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Beware of Bravofly

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Beware of Bravofly

As a seasoned travel writer, I’ve heard of worse transportation nightmares, but my own recent experience with Bravofly (remember that name!) was such a massive annoyance that I am writing to alert others in hopes they will be smarter or luckier and avoid my fate.

Like many other online sites I’ve used, Bravofly offers discount airfares, and in July I used them to book round trip Air France tickets from Paris to Corsica for late September. Bravofly promptly processed my credit card payment of 221 euros and sent me confirmation of the booking, telling me that Air France would be in touch closer to the travel date with their own confirmation number. Weeks went by without a word. In August I became concerned and thought I’d better touch base with Bravofly.

This proved to be impossible. Bravofly does not allow email contact. Their website showed that my only option was to call them on their English-speaking line – which would, I learned, cost me six euros for ten minutes. I wasn’t too happy about paying to discuss their error with them, but figured I needed to get this thing straightened out. Unfortunately for me, the “English-speaking line” turned out to be a recording – in Italian. I then phoned Air France, who – surprise! – had never heard of me or my travel plans. In the end, I had to repurchase my ticket for 230 euros, bringing my total expense for these “discounted tickets” to 451 euros. Not the bargain I’d been looking for.

About a week before I was due to leave for Corsica, it occurred to me that perhaps Bravofly’s press office would be more interested in pacifying disgruntled customers, so I rooted around until I found their email address and sent them the details of my situation. They wrote back promptly saying that someone from customer service would contact me. I still hadn’t heard from them by the time I left for the Paris airport en route to Corsica. When I returned to my office, I discovered that Bravofly had finally sent me an email – an hour before my flight to Corsica was scheduled to take off. In it, they told me that if I wanted to cancel my flight, I had to do it by email prior to the flight.

Correspondence was exchanged, as you can imagine. Bravofly’s attitude seems to be that they fulfilled their part of the bargain – in some way that is not apparent to me – and that I should stop whining if my own inefficiency forced me to revise my travel plans. My travel plans never changed; I took the same Paris-Corsica flight I’d intended to take all along; the only difference was I had to pay for it twice over.

I realize now I should have spent more time checking the online reviews, which are filled with words like “scam artists,” “swindlers,” and “total rip-off” as well as more unprintable phrases. My only hope now is that others can learn from my mistake and avoid becoming Bravofly’s next victims.

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