I have found very few places online with anecdotes about Govolo -- and absolutely nothing here on FT -- even though Govolo is listed and 'validated' by Skyscanner's search engine. Here is my Govolo story.
Note that I have read Jabez's sticky. I am not affiliated at all with Govolo's operation, and my posting history should reflect that.
I use Skyscanner a lot, it's usually my first stop for any flight ticket searches or purchases. This time, for a trip AMS-BCN-AMS, the search results told me that Govolo was cheapest, by roughly 70 euros (230 vs. 300 euros).
The purchasing process on their website appeared to be reasonably smooth.
Immediately after purchase, I received an email from email@example.com
Hello Mr XXX,
Thank you for your booking, dated 07/09/11 at 22:55, on our web site GOVOLO for a flight Amsterdam (Pays Bas) / Munich (Allemagne).
This document is not the final confirmation of your booking; however, it indicates that your file has been duly recorded for treatment. Your booking will be confirmed only after payment approval.
THIS CONFIRMATION IS NOT YOUR E-TICKET : You’ll soon be e-mailed your e-ticket reference (This document will be ESSENTIAL).
You must check your e-mail box until the day before your departure. All necessary or last-minute information, regarding required documents or modifications about your trip, will be sent to you at this address.
Please copy your file reference, essential in case of further inquiry
Your file reference : XXXXXX
To contact us by E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
The following morning I received this email, from email@example.com
el (note the sender's non-Govolo address), and the subject listed the same file reference number that was cited above:
This refers to your booking on the website.
According to the Art.3.4 (payment terms) of our Sales conditions, before to confirm your booking, please send us:
- A copy of your credit card (back and front sides, note that is important to hide the 8 first numbers on the credit card front side, for your convenience)
- A copy of your ID Card or passport
Thanks to send us all these information to firstname.lastname@example.org at the latest on 08 of September 2011, at 5:00PM (GMT + 1).
For a priority handling of your booking please adds in your email subject 'Credit card and ID copies + your reference booking'.
Important: Without any news from you by the end of your option above, we will be obligated to cancel your booking without any fees.
Note that the document submission deadline of September 8th, 5pm, was only about 5 1/2 hours after the time stamp of this email.
At first, I almost missed it, I thought this was a scam or spam (since sender's name, email address, and email text body all made no mention of "Govolo"). It certainly looked like a scam or spam. But then I recalled that the file reference number looked familiar, and I double-checked. They indeed matched, so I re-read this message from the "Web Department".
I decided that it was a borderline reasonable request for my passport info and my credit card information. I scanned both sides of my credit card, went into Paint, and digitally cut out the first 8 digits on the picture of my cc's front. Then, I noticed that the "last" 8 digits on the picture of my cc's *back* were a mirror reflection of those 8 digits. So I digitally cut out those 8 digits as well. (Not cutting out precisely those 8 digits on the cc's back will give anybody all 16 digits of your credit card! Don't make the mistake of cutting out the 8 digits that you left intact on the front, or else anybody can still take the 8 from front and 8 from back and put them together.)
To be safe, I also digitally cut out my cc's CID and then all unnecessary information from my passport scan, specifically my handwritten signature and the code numbers at the bottom of the picture page.
I sent those documents to the listed email address.
In response, I received the following email, again from the non-Govolo entity:
This email refers to your booking under the reference: XXXXXX
Thank you for choosing our website.
Your credit card has been charged and your booking is confirmed from this moment on.
Credit card receipt and detailed flight plan will be sent with no further delay.
Your electronic ticket will be available at your mailbox afterwards.
The non-Govolo entity then emailed me a "Flight route info" email. It wasn't my e-ticket, it was just details about my flight. Half an hour later, I received an email from Govolo.com, this one was my e-ticket. However, neither of these emails listed my Lufthansa 6-character booking reference, which I wanted to verify my ticket at Lufthansa's website. So I emailed back both email addresses, asking for my booking reference. Both recipients emailed me back independently my booking reference.
I went to Lufthansa.com and inputted the booking reference, and everything was as it should be.
A quick check online at 2nd-hand sources shows that European companies apparently do indeed have the right to ask for copies of credit cards to verify identify. And ultimately, I'm pretty confident that everything will be OK. But overall, I'm not sure whether I'll re-use Govolo's services in the future.
Another quick search online shows that customers not responding fast enough in sending documents (i.e. within 5 1/2 hours) have apparently gotten their reservations cancelled, yet have been charged a cancellation fee by Govolo.
All in all, a bit of a harrowing experience, and something I thought I'd share with the FT community (esp. since Govolo has been 'validated' by Skyscanner). YMMV.