacted us to inform us that our return flight from Europe was changed. They told us that the airlines made a change and we had to take a much earlier outbound flight. The flight we were originally booked on was very convenient and we felt lucky to have this particular flight. We contacted the airlines to verify our seating and asked about the change in flights. The airlines assured us that they had not made that change, that the tour company did. We contacted the tour company and confronted them with this information and they said that that the second leg of our flight was changed by the airlines so they had to change the first leg. We found out this was a lie as well.

The airlines never changed any of these flights. Just wondering why do tour companies do this?

  • The agent is in EU or in other country?
    – Him
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 19:55
  • 4
    Just hazarding a guess, it probably has something to do with money. For example, the airline offered them a discount or a credit if they would move their customers to an earlier flight that was looking to be less full. So the airline 'sort of' instigated it, and the tour agency went along for the money. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:01
  • 3
    Maybe next time you should consider an online tool to book your itinerary yourself, instead of giving business to these tour companies.
    – edocetirwi
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:08
  • The agent is based in the US. Airline is US based as well.This tour company has a few offices throughout the world. Not sure where they originated.
    – DeeKay
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 22:24
  • Spehro Pefhany .... your answer makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
    – DeeKay
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Spehro is quite correct. It will be a combination of cost and allocation. The tours companies will try and of course do the best deals they can with the airline, part of this, in many cases, is a firm commitment to a number of seats on a given flight. If the tour company cannot meet this commitment the airline will shuffle things to get the best yield on each flight (bums on seats at the highest price), or if the tour company is offered and incentive to shift to another - less full flight, they will do so - claiming the airlines wanted it.

All airlines have seat allocations at different pricing - like the $2 airfares, but there may only be 10 seats on any given flight at this fare. A long time industry promotional tool. Using points is the same - there are only a certain number of seats allocated to point based travellers, once these are used up there is no longer availability - even though you may try to book on the same flight to find the plane might be almost empty.

Pointing the finger one way or another in these arrangements is difficult and really doesn't achieve much in the long run as each party will try to shift the accountability to someone else. It does frustrate those of us travelling, but part of the balance between convenience and effort.

We recently did quite an extensive trip on Safari and arranged everything ourselves. It took a little time but we got everything we wanted (flights, accom, tours etc) at a much cheaper rate on our schedule and it was fantastic - I'm lucky my wife loves doing the research - I just turned up. But it can be a fun to do things this way rather than always going with 'all inclusive' tour companies that may not always have our best interests at heart or can be quite restrictive.

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