Airfare-question pertains to any trip

Has anyone had any success with Tauck matching published airfare when originally booked with Tauck, but not paid for yet? There is now a significant savings if we were to book it ourselves or with agent, but do like the comfort and convenience of having it booked with Tauck in event of travel issues. Been told they are "contracted" rates.


  • The "contracted" line is what I've gotten in the past. Pre-covid I waited too late to get what I wanted (route & class) and found a much better deal online. Tauck couldn't match. Thankfully when covid canceled the tour I got a full refund from the airline without an issue. I'm considering doing it again if Tauck can't improve on what we're currently booked for next year.

  • If you book air with Tauck and later find a better price you can cancel the air portion of your trip with Tauck with no penalty. We have done this in the past.

    One benefit of booking with Tauck is that the air portion is refundable up until the last minute. Another benefit of booking with Tauck is that they will rebook if your trip is interrupted. On our trip to Ireland this past summer I got Covid on day one and had to leave the tour. I booked our own air and had to rebook our return flight on my own. It turned out to be not that big a problem.

  • Yes John, that's what I'm considering doing. Would prefer to book with Tauck for all the reasons you name. I'm hoping that now Virgin Atlantic is part of Skyteam some options have opened up.

  • CaroP,

    I am unaware of Tauck engaging in price matching. Doing such would create a paperwork nightmare, in my opinion. I can attest that for peace of mind in case something goes wrong, Tauck is there to assist you no matter what time of day it is or where you might be. We have only needed their assistance once when stranded abroad. They jumped into action and had us on our way in a timely manner.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • Tauck newbie this year (May 2022 travel), and I started watching the flights I wanted a year out. At the first available booking date (330 days from return) I spoke to Tauck Air and was told they had to wait until 310/300 days out to book - sorry, don’t remember exactly. Anyway, I called on the appropriate date while looking at what I could book. They came back to me with the flights and seats I wanted, but a few hundred dollars more than I could get on my own. They were booking at the fully refundable rate (same for me online if I selected that), but the advantage was it was all under the Tauck umbrella with final payment 90 days prior. No-brainer decision considering all the cancelled and delayed travel of recent years! If airlines continue the no-fee change policy, I would prefer to just book my own, but otherwise paying Tauck to do so provided a peace-of-mind insurance. I learned a few months later that tour-provided air is not as easy nor transparent as it is with Tauck (cruise-provided air).

  • gafly26482
    . . . They were booking at the fully refundable rate (same for me online if I selected that), but the advantage was it was all under the Tauck umbrella with final payment 90 days prior.

    We normally book flights directly, so I can't say for sure, but believe Tauck air fare for all or some exotics might be due upon booking though I can't find where it is discussed. A few posts in 2021, said 90 days prior, but that could be a COVID thing, and there were a few posts from this summer that mentioned paying in full at booking. Maybe someone else can weigh in.

  • We've used Tauck for our air a number of times. At the time of tour deposit you pay a small deposit for the air booking. Tauck guarantees the flights and you can request seat assignments. The full price of the air has not been due in the past until you make the final trip payment. Was 90 days prior, but in some cases due to covid has been 60 days prior. In the past you can cancel the Tauck air before you make the final payment with no loss of the deposit or charge for the cancellation. Based on a recommendation from our travel agent, I usually have Tauck book the air, then check from time to time for better connections/pricing. If something significant comes up I'll cancel Tauck air and book my own. Lately there hasn't been a significant enough difference to justify doing my own.

  • I just booked air through Tauck for Peru/Galapagos for the spring. When I checked other airlines, the fares were comparable but Tauck got us there with the lowest wait times between flights.

  • At the time of tour deposit you pay a small deposit for the air booking

    jeffr775. I've never been aware of paying a deposit for the air booking - perhaps this is something Tauck does behind the scenes or a new policy???.

    I booked my own air for my last two Tauck Tours. The Israel Jordan tour was considered exotic and Tauck informed me the tickets had to be purchased immediately. I'm not sure the Jordan & Egypt tour was categorized as exotic; however, I wanted to fly Qatar and Tauck didn't have a contract to book that airline. The prices I was able to get for both of those tours were less expensive than booking with Tauck.

    It's the luck of the draw. My Portrait of India and Grand Aus-NZ Business Class fares booked with Tauck were less expensive than booking directly with the airlines; however, I remember cancelling my Baltics/Russia fare before final payment with Tauck as the fares were significantly less booking direct.

