I decided in the fall of 2009 that I wanted to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador. So, like any international traveler, I booked flights to Quito and back.
Now, in my book, Quito is a pretty important city, and as an International Studies major Ecuador has been doing some pretty interesting things lately. For one, they switched from the Ecuadorian currency, the sucre, to the American dollar in 2000. The president Rafael Correa has also decided to side more with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela than other presidents and he has kicked the US’s air force base out of Ecuador when Correa refused to resign the lease.
So since I obviously think Ecuador is really interesting I read way too much about Ecuador and not enough about how to get there and who I was booking my flights though. I searched one night and the best deal I found was through an online booking site called ATIflights.com or Air Tickets International. I booked my tickets about 2 months in advance and did not think about it again.
Until, of course, the night before I left. I wanted to check in online and for some reason I could not get my tickets to come up. So I called the ATI help number and got a message saying they were closed because it was New Years’ Day and then it hung up. I called all of the ATI numbers I could possibly find, but I got the same message each time. Odd.
Luckily, my mom also decided to call American Airlines when I began having trouble with calling ATI. After 2 hours of waiting, we finally got through to an American Airlines woman who just switched us to the international waiting list. After another two hours, we got a very helpful woman who told me that my flight for the next morning, and it was now 1:30am the day I was leaving, had actually been canceled.
Very luckily for me, this woman stayed on the phone with me for over a half hour as we discussed which airlines where flying out of which airports around me within a two hour radius. Eventually, she booked a flight for me and everything turned out alright. My luggage didn’t make it to Quito until 3 days after I did, but I got to Quito, and that was the main goal.
Did I mention that I still have not heard from ATI about this? They never let me know my flights had been canceled, they never sent my an email or anything about flights being rearranged, and they most certainly have still not answered my phone calls.
In short, I strongly advise against booking any flight through ATIflights.com unless you want the stressful adventure of having your tickets canceled and not being notified.