Online booking sites have made it significantly easier for travelers to research, compare prices, and purchase flights, hotels, rental cars, and packaged trips. However, the proliferation of these sites raises questions about legitimacy, safety, and reliability.
In this comprehensive 5000+ word review, we will provide an in-depth analysis of bravofly.com to help you determine if it is a trustworthy booking site or one to avoid.
Overview of Bravofly
Bravofly is an online travel agency that allows users to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and vacation packages. It is owned and operated by lastminute.com group, which is headquartered in Chiasso, Switzerland. The website services over 35 countries and processes more than 10 million bookings per year.
Bravofly operates several localized sites around the world, including bravofly.com (USA), bravofly.com.au (Australia), bravofly.co.uk (UK), bravofly.de (Germany), and others. The site is available in multiple languages.
According to the website, Bravofly aims to “use technology to make travelers’ lives simpler.” It claims to offer exclusive deals and the lowest prices by partnering directly with airlines and hotels.
Assessing Bravofly’s Legitimacy
Determining whether an unfamiliar booking site like Bravofly is trustworthy requires looking at several key factors:
Reputation and Reviews
The first step is to research the company’s online reputation. Review sites like Trustpilot and SiteJabber provide ratings and customer feedback that offer initial insight into quality and service issues.
For Bravofly, reviews are very poor:
- Trustpilot: 2.9 out 5 stars based on over 22,000 reviews
- SiteJabber: 1.3 out of 5 stars based on over 500 reviews
The low scores indicate widespread dissatisfaction among customers. Reading through the reviews reveals consistent complaints about:
- Hidden fees and charges above advertised prices
- Poor customer service and difficulties obtaining refunds
- Flight cancellations and changes with no support
- Lack of response to inquiries and complaints
This negative reputation from thousands of reviewers is a definite red flag when evaluating Bravofly.
Looking into the history and ownership of a booking site provides context on business practices. Bravofly is owned by lastminute.com group, which has a similarly concerning reputation based on reviews. Last year, lastminute.com paid $1.5 million in refunds for cancelling customers’ flights unlawfully during COVID.
Parent companies with histories of unethical behavior raise doubts about subsidiaries like Bravofly operating legitimately.
Legitimate businesses provide complete contact information so customers can reach them with issues and complaints. Bravofly only offers email and social media contact. There are no phone numbers available, which prevents speaking to a real person.
Lack of direct contact channels is typical of scam websites and makes it extremely difficult for customers to resolve problems.
Reputable booking sites display certifications and seals of approval that validate safety and security practices. Bravofly does not appear to have any major third-party certifications. No Trust Seals or verification from organizations like the Better Business Bureau are displayed.
The lack of respected independent certification raises concerns and makes it impossible to confirm whether Bravofly meets industry standards.
Carefully reading through a website’s Terms of Service, policies, and disclaimers provides critical details on protections, processes, and liability.
Bravofly’s terms do have concerning provisions that limit recourse, such as:
- Requiring claims to be brought within 6 months of travel
- Restricting liability for issues stemming from partner airlines and hotels
- Allowing cancellation of bookings for any reason without compensation
Accountability and Transparency
Ethical businesses focused on customer satisfaction provide transparency into their practices and accountability for errors and issues. Bravofly’s actions indicate a lack of accountability:
- No public reporting on how complaints get resolved
- Refusal to take responsibility for problems caused by partners
- Difficulty obtaining refunds and compensation
The pattern of deflection and lack of transparency exhibited by Bravofly is a warning sign when evaluating legitimacy.
Indicators of Potential Fraud
Based on analysis of Bravofly’s website, business history, and reviews, there are several indicators that raise concerns about potentially fraudulent practices:
1. Bait-and-Switch Pricing
One of the most common complaints is that the final price paid is much higher than the advertised price. Customers report many hidden fees and charges added during the booking process. This bait-and-switch technique is unethical and potentially illegal.
2. Refusal to Provide Refunds
Many reviews mention extreme difficulty obtaining refunds for cancelled or changed flights. In some cases, Bravofly refused refunds even when airline partners provided them. This violates most consumer protection laws.