    It's very considerate that the airlines are eliminating change fees. For my recent non-Tauck business class flight to Greece, I purchased the fully-refundable fare. It was a couple of hundred bucks more, but totally worth it. I think that's the fares Tauck books as well and one of the reasons we can cancel at the last minute. It's great to have options--

  • Alan, the thread you are referring to might be found in some of the Africa posts. We were supposed to go to Africa in 2020 with Tauck and our air had to be paid when booked. However, we never got to go because of Covid. Everything was refunded

  • We booked a two week New Zealand trip with Tauck for next February. Their airline ticket desk found us tickets Non-Stop from Chicago that were acceptably priced however to hold that price we had to pay for them upfront. A week ago we had to cancel the trip and because we were already “ticketed” we will have to file a claim with AON, and that means waiting 10 plus weeks to get reimbursed. A lesson learned and probably not to be repeated by us.

  • AshvEd. You just poked a whole in my theory that Tauck probably purchases fully refundable tickets :(

  • @PureLuxury—It might vary by the airline and contract. It’s been our experience that flights get “ticketed” when Final Payment is due/paid. Our tickets were on Air New Zealand.

  • We have several trips booked with Tauck. I am doing Essence of Japan in April and booked with Tauck. Their business class was several thousands under anything I found on my own. Both hubby and I are going on Treasures of the Mediterranean next October and I just booked amazing, amazing business fares with Amex Travel, including insurance. It’s costing less for two of us than just me going to Japan. I do realize the difference in flight distances…but I was pleasantly shocked with Amex.

  • I have used Amex Travel and the fares are a pleasant surprise. In addition I was recently looking for airfare on Delta to Croatia and they would respond with no flights available, when I looked in Amex Travel they actually had Delta flights so.... a phone call to Delta and at first they couldn't find the flights but eventually did, I'm still baffled by that one.

  • I guess my concern when I asked my question is if you've booked it on your own, due to lower fares, and then have a travel issue during the trip-i.e.-receive notice that your return flights have been cancelled or delayed-has that been a problem for you dealing with it, vs. having book with Tauck even tho fares may be significantly higher, but have the convenience of them handling the flight issue for you during the trip. Also, Delta vs. Lufthansa from DC to Europe--thoughts?

  • CaroP,

    It's a personal choice. I prefer the peace of mind of booking airfare through Tauck because they will assist if something goes wrong. I can't comment on flights from DC. It appears that many here on the forum fly Delta. I prefer European based carriers because of aircraft manufacturer and configuration (for instance, Airbus versus Boeing.) Again, a personal preference.

  • CaroP -- I've had Lufthansa cancel flights on me twice -- once on the day of the flight (though they did rebook me on Air France and TAP, with one extra transfer). I will never choose them again if I have another option. And I do like to fly Delta One.

  • I book on my own, had some flight delays and cancelations during my last tour but Delta re-booked the flights, I dealt directly with them of course.

  • For Tauck tours, we normally book with Tauck for all the reasons most have but will book on our own if we can get a much better deal and/or itinerary. Those who are lucky enough to be near a major hub have more flexibility in picking different airlines. Those of us in smaller markets may favor a particular airline alliance (e.g. Skyteam, StarAlliance, and OneWorld) since we have to make multiple connections and don't want to have to claim and recheck luggage because the airlines don't have codeshare agreements. I can check my bag in Albuquerque all the way to my destination even though I might be on both Delta and KLM or AF enroute. Also I only have to keep track of one set of airline miles.

    On a humorous note, a friend of mine's husband is a pilot for United but she won't fly with them. Not a safety issue. She just had bad experiences on them and won't fly United. We all have different reasons.

  • It’s a funny world. When I was still flying as a Captain for American, my wife was on the ‘do not fly list’. She got ‘searched’ every time she went to the airport, and could not check in online. She was using her professional name, and I got an idea. We changed her name, and bingo. She was off of the ‘no fly’ list. That puts another question mark by airport security, does it not? I often got searched, even when in uniform and displaying my ID. I sometimes asked if they would like to see my ‘crash axe’?

  • Loved the "crash axe" Sealord. I can imagine seeing their faces if you were ever to pull it out of your flight bag! Too funny.

  • edited December 2022

    The crash axe is actually in the cockpit. Many pilots are ‘packing heat’, so frisking us for pointy things is fairly pointless. Actually, the guys with guns don’t go through the regular security. I always said before 911, all they needed from crew was a biometric to make sure we were aircrew. Some in congress insisted that they wanted the pax to see the crew going through security. If you have the flight controls in your hands, you don’t need a weapon. Where is that Malaysian airplane?

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