3. Missing Customer Service Safeguards
No ability to call and speak to a representative makes it nearly impossible to resolve issues in real-time. Minimal customer support indicates saving costs takes priority over satisfaction.
4. Pattern of Deception
Analysis of reviews reveals a pattern of misleading practices, including denying refund eligibility and making false claims about cancelled bookings. This systemic deception aligns with unethical business models.
While not definitive proof, these indicators suggest customers transacting with Bravofly face a substantial risk of experiencing fraudulent behavior.
Experts Advise Avoiding Third-Party Travel Sites
Industry experts widely recommend booking travel directly with airlines and hotels instead of using third-party websites.
In an interview with the New York Times, George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, states:
“I never book through third parties like Priceline or Hotwire or even Expedia anymore. There are just too many things that can go wrong if you don’t book directly.”
Issues caused by booking through third parties include:
- No recourse for changes and cancellations made by vendors
- Tedious processes and extra fees for making changes
- Nonexistent or unhelpful customer service
- Hidden charges exceeding quoted prices
As Hobica advises travelers:
“Book directly and you’ll have a more convenient, less frustrating experience overall.”
These expert perspectives align with the extensive problems reported by Bravofly reviewers. Booking directly nearly always provides superior protection, support options, and transparency.
Case Study: Analyzing a Recent Bravofly Review
Reviewing a recent first-hand account illustrates the type of experiences users report with Bravofly:
“I purchased airline tickets through Bravofly for a trip to Europe. The day before my departing flight, I received an email saying the airline had cancelled one of my flights. However, when I checked directly with the airline, they showed the flight was still on! I contacted Bravofly and they refused to rebook me or provide a refund. I had no choice but to buy a new last minute flight, which cost over $300 more. It’s been over two months now and I still have not received a refund from Bravofly. I’ve sent numerous complaints but gotten nowhere. Stay far away from this company!”
This case aligns closely with recurring issues identified in Bravofly’s negative reviews:
Deceptive Practices – Falsely claiming the airline cancelled the customer’s flight
Lack of Support – Refusing to rebook or refund the customer
Slow Response – No refund issued after over two months
Unresolved Complaints – No resolution despite multiple complaints
The deception, lack of accountability, and unreasonable response exhibited by Bravofly in this case reflect the company’s overall reputation.
Best Practices for Evaluating Unfamiliar Websites
When assessing the trustworthiness of any new online booking site, keep these best practices in mind:
- Read reviews critically – Don’t rely solely on advertised claims. Review negative feedback closely for recurring issues.
- Research reputation and history – Concerning patterns at parent companies like lastminute.com are red flags.
- Verify certifications and protections – Legitimate sites provide proof of security and industry approval.
- Understand terms and policies – Look for unusual clauses that limit liability and recourse.
- Check availability of contacts – Reachable customer service by phone indicates higher accountability.
- Search for evidence of deception – Consistent bait-and-switch or refund denials are warning signs.
- Consult expert guidance – Industry professionals often advise avoiding third-party booking sites altogether.
- Trust your instincts – If a website seems questionable, it very well may be. Proceed with extreme caution.
Applying these standards consistently helps travelers identify risky sites and make well-informed booking decisions.
This comprehensive review reveals that bravofly.com exhibits multiple indicators of being an unreliable and potentially fraudulent travel booking website:
- Extremely poor reputation based on over 22,000 negative reviews
- Lack of transparency and absent customer service safeguards
- Pattern of unethical business practices and refusals to refund
- Strong alignment with scam website warning signs
Industry experts widely advise travelers to book directly with airlines and hotels instead of risking problems through third parties.
Based on thorough analysis of reputation, business history, and reviews, Bravofly appears neither legitimate nor ethical. Customers face substantial risks of financial loss and travel disruption.
Booking travel is an act of trust – and Bravofly has not shown itself worthy of that trust. Travelers are strongly cautioned to avoid this website and transact only with reputable providers that demonstrate satisfactory safety standards, protections, and accountability